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The chilliness of the sand, the salty fogged air, and thumping of 8-10ft waves of Pipeline 50 yards in front of you, this is what surfers wait for all summer long. Makua Rothman welcoming the winter season at early morning Pipeline. Photo: Keoki


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B I K I N I S , C LOT H E S & A CC E S S O R I E S


Ryan Miller

Recapping all the action, storylines and high drama at Sunset Beach that was the 2016 HIC Pro


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We celebrate homegrown talent John John Florence and his World Title win by looking back at the most pivotal moments during his 2016 career year

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78 TALK STORY: IAN WALSH Coming off a monumental El Nino winter, Maui’s Ian Walsh discusses what it was like to film his movie Distance Between Dreams, what we can expect from it when it releases in December, and the defining moments of his decorated surfing career

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EDITOR’S NOTE By Cash Lambert

The chants started before John John Florence arrived. “John, John! John, John! John, John!” Those chanting were dozens of children, who streamed out of the Sunset Beach Elementary doors carrying makeshift signs that said “World Surf League World Champion”, “#1” and “Congrats John!”. Also chanting were well over a hundred of the North Shore faithful, who spent their Thursday lunch breaks in November filling the sides of Kamehameha Highway. Hawaiian flags, cameras and phones were everywhere. The air was hot and the scene felt electric. At the sight of a black truck, the crowd exploded from the sides and into the street, the chants reaching what sounded like decibel level. As I neared closer to John John - looking fresh off a long airplane ride - John hopped on top of the truck with friends and family, including Eli Olson, Nathan Florence, Jamie O’Brien and others. A beaming John unfurled a Hawaiian flag and held it above his head. As the truck, driven by Alex Florence (otherwise known as Mom John), slowly creeped forward, it parted the crowd like the Red Sea.

Mom John proceeded to pull the party into Nui. She perfectly encapsulated the the parking lot at Sunset Beach Elementary. prevailing sentiment of those who have closely watched John’s career evolve. In interviews, John continued the humble “Because of that, we have all had the narrative of saying how appreciative he opportunity to closely follow his journey was for the support (“It’s so crazy, I was and development over the past 12 years so surprised,” John said. “Coming down since he first began competing in the Vans the street, there were just more and more signs and I didn’t expect this at all. Thanks Triple Crown. He has inspired an entire generation and has opened the door to a to everyone, the whole community for coming”). The group then continued roaring new era in Hawaiian surfing.” down Kamehameha Highway. Distant chants, As the crowd dispersed from the John horns honking and cheers were audible, reverberating through the trees on the bike John parade at Sunset Beach Elementary on the warm, electrified Thursday path. afternoon in November, I too drove in the direction of Sunset Beach and was left “You could tell that when he came home with one lasting image of the true impact to the parade at Sunset Elementary that of what had transpired. the emotions were settling in for him,” said WSL commentator and iconic surfer Ross Williams, who introduces our “Year of In one of the bike path areas that had no tree cover, there was what looked to Florence” feature. In the feature, we look back at John’s road to the 2016 World Title, be a 10 or 11-year-old grom feverishly biking in the direction of John’s out of from him starting off the year with a bang by winning the In Memory of Eddie Aikau to sight truck. He was controlling his bicycle with one hand, the other hand holding a him claiming the Jeep Leaderboard jersey in Tahiti and him bringing the Title back to huge Hawaiian flag. The wind carried his excitement: “John, John! John, John! Hawaii. John, John!” We also include in the feature what members of the North Shore tribe had to say about John John’s pinnacle achievement. “It has always been a matter of when, not if, on the subject of John John and a World Title,” said Jodi Wilmott, GM of WSl Hawaii/Tahiti



Mason Ho’s sensational come from behind win over a talented field handed him his second HIC Pro trophy in early November.

What do you get when you mix proper 8-12 foot Sunset Beach conditions, Hawaiian veterans (Ian Walsh, Sunny Garcia, Makua Rothman among others) and international youth (Leonardo Fioravanti, Jack Robinson and more), competing against one another for an opportunity to secure a slot for the forthcoming Triple Crown events?

In the Final, the crowd on hand at Sunset Beach was reminded to never count Mason out. Already armed with a solid backup score, Mason found the 9.00 with five minutes left in the heat. After the buzzer sounded, the 28-year-old paddled toward the beach with the same sense of euphoria he felt when he won the event in 2013.

The 2016 HIC Pro! Since 1984, the contest has marked the green light for the winter season on the North Shore’s hallowed sands, and since 1989, Hawaii-living residents (Michael Ho, Andy Irons, Pancho Sullivan) have taken home the trophy, along with a crown of flowers, an oversized check, and momentum into the winter season. This year’s winner - Mason Ho - extended the tradition, winning the 2016 HIC Pro in dramatic fashion by pulling into a 9.00 barrel ride in the dying minutes of the Final. The wave vaulted him atop the leaderboard over a talented field including Makua Rothman, Jack Robinson and Finn McGill. “I thought it was really cool to have a stacked final because the more stacked they are the better,” said Ho on the awards podium, still dripping and holding his prize check. “Everyone’s the same out at Sunset, all the champions on the list, they all have all this knowledge, but when you go out to Sunset, it’s almost like a lot of it is put aside… Out there I instantly feel vulnerable. As soon as I’m out there I feel like I could lose.” 20

“That nine was really fun because I’ve been trying to get a wave like that for the last couple weeks,” he continued. “I got it in the Final and I was so stoked, it came at the perfect time.” While previous years of the contest saw some surfers enter the contest as a storyline, steal the momentum early and methodically build their way to a win, the 2016 HIC Pro came down to the wire. Storylines going into the event - which ran November 3-5 included Jack Robinson. The West Oz native exploded onto the scene in 2015, reaching the final at the HIC Pro, winning the Pipe Invitational, and being crowned the Vans Triple Crown Rookie of the Year. "Arriving to Hawaii knowing that waves like Haleiwa and Sunset await puts absolute balance back into the QS tour for what a surfer should be able to perform in," said Robinson on how events like the HIC Pro fit into his career goals. "Bring it on! I love to get amongst high performance surfers in high performance waves and they don't run the contests unless the waves are good in Hawaii generally."




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Finn McGill snatched momentum early in the contest, nailing the highest scoring wave in the first day of action and the second highest scoring wave of the contest during the second day.

Another storyline before Round 1 ran was the news that Leonardo Fioravanti, the 18-year-old who bested Kelly Slater at the Quiksilver Pro in France, would be competing in Sunset Beach’s challenging conditions. The Italian is the youngest surfer poised to join the world's best athletes on the WSL Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour in 2017. Eli Olson, the leader of the Hawaii Regional rankings, was looking to to secure his Regional Champion title at the HIC Pro, which has far benefits besides just the title. It also includes a seed into the top QS events in 2017, along with entry into this year’s QS 10,000s: the Hawaiian Pro and Vans World Cup. All of this, along with a $5,000 travel reward from Vans, helping to offset the expense of traveling to QS events around the world. “My mindset recently is that every single person in this entire event is incredibly talented and really good. I don’t underestimate anybody,” said Eli before surfing in Round 1. “Everyone has the ability to win or lose and I just think everyone is good. There’s no such thing as an easy heat.”

Indeed, there’s no such thing as an easy heat, especially when the conditions are run in proper Sunset Beach swell. The first day of action saw solid, 12+ foot conditions on hand. While athletes warmed up in the early rounds, World Champion John John Florence made an appearance, coming to watch his brother Nathan compete. Although Nathan didn’t make it out of his

heat, other Hawaiians continued the march toward the podium, including Makua Rothman and Sunny Garcia. “In these conditions I really feel like I can win,” said Garcia after putting on a power surfing clinic. “It’s just a matter of going out and getting the best waves and surfing the best I can. But having said that, watching all these young kids, they have really stepped up their big wave surfing, so I’m going to enjoy surfing my last couple events and be around watching and coaching.” One of those “young kids” Sunny referred to was 16-year-old Finn McGill. He dropped the highest single wave score - a 9.4 during the first day of action. “The wave just came to me, I had first priority,” said McGill with a smile. “Everything just happened correctly and then I took off and knew it was going to be a gem. Turned out it was. My tactic right now is just to have fun. This is my home break, I’m surfing against my heroes so I’m just trying to have fun and hopefully make a couple rounds.” In 15-foot wave faces on Day 2, McGill continued his hot streak, maintaining the highest single wave score of the event - the 9.4 from the previous day - and backed it up with the second best wave of competition, a 8.93. Ian Walsh surfed well in the early rounds, showcasing the power carves that landed him on the podium victorious last year.



