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Aaron Gold Photo: Brent Bielmann
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El Ni単o lived up to the hype on Friday, January 15, lighting up the lineup at Jaws and nearly breaking the internet as big wave surfers charged perhaps one of the biggest swells in recent memory. Photo: Mike Stu
By Brent Bielmann For this swell, everyone went over to Jaws the day before and I didn’t go until the next morning. I decided to wait and see if Pipe would be good, so at midnight I looked at the buoys [for Jaws] and it was coming up. At 3 am I went and looked at Pipe in the dark and it was only 4 feet. Around 8 am, the [Jaws] buoys jumped to 19 feet at 19 seconds and that’s when I drove straight to the airport. By the time we landed in Maui, it was 24 feet at 19 seconds. I definitely cut it as close as you could because I got off the plane, got a rental car, drove straight to the cliff and then swam out. I was able to get on the ski once I got out to the break. I went out around 1 pm, and took this photo of Aaron [Gold] around 2:30. It was so chaotic. There were so many skis: at least 15-20 skis with photographers and videographers, with more skis for rescues. It was so hard to get a clean shot. Everyone was trying to jockey each other, fighting for scraps. Almost like at Teahupoo, where people are pushing so deep that they’re nearly going over the falls. In the foreground of the shot, I actually had to Photoshop another ski and a guy out. I was fortune to get the photo as clean as I did. I’ve been family friends with Aaron for my whole life, and earlier that day I saw him with a big smile on his face and told him that he was going to get the biggest wave of the day. He always sits in the same spot - the North peak, while a lot of guys sit on the inside West bowl. The biggest waves come out the back on that North peak, and that’s where he was when this huge set came. All the skis were motoring out, and the next thing you see is this black blob turning into a blue bob and you see him up on it. It seemed like it took forever for Aaron to get to the bottom of the wave. A normal wave at Jaws would have taken a quarter amount of the time and as he was going down, the face kept growing. It’s the biggest wave I’ve ever seen. My theory is that a lot of guys like shooting from land because it always looks bigger. If it was really going to be the swell everyone was hyping it up to be, it's more realistic to shoot from the water. Even the XXL judges look at the water angle. Shooting from the water gives you that perspective because you’re low down and you can see the height of it.
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TABLE OF C ONT ENT S
42 10 Questions with Brent Bielmann
10 Free parking
46 Photographer Snapshot /Keoki
12 Cover Story
18 Publisherâ€™s Note 20 News & Events 22 Talk Story 76 Pau Hana / Zak Noyle 92 Grom Report 86 Environment 94 Industry Notes 96 Last Look
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Signature Creations Editorial EXECUTIVE CHEF & OWNER
Publisher Mike Latronic Associate Editor Cash Lambert Editorial Assistant Dan House Photo Editor Tony Heff Art Director John Weaver Multimedia Director Tyler Rock Ambassador-at-Large Chris Latronic Social Media Coordinator Keoki Saguibo Staff Photographers Brent Bielmann, Tony Heff, Chris Latronic, Mike Latronic, Tyler Rock, Keoki Saguibo Free Thinkers Bryan Altman, Blake Lefkoe, Jeff Hawe, Lauren Rolland, Arielle Taramasco
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By Mike Latronic If the saying is true that “our eyes are indeed the windows to our soul,” then this particular edition of Freesurf Magazine could well be our vision board and life mantra for the whole year. Welcome to the annual “photo” edition. This is where we dress to impress… a bit less talk and a whole lot of visual action! As you may be able to tell from this month's cover photo by Brent Bielmann of Aaron Gold on a Jaws monster, Hawai’i has been enjoying the full brunt of an active El Nino season. Giant swells have rocked our north and west shores consistently since October and while the big outer reefs have been bubbling over on the way up and on the way down Pipeline, many other spots along the 7 mile miracle have been lighting up with gems on offer. Photographically, Hawai’i offers great waves, great lighting and a bevy of talent so ultimately our region is synonymous with “getting the shot,” on many levels. Framing, composition, lighting, angle and mood all contribute to the quality and vibe of each snapshot. Aside from some of my own images, our senior photographer Tony Heff and others, Freesurf visits a variety of top notch lensmen in this edition - including Zak Noyle, Brent Bielmann and our very own Keoki Saguibo - for their thoughts on surf photography and photography in general. Kick back and let your soul soak it up, without the radiation.
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NEWS & EVENTS
SAMMY MORRETINO MAKES HISTORY AT THE 662 RIDESHOP WESTSIDE CHALLENGE Photos by Tyler Rock
During the weekend of January 16-17, the last event of the Kellogg’s IBA Hawaii Bodyboarding Tour, the 662 Rideshop Westside Challenge presented by Gyroll Wetsuits at Keaau saw not only 6-foot, solid surf but also a rewriting of the record books. Kauai’s own Sammy Morretino became the triple 2015 Tour Champion by clinching not one, not two but all three titles in the Kellogg’s Hawaii Tour: Drop Knee, Stand Up and the Pro Men’s Division, something never done before. Even more impressive was that he did this without winning a single pro men’s event but consistently stayed near the top of the points race, which helped him to come out ahead at the conclusion of the year. At the Westside Challenge, Morretino came in second overall to Keahi Parker, with JB Hillen scoring third and Tanner McDaniel, the youngest in the final, coming in fourth. Looking forward, the top tour finishers will be seeded directly into the Mike Stewart Pipeline Invitational, slated for February 21 to March 4, without partaking in the trials.
662 RIDESHOP WESTSIDE CHALLENGE RESULTS Men’s Division 1. Keahi Parker 2. Sammy Morretino 3. JB Hillen 4. Tanner McDaniel
Dropknee Division 1. Bud Miyamoto 2. Sammy Morretino 3. Abe Balmores 4. Dayton Wago
Women's Division 1. Karla Costa 2. Melanie Bartels 3. Lindsey Yasui 4. Summer Hillen
Standup Division 1. Sammy Morretino 2. Mack Crilley 3. Abe Balmores 4. Kai Holt
Junior Division 1. Tanner McDaniel 2. Peter Piho 3. Keoni Horswill 4. Ezekiel Bartels
Master's Division 1. Pat Caldwell 2. Jimmy Hutaff 3. Ben Severson 4. Keith Sasaki
2015 KELLOGG'S IBA HAWAII TOUR CHAMPIONS Men's Division - Sammy Morretino Women's Division - Karla Costa Junior Division - Kawika Rohr-Kamai Dropknee Division - Sammy Morretino Standup Division - Sammy Morretino Master's Division - Pat Caldwell
ANDRE BOTHA ON SAFTEY PREPARATION & EVAN GEISELMAN'S HARROWING RESCUE
Andre Botha is a hero. Just ask Evan Geiselman, the 22-year-old who was floating lifelessly in the impact zone at double overhead Pipeline. Ask the lifeguards and the paramedics too, of Andre’s hero status, and they’ll agree. Without the bodyboarder’s quick thinking after watching Evan disappear in a deep, monstrous barrel and not surface, rescue services may not have reached Evan in time. The surf public - who saw the entire wipeout, rescue and resuscitation because of viral videos and photos of the incident - all had the same resounding impression: Andre, courageous hero. Now, months later, time has somewhat has diluted the hard hitting emotion and as Evan continues to move forward with his recovery (the young lad is out of the hospital and in fine shape, per reports), Andre was willing to sit down and talk in-depth about the session that nearly ended in tragedy, along with the simple steps others in the surf community can take to ensure that safety prevails at one of the world’s most deadly breaks. Says Andre: “I was surfing Pipe for about 45 minutes, it was too big... just unruly Pipe with sets washing through. I managed to get one or two waves and that’s when a couple other surfers paddled out. I
had just caught a right, but there weren’t many rights that day. When I was paddling back out this right just popped up so I thought ‘guess I’m going to go right today’. So unusual, but it was a fun wave, I did maneuver and made it. That wave put me in the position to go back out when Evan was on his wave. “In your mind, just having seen so many wipeouts at Pipe, you automatically assume someone is going to come up, so I was still watching Evan after his wipeout and he wasn’t coming up. A bit of time passed and I was still expecting him to come up. At one point it clicked that he wasn’t going to and that’s when knew I had to rush over and help him. His board was tombstoning and by the time I got there the board was just floating. Everything was moving so quick...I swam right down where his board was and was able to get him, but we were still in the heavy part of the impact zone. I lost him when a wave hit us. I grabbed him a second time and at that point we had drifted out of the zone and I could pick him up and see his condition…I didn’t know what was wrong with him, if he had broken his neck or something...when I saw his face, his body was limp, his lungs were full of saltwater. Just limp, dark purple and foamy at the mouth. Eyes were rolled back, and honestly I thought he was dead at that point. That’s when I kicked into