“The waves are really good, it’s tricky to find them and be in the right place when they come in,” he said. “But if you’re in the right spot, the waves are really fun.” An army of Hawaiian talent advanced into the final day, including both McGill and Walsh, Koa Smith, Tanner Hendrickson, Mason Ho, Sunny Garcia and Makua Rothman.


Makua Rothman

The third and final day of the 2016 HIC Pro saw these athletes wield their repertoire against one another and the remaining international talent. McGill’s power spray was visible from Kamehameha Highway throughout the Quarterfinals, and news spread that if the young gun continued to make heats and score third or better overall, he would snatch the Hawaii Regional trophy from Eli Olson’s palms. In the semifinals, Robinson and Mason Ho out surfed Smith and Tahiti’s O’Neill Massin, and Rothman and McGill bested Benji Brand and Nathan Hedge. This set the stage for an action packed final without a clear favorite. Robinson, given his competitive acumen on the North Shore couldn’t be counted out, Rothman had a textbook wave selection throughout the 3-day contest, Ho had been quietly making heat after heat, and McGill looked unstoppable. Early on, Robinson stayed busy, dropping a 6.17, McGill dropped a 7.50, Rothman nabbed two 4’s, and Ho pulled out a 3 and 4.


Jack Robinson

That’s when, with only five minutes remaining, the wave came and Ho locked in, pulling behind the curtain and coming out to the crowd cheering. A 9.00 came from the announcer’s booth, followed by the buzzer. He was chaired up the beach and onto the podium, adding yet another accolade to the Ho lineage.

Koa Smith

W W W. R A I N B O W S A N D A L S . C O M



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P R E M I E R L E AT H E R O R I G I N A L R A I N B O W ®




Mason Ho

FINAL RESULTS 1. Mason Ho, 14.37 2. Jack Robinson (AUS), 10.67 3. Makuakai Rothman, 8.53 4. Finn McGill, 8.50 Semifinals, 3rd = 5th place, 4th = 7th place SF1: Jack Robinson, Mason Ho, Koa Smith, O’Neill Massin SF2: Makuakai Rothman, Finn McGill, Benji Brand, Nathan Hedge Quarterfinals, 3rd = 9th place, 4th = 13th place QF1: Jack Robinson, O’Neill Massin, Leonardo Fioravanti, Brian Toth QF2: Koa Smith, Mason Ho, Tanner Hendrickson, Ian Walsh QF3: Benji Brand, Makuakai Rothman, Ethan Ewing, Wade Carmichael QF4: Finn McGill, Nathan Hedge, Kaito Kino, Joel Centeio Round of 32, 3rd = 17th place, 4th = 25th place H1: Brian Toth, Tanner Hendrickson, Sunny Garcia, Mitchell James H2: Jack Robinson, Mason Ho, Elliot Paerata-Reid, Cody Young H3: Koa Smith, O’Neill Massin, Noa Mizuno, Alex Smith H4: Ian Walsh, Leonardo Fioravanti, Frasier Dovell, Kekoa Cazimero H5: Wade Carmichael, Finn McGill, Tim Reyes, Jacome Correia H6: Makuakai Rothman, Joel Centeio, Shane Holmes, Chris Foster H7: Nathan Hedge, Ethan Ewing, Seth Moniz, Eala Stewart H8: Kaito Kino, Benji Brand, Riley Laing, Cole Houshmand

Cestari / WSL


Billy Kemper used his local knowledge to his advantage, scoring a perfect 10-point ride on his way to winning the 2016 Pe’ahi Challenge.

MAUI LOCALS DOMINATE WITH BILLY KEMPER AND PAIGE ALMS WINNING PE’AHI CHALLENGE “I’m over the moon and... I just surfed with a few of my heroes and pioneers of this sport.” This a glimpse into the emotions of Billy Kemper just moments after the 26-year-old pulled into a closeout barrel for a victory lap during the Final of the Pe’ahi Challenge on November 11, a contest that ran in 30-foot plus size surf. The victory served as a back to back win for Kemper, who won the 2015 Pe’ahi Challenge. “I’ve trained so hard for the last eight weeks,” Kemper said. “I feel 100% this year and I didn’t last year. I didn’t know I was winning, so I just went for it on that last wave. This is what I live for right here. I’ve put a lot of work and effort into this and thank you to everyone that’s ever supported me.” Indeed, Kemper “went for it” practically all day. He surfed solid in his opening heat, showcasing a meticulous wave selection and then capitalizing, nailing a 18.20. He advanced in the semifinals, coming in second to Greg Long, and the Final began with the ultimate big wave showdown: an international field comprised of 6 surfers - Kemper, Long, Grant Baker, Nic Lamb, Pedro Calado and Will Skudin - facing one another in gargantuan conditions. 28

In the first ever Women’s Pea’ahi Challenge, Paige Alms’ courage and skillset paid dividends: At the end of the day, she was named both the Pe’ahi Challenge victor and the WSL Women’s Big Wave Tour Champion.

The Final opened with ratings leader Baker and Kemper sharing a wave, with Baker getting the best of the exchange. Reigning BWT Champion Greg Long followed quickly on the second wave of the set, locking in a 8.83. Long backed up his first score on one of the bigger waves of the day with another excellent ride for 8.93. At the halfway mark, Kemper pulled into a cavern of a barrel, handing him a perfect 10. This gave him the lead over Baker, who answered back with another excellent, late drop 8-point ride. A final attempt from Nic Lamb moved him up into fourth place over both Calado and Skudin, who finished in fifth and sixth place respectively. Kemper held the lead through the remainder of the heat and closed the Final with a 9.07. Kemper’s second consecutive win at Pe’ahi vaults him up nine places to No. 4 on the BWT rankings while Baker retains the ratings lead with only two possible events remaining on the 2016/17 season. “This year has been totally different for me,” continued Kemper. “I’ve never felt this good in my life and I came here to win again and I did. I feels good to win here. I grew up here - this is my backyard and my blood, sweat and tears. It’s a blessing to have a Big Wave event here at home. My hard work and dedication has paid off.” Following the conclusion of Men’s Round 1, Keala Kennelly was first to put a score on the board in the opening heat of Women’s Round 1, with a 6.83 and the lead. Kennelly’s run was caught short though when she had to leave the lineup for medical attention after suffering a knee injury. Despite the injury, Kennelly held on to her first place position.

Sharp / WSL


Greg Long, who finished runner up to Billy Kemper by 2.38 points, pulled down several high-scoring rides throughout the early rounds and the Final.

Round 1 Heat 2 saw current No. 10 on the WSL Women’s Championship Tour Laura Enever dominate the lineup from the start of the heat. She was first to attempt a ride, and despite an unsuccessful takeoff, she was rewarded with a 0.74 that gave her an early advantage. Enever and Aussie Felicity Palmateer both committed to the next wave, but it was Palmateer who made the drop and earned a 5.50 for second place. Maui local Paige Alms looked in control and at ease and posted a solid 6.17 with her first ride to claim the lead. Bianca Valenti (USA) continued to charge, despite two heavy wipeouts, but wasn’t able to find a score of significance and she finished in fourth place. A late drop from Jamilah Star (USA) moved her up into fifth place but it wasn’t enough to advance to the Final and she was eliminated from the competition alongside Tammy-Lee Smith (ZAF). Alms, Palmateer and Enever moved forward into the Final. In that Final, it was Alms’ local knowledge that helped her choose and capitalize on the best waves. She finished with a 21.66, Justine Dupont second with a 10.77 and Felicity Palmateer third with a 1.63. “That was definitely extremely challenging with so much wind,” said Alms. “I surf here all the time and the wind today is very difficult. It throws huge chops at you and puts so much air under your nose so you really have to push. When the WSL announced that they were going run this event we were all ecstatic. To be able to surf my home break with just five other girls is amazing and a monumental moment.”


Heff / WSL


Billy Kemper

Cestari / WSL


Pe’ahi Challenge Men’s Final Results: 1 Billy Kemper (HAW) 29.07 2 Greg Long (USA) 26.69 3 Grant Baker (ZAF) 22.47 4 Nic Lamb (USA) 18.89 5 Pedro Calado (BRA) 18.04 6 Will Skudin (USA) 14.41 Pe’ahi Challenge Women’s Final Results: 1 Paige Alms (HAW) 21.66 2 Justine Dupont (FRA) 10.77 3 Felicity Palmateer (AUS) 1.63

Paige Alms and Billy Kemper.

Cestari / WSL

WSL BWT Rankings Top Five (following Pe’ahi Challenge): 1 Grant Baker (ZAF) - 21,180 points 2 Greg Long (USA) - 20,832 points 3 Pedro Calado (BRA) - 14,709 points 4 Billy Kemper (HAW) - 13,589 points 5 Will Skudin (USA) - 11,053 points

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SAMMY MORRETINO CLAIMS VICTORY AT CUTTER MAZDA MAKAPU’U JACKSTANCE CHALLENGE AND INVITATIONAL Photos Chris Latronic On October 30, facing 2-4 foot windswept swell, Kauai's Sammy Morretino won the Cutter Mazda Makapu’u Jackstance Challenge and Invitational, a DropKnee specialty event. “I’m stoked to have won the Makapu’u Jackstance challenge today, it’s such a unique event and experience at beautiful Makapu’u Beach,” Sammy said. “Mahalos to my sponsors, and thank you of the support.” The 3rd stop on the 2016 Hawaii Bodyboarding Pro Tour, the Cutter Mazda Makapu’u Jackstance Challenge and Invitational consisted of 48 competitors in total, 24 from the Hawaii Bodyboarding Pro Tour and 24 invitees from the Hawaiian Islands. This set the stage for high drama, including the possibility for big upsets and lesser-known chargers making it to the final rounds of the contest. “This event included an all-star competitor list of Hawaii Bodyboarding Pro Tour competitors combined with underground and freesurf rippers,” said Tour Organizer Norm Skorge. “This was a gathering of living legends never seen in one place before.” All day, contestants battled it out at the famed Makapu’u break, an iconic locale. Located on the East side of Oahu, Makapu’u holds an important place in the history of bodyboarding.


Since the 1950s, because of the thunderous, powerful shorebreak, the break has been a famed bodyboard location. In the 1970s, Jack Lindholm became a familiar face in the lineup. Jack was known to ride “Jackstance” or DropKnee, pioneering the pillar of the sport. In the spirit of nostalgia and to honor the man himself, Jack Lindholm was present at the event. The final consisted of Sammy Morretino, Dayton Wago, Jimmy Hutaff, and Mack Crilley. Sammy set the tone early, catching the first wave of the heat and continuing to hack and carve in the 2-4 foot conditions on hand. With Sammy in the lead, Dayton Wago took second, Jimmy Hutaff third, and Mack Crilley fourth.

Sammy Morretino


Pohaku Kekaualua

“I’m so flattered, honored and I appreciate the recognition,” said Jack, the Honorary Guest of the event. “Just, wow, I’m so appreciative of this gesture for them to name it after me.” Though Jack is hailed as the genesis of Dropknee, the man himself humbly deflected the attention at the contest, pointing it back to the history books. “There are ancient Hawaiian etchings, during the Captain Cook days,” he said. “There’s one of someone riding Dropknee, so it’s ancient Hawaiians who invented it. For me, I didn’t think of it, hear of it, it just came within. It was all part of being with other competitors, having fun and being creative.” The final stop on the 2016 Hawaii Bodyboarding Pro Tour is the Miller’s Surf Big Island Challenge on November 19-20.

Kawika Kamai


CUTTER MAZDA MAKAPU’U JACKSTANCE CHALLENGE AND INVITATIONAL FINAL RESULTS 1 Sammy Morretino 14.94 2 Dayton Wago 13.07 3 Jimmy Hutaff 13.03 4 Mack Crilley 11.90

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JOHN JOHN FLORENCE CONTINUES WINNING WAYS AT HAWAIIAN PRO In 2016, John John Florence has won the In Memory of Eddie Aikau, the WSL World Title, and on November 18, the first gem of the 2016 Vans Triple Crown: the Hawaiian Pro. “It’s been the best year of my life for sure,” said Florence, standing atop the podium at Haleiwa. “I’m so happy to be back home and with my family and friends. I couldn’t have done it without my mom, my brothers supporting me my whole life. The Johnson family, Pyzel has been a big help with everything. Thanks to everyone down here today, coming down and supporting us and cheering us on.” In one of the tightest Finals in competitive history, Florence broke a tie with Portugal’s Frederico Morais for first place, winning with the highest individual wave score on a countback. France’s Marc Lacomare finished third and Aussie Adrian Buchan was fourth. “I want to win another World Title for sure,” continued Florence. “I’d love to win the Triple Crown and I want to win Pipe. I want to win everything. So that’s my goal right now, to be a really good competitive surfer. I think there’s so much to learn about myself and learn how to compete still. I’m really excited looking towards next year for that.” 42

Florence started off the heat with a bang, taking the first of a three wave set for a 6.83. Meanwhile, Morais and Lacomare jumped on the succeeding waves for matching 8.33’s from the judges and a tie for first, a foreshadowing of how the heat, along with the win, would progress. The four surfers went wave for wave in the 35-minute Final, with Florence taking the lead after posting an excellent 8.83 on his second wave. Though John was a crowd favorite, Morais proved equally talented with aggressive maneuvers, including a big frontside snap followed by two more major turns and a big air drop floater to shift the scenario. His strategic yet loose surfing scored him a 7.33 on his second wave, which tied him for first with Florence. Morais needed to secure a 7.34 to jump ahead of Florence and in the dying seconds of the heat had his final shot at it, coming incredibly close with a 7.33. “That was crazy,” Florence said in a post heat interview. “Freddy got two, his two waves were so close. At that point, it’s so close

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Street Level, Mauka




you don’t really know. I’d kind of just gotten over it, being on the beach was like, ‘oh gosh I don’t know what’s going to happen.’ I can’t even believe I won, I’m so stoked. I came home and was just going to do Haleiwa for fun and to win it is amazing.” Hawaiian Pro Results 1st John John Florence (HAW), 10000 points 2nd Frederico Morais (PRT), 8000 points 3rd Marc Lacomare (FRA), 6700 points 4th Adrian Buchan (AUS), 6300 points


LANDON MCNAMARA RELEASES DEBUT ALBUM A DOLLAR SHORT & A MINUTE LATE There are a few places where old school promotion works in today’s digital-first society, and one of those locations is the North Shore. Chances are that you’ve seen the flyers and posters stapled to light poles, advertising the skills of the North Shore’s own Landon McNamera. The advertisements show Landon pulling into a Pipeline bomb, something the community has seen time and time again, alongside his recent achievement: his portrait on a CD cover. The flyers are advertising the 20-year-old’s first CD, entitled “A Dollar Short & A Minute Late”, which will drop in early December. What can we expect from it? “There’s definitely a strong reggae vibe to it, along with an alternative feel,” Landon said. “There’s a bit of rock in there too. It’s not just an island feel. We tried to mix it up. Some songs talk about love, some talk about struggle. We made all the songs in the CD versatile.”


Born and raised on the North Shore, it goes without saying that Landon’s family has deep roots in the surfing world. Growing up, he became a product of his environment, making surfing a priority. Stories, lessons and perspective followed, and he chose to express such through the medium of music. Landon linked up with Sea Major Seven, a studio based in Kalihi, and “everything just clicked,” he said. “We started making some tracks during the first few sessions, and from there everything moved fast. We worked with some really good people.” The CD is undoubtedly a dream come true for Landon. “I’ve been playing music for a long time now, and everything has been working out,” he said. “I want to do the things I love for as long as I can, and that’s music and surfing. That’s the goal. I can't wait for everyone to hear what we've been creating this past few months.” For more information, visit


REACTIONS FROM THE HAWAII COMMUNITY ON JOHN JOHN FLORENCE’S WORLD TITLE Photos Mike Latronic KELLY SLATER John John was on Sportscenter last night during game 7 of the World Series and he gets home to what looks like a school holiday to celebrate his win. Soak it up. That's a great week in a person's life! And we even got to sneak some waves at Surf Ranch with a few friends the other day. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy. NATHAN FLORENCE Can’t believe this guy! So stoked and proud of big brother! World Champ! JON PYZEL I’ve had this day in my head for a long time now! It’s been incredible to watch a kid make his dreams a reality, and I am so stoked and proud to be a part of it too! Huge congratulations to John John and massive thanks to all the other people that help him. I feel like we all just won! ELI OLSON We all knew you could do it! It was just a matter of time, me and everyone else are beyond proud of you! I told you after the Eddie this was your year!

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JODI WILMOTT It has always been a matter of when, not if, on the subject of John John and a World Title. Because of that, we have all had the opportunity to closely follow his journey and development over the past 12 years since he first began competing in the Vans Triple Crown. He has inspired an entire generation and has opened the door to a new era in Hawaiian surfing. DAVE RIDDLE I’m really proud of John John bringing the trophy back to where it belongs. I’ve watched him since he was a grom to him becoming a man. Now he’s the man.


Frieden Frieden



Ryan Miller



Mana Keoki

FREDDY PATACCHIA Wow, John being the World Champion is awesome. It’s awesome for him and it’s great for the community as well. We’ve all been behind him, rooting for him and it’s great to see all of his hard work and dedication pay off. It feels like we all won!