TALK STORY /
instinct mode and sort of did whatever I knew I had to do. I got one breath into him, and some water started coming out of him but it was still turbulent. We kept getting hit by waves. In the back of my mind I knew lifeguards were coming, I just didn’t know how long. “Commotion was everywhere when we got to the beach. Mick Fanning, Danny Fuller, Kalani Chapman were all coming together shouting ‘come on Evan you got this Evan, you got this!’ because they all saw what a bad state he was in. When I saw him regaining consciousness, I was really surprised. Looking back, this sort of thing can go really badly but coming from something horrific, everything went in his favor. I did my part, the lifeguards did their part and everything worked in his favor after that. People are calling me the hero, but I think Evan is just as much a hero. He’s such a warrior to survive something like that. It boils down to the person. It’s a testimony to how strong he was. A lot of other people wouldn’t have made it. “Something like this...it’s not going to happen all the time. People get hurt at Pipe but this is the most extreme version of what can happen. Now there’s an example of what can happen and it should provide a platform to show people how important it is to look out for fellow surfers, and that’s being alert and paying attention and not necessarily thinking only about your next wave. If you see a guy get a perfect wave you can carry on, but if you see a wipeout it’s not that hard to look. It might cost you a couple seconds, but to me that seems like a no-brainer. “At Pipe, it’s so crowded and everyone is so focused on getting their own personal waves. But I think if you’re in a position to put that aside a little bit and pay attention to what’s going on with people riding waves even if it hinders what you might be getting, that’s the main thing: to be aware of what’s happening around you. Junior lifeguarding is a great benefit too, if there’s surfers who have kids that’s a great learning lesson for young people. It teaches you about the ocean and safety, and here people ride waves of consequence. We have to look out for each other.” pau
CARISSA MOORE DAY PROCLAIMED IN HAWAI’I NEWS & EVENTS Three World Championship trophies, heaps of financial winnings and one of the most famous names in competitive surfing. And, as if Carissa Moore doesn’t already have it all, the 23-year-old now has a day to call her own. On January 4, a crowd gathered at Ala Moana Beach Park to officially announce the day as Carissa Moore Day, with Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell leading the procession. It marks yet another accolade in the Honolulu native’s already spectacular career. Success, thanks to a heavy dose of hard work, seems to have glued itself to Carissa since her earliest competitive days. At only 11 years old, she competed in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing - the youngest ever to do so - and won her first world title in 2011 at the age of 19. Her other titles followed suit in 2013 and 2015. "Carissa walks in the footsteps of folks like Rell Sunn and Duke Kahanamoku, and gives back to the community through her style of leadership," said Mayor Caldwell at the ceremony. "They live in our hearts through love and aloha and I believe Carissa carries that same spirit." Someone asked Carissa how she would want the public to spend the upcoming January 4, to which Moore responded, "Do something that makes your heart and soul happy."
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NEWS & EVENTS
THE KELLY SLATER WAVE COMPANY UNVEILS ITS FIRST WAVEPOOL Kelly Slater, surfing’s ageless yet bald and unofficial king, has yet again given the surf public something to buzz about and this time it isn’t an eye popping air or a stranger than fiction board design nor a new product that only the upper class could afford to wear. Instead, a wave pool! With barreling, overhead and perfect funneling swell! Indeed, a first of its kind. This, according to a video edit that dropped in late December showing the 43-year-old with those dazzling green eyes absolutely frothing at the result of pouring his time and resources into wave pool technology and more specifically, the Kelly Slater Wave Company. “It’s a lot of pressure working on something for 10 years,” said Kelly in the video that became an instant viral sensation. “I think it's a big thing for surfing, if done the right way. We wanted to make an elite level wave.” An elite level wave is exactly what has been missing in the realm of wave pool technology. Since inception, those who have backed wave pools claimed that such would change the face of surfing, and that the sport would no longer be exclusive to coastal residents. Rick Kanes would begin filling the ranks of the WSL and wavepools would even be more viable options, sometimes, than the ocean itself because of consistency. Wave pools would be the way of the future! But with each new pool opening, from the international Wave Gardens to pools on the mainland (in New Hampshire and South Dakota, among others), anticipation went flat because the waves completely lacked power. Lacked flair. Lacked all things that truly makes surfing the antithesis of boring. If these wave pools were the future, surfers wanted nothing to do with it. This was the thinking until Kelly Slater and the Kelly Slater Wave Company revealed its prime product, with a promise to release more information on the venture sooner rather than later. “This [feeling] is probably like when I won my first title and it didn’t sink in for a long time,” Kelly later said in the edit. “It’s a freak of technology. I’ve been waiting for this moment since 2005. We could have put out an inferior wave years ago, and I’m glad we waited. This is the best man made wave ever made. No doubt about it.”
MAKUAKAI ROTHMAN TAKES BIOASTIN DURING LONG UV AND SUN EXPOSURE
BIOASTIN IS ONE OF NATURE’S STRONGEST ANTIOXIDANTS
W W W. I TA K E B I O A S T I N . C O M
NEWS & EVENTS /
HALEIWA INTERNATIONAL OPEN RUNS IN EPIC CONDITIONS The 46th Annual Haleiwa International Open, a contest known for its international and talented field tested in solid swell breaking over Haleiwa’s razor sharp reef, ran during December 27-31 at Haleiwa Ali’i Beach Park and closed out the year in dramatic, maxing out fashion. “It’s such a great community event,” said Joel Centeio, who served as the contest director. “What contestants like most is that the contest is a Pro-Am style, and because it's held in the middle of December at Haleiwa, there’s a good chance you’ll be surfing big waves. Most of the time in amateur events, you don’t get to surf waves like this.” Big waves is exactly what was on tap, with conditions “pretty epic,” according to Centeio. During the opening day of the contest, competitors and onlookers alike watched 4-6 foot swell fire through, which increased throughout the week and by the final day, some heats even faced 8-10 foot conditions. The McGill clan felt right at home in such conditions, with both Dax and Finn protecting their hallowed North Shore turf by winning their respective divisions. Sixteen-year-old Chris Zaffis thrust an Australian flag into the ground during the Juniors division, claiming first place with solid scores thanks to a meticulous wave selection. Peyton Chidester carved his way towards a first place finish in bombing Haleiwa conditions while hometown virtuoso Jack Johnson out-dueled his counterparts to win the Masters division, closing out one of the hottest community surf events of the year.
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NEWS & EVENTS /
46TH ANNUAL HALEIWA INTERNATIONAL OPEN RESULTS Boys Fin McGill Joe Azuchi Noah Beschen Juniors, Main Division Chris Zaffis Yago Dora Cody Robinson Womens Dax McGill luana Silva Brisa Hennessy Open Menâ€™s Shortboard Peyton Chidester Keoni Yan Chris Faulk Masters Jack Johnson Gavin Sutherland Love Hodel
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2016 DA HUI BACKDOOR SHOOTOUT
NEWS & EVENTS /
I n M e m o r y o f Du k e K ah an amo k u KAIMANA HENRY WINS WINS WITH GUNS BLAZING Core surfing. This is what the Da Hui Shootout was founded upon, and what it still represents today: a surf and waterman contest without the fanfare, without the entertainment and corporations and number crunching. Core surfing, paddleboarding, standup paddling and bodyboarding with the core guys. No pump-up music, no stress, no career-ending heats. All smiles. The way surfing was, back then. And depending upon who you ask, the way surfing should be. This couldnâ€™t have been more apparent during the entirety of the 2016 Da Hui Shootout in memory of Duke Kahanamoku, which ran January 6, 12-13.