CARISSA MOORE Thanks for being such an incredible inspiration and ambassador for the sport of surfing. You surf from such a genuine, pure place that everyone can feel the magic when you stand up on your board. This year, you found the perfect balance between playing the game and being your raw, spontaneous self. It was so exciting to watch! Couldn’t be happier for you! Congratulations on your first of many World Titles. You are a true champ both in and out of the water. Hawaii is so proud. TAMMY MONIZ Congrats to John John and especially congratulations to you, Alex. I’ve been watching you for years raising your boys and loving them and supporting them, doing what you feel is right and obviously it was right. Congratulations!

THE YEAR OF FLORENCE Recapping John John Florence’s path to the 2016 World Title

Introduction by Ross Williams


John John Florence winning this year’s World Title is a proud moment for everyone, especially because it’s so easy for people to share this Title with John. He’s such a cool cat, so humble. He was raised on the North Shore, right in front of everyone and as a grom, he was nurtured by all the pro surfers. It’s a proud moment for him and his camp as well, because he set out a goal and actually completed it. A lot of surfers and athletes set goals, but fall short. You could tell that when he came home to the parade at Sunset Elementary that the emotions were settling in for him. There’s so much emotion, so much hard work that goes into a World Title. People might not know how motivated John is, but he is precise with his training. Whenever he sets his heart on something, he’s actually methodical. He’s a great freesurfer, so some may think that he wings it, but that’s not the case. John is dedicated. Throughout the year, and his career really, John has stayed true to his character, and part of that is humility. He definitely has a cocky side that people might not know about, like when he messes with his brothers for fun. He has a competitive side to him

for sure. It’s not in his nature to beat his chest at contests, and behind the scenes you can really see that competitive and motivated spirit. My opinion is that John can win multiple World Titles. We are living in a slightly different era than when Kelly Slater won his Titles because the playing field has leveled a bit. The two key factors that will help John’s longevity are avoiding injury and keeping that motivation even after 1, 2 or 3 Titles. I think one of the main reasons why John is so popular - in terms of everyone embracing him - is that he is the leading force in what’s possible on a wave. There’s proof in his movie View from a Blue Moon, there’s proof in his video edits and there’s proof in surfing competitions. He’s an artist, and it’s rare to mix that with talent and being able to win a World Title. In a lot of ways, those two elements are different beasts. The good news for surfing is that he’s able to do both. We’ve had many World Champions, but maybe not since Kelly Slater has there been one who is as much of a freak show as John John Florence. Here’s how his road to the 2016 World Title played out.

Ryan Miller On October 25, John John Florence became the first Hawaiian since 2004 to win the prestigious World Title.



Wins Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau (2/28) In waves of up to 60 feet with over 25,000 people on hand at Waimea Bay, John edged out previous event winner Ross Clarke-Jones with a late charge in his second round heat, posting his top two rides of the day. John hoisted his $75,000 prize check high, while other competitors who finished behind John, including surfing icons Jamie Mitchell, Kelly Slater and Makua Rothman, shared the stage.


“I was excited just to be part of the event,” John said. “I was so nervous, I thought, I just gotta get through this day and hopefully get a couple of waves. I was riding my bike down here this morning in the dark and just the energy of how many people were parked all the way down the street... I’ve lived here my whole life and I’ve never seen it like that. Walking down the beach, like Uncle Clyde was saying, people just screaming, and the energy was so crazy. I’ve never been a part of an event like this. It’s definitely the highlight of my life for sure.”

The 2016 In Memory of Eddie Aikau presented John - known for his incredible talents in both freesurfing and contest surfing - with an opportunity to showcase his big wave skill set.

Ryan Miller

Sets the tone for the season, making the Quarterfinals at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast (3/16) “I learned so much coming out of last year and I’m putting it all together this year and figuring out how it all fits together,” John said after being eliminated by Stuart Kennedy, who finished with a buzzer-beater high scoring ride. “The Quarters isn’t a super bad result at all. I’m confident going into the next events. I love Bells and Margaret, and I’m looking forward to doing some carves.” Wins Oi Rio Pro in Brazil (5/19)

After finishing 5th, 13th, and 13th in the first three contests, John finds his form with a win at the Oi Rio Pro in Brazil.

Ryan Miller

After beating Adriano DeSouza and Dusty Payne in four-to-six-foot surf at Postinho, John beat Jack Freestone in front of a packed beach to win the Oi Rio Pro.

Ryan Miller

“I love coming back here to Rio,” Florence said. “This is where I won my first World Championship Tour event. The waves are really similar to Hawaii with their power, and everyone here in Brazil has been so supportive. If it wasn’t for everyone’s support on the beach cheering us on every wave, I don’t know if I would have been as stoked. Thank you to everyone.”


“Obviously I want to try to win a World Title, but I am going to take it heat by heat, event by event,” he said. “Hopefully I will come out on top, but we will see. The waves have been challenging and everyone has been surfing so well, so I am stoked to be here and win this event.”

Ryan Miller

The victory handed John a swanky trophy and launched him from 13th to 3rd on the WSL Jeep Leaderboard. The win marked the Hawaiian’s third elite tour victory, having previously finished atop the field in Rio de Janeiro in 2012 and in France in 2014.

Beats an in-form Taj Burrow en route to a Quarterfinal finish at the Fiji Pro (6/16)

Although John had high hopes entering Fiji and left with a 5th place, he viewed the result as a positive. The win kept him within striking distance of the coveted Jeep Leaderboard Jersey.

Ryan Miller

In what was to be Taj Burrow’s last CT contest of his storied career in professional surfing, John dispatched the 38-yearold and met Matt Wilkinson in the Quarterfinals. Although John lost the heat, he took home 5th place and maintained his 3rd place on the Jeep Leaderboard rankings, well within striking distance of Gabriel Medina, who sat at 2nd overall. “The waves are really good right now and I didn’t pick the best waves,” he said. “I had that one at the end but I was a couple feet too deep. This result is not too bad, it is still a keeper and it's only halfway through the year. I am pretty excited for J-Bay. All in all, I am pretty stoked. I had some really great waves in Fiji.”

Ryan Miller

Finishes second to Mick Fanning at JBAY Open (7/16) On his way to the Final at JBAY, John further showcased his competitive fire, besting Jordy Smith in the Quarterfinals and Josh Kerr in the Semifinals. Mick Fanning topped John by a margin of .40 points in the Final, and the runner-up finish pushed John to second place on the Jeep Leaderboard for the first time in his career. “I’m really stoked to be back here this year and to be in the Final surfing against Mick,” he said. “I wasn’t here last year when everything went down so just to see Mick win it is pretty inspiring coming back after that. It feels really good to move up to second place but I’m not really thinking

Meeting an emotionally-charged Mick Fanning in the Final at JBAY, John lost by a margin of only 0.40.

Ryan Miller

Ryan Miller

too much about the points, just taking it event by event. I’m really excited about these upcoming events. This second half of the year, I’ve always had a lot of fun and done really well, and hopefully we get some big waves in Tahiti and at Lowers, one of the most rippable waves in the world, and also have some fun in France and the European leg. I can’t wait for Pipe.”

Ryan Miller

“...and hopefully we get some big waves in Tahiti and at Lowers, one of the most rippable waves in the world, and also have some fun in France and the European leg. I can’t wait for Pipe.”

Ryan Miller

Finishes runner up to Kelly Slater at the Billabong Pro Tahiti (8/23) In one of the most anticipated Finals of the 2016 season, John John faced Kelly Slater. John was quick to get points on the board with an 8.00 on his opening ride, but Slater answered back with a near-perfect 9.77. The 11-time World Champion then landed a miraculous free-fall drop followed by escaping a deep barrel to garner a stunning 9.17. John’s second place result handed him the Jeep Leaderboard jersey heading into the following event at Lower Trestles. “When I look back that will for sure be one of the best wins I have ever had,” Kelly said. “To have John John in the Final is a dream for me. It is no secret that I am towards the tail-end of my career. John John is a favorite surfer of all of us, so I want to see how many heats I can get with him before I am done and to have him out here.”

Ryan Miller

“I’m stoked to be the leader on the Jeep Rankings,” John said. “But at this point, it is only a yellow jersey and what counts is at the end of the year and there is still a lot to go this year. I’m going to keep chipping away at it.”

After finishing second to Kelly Slater at the Billabong Pro Tahiti, John moved into first place on the Jeep Leaderboard.

Ryan Miller

Ryan Miller

Maintains his first place standing on the Jeep Leaderboard at Quiksilver Pro France (10/12) Going into France, John needed a solid score to keep his first place standing. He did just that, marching into the semifinals where he met a buzzsaw: Keanu Asing, who was battling for much needed requalification points. Asing barely edged him out by 0.87, and Florence’s run in France ended with a 3rd place finish. In the Final, Keanu bested Brazilian Gabriel Medina, who had his hopes set on overtaking John’s lead. Although John kept his first position on the Jeep Leaderboard, the gap shrunk to only 2,700 points between him and Medina. “I’m stoked and this is a dream come true,” said Asing. “The work’s not done yet but I hope I did something good for John maybe and helped him with the Title race.”

A third place finish at the Quiksilver Pro France boosted John’s ranking, and he also received help from a friend - Keanu Asing - who stopped Gabriel Medina from further advancing on John’s points lead.

Ryan Miller

Pressure: apply it, don’t feel it. This appeared to be part of John’s strategy as he closed in on his first World Title. His position on the Leaderboard put other competitors in the World Title hunt in dire need of contest wins.

Wins World Title at the MEO Rip Curl Pro (9/25) John John's World Title hopes came down to a numbers game at the MEO Rip Curl Pro. After beating Kolohe Andino in the first semifinal, John watched as Connor Coffin and Jordy Smith met in the Final. With an event win, Jordy could have kept the World Title race going into Hawaii, but Connor had other plans. He convincingly took down Jordy, handing John the World Title. After a celebration, John took to the water, the pressure finally off his shoulders, and won the event.

Ryan Miller

“I honestly can’t even believe it right now, I don’t think it’s really sunk in," he said. "I know my mom and them are back home watching right now and I really wish they were here… I am so stoked, I mean I worked my whole life towards this, I have so many people to thank for this, my mom, my whole family, all my friends back home, everyone here on Tour with us this whole year, oh my gosh I’m so stoked right now. My whole life has gone towards this, everything I’ve done, just this year especially learning so much about competitive surfing and just really focusing in on it and having so much help and support. The support has been amazing, I couldn’t have done it without everyone back at home and everyone here on the road with us. So many people, so much support.”


“The support has been amazing, I couldn’t have done it without everyone back at home and everyone here on the road with us. So many people, so much support.”

Poullenot / WSL

Ryan Miller

After being crowned the 2016 WSL World Tour Champion, John let loose in the Final at the Meo Rip Curl Pro by launching multiple airs on his way to winning the event.

After receiving a hero’s welcome upon returning home to the North Shore, John went back to work. In early November, he was seen in the lineups of Pipeline, Haleiwa and everything in between preparing for the 2016 Vans Triple Crown. John already has two VTC wins under his belt (2011, 2013) but clearly has motivation for a third. With the pressure off his shoulders, it’s going to be exciting to see how he caps off his tremendous 2016 year.

Ryan Miller

Ryan Miller

John sets his sight on the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing



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There’s always a story behind the photo, and that rings true with this image. This photo was taken a few months after Kelly parted ways with Quiksilver, his long time sponsor. He had a GoPro and was getting POV footage at Backdoor. Kelly noticed Erik Ippel and gave the GoPro to Erik to get some shots. Kelly then used his freed up hands to vent his emotions deep in a Backdoor barrel.

This is one example of what North Shore standout Barron Mamiya does on a regular basis: pulling full rotations, this time at backlit Honolua Bay. Everyone is expecting big things from him.

Eric Arakawa- Ronnie Burns Waimea Gun In t he 8 t h gr a de, I a s k ed E r i c A r a k a wa i f I c oul d bor row a boa rd f or Wa i mea . H e l et me bor row t hi s boa rd t o t r y out . It wa s neon yel l ow i n c ol or, t hi c k , wi t h a 9 ” s i ngl e f i n. I rode i t f or t he nex t t wo yea r s ever y da y t ha t Wa i mea brok e, a nd I c a ught my f i r s t - 2 0 f oot er on i t i n t he 1 0 t h gr a de. E r i c s a w me wa l k i ng ba c k home f rom t he s es s i on a nd s a i d, “ I need t ha t boa rd ba c k , i t wa s pret t y bi g out t here. T hi s i s my f r i end R onni e’s boa rd.” I t ha nk ed hi m s o muc h f or t he t i me s pent wi t h t ha t boa rd, not k nowi ng who he wa s t a l k i ng a bout . A whi l e l a t er I put i t t oget her : i t wa s R onni e B ur ns ’ l a s t Wa i mea gun s ha ped by E r i c hi ms el f .

Benjamin Sanchis’ line on this beast of a wave at Pe’ahi was so clean and so deep. He pretty much backdoored the wave - a 20 footer - and it was unbelievable to have the front row seat for the entire IMAX-like experience.

Ezekiel Lau putting in time at early season Backdoor.

Grace, style, and poise rolled into one: this is how you can describe Rosie Jaffurs surfing at Chuns. She’s definitely my favorite person to shoot.

Mason Ho is my favorite surfer. At the 2016 In Memory of Eddie Aikau, he did his fans - including myself - and his family proud, charging one of two closeout waves that day. On one of those waves, we shared the beating together.





IAN WALSH By Cash Lambert

When Ian Walsh is speeding down a 40-foot wave at Peahi, the scene around him is pandemonium. Shouts and yells reverberate from the channel, coming from dozens of surfers crowding the lineup. Jet skis roar by, adding to the deafening noise level, trying to avoid colliding with other skis and surfers. There’s also the sound of helicopter's rotators beating beating beating the air, and even though the noise may not be heard, the clicking of shutters from an army of photographers and videographers from the bluff is sensed. Even when combined, all of these sounds aren’t as loud as the detonation of a Peahi wave, a 3-5 story building moving at an incredible rate of speed and folding onto itself at a consistent rate. But the noises that make the scene at Jaws pandemonium aren’t what Ian Walsh hears when he steps over the ledge and races down the face of a 40-foot wave. So what does the 33-year-old hear?

“Silence,” he says. “I don’t hear anything. Even if there’s nuking tradewinds, it feels like a calming quiet. I feel the sting of the spit, but I never hear the hissing.” While the “calming quiet” that Ian feels on a deadly wave is certainly impossible to recreate, Ian and Redbull teamed up during the 2016 El Nino season to present the state of big wave surfing in cinematic form, taking cameras down the face of Jaws bombs and into the impact zone to recreate what big wave surfing is truly like for a global audience. The result is a film entitled Distance Between Dreams, which will drop in early December. We sat down with the Maui boy to talk about the movie, what the 2016 El Nino winter season was like from a big wave perspective, the defining moments of his decorated surfing career, and his theory as to why he hears a “calming quiet” in one of the most action packed and deadly environments on the planet.

What can we expect from Distance Between Dreams, Ian? It’s a film that puts people in our world. It’s more than a surf film, where it's ‘ok travel scene, cue music, show surfing, show location’... My hope is people leave with a good understanding of each person involved in the film and an understanding of what goes into those days. I didn't want to just show the good waves, I wanted to show surfers having a bad wipeout, because often that changes how you approach the rest of that day. I love that about certain movies: they show the heavy fall, and the work that goes into that session and what actually happens. We even put a cameraman in impact zone at Jaws so you’ll see what we see when you’re facing a 40-foot wall of water. In the film, we show these sessions - how they really happen - and show the heavy fall and the work towards whatever the surfer may be working towards. The film also looks at the progression of the sport, such as Eddie [Aikau] setting the stage at

Waimea for what was to come, really building the big wave platform for everyone to work off of, the tow revolution, jet ski water safety, and more. Distance Between Dreams: How did the name of the movie originate?

Zak Noyle / Red Bull


year is how much the consistency of swells can help refine the progression of sport. The amount of swells we had and the quality to each swell was so high, it really gave us the chance to try different fins, boards, safety techniques and progress the sport at a much faster pace than waiting for it to progress each year, which is still fast.

It came from a deep thought on a gondola in Jackson Hole when I was snowboarding. For me, what this film encompasses is the finished product. You see a lot of photos of surfing or even clips and edits and that’s similar to when you listen to a song or see a painting: it’s a finished product. You rarely see the amount of work that went into it. You never see everything that encompasses the finished product.... there’s so many ups and downs along the way. With this film, I wanted to be able to show that. It’s less of it being a personal project and more about what I feel like is happening in big wave surfing, and what is happening: progression. When I’m in the water and I see what's happening on big days from my peers, I want to capture what I see along with that feel of being in the water, and I wanted to put that into a first person perspective in the film. Showing the ups and downs, that’s the distance between dreams. That’s the amount of work that goes into the goal, however big or small it is. You don’t see the losses, you don’t see the severe consequences and sometimes that means watching your best friends needing CPR. It’s easy to capture things when everything is going well than when it’s going wrong.