During the contest days, parking was quick and painless, the slow ebb of foot traffic at Ehukai Beach Park was easy to slip through and overall, there was palpable excitement in the air. Of course there were some sounds to go along with the sights at one of the most prestigious surf contests. Snips of conversations between heavy-hitting members of the North Shore tribe could be heard while meandering throughout the sand and the team houses and the bike path. Also audible was Pipeline detonating as onlookers watched surfer after surfer pull into deep barrels. Those in the water were quickly identified out loud by the contest announcers because of
Kaimana Henryâ€™s 11 point barrel ride ensured his first ever 2016 Da Hui Shootout victory.
their style, instead of a colored contest jersey. The culture element of this storied event saturated the opening ceremony, which featured a procession of protectors, along with a gathering of the contest’s founders. “We wanted to bring more of a Hawaiian culture awareness back to the North Shore,” said Mahina Chillingworth, who served as the Assistant Contest Director at the Shootout. “At the opening ceremony collaboration, those in the procession were from Mauna Kea.” By bringing in those from the mountains to meet the surfers and founders at the sea, the goal to “reconnect and re-energize the culture on the North Shore” was achieved.“The main focus of the event was to bring the Hawai’i boys together to give them an opportunity to surf,” continued Mahina. Given the contest’s foundational roots, its elements were drastically different from all things WSL, CT and QS. For example, take the contest structure: athletes at the Da Hui Shootout surfed an equal amount
of times in a non-elimination format. The best scores were tallied in each round, and the number of rounds completed dictatated how many waves were counted. The scoring range, instead of the 10 point ceiling, was rasied to 12 points.
NEWS & EVENTS /
A factor that causes significant and subjective controversy during surf competitions - when to run and when to not run - also was approached in a converse way. “The contest directors come together in the morning at 7 am, take a look at the surf and call the team captains, and together they would make a unanimous decision to go out and surf or not and wait for another day,” said Mahina. Who were these team captains? Tom Dosland (Volcom), Reef McIntosh (Quiksilver), Makua Rothman (RVCA), Jimmy “Ulu Boy” Napeahi and Joel Centeio (Hurley), Jamie O’Brien (Da Hui Wax) and Makai McNamara (North Shore Surf Shop). “We may be the contest directors, but it's the surfers that are the contest directors, saying whether they want to surf today or wait,” said Mahina. “It’s the surfers that make the call, that decide whether they go in or not. It has to be perfect Pipeline.” The resounding impression across the beach was that the surfer/contest director duo made the right calls. Just ask Kaimana Henry, who lit up clean faces when he wasn’t in the hunt for a deep barrel. When the latter did occur, the beach exploded with shrills: the Maui-
Jamie O’Brien’s high scoring barrel rides attributed to his second place finish.
native locked in an 11-point ride by pulling a Houdini, completely disappearing into a thick barrel, suddenly re-appearing, and slipping through the doggy door. The wave vaulted him into first place, something of which he never relinquished. Besides being the talk of the contest, Kai’s wave was also compared to the pivotal score that won Kelly Slater the 1996 Shootout. “This right popped up, and I kinda thought I was little deep at first,” recalled Kai. “I got into it late and after one big pump the board took off on me and I went a little faster than expected. I caught up with my board, and started pumping through [the barrel]. The craziest stuff was going on in there...just spit, vacuum-sucking...I came out and I couldn’t see anything for a little bit, gave it a couple more pumps, and when I saw the lip falling it was in slow motion. It was one of the craziest Backdoor waves I’ve ever gotten. The stuff it was doing in there was unbelievable.” But Kai’s first ever Da Hui Shootout win didn’t come without a proving grounds-like challenge. Jamie O’Brien, in vintage and relaxed fashion, pulled a full rotation rodeo flip and that, along with several deep barrel rides, secured his second place finish over Australia’s Jay Davies, the 3rd place finisher who’s become quite a familiar face in the lineup this winter. Yet another element that makes the Da Hui Shootout so unique is an opportunity to surf as a team. Seven bands of brothers competed for bragging rights throughout 2016, and in the end, Kai had the hot hand by leading Team Volcom into first place, ahead of Da Hui Wax 1 by an amazing margin - only 0.09 points, with Da Hui Wax 2 coming in 3rd.
The talented field of competitors included the 2015 Pe'ahi Challenge winner Billy Kemper, who scored ninth overall at the 2016 Da Hui Shootout.
While accepting his first place award at the Da Hui Shootout Awards Ceremony in conjunction with the 2016 Manulele Awards at Waimea Valley on January 22, Kai looked and sounded predictably pumped on his first ever win, and that jubilation seemed matched by many of the North Shore faithful. Mahina spoke on behalf of the tribe, noting that “it’s nice our contest is all about the local surfers. For me personally, it’s nice to see a different face winning the event, especially someone with native Hawaiian descent. And I’m sure Volcom will be celebrating as well.”
NEWS & EVENTS /
Longboard Dino Miranda Lance Ho'okano Makamai DeSoto Duane DeSoto Zane Aikau
Bodysurf Todd Sells Mark Cunningham Mel Keawe Duane DeSoto Kai Santos Tau Hannemann
Shortboard Kaimana Henry (Team Volcom) Jamie O'Brien (Team Da Hui Wax) Jay Davies (Team RVCA) Gavin Beschen (Team Volcom) Nathan Florence (Team Da Hui Wax) Torrey Meister (Team Da Hui Wax) Ezekiel Lau (Team Quiksilver) Dusty Payne (Team Volcom) Billy Kemper (Team Da Hui Wax) Luke Shepherdson (Team NS Surf Shop)
Team Scores Team Volcom: 64.43 Da Hui Wax 1: 64.34 Da Hui Wax 2: 57.76 North Shore Surf Shop: 55.09 RVCA 51.09 Hurley 50.4 Quiksilver 47.23
Stand Up Paddle Mo Freitas (Focus SUP) Zane Schweitzer (Starboard) Bullet Obra Keali'i Mamala Pomai Hoapili Kainoa McGee
Serving as a member of Team Volcom, Gavin Beschen's eye raising barrels helped the team win first place overall, squeaking by Team Da Hui Wax 1 by a 0.09 margin.
2016 DA HUI BACKDOOR SHOOTOUT FINAL RESULTS
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10 QUESTIONS with Brent Bielmann Interview by Tony Heff
You'd be hard pressed to find another photographer who works as hard as Brent Bielmann does. He's been to ends of the earth and has the photos to prove it. I got the chance to sit down with Mr. Bielmann and pick his brain on a few topics that might be pertinent to the aspiring surf photographer. Read carefully and you may learn something. What is a good beginner rig for beginning surf photographers? I can't think of anything besides the Canon 7d. If you got a 7d mark II, that's the next best thing to a 1dx. If you have $1500 to get a 7d mark ii, you're money. A good beginner lens would be a 50 mm. I feel like it's more versatile. You can only do so much with the fisheye and honestly, it's starting to get a little played out. There's so many shore break shots. If you could only get one lens, I'd suggest the 50 mil. As far as water housings, I'd say the two best are CMT and SPL. You're going to spend a little more with the SPL but it's a little more durable. But the CMT is super light and nice to swim with.