It’s been reported that when you were in your late teens, you had an injury that forced you out of the water for some time and you used that time to become more knowledgeable about swell forecasts. Is this something you’ve built on, and something that really benefited you during the El Niño year?

And this was all filmed during last year’s incredible El Nino year. As a big wave surfer, you were at the forefront of it all. What was the year like in that aspect?

What are some other defining moments in your career?

The year was different mostly because of how monumental the year was for surfing. It was the best big wave season I’ve seen as far as size and consistency. It’s rare to have the magnitude of swells we had with light winds. Since there were so many big days, it gave guys the opportunity to try out equipment and really hone in on everything. For me, it was the best year of my life. Looking back on what happened, that definitely was, as far as surfing big waves, a winter season I’ve never seen before. One thing I learned throughout the

When I was 19, I broke my ankle and tore ligaments, so while I was recovering I studied meteorology. I started to learn a little about waves and forecasting and began to pick up the nuances. I began logging and writing down notes from every single swell that I surfed that had substance, and kept a catalog. Now I can go back through it, and say ‘there’s a swell coming from this angle with these tides’ and I can compare notes. It’s geeky, but I love surf forecasting. Now, I have logs from all over the world and can see that if a specific swell had a different wind direction or came from a different angle, it could have been better. It’s those details that make it good. Tracking swells and seeing it come to fruition is one of my favorite things to do. When I started studying meteorology, that was a defining moment in my career for sure.

When I first came to North Shore as a grom, just seeing everything. Another is after I graduated from high school, I spent my second full winter on the North Shore and moved in with Andy Irons and Mick Fanning in the old Red Bull house. I was sweeping the floor, just being a fly on the wall. Seeing how well it worked for those guys, seeing how if you commit yourself to this sport what it can become, that was pivotal. It added even more drive too. I watched Andy win a couple World Titles, and had a front row seat to the highest level of surfing. Another moment has to be when I’m quietly watching Shane Dorian. He has the ability to adapt to what's right in

front of him at the highest level. I started traveling with him from a young age, and he’s the benchmark. Every time he surfed it was ‘well if you’re sending it that hard, I guess we’re sending it that hard too’. As a kid growing up, that helped motivate me. He’s on such a high level day in and day out surfing these waves, and is one of the most respectful guys in the water. You’ve surfed some of the biggest waves on record, have contest winnings... you’ve accomplished so much already. So what’s your underlying motivation to keep pushing, to keep growing and continuing to refine your skill? It’s an internal drive to push myself. There are incredibly talented surfers on Maui and from a pretty early age, I think it’s about just being yourself. Surfing is a hard sport to get good at when you're young, because there’s a pecking order, and you have to have a really clear and concise way to process what's happening in the water and how everything works. For me, it’s more about adapting to whatever it is you’re doing and understanding. When I was young, I never pretended to be something I wasn’t. I’m a product of growing up in those Maui surroundings. The waves have a lot of versatility. My dad 82

Zak Noyle / Red Bull

has been an influence, too. He’s been a blue collar worker, so I understand the value of work, if you want something you need to work towards it. Anything you want is going to be more work. I made the decision a long time ago that this is the path to take and I’ve tried to make that happen. Everyone has different reasons for why they do what it is they do, and I love the aspect of pushing myself and I love the process of work that goes into what I’m doing. Once you can look at the

process of what it takes and enjoy that process and the work of it... the work ethic that goes into it that really helps keep me driven. With today’s camera technology, we can recreate the element of seeing what it’s like to surf a wave at Jaws. But we can’t recreate what it would actually sound like inside our own head. What’s that like for you? What do you hear while surfing Jaws?

Clark Fyans / Red Bull


It’s well documented that you spend an incredible amount of time preparing for surfing on big days,

from Jaws to Mavericks and beyond. Even with all that time spent in preparation, do you still meet waves that you’re unprepared for? Every session. So many waves go unridden, waves that no one want's a piece of. That’s part of surfing. It’s the waves we miss, the waves we pull back on or the waves we’re out of position for that keeps you coming back, more so than the waves you ride. The waves that keep me up at night are the ones that I was scared or pulled back on. I feel like

when you have that level of commitment of time in the water and physically getting ready, it's all ultimately built up in your subconscious and that confidence pushes back when fear is telling you no. It's about thinking ‘hey I did all this work, so I can try this and push myself’. If it’s that little extra motivation that helps me get over that ledge, then it is worth it for me. You have to use fear to propel you from behind rather than it being a wall in front of you.


Zak Noyle / Red Bull

I don’t hear anything. Everything goes silent. I hear a lot right before I stand up, but because your senses turn on so much, I never kick out of a wave and say ‘man that was loud’. It feels like a calming quiet, even if it's nuking trade winds. When I get up, my focus narrows. I feel the sting of the spit, but I never hear the hissing. And as soon as I kick out it all comes back.


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only one surfing. I may forget where I put my car keys today, but I haven’t forgotten some of the barrels from those days.”


There was a drawback to this way of life, and that drawback was the stigma. “When you moved out here to the North Shore, you were considered a black sheep because there were no jobs,” Dave said. “We did it because we loved it. We had to do this...We prioritized surfing in our lives. As it turns out, we helped create a lifestyle. Now it’s not only accepted but encouraged.” Being such a familiar face on land and the lineup gave Dave access to a behind the scenes look at the beginning of contest surfing.

THE EDUCATION OF A COACH WITH DAVE RIDDLE By Cash Lambert Photos Keoki It’s the second day of the 2016 HIC Pro and Dave Riddle is sitting underneath a Volcom tent with other members of the team, watching heat after heat battle in 12-foot Sunset Beach conditions. The 69-year-old has a crumpled heat sheet in his hands, his posture is straight in a chair that sits unevenly in the sand, and he looks calm but also intently focused. Whether it’s at any of the Triple Crown venues - Haleiwa, Sunset Beach or Pipeline - or any other surf contests in Hawaii, California and beyond, perched in the shade near his team’s logo is exactly where you can find Dave Riddle, who has served as a coach, or as he calls it, “a sounding board” for over 30 years. Dave is one of the few to see firsthand surfing develop from its unorganized infancy into its global success today. Not only has Dave been a “sounding board” for today’s crop of talent sponsored by Volcom; his coaching tree reaches into the early days of Volcom team riders, including Dusty Payne and Coco Ho, and before that, Andy and Bruce Irons and Dayton Segundo. Dave quickly recognized the talent of these surfing icons in their earliest of days, working with each surfer and each surfer’s personality to refine their skills from NSSA’s to QS’s, CT’s and even World Titles. 86

Where does the education of such a revered coach begin? The genesis is the year that Dave moved to Hawaii from California in 1960, attending Washington Intermediate Middle School. “I was one of 5 haoles in the school, so it taught me a lot about reality,” he said, reflecting. “It made me who I am today.” It was only natural for young Dave to pick up a surfboard living in Town. He started surfing at 13, sharing the lineup with the likes of Reno Abellira, Joey Cabell, and Barry Kanaiaupuni. Back then, according to Dave there were “no such things” as a crowded lineup. But this bliss wouldn’t last long “By 1968, 1969 the sport exploded in what seemed like overnight,” Dave said. Around that same time, Dave graduated from high school and became a regular at Sunset Point, calling the North Shore home during winter season and venturing back to Town during the summertime. “Back then, the country was real quiet, uncrowded in both land and ocean,” he said. “A hundred times different than what it is now. I was supposed to be going to college but I would look out the door at the waves and say no. Often at places like V-Land and Rockies, you were the

“I had the fortunate experience being a caddy for guys like Gerry Lopez and Rory Russell at big events,” he said. “Later, Bernie Baker and Randy Rarick hired me to work for the Triple Crown. I would be the guy they’d ask to go into the surfers area before the Finals and make sure no one was bothering the finalists. I got to know everyone and I learned a lot. I picked up on the judging, the criteria and at the same time I started teaching kids to surf down at Alligators.” One of those “kids” was Dayton Segundo, and Dave followed him and others to the Menehune Classics in Haleiwa. “I found out I knew what to tell them, what the judges wanted. I realized I could articulate that to surfers,” he said. Dayton was picked up by Quiksilver, and Dave soon met two little blonde boys from Kauai who wanted to do nothing but surf - Andy and Bruce Irons. Dave had surfed V-Land with their father, Phil Irons, years prior, and anytime the boys came to Oahu, they’d stay with Dave. “We went to California to surf in Oceanside for a contest in 1993, and none of us had been there before,” he said. “Andy got third, I actually got second in the Grand Masters, and we all were hooked on competitive surfing from there.” Fast forward a few years, and Volcom asked Dave to put a team together. A few years after that, Andy Irons was a three-

PAU HANA / DAVE RIDDLE As his career went on and on, I was honored he would leave me the choice of putting the boards he would ride in the truck. I was thinking, ‘wow I’m putting boards in the truck for the best surfer in the world’.” When he wasn’t working with Andy or Bruce in the early 2000s, he was working with Tom Dosland, Dustin Quizon, and later Dusty and Coco. And today, Dave’s job has morphed “into not just coaching but helping to manage the Volcom houses and I could not do that without the assistance of Jason Shibata and Tai Vandyke.” Dave’s seen the progression of the sport from the days of single fin rides with no leashes to today’s progressive money generating machine. In his eyes, what has pushed the sport to such great heights it currently sits atop, and what will continue to push it in the future? time World Champion, and the Volcom house was the epicenter of the surf world. “With Andy, it was all about structure. He was so good you couldn’t take your eyes off him, he won every heat he entered,” Dave said. “Whatever came at him, he had a way of rising to another level. I would tell him there was only one guy who could beat him, and he’d look at me and say ‘who’? And I’d say ‘you’.

“The love of the sport is so great to some people that they're pushing the limits because of that love,” he said. “It’s that love I felt when first I stood up in Waikiki and now I’m almost 70 years old and I can’t stop surfing.” pau


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Going on four months now, Freesurf has allowed us at Sustainable Coastlines to present difficult environment topics while shining light on a path towards a more sustainable future for surfers and ocean enthusiasts alike. In this article, we decided to summarize many of the topics we’ve discussed thus far and highlight a few specific solutions to guide us in the New Year, a year that presents the opportunity to become more sustainable. Issue: Plastic lasts indefinitely. Almost every single piece of plastic ever created is still here on Earth. Creating a piece of plastic meant to be used for just a few minutes made out a material that lasts forever is an unsustainable dichotomy that truly needs to be absorbed by us. Solution: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Execute those suggestion in order, as they are most effective. Refuse is the most important “R”, and the least effective “R” is recycling. It’s a last ditch effort that in the case of plastics, simply delays the inevitable. A plastic bottle can never become another plastic bottle. Rather it is 90

downcycled into something of lesser value until no longer having value. Therefore, choose glass and aluminum over plastic because they can be truly recycled back into the exact same item. Issue: Plastic is made from fossil fuels like oil and natural gas (fracking). Solution: We need new materials and increased demand for existing alternatives like bamboo, glass, aluminum, and organic cotton. Companies need to invest in the creation of new materials that can replace plastic. Issue: Pollution is the result of failed design. Solution: Use the power of your wallet to purchase products that consider impact on the environment into their design. For those creating the products we buy, design products that have the end of life considered into its creation. Focus on an end of life design that is actually the start of its next life cycle. In other words, when the product has reached the end of its life, it is easily recycled into something new.

Issue: Commercial fishing is resulting in polluted beaches, life endangering obstacles, and dwindled fishing stocks. Solution: Support local small scale fishermen like your friends and family. Don’t know any? Take some beer down to the docks like Haleiwa or Waianae and make some fishermen friends. You can also try Local I’a, a company aimed at connecting fishermen with you. Issue: Single Use Plastics are everywhere. Most of us start every morning with a plastic toothbrush and then encounter single use plastics throughout the day only to end it again with a plastic toothbrush.

Solution: Put your day into the right frame of mind and pick up a bamboo toothbrush or utilize a brand that minimizes virgin plastic use like Sonicare or Preserve. Pick up a reusable utensils kit that includes the items you use most like a fork, spoon, knife, chopsticks, and straws. Get a reusable water bottle and indulge in some of the best tap water in the world. Simple do without single use plastics. It’s easier than you think.

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ENVIRONMENT / company uses the environment without actually benefitting it. For example, the thick plastic bags from certain retailers that say “Malama Aina” and “Reusable, Help Protect the Aina”. Solution: See it for what it is: pure Greenwashing. Then, do not support these retailers. Or bring your own reusable bag to their store and mention your disdain to the management. Also, identify other greenwashing tactics used by companies. For example, keep an eye out for a green cap on a single use plastic bottle calling itself an eco-bottle. Issue: Standard surfboards are not eco friendly. Solution: Find a local shaper that will shape you a board that is made of more recycled materials. For example, one that uses recycled foam or other material for the blank, uses bioresins, and materials instead of fiberglass like hemp. Issue: Most restaurants continue to utilize plastic bags and other single use plastics. Solution: Look for the Ocean Friendly Restaurant sticker. This means that they do not hand out plastic bags, styrofoam, or other single use plastics. You can learn more at www. Issue: Companies are creating a false sense of environmental stewardship in the form of Greenwashing. This is when a

We have an exciting and challenging year ahead. Incorporating these solutions into our lives will help Hawaii and the surfing and ocean community lead by example. Considering we spend as much time in the ocean as we can, it only makes sense we do everything in our power to protect it. Kahi Pacarro is the Executive Director of Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii.



“The best thing about life as a grom is that you don’t worry about anything – no job, besides surfing.” Spend any time with Luke Swanson, a 13-year-old North Shore grom, and he’ll speak of grom life, inspirations, lessons, and courage, all of which have shaped his competitive drive. The support from Luke’s family has given him the confidence to splinter any wave touched. The gift of knowledge and strength from his father attributed Luke with a keen eye to read waves, his mother’s undying support has prepared him for competition, and his brothers taught him how to properly froth when competitiveness kicks in. Luke frequently talks about his two greatest loves: sushi and riding waves. He also admits that while the North Shore conditions can grow

to terrifying levels, the best feature about living on the 7-mile-miracle is the trust developed through friendships. Luke and his friends have grown up together while chasing barrels, and like brothers, they keep an eye on each other in the lineup.


When conditions aren’t perfect, he trains with friends, reviews video clips and pulls advice from local legends like Freddy Patacchia. Even at such a young age, Luke’s style, dedication and natural ability has his future looking bright. What’s it like living on the North Shore, Luke? I get to surf a lot! I lived in Mililani when I was young, like six or seven, and then we moved to Haleiwa. I really like Haleiwa. It’s where I really worked on my surfing growing

up. Eventually, we moved to Pupukea, where I live now – there are so many good spots around me. Living on the North Shore, you’re bound to meet pro surfers. Who are your favorites? Oh yeah, tons. I’ve met Julian Wilson and John John Florence. I hang out with Freddy Patacchia quite a bit. He’s been giving me advice on my surfing. My favorite is definitely John John, though. Who’s your biggest influence? My dad. He’s got a lot of knowledge in surfing, and my brothers help too. Freddy P, he has so much experience. He really helps me. My dad was the first one to push me into waves when I was young. My older brother helps out a lot,

because he used to compete until he was like sixteen. I’m the only one that’s really competitive.

Do you remember your first surfing experiences, having your dad push you into waves? Yea! My dad and I were on the West side. He was pushing me into 1 foot white-wash double ups, and I was trying to slide down the line. How do you balance school and surfing?

If I’m not surfing, then I’m doing school work. Also, I’m home schooled. My mom pushes me a lot in school, much like my dad pushing me in surfing. Sometimes I get behind and it takes a lot of work to catch up, like when I went to Maui recently.



Have you been on any surf trips, or plan to go? I haven’t been international yet, but I really want to soon. I’ve been to California – I really like Lower Trestles – and I’ve been on the other islands. Hopefully, when I’m old enough, I will be invited to do the Grom Games. Where are your favorite surf spots? Oh, man, there are so many. There’s Lowers, I really like that one. Here I would say Rocky Point, it’s a great wave. And Maui, Lahaina Harbor, that’s a really cool wave! Who are your sponsors? Quiksilver, Mokulele Airlines, Freak Traction pads, Future fins, Eric Arakawa, and Surface sunscreen. What do you do when you’re not surfing? Skate and go diving – I really like to go spearfishing, and school. I train too, work on flexibility and breath training. Spearfishing helps me work on breath holds and awareness. What do you want to say to other groms out there? When it comes to surfing, or anything in life, be focused. Do what you do and do it the best you can. Work hard. pau

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much fun with it. I’m a really competitive person myself, so I like being into the competitive side of it. Your family support is really moving. How does it feel to have your entire family connected to your passion and your dreams? It’s so nice to have a family that supports you. My dad is pretty much my coach. I mean, I have Freddy P. as my coach, but my dad is there with me all the time, he studies my videos with me. My mom takes me surfing every day, and then I have my brother to compete with. It’s like I pretty much have a set plan and I have everyone to help me.