What would be a professional go-to rig these days? Canon 1dx with a 24-105. It's pretty much all I've been shooting with lately. With that lens you can kinda get everything. And at 24mm it almost looks fisheye. I'm kinda getting lazy with that setup. It's so nice. What are some other necessary tools of the trade? If you don't have a good pair of fins, you're going to be sinking. I would definitely say a helmet over everything else. If I wasn't wearing a helmet this winter, I guarantee I wouldn't be sitting here. That was actually my next question.. How important is wearing a helmet when shooting from the water? I really believe it saved my life. There are huge gashes in my helmet from when I hit my head on the reef this winter. I got a concussion, and on and off for the next 5 days I couldn't remember my friend's names. What is the most difficult part of your job? Honestly, I think the most difficult part is the expectations from the companies, magazines, and surfers. They don't understand how much work goes into making a single photo sometimes, and these days with social media everybody wants everything so instantly. You spend a lot of time getting the photo, and sometimes you can just be exhausted and all you want to do is go home, make dinner and lay down. But after you've worked so hard all day, either the surfers are texting you, 'Hey can I please get that shot? Can you send me
it?" Or the mags are like, "Hey, can you get that over right now?" And I'm like...I haven't even had time to take a shower and have dinner yet! That's what irritates me the most. Social Media. If it was up to me...I wish we were still shooting film. You'd take your film downtown. Hang out, go watch a movie. All the surf photographers get together, all get in a car and go down. It would be so nice. What is the worst travel story you have? My worst travel story...I'm not sure what would be the worst. I've been in some weird situations. When I was younger I was in Indo and I went out with these two chicks that were kind of older. They got me super wasted. I woke up, I don't know where but they had me on a bed. The one chick was kinda fat, and the other was kinda cute...but they had pink fuzzy handcuffs, and they were trying to handcuff me to the bedpost. And I freaked out and jumped out of bed and took off. I got lost, ran through rice fields up to my knees for like an hour. I heard there's all kinds of cobras in there too. I finally got to the road at Canggu, and while I was walking a dog bit me on the hand. I'm pretty sure it had rabies, the thing was just going nuts. I got to the police station and the policeman wouldn't help me get back to my place unless I gave him $50. I gave him the money, got back to my place, but had barely slept. Woke up in the morning and had to work. And for the next three days I had to get a rabies shot in my ass. And the shot...I kid you not was one of those huge ones from the 50s. It hurt so bad. And it made me feel like I was in a dream. That was the worst.
10 QUESTIONS with Brent Bielmann /
What are some necessary travel essentials? Music for sure. Sunglasses. You'd die without sunglasses on some of those trips. Oh... Munipricin. It's prescription triple antibiotic ointment that fights staph. I can't tell you how many times it has probably saved my life. And not just that. I take a full first aid kit. Antibiotics, sutures, numbing spray, gauze, something to stitch myself up if I have to, which I have. That's the most important thing I'd say, a really good fist aid kit. How do feel like surf photography has changed in recent years? We kind of touched on that with the social media thing. I guess that's the main thing. I feel like there's all these kid photographers and no one is really trying to make a living anymore. A lot of them are not thinking of how they can make a living at this or support themselves Everybody just wants to get famous on social media. They want to have a hundred thousand followers. They feel like that's what make you accomplished as a photographer. I think people just get off on getting five or ten thousand likes on a photo. To me, I could seriously care less. But now I'm forced to do it for work and companies to make a living. I just wish
it wasn't like that. It seems like sometimes people aren't smart enough to say that's a great photo if the photographer only has like, a hundred followers. But if someone has a hundred thousand followers they can post any photo and everyone says "Oh my God! It's amazing!" And you're just like...it looks like every other photo on Instagram. What advice might you give to a beginner water photographer? Do something everyone is not doing. What is something you'd change about surf photography, if you could? I'd definitely raise the pay rate for surf photographers. It's ridiculous how much time we put in. And it sounds a little cliche but you really are risking your life when it's big and thumping. You're putting yourself in some really heavy situations and then you come in with a really good shot you have the surf company saying, "Oh, actually we can only afford this much." And they try to nickel and dime you and you know they really want the photo because otherwise they wouldn't even be negotiating with you. Yeah, that's what I'd change. Because my uncle was even saying, it's been the same salary since the late 80s. It hasn't changed at all. I mean, it's been almost 30 years. pau
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Keoki Saguibo is in a hurry, and for good reason. Itâ€™s Tuesday morning, the roosters have been crowing for some time now and his phone has been rattling his desk at the Freesurf office with notifications telling of Pipeline - a few clicks down the road - going berserk with clean 8-10 foot faces and every North Shore hellman currently packing the lineup. Pipeline is undoubtedly surfingâ€™s greatest proving grounds, and the 31-year-old Freesurf Staff Photographer who's spent the majority of his life here on the North Shore has done more than enough to prove his mettle not only as a standout photographers at Pipe, Backdoor and Off the Wall, but also as a solid force in the surf photography industry.
“My process on the daily is when I go and shoot...I’m not going to rush out, because if people are shooting in the channel, I have to suck it up and shoot wide angle in the pocket because no one is going to have that shot,” says Keoki Saguibo.
SNAPSHOT / KEOKI
For starters and as of recent, the always smiling Hawaiian has scored multiple covers with Surfing Magazine and it’s guaranteed that he can enter any team house on the 7-mile stretch and know the majority of the crowd, whether it’s pro surfers or media. His photos have also been published with Surfline, Surfer’s Journal and Nalu, among others. But it hasn’t always been this way for the former pro longboarder. About 4 years ago, Keoki had a steady job with steady pay but instead gave it and its peace of mind up to shoot full time. His first monetary result post career change? Forty dollars after shooting for 8 hours in the water at a surf school. Before running out to Pipe, Keoki says with a contagious smile that he absolutely has enough time to talk story on his humble career beginnings, provide insight into the Pipeline pecking order, and give golden advice to those seeking a like career. Let’s start with when you first picked up a camera. What’s the story behind it? It happened by coincidence, actually. In high school, around the age of 14, I was so focused on surfing and I was looking for a class that was easy to get by, something interesting and not boring, so I selected photography as an elective. During that first week, the class went through the technical aspects of the camera and I realized that I really liked it. I began experimenting with black and white film, developing and processing them and it grew from there. My first digital camera was a point and shoot I bought in 2003. From there, how did photography turn from a passion into a profit? My first paycheck from taking a photo didn’t come until 2010, and it was a barrel shot of Kawai Lindo at Ala Moana Bowls in Freesurf Magazine. I just happened to be at the right spot at the right time. When I saw the photo in the magazine, I was blown away. Just so stoked. Photography stayed a side thing, and I worked other jobs. I did construction for about 8 years and then I made the big switch in 2012. Was it nerve-racking to quit your steady job and follow your passion? Or was relieving? It wasn’t relieving one bit. I was very nervous, because I had a son too and during that time he was 4 or 5 years old. It was of those ‘should I play safe or not’ things, because the money in my other job was good but my mind was thinking about taking photos and how to create a pathway in that. It was extremely stressful on the emotional level when I decided to not go back to construction. There was one single turning point, and it was when I was shooting the surf lessons down at Chuns. One day, I shot for 8 hours - all day - in the water and made one sale for $40, and I had to fight a guy for the $40 because he was selling photos too. That’s when I realized that in order to make a substantial living at surf
photography, it was something I had to start putting in 150% of effort. Since then, things have been going for the better, I haven’t had to fight for $40 a day like that time. It was definitely the most stress I’ve ever been under, but it was well worth it. It seems things really have been going for the better, because you’ve been published in quite a lot of places as of recent. Can you give us a snapshot of your published portfolio? I got two covers with Surfing Magazine, shots of John John Florence and the next one was of Bruce Irons. My first cover in print was with Freesurf, of Makua Rothman, and my first digital cover was with Aladdin Magazine. I’ve had recent workings with Surfline, Surfers Journal, and Nalu Magazine too. Who are some photographers that have inspired you throughout your journey? The legends. Brian Bielmann, Danny Russo, and guys like Zak Noyle, Tony Heff. I have a lot of photographer friends that push me. John Hook is very creative in the way he sees photos. I draw a lot of inspiration from him. When it comes to the photos that Zak Noyle produce, they are really powerful images in the sense of being in the spot: he’s always in the right spot to get that powerful, in the barrel shot. I like to try to mesh styles, too. Like combine Zak and John’s shooting, because John is very creative and can make a situation where you wouldn't take a photo and turn that into an amazing shot and Zak likes big barrels, combined for a powerful yet artistic feel. Just taking the best of what I learned and putting it into my perspective.
In order to capture this shot of John John Florence, Keoki had to put his own advice into practice: “Putting yourself in that critical spot where a camera hasn’t been before is the next level of photography, especially in the water.”
SNAPSHOT / KEOKI
But the at the same time, there’s a need to differentiate yourself from your peers. How do you do retain a sense of uniqueness with your photos? My process on the daily is when I go and shoot, say, Pipeline or Off the Wall, I’m going to look at what people are already shooting. I’m not going to rush out, because if people are shooting in the channel, I have to suck it up and shoot wide angle in the pocket because no one is going to have that shot. If everyone’s shooting fisheye, I may go on land for a different angle. I don’t like being a part of the group, I like being different.. Let’s talk about gear. If we see you on the beach sizing up the crowd and the conditions during the day, what will you be shooting with? I use a Canon 1DX, 70-200 with other telephoto lens from the beach, and in the water I like my fisheye and 50 mm. My favorite lens is a 16-35 mm in the water because it has a bit of range, and you can get those close in the barrel shots but have range still to capture the whole wave. With surfing, it's harder to get a shot when you’re shooting wide...you have to get a lot closer to your subject where you have the range to zoom. I like getting in that zone even though it’s harder or more work. I think the outcome is worth it. And in the water, what’s the pecking order at Pipeline like? It’s just like surfing. If a legend like Derek Ho paddles, you don’t paddle. If Brian Bielmann is in the lineup and he wants to get a shot, its respect first. The photographers in the lineups, it’s a tight
SNAPSHOT / KEOKI group, we respect each other. But the order is very respectable, and is professionalism at its finest. In the end, you don't want to be that person to jump in front of shots, killing these guys working and you don’t want that done to you. A lot of the respect has to do with putting in your time. Everyone has to put in time to get that respect. If any of the legends come out, I’d love to watch them do their thing. It’s not like ‘oh Brian Bielmann is coming I have to wait in the back..’. I want to watch where the guy sits. There’s times when guys will swim out in front of me, but I don’t say anything and then a big set will come in and clean them out. And there’s times when someone will only be shooting company team riders and say something like ‘hey boys if you guys don’t mind I’d like to get the next shot of so and so, and when they get one, we let them go for the shot. We let him get his work done, he's making a living but don’t expect that when Kelly [Slater] is on a wave. Then, we’re all going for it and whoever is in the best position gets the shot. We respect each other’s work. Pipeline is such a prestigious spot, where you don’t need a foreground or a background. The wave is a beauty of itself, and I’ve been around the world, even at Padang Padang and the pecking order isn’t like that anywhere else.
suddenly boom the wall comes down and everyone’s scrambling. Out there, you're just trying to stay in your spot and get the wave. You’re limited to where you can point your camera...everyone is on top of each other. It’s happened to me quite a few times that I got landed on and I landed on people. It’s mayhem. It’s a 6-foot surfer with a 10-foot barrel, and you can only fit so much.
Every year, it seems like the crowds at Pipeline grow and grow what’s the crowded photographer scene like?
How has being in the water so often shooting helped or changed your surfing?
The biggest crowd I’ve been in was probably this past December, at big Off the Wall. There were six surfers in the water, and 18 photographers. Fifteen of those were shooting fisheye, and a few in the channel. It was very hectic. It’s almost like...imagine something like construction, like everyone is working in this little room and the wall is 20 feet high and everyone's working, going hard and the wall is starting to come down and everyone’s trying to finish their job and
It puts me in different perspective of the wave and helps me understand the wave better. When you’re on the board, you’re on top of water and compared to being in the water, I can see how the wave breaks and what it does when it breaks. Being out there shooting has made me a lot more comfortable on a board because I have a better recognition of how the wave flows and how to get behind when I fall.
In that mayhem, have you ever had any close calls with other surfers or the reef at Pipe or other North Shore spots? I don’t want to jinx myself, but the closest call as of now was taking a 10-footer at Pipe on the head. I hit the reef on my stomach, the wave picked me up, ripped the leash off the housing. I lost the camera and my fins and when I came up I didn’t have anything, just a helmet and my wetsuit. My camera was at Backdoor and my fins were at Pipe and there were more waves coming. I thought I was done, because I lost my $8,000 camera and my fins and I thought I’d never get them back. But I found both of them at the lifeguard tower. Other than that, I’ve never had any broken bones, never been washed into any caves. I’ve been lucky.
Besides being a familiar face in the lineups throughout Oahu with a camera, Keoki is also a former pro longboarder and is frequently seen in the Waimea Bay lineup. Photo: freddybooth
Let’s switch gears and talk about the evolution of surf photography. From your perspective, where is it going? How is it going to continue evolving? The equipment is evolving on a yearly basis. But what remains the same is being in that spot at the right time. You might have technology to shoot down the beach 600 yards and look like you’re in the zone, but it comes down to manpower. If people are pushing themselves, manpower triumphs technology. Putting yourself in that critical spot where a camera hasn’t been before is the next level of photography, especially in the water. Now, photographers are becoming known as athletes as well as artist. As far as the future, a lot more people are pushing the limits. Technology is a big pusher too, but in the end it's what the mind thinks and where you put yourself in that situation to get that shot. I know that photographers are training more like surfers to put themselves in those situations. Do you have any words of wisdom for those trying to invade the surf photo industry? Knowing your limits first if you want to be water photographer and photography technique second. A lot of people have the gear, and that makes them think ‘I have the gear, now I can swim Pipeline’ but it's the other way around. You have to be mentally and physically ready to handle these waves. When you’re swimming big Pipe, you’re doing 2 things at once and if you can’t do one of those, you're lining
yourself up for disaster. And if you don’t know technique you’ll block a lot of shots. Don’t get a camera if you can’t bodysurf 6-8 foot Pipe. If you want to be a surf photographer, know the ocean, and know the water. First, get comfortable. And what about those wanting to submit photos? Have any helpful tips on that? A lot of photographers who are coming up, tend to submit everything. I learned not to do that, in all essence when a photo editor gets all those files, he’s not going to have time to look over all these. The editor only wants the best, so submit your very best because it will also give the editor a better idea of the style you shoot. That way they can come to you with a ‘hey we need this kind of shot’. You're just as good as your worst photo, and if you submit a bad photo and it does run, that label gets stuck with you. Just get to know the photo editors so they can put a face to the name. Feel free to go up to them introduce yourself. Editors aren't the gnarliest people, just because they don’t answer an email doesn’t mean they don’t like you. Throughout my path I did get help from editors so of course I’m going to return the favor. Don’t be discouraged, and try again and again. pau
SNAPSHOT / KEOKI
â€œNow, photographers are becoming known as athletes as well as artists,â€? says Keoki, who bravely swam out in epic Jaws conditions to nail this shot of Tyler Larronde.
Kelly Slater / Photo Mike Stu
Mikey Bruneau / Photo: Keoki
Shane Dorian / Photo: Tony Heff
Mick Fanning / Photo: Brent Bielmann
John John Florence / Photo: Keoki
Zeke Lau / Photo: Tony Heff
Jonathan Desroches / Photo: Laserwolf
Jamie Oâ€™Brien / Photo: Keoki
John John Florence / Photo: Pete Frieden
Andrew Jacobson / Photo: Ryan Chachi Craig
ZAK NOYLE By Cash Lambert
t’s 3pm and Zak Noyle is in rare form. He’s currently standing tall in the living room of the the RVCA team house, his eyes red from recent saltwater exposure and his dark hair messy, with his camera lens pointing out the sliding glass door that overlooks Off the Wall and today, Off the Wall is looking burley and dark blue with clean, fun-sized faces. The sound of his shutter exploding in a melody of CLICK CLICK CLICKS suddenly reverberates throughout the room. Bruce Irons and Danny Fuller, as if on cue, appear and shift their eyes towards the recipient of Zak’s focal attention: Australia's Jay Davies and his golden and toned skin boosting and carving and carving and boosting directly in front of the wooden porch. There’s nothing rare about Zak in front of a camera; it’s where he’s made his livelihood: photos of vintage Teahupoo, with rainbow and mountains and all, and Pipeline, all dressed up in her green, transparent beauty and ready to dance in the orange-draped sunlight. As he begins to scroll through the images just snapped, I ask him to name the publications he’s been published in, but instead of
PAU HANA / ZAK NOYLE
rattling off the resume, he quickly looks back outside as Jay paddles into position and says that he can’t remember them all. And I don’t blame him. After all, with Bruce and Danny and a host of attractive female friends here in the living room, who could remember a laundry list like National Geographic, London Times, ESPN, Surfer Magazine, along with advertising campaigns with Chanel, Stussy, RVCA and Billabong and online campaigns with Mastercard? But what is, in fact, rare about today is the that Zak is shooting from land, something he “rarely does, but today it’s being really shifty.” Because when many think about Zak Noyle’s images, they think about dreamy, idyllic shots but they also think about being inserted into the heart of big and deadly shorebreak barrels. And sometimes even live, given that Zak has been on the frontlines of snapping images in the water and posting them online, allowing a global audience to watch sessions in real time. “The stuff he swims in is stuff people usually get rescued from,” said his agent, Jeff Hall in a Red Bull documentary entitled Momentum. “It's crazy how composed he can be in those situations. I think his images speak to that.” So what undercurrent pulled Zak into the realm of photography in the first place? “A love for the ocean and to find a way to be there and shoot,” he says, keeping an eye on Jay currently scratching for another right. “It became a way I could show it to the people such as my Mom or someone that will never go into the ocean and see these things for themselves. The images I take, 99 percent of the world won’t see with their eyes and it’s about being able to show them and put people in that moment.” Zak, now 30 years old, precedes me to insert me into the pivotal moments of his life behind the camera. Like the time the Honolulu-native flunked his photography class in high school. “I was turned off and at that time in 10th grade and I never wanted to look at photography again,” he says with an attractive smile, pulling the camera up to his eye just in time to capture Jay zooming up a blue ramp skyward. And then, years later in his late teens, the moment when his attitude towards a camera went from curious to pure interest. There were other moments, like when his father - a renown commercial photographer - would give him tips. Or the time “I had to take out a loan, by all the gear…” Then there was one instance that catapulted him miles down the path he was already swimming: when he boldly sent a batch of images to the late Transworld Surf Magazine, and in return, received a phone call from their resolute photo editor, Peter Taras who was interested in Zak’s work. “I was so stoked, at age 21 or 22, and Pete mentored me a lot,” he says. Zak worked with Transworld Surf as a contributor for several years until switching his loyalties to Surfer Magazine, and has been a mainstay on their masthead for over to half a decade.
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PAU HANA / ZAK NOYLE
“Did you get that shot?” asks Bruce Irons, bringing us back to the present. “I like where you’re shooting from.” “Brah, I got the TV right here,” laughs Zak. “I got the fan above, and I’m multitasking here with this interview and shooting.” Besides Zak’s unique story - he mentioned earlier that he was actually invited back to his high school to talk on photography despite his poor grade - and besides his unique perspectives and colors in his images, his smart business sense also separates his story and path from the pack because he’s found that by doing less, he’s actually doing more. And that instead of making his weakness his strength, he’s making his strengths even more pronounced. “I connected with A-frame and became good friends with Jeff Hall, my agent, and he’s simplifying my life,” Zak says. “If I put my images on a hard drive and send it to this company or that company... that part is not my forte, not my strength. For example, I did prints with a publisher and they’re handling the website, the marketing the PR, it’s a team. I’m wondering ‘why didn’t I do this before?’ If I’m in Tahiti, then I might come back and edit and a week later take the prints and go to post office and say, ok, ‘how do I mail this?’ Now, I only do print signings every couple weeks so its streamlined my business and made it easier to do what I’m best at. By doing that, it’s something I’m not worried about. I just worry about these waves right now, as opposed to doing something else. With Redbull, I used to shoot by myself and slave to cover speciality events and I asked ‘hey can I get an an assistant’ and they said no problem. Finding those things to simply life and working smart and making it easy on yourself...you just need to be the best at what you can be with your strengths.” This has freed him up to do even more of what he does best: help inspire. “I’ve been doing a lot of workshops, free ones,” he continues, his eyes searching for Jay in the lineup. “It’s such a fun thing and I’m not looking at it in a profitable sense. I equate it to Shane [Dorian’s] kid contests where they give back to community and do something where they grew up. That's so valuable, to give back and steer someone in that right direction. I want to keep building on that, because I won’t be able to shoot in the water forever how I shoot and if I can leave a legacy, that will go a lot further than the surf shot I took today will.” pau
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PAUMALU MALONE By Cash Lambert
“Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future” is a maxim that rings so true for Paumalu Reef Malone. Why? Because if you give the 9-year-old a pop quiz on matching the names and faces of North Shore surf tribe, it’s safe to say that he’s going to score an A+. He calls much of the aforementioned community “his friends,” and it seems like a reciprocal and beneficial relationship. Paumalu, his father Fred and I are sitting in the Malone family treehouse, which overlooks Sunset beach, a break currently detonating with 12-15 foot faces. For the past few minutes, the 4th grader hasn’t stopped squirming. “Who’s on that wave?” he voices, pushing his long, brown hair away from his even browner eyes. These words are followed by a “there’s Makua! And Kala is paddling out!... Mason, too!...Jamie and Poopies were out there in a kayak earlier.” While he continues searching the lineup, Fred shows me his son’s Instagram feed. There’s the goofy footer, smiling cool as a cat with even more North Shore icons: Bruce and Axel Irons, Nathan and Christian Fletcher. There’s even an old shot of Kelly Slater placing the (just won) Volcom Pipe Pro Warrior trophy on the North Shore native’s small head. It’s easy to see that to some degree, the conversations and surf sessions young Paumalu has had with the most talented cast of surfers has not only helped him construct the foundation he is currently building upon, but it’s also given him a glimpse into his potential future. He already has multiple heavyweight sponsors, has rattled off a handful of contest wins and has tremendous goals for his age, like winning the world title and becoming Pipe Masters champion.
More impressively, young Paumalu knows exactly how to achieve the goals. After providing such answers in the treehouse overlooking Sunset Beach, I switched to a lighter note and asked him for details on the kayak surf with Jamie and Poopies. What followed was an energized description, along with a preview into the duo’s next death defying stunt for ‘Who is JOB 5.0’, something Paumalu only knows because of his close “friendship” with the duo. How did you learn to surf? I surfed right out front here at inside Sunset when I was 4 years old. (Fred, Paumalu’s, father, chimes in for more clarity:) He surfed the real inside. I pushed him, and Kalani Chapman was there waiting to catch him on the inside. Paumalu, what’s your favorite thing about being a surfer? You get barreled and surf with your friends. How do you balance school and surfing? I get to surf before and after. Any bad wipeouts in recent memory? At Pipe! It was the morning, and I was sitting deep. A set came in and all my friends told me to go. I paddled and I went. It was a late drop and I fell and went over, kinda touched the reef but not hard. There were sets coming but I paddled out to the channel. If you could surf with one professional surfer today, who would it be? Well, I already surf with all the professional surfers... but John John. I’d be cool for him to push me in and stuff.
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Photo: Hodgson. Rocky Canon, Pipeline.
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What did you think of his movie, View from a Blue Moon? I thought it was good. The beginning was my favorite, where he was a kid. I liked the end of it when he was with Matt Meola doing all those airs. On your Instagram feed (@Paumaulu0217), you have so many photos with professional surfers. Any funny stories from surfing with any of them lately? I was surfing with Jamie [O’Brien] at sandbar. We were both on longboards and we went on the same wave and I fell onto his board. His dog was on the board too and I rode in with the dog. If you could be like anyone who would it be? Jamie! When he does airs he can do anything. And he has Poopies... they were out here in a kayak earlier today. Poopies is my friend. So when you talk with Jamie, what do you talk about? Surfing, skating and what Poopies next stunt is going to be. Can you tell us what that next stunt may be? Yeah he’s gonna be on these skis and ride Pipe. 84
Have any surfing goals? I want to win every contest on the CT, win the World Title and win the Pipe Masters. What will it take to achieve these goals? Train. And a lot of hard work. Do you do any training other than surfing? Ju jitsu! I skate a lot too. What does your name mean? (Fred Malone chimes in:) His first name is Paumalu, and his middle name Reef. The Hawaiian name for the area from Backyards to Pipe is Paumalu Reef. Plus, Reef McIntosh is someone we have always looked up to and we liked that name. Listened to any good music lately? I don’t have a favorite song, but I have a favorite rapper: Schoolboy Q. And Snoop Dog! (Fred Malone explains:) Kalani David has been listening to it, and because of that Paumalu has been listening too. Read any good books recently? Robinson Crusoe. What’s your favorite subject in school? Science.
What lessons has surfing taught you? Don’t go in the impact zone. Favorite surfers? John John, Makua and Jamie. Biggest wave you’ve surfed? 8 feet at Pinballs. What about a pre-surf meal? Candy! First ever surf contest? The Menehune classic when I was 5! I wore a life jacket and couldn’t even stand up. And not too long ago I won a contest in Bali, and won the Irons Brothers Classic. And who are you sponsors? RVCA, VonZipper, Body Globe, Da Hui wax, Modem, Mokulele Airlines, North Shore Surf Shop, Shade Sunscreen and Wyland Art Galleries. What do you like about competing? It’s challenging. Any last words for the Freesurf audience? Don’t burn me! pau
Maui’s beaches have suffered from chronic beach erosion over the past century, an islandwide loss of about 0.13 meters of beach per year. In contrast, 52% of Oahu’s beaches were erosional this past century, losing an island-wide average of 0.03 meters of beach per year. Higher amounts of sea level rise on Maui has promoted greater amounts of beach erosion there. This highlights the historic importance of sea level rise being a significant driver of beach erosion. Furthermore, shoreline changes are outpacing sea level rise by more than two orders of magnitude. Thus, even small rises in sea level lead to big beach losses.
CALL TO ACTION HAWAI’I’S CHRONIC BEACH EROSION By Dan House Photos Hawaii EDU
Hawai’i’s picturesque beaches are well known globally. We have built everything from roads, parks, homes and gigantic hotels right on beach front property so that we can have close, intimate access to them. Unfortunately, Hawai’i’s beaches are disappearing from right underneath our feet. Media glib has highlighted beach erosion from time to time, like when sand replenishment projects are undertaken in Waikiki, or when a few homes are in danger of falling in the ocean. Though, the problem is much worse than the impression we get from the media. Sea level rise, as a result of climate change, will greatly exacerbate beach erosion over the course of the next century. Historic and future beach loss is a major problem for Hawai’i’s tourist based economy, infrastructure, homes, and wildlife habitat. In 2013, Bradley Romine and Chip Fletcher, of University of Hawai’i at Manoa, published a paper on shoreline change in Hawai’i. They found that 70% of
Kauai, Oahu, and Maui’s beaches have been highly erosional from the early 1900’s to present. More unsettling was their finding that 9% of the beaches on those islands have been completely lost to erosion during the same period. It is important to note that there is a lot of spatial variability between beaches across the islands and a few beaches are actually increasing in size. Nonetheless, the overall trend of the islands studied was that the majority of beaches are erosional. Very concerning, given all the homes and infrastructure along the shoreline as well as the recreational and cultural importance of beaches in the islands. An additional study by Romine and Fletcher, in 2013, looked at the relation between sea level rise and beach erosion. On average, sea level rise in Hawai’i has mirrored the global average of about 2mm per year during the 20th century, but there are differences in the rate of sea level rise between the islands. For example, Maui and Oahu
have significantly different rates of sea level rise. Over the past century Oahu’s average sea level rise has been ~1.50mm per year, while Maui’s average sea level rise has been ~2.32mm per year, a 65% higher rate than Oahu’s. This difference can be attributed variations in ocean water masses and a phenomena known as of lithospheric flexure, which causes variations in island uplift or subsidence moving away from the Big Island along the Hawaiian archipelago. These significant differences in sea level rise allow for study in determining the effect of sea level rise on beach erosion, while being able to rule out the effects of other beach erosion drivers.
Differences in Maui’s and Oahu’s historical beach erosion rates were calculated from historical photographs and survey charts that allowed analysis of how sea level is correlated with beach erosion. The study found that Maui’s beach erosion has been historically much higher than Oahu’s. Around 78% of
These studies give nutrition to the thinking that first: Hawai’i’s beaches are very much eroding and secondly: sea level rise is, in part, driving that erosion. Looking to the future sea level rise will continue and will increase in rate. If you don’t agree with this, then you disagree with 97% of publishing climate scientists who all agree that the climate is warming, humans do have a fingerprint on the cause, and the rate of sea level rise will continue as a result of human actions. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), global sea level has risen by 8 inches since accurate records were first taken in 1880. The rate of sea level rise is predicted to increase and by 2100 the sea level will increase by an additional 1-4 feet. Not inches, feet. Tiffany Anderson, also of the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, published a study in March 2015 on how this increase in sea level rise will affect already existing chronic beach erosion in the islands. What she found was disheartening. Anderson estimated that by 2050, 92% of the ten beaches
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she looked at across Kauai, Oahu, and Maui will be eroding at a rate twice that of the trend observed from 1905-2006. By 2100, 96% of the beaches in the study are expected to be eroding at a rate 2.5 times that of the 1905-2006 trend. Yet again, there are variations from beach-tobeach. Kailua Beach is expected to increase in size over the next century. However, in 2050 Kailua Beach accretion is estimated to be about +7.1 meters and in 2010 accretion is estimated to be about +4.9 meters, so the rate of increase will decelerate in Kailua as sea level rises.
Historically, the response to beach erosion has primarily been beach armoring via revetments, groynes, levees, seawalls, and breakwaters in order to hold the shoreline and prevent property loss. These structures have proven to be effective at holding the shoreline, but have led to a suite of other problems across Hawai’i and the globe. Ashton Berry, Shireen Fahey, and Noel Meyers, University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia, found in 2013 that beach armoring is thought to be responsible for the loss of 80% of sandy beaches globally. A staggering figure. Many researchers have looked at beach armoring and largely found that they are very effective at protecting coastal land, but usually at the expense of the beach. Lanikai, on Oahu,
is a great example of this as the construction of sea walls there has led to the majority of the beach being lost. Areas adjacent to armored beaches very frequently experience increases in erosion too, further compounding of the problem. These structures are problematic because they alter sediment supply, littoral processes, wave action, and coastal geomorphology. In 2012 Romine and Fletcher, same researchers from studies cited earlier, found some very alarming trends in relation to erosion and coastal armoring. Since the 1920’s, about 11% of Oahu’s beaches have narrowed and 95% of those beach loses were in front of armored coasts. Also, 8% of Oahu’s beaches have been completely lost, with 95% of completely lost beaches being found at locations with beach armoring. Conversely, 42% of the beaches that are widening on Oahu are in locations without any beach armoring. Another example of chronic erosion, on Oahu, is at Waimanalo where a revetment was constructed on the beach at Bellows Air Force Base. The revetment has led to 1000 feet of the beach being lost, as reported by the Department of Land and Natural Resources in the year 2000. The same report stated that the beach adjacent to the revetment is characterized by chronic erosion and the sand dunes in the area have been destroyed.
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Clearly, coastal armoring is extremely problematic and leads to massive amounts of beach erosion or even total beach loss, Which is concerning given that beach loss severely impacts Hawai’i’s tourism economy. The Huffington Post reported in March 2015 that if the beach in Waikiki erodes as predicted it may cost the Hawaiian economy $2 billion per year in tourist spending. According to the Department of Land and Natural Resources, in 1997 the tourism economy provided 171,900 jobs, $13 billion in tourism expenditures, and supported a $3.5 billion payroll. The tourism economy is a major economic driver in the state and can be linked to Hawai’i’s world class beaches. As such, Hawai’i should take great interest in beach erosion, and preserving and protecting its beaches where fit.
Beach erosion affects a whole suite of things besides just tourism. Erosion affects the habitat of many wildlife species across the islands. Much of Hawai’i’s indigenous and endemic flora and fauna are critically endangered, so loss of more habitat is disastrous. Armoring also affects recreation opportunities for the public and can inhibit beach access, which is protected under the state’s constitution. Cultural
practices can become limited or no longer feasible with beach loss. Property rights between private and government entities becomes extremely convoluted and complex with the construction of armoring devices and subsequent beach losses. Critical infrastructure, such as roads, can be lost without beach armoring, so a difficult tradeoff needs to be addressed when deciding whether to protect the beach or the infrastructure. Erosion can also cause houses and commercial buildings to be threatened or destroyed, as frequently seen on the news. Beaches help to dissipate wave and storm energy, protecting said infrastructure and property. As beaches disappear it leads to a whole host complex issues. According to Hawai’i’s Department of Land and Natural Resources there are several options for dealing with beach loss, and most are very unpopular. The first is to actually armor beaches in order to hold the shoreline in a static position. As stated earlier, this leads to narrowing or complete loss of the beaches in front of the structure. Again, it also affects the beaches adjacent to the structure. However, these structures are generally very effective at holding the shoreline in a static spot for a period of time. Effectiveness and lifespan of armoring varies
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given the particular design, size, and materials used in building a structure. Beach nourishment is also an option the Department of Land and Natural Resources proposes for potential use in mitigating beach erosion and has been used with varying success rates globally. This strategy hasn’t been used too much in Hawai’i, except for in Waikiki, where the sand appears to disappear almost as soon as its dumped back on the beach. Beach nourishment is difficult given the complex logistics, massive expenditures, and the fact it doesn’t address the root of the beach erosion problem to begin with. It’s merely an expensive band aid solution. Depending on the importance or amount of use a particular beach gets, beach nourishment can be a viable option. Waikiki Beach is a global tourist attraction and an economic driver in the tune of billions of dollars annually, so maintaining Waikiki Beach is of utmost importance. The Department of Land and Natural Resources suggests abandonment of property as a beach erosion option. This is obviously extremely unpopular with private landowners, especially in Hawai’i given the price of property and the
attachment people have to their homes. An overwhelming majority of people are undoubtedly unwilling to give up their homes and property. Depending on existing conditions and rate of beach erosion, abandonment may be the only option in the not so distant future.
Erosion control measures in order to slow the rate of sediment loss - is also suggested. This is another band aid solution given that the beach will still be lost over time. Techniques employed around structures in order to hold sediment in place can lead to other negative impacts. For example, if a material is placed over the beach, like sand bags, it can prevent longshore currents from supplying sand and sediment to adjacent beaches. Promoting additional erosion on either side of the protected property. This is due to trapped sediment at the particular spot being protected and then greatly inhibiting the ability of the littoral system to naturally heal the sum of the beach area. Adaptation, or “live with it,” is the final recommended option provided by the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Some people will lose parts of their property or physical
ocean currents, wave dissipation, and flourishing wildlife habitat. The obvious problem is that we need to remove a lot of extremely valuable infrastructure and property in order to allow space for beaches to retreat naturally. By and large, political, economic, and social pressures usually prevent this strategy from being employed. However, if our goal is to continue having robust beaches well into the next century this option need serious consideration.
structures and will just have to adjust. Some property owners may not qualify for permitting in order to build armoring or simply can’t afford it. As a result, they will have to adapt and adjust to erosion problems. A potential solution to beach loss is allowing beaches room to retreat in response to erosion. In Hawai’i, beach sediment is found in either beach reservoirs or near shore bodies of sediment. Near shore bodies of sediment are important in that they are part of the littoral system and can naturally allow sediment to build back up on exposed beaches. They are also potential sources of sediment for beach replenishment projects, like those deployed in Waikiki. Exposed sand reservoirs replenish beaches as the shoreline moves inland. Structures that fix the shoreline do not allow for beaches to be replenished via upland beach reservoirs. Having space to retreat allows beaches to maintain their structure and function, even with sea level rise. It also helps to promote ecological resilience in the form of species richness and diversity. This is especially important given Hawai’i’s fragile ecosystems. Space to retreat also allows coastal ecological processes to continue such as
Historically, Hawai’i’s beaches have shown a trend of significant erosion. Future erosion and total beach loss will only be exacerbated by increasing rates sea level rise in the future. Humans’ natural response to protect their property, via beach armoring, will promote even more beach loss. There is no one end all be all solution to this very contentious issue. A host of adaptive measures that promote the perpetuation of important tourist and legacy beaches, healthy beach ecosystems, and the protection of private property should be used in conjunction where feasible. Certainly there will be much fighting, squabbling, and lawsuits over beach erosion in the future. While all that goes on, the beaches will continue vanish regardless. Taking a step back, the longer we feel apathetic about climate change and the longer we take to making real steps towards mitigating its effects, such as chronic beach erosion, the more we are going to be hurt in the future. Not only in future generations lifetimes, but also our own. Certainly in one hundred years time people are going to want to surf and enjoy the beach. Raising the consciousness about current and future climate related problems will hopefully pay dividends in lighting a fire under people to come up with and taking action towards plausible solutions. pau
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Sticky Bumps and Dylan Goodale will continue their longstanding relationship into 2016. Dylan recently signed a 1 year contract extension and his signature traction pad got a re-design. Dylan has been sponsored by the Sticky Bumps Elite Team since he was a grom and has had a signature team traction pad with the brand since the end of 2013. In 2016, his 5-piece pad gets revitalized with a new simple design and colors. The pad will be available before summer. “Excited to stay in the family! Sticky Bumps was my first sponsor as a little kid on Kauai and they’ve been supporting me and my family since then!” said Dylan. “We are proud to continue to support Dylan and his surf adventures. He is such a positive and creative surfer and person, we love having him represent our company,” said John Dahl, Founder and President of Sticky Bumps. In early January the WSL World Junior Championships took place in Ericeira, Portugal. Isabella Nichols (AUS), 18, and Lucas Silveira (BRA), 19, both won the World Junior Champion titles. The event was held in clean three-to-four foot waves at the Ribeira d’Ilhas pointbreak. Silveira dominated the event by obtaining high scores each round and earned the only perfect 10 point ride of the event. “I’m trembling right now, it’s been a long two weeks here, a lot of waiting and then finally the waves were firing yesterday and today,” Silveira stated after winning. “The final was really slow, I started good and thankfully I finished well too. I’ve had a crazy event here, my lowest heat was a 15 something it’s incredible.” Isabella Nichols (AUS) earned an 8.93 early in the final and quickly backed it up with a 9.37. Nichols 18.30 combined heat total, was enough to beat the reigning World Junior Champion Mahina Maeda. “I’m so happy, I don’t even know what to say I’m speechless,” Nichols said. “I was lucky to get those two waves, I didn’t know what was happening because we couldn’t hear any scores. When I heard I had a good lead I started to calm down a bit and nothing really came through after that. It was the longest heat of my life for sure.” Veronica Grey has been receiving a few accolades lately. She recently was the recipient of the 2015 Special Humanitarian Award with Leonardo DiCaprio for their tireless crusade in salvaging the Earth. Grey’s award was for the short documentary "Worst Shark Attack Ever," which also features The Cure, MGMT, and superstar surfer John John Florence. Grey’s work on the film and two other environmental
documentaries she made garnered her further recognition from Harvard as the supermodel activist of the decade. Beyond her recent awards she has also published a book titled Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: The 5 Most Important Wellness Secrets of All Time, which is available on amazon.com Ed Leasure, head of Billabong US swimwear is stepping down to go surf more. Leasure was with the company for nine years and helped restructure the brand following financial difficulties. “After getting into the business to surf more, I’m now stepping back from the business to surf more,” Leasure commented. Though, Leasure will stay on as and consultant and ambassador. Billabong’s chief executive Neil Fiske praised Leasure for his time with the brand and his contributions to its success. Fiske said “Ed is a pioneer and one of the best surf retailers in the business. Widely respected and admired in the industry, he brought credibility and expertise to the Americas region at a critical time.”
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The Rip Curl International GromSearch Final will be held in the super hollow lefthanders of Ala Moana Bowls in Honolulu, Hawai’i on May 4 to 9, 2016. Winners of the 2015 National Series finals in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Indonesia and South America will converge on the idyllic location to compete for the coveted title. It is the first time the International Final has been run in Hawai’i. While the event itself will be held in “Town” Rip Curl will be searching for uncrowded late season swells in the “Country” and will look to show the surfers the ins and outs of the North Shore, rounding out the full Hawaiian surfing and cultural experience. The Rip Curl GromSearch series has been a true stepping stone for the recent champions of surfing. Liam McNamara was spotted giving surf lessons to comedian Gabriel Iglesias and crew. Liam geared them properly with North Shore Surf Shop equipment. From Liam ”It was awesome hanging out and teaching @fluffyguy and his crew @ funnyrick how to surf for his upcoming season TV show!”
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While itâ€™s not known where Pedro Caladoâ€™s wave from the historic Jaws session on January 15 will land in the record books, it is obvious that Pedro, along with entire tribe of big wave surfers, will