Leila Riccobuano has only been an official teenager for less than six months, but she’s been ripping waves apart and turning heads in contests since before her age even hit double digits. The 13-year-old power surfer from Ewa Beach has benefitted from Kahea Hart’s guidance and has been under the tutelage of Freddy Patacchia since he came off Tour at the end of 2015. The core of her surfing career is deeply rooted in her supportive family, including her fellow junior pro brother Jake, mom Reiko and proud papa Erek, her first and most trusted surf coach. This year has proven to be a banner year for Riccobuano: she won every Hawaiian Surfing Association Under 14 contest she entered, and winning all but one contest in the Under 16 division, which collectively earned her the highest season ranking in HSA Under 14 and Under 16 as of November. So what’s ahead of this spritely, energetic athlete? Undoubtedly, more dance contests with her idol Coco Ho, a serious run for the Championship Tour, and, if she gets her way, an invitation to The Eddie. Do you remember your first wave, Leila? No, because I started when I was like two on the front of my dad’s longboard. The first memory I have of surfing, I was 6 or 7 years old surfing Haleiwa and believe it or not I always used to be regular foot, and then one day I just automatically changed. I didn’t try it, I didn’t mean to do it, I didn’t even notice it until my dad looked at me and said, ‘You’re surfing…differently.’ And I’ve just been goofy ever since. How did you start getting into competitions and make that decision to be a pro surfer? I have a brother, Jake. We used to be into all different kinds of sports and I used to be a cheerleader and stuff. Then Jake did a contest out at one of my home breaks, Makaha, and he loved that. So he told my dad we’re just gonna start doing this, so being the younger one I just went along with it and I had so much fun doing it even though I lost…all the time…I had so 98

Which surfers really influence your style? I love Carissa Moore, she’s a powerhouse. Just all the girls on tour, but definitely the ones that come from Hawaii the most because there’s more power and they come from the roots, like Tati. I like watching Coco Ho. I just went on a trip with her to Japan and it was the best thing ever, best trip of my life. Tell us about it.


She’s this World Tour surfer and she was hanging out with a 12-year-old. She was super sweet to me. She’s so nice to everybody, like her fans and stuff - she would talk to them and then give them her full attention, look them in the eye and talk. She was so sweet… and she rips! Who are your sponsors? Roxy, Sun Bum, T&C Surf, DaKine, and Banzai Bowls.

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There’s also a popular video of you dancing on your surfboard. Does that happen a lot? When I’m done with a wave, either if it was a bad wave or a good wave, I’ll usually do a dab or something funky. It was a super small day so I just thought I’d do the dab at the end of the wave because it was the new craze to be doing that. We’re like ‘should we even post this on Insta?’ and we just posted it and it blew up. The Inertia posted it, everyone posted it. What are your goals in surfing? I want to be on tour, I want to get a couple of world titles…that’s my number one, and number two…I really want to be invited to The Eddie at Waimea. That would be so sick if I was at least an alternate or something, but I just really want to be a part of it. Last words for the Freesurf audience? All the Uncles, the lifeguards, all the people at the beach who let me catch waves, I want to thank them. And for the Freesurf audience: I’d like to see more girls surfing. Some girls don’t do competitions as much as they used to because I guess they didn’t feel like they should be there or they weren’t good enough, but you get better by going and I wish so many more girls would surf because there’s really not that many. So I really want some more girls to come to contests. It’s more fun with more people, the more the merrier! pau

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LAARNI GEDO By Tiffany Foyle Photos Keoki

One afternoon post-college, Laarni Gedo had a $20 bill in her hand decided to get art supplies with it. The art she made was ugly, in her opinion, and she gave them away as gifts. It warmed her heart seeing how happy and touched the friends who received them were. And like surfing, it was a very addictive feeling. She enjoyed the process of creating art, forcing herself to concentrate. She continued painting in her spare time, though never took any classes, perhaps because she never took it seriously enough that she would want to someday make a living out of it. She learned through trial and error, which works best for her. “I’m not very good at being taught how to do things, I learn quicker when I fall flat on my face,” Laarni explained. This was the beginning of Laarni’s art career. She paints mostly surf and waves, some landscape scenery, other people’s pets, Bernard Banks (her cat), produce, flowers and anything else that she loves that surrounds her. “I love painting with acrylic because it’s so forgiving and dries quickly, which is perfect for my fickle mind and short attention span,” Laarni said. “I also love 102

incorporating washi or other fine paper, and resin in my more recent pieces.” Ultimately, for Laarni, her favorite subject is empty waves because they have a poetic ambiguity that communicates solitude and loneliness, but also freedom and unapologetic happiness.

Art and surfing are two of the main consumers of Laarni’s time and each other’s inspiration. Having moments of solitude in the water help her take the time to look around and really appreciate the colors and composition that surround her every single day. “I remember duck-diving as the lip of the wave crumbled above me, but just a split second before I looked up and saw how the sunset light shined through the emerald water curtain and thought, ‘I need to paint that.’ I had a moment

of being stuck in whitewash and saw something as simple as white, but not quite a white I’ve ever seen before and thought, ‘I need to mix that.’” Laarni quit her full-time job almost three years ago to be able to have more time for art. “If I relied solely on selling art, I would starve a violent death,” she joked. Like most artists, she has side jobs. She grows flowers for a budding floral business on an organic farm in Waialua and does marketing for the farm as well as a local spearfishing magazine. Who is Laarni’s art hero? Bob Ross. “I remember seeing some of his shows thinking how boring it was, but often times, I’d sit there and watch the whole thing because I wanted to see the finished version,” she recalled. “There was something so zen about his style and after a while you start to care about his happy little trees as much as he did.” Some of Laarni’s art fans will compare her work to the dark, moody, evocative, and simple style of artist Wolfgang Bloch. “I unfortunately approach painting the way I approach surfing bigger waves...




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with a lot of anxiety,” she said. “Before any overheard sessions on the North Shore, I’ll find myself searching for motivational YouTube videos to watch the night before and end up nervously snacking my way into a bag of chips or trail mix just a few minutes before jumping in the ocean. But on the paddle out, the anxiety drops and adrenaline kicks in. It often feels like an out-of-body experience until I catch that first big wave that brings me back to myself.” The 38-yearold was born in Luzon, the biggest of the three main islands in the Philippines, and then moved to Monterey, CA as a child with her family where her dad, a naval officer, was stationed. His work also brought them to Hawaii, where she caught her first wave at 15-years-old at White Plains. She surfed on a borrowed banana-yellow tanker and rode all the way to the beach. The moment she hit the sand bank and broke off the glassed-on fin, Laarni was hooked. When her family had to move where her father was to be stationed in San Diego

three years later, the budding surfer girl decided to stay and attend University of Hawaii to pursue her love of surfing. Laarni currently lives in Waialua on the North Shore of Oahu and can often be seen at Lanis or Chuns. Laarni has shown her artwork at 12th Avenue Grill, Morning Glass, and Juicy Brew in Honolulu and Third Stone at the Waialua Sugar Mill. Currently, some of her pieces are part of an exhibition at Pauahi Tower in downtown Honolulu called Mauka to Makai. She also has a shop online with everything from prints, paintings and hand-painted hats at www. “My favorite life and art rule is ‘there are no mistakes only opportunities.’ And I’ve had many, many opportunities,” Laarni said. “I hope that the empty waves I paint fill a void and inspire exploration, or provide a life-charging distraction. Ultimately, I want the viewer to mentally shred to pieces each empty wave like Savage Garden—truly, madly, deeply.” pau

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Maui’s own Jackson Bunch won the 12 and under division of the 2016 GromSearch presented by Banzai Bowls at Seaside Reef in early November. In the much anticipated Final, Bunch tore apart the outside peak, while connecting his rides to the shoreline with exclamation final turns on the shore break. Jackson was awarded $500, massive prize bags, and bragging rights for the year. Congrats, Jackson!

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Makua Rothman and his Fiance Nalani Itomura teamed up with Hawaii based designer Cydney Chu to create Coconuts & Pina clothing. Inspired by their travels around the world and the North Shore lifestyle, Coco and Pina is a fresh lifestyle brand for keiki. Skincare | Brows | Brazilian


After the birth of their daughter Hiki’anali’a, Makua and Nalani had the desire to create a locally grown brand that was not only inspired by Nalia, but also inspired by the diversity of ethnicities, cultures, landscapes and climates that make Hawaii so magical. Through Coco and Pina, they hope to share the beauty of aloha with keiki all over the world.

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Although winter season on the North Shore is the annual opportunity to showcase the newest board innovations, the most advanced exercise regimens and the highest of aerials, winter season also provides an opportunity for a contrast of styles, like Kelia Moniz locked into the timeless art of the longboard dance. Photo: Tony Heff

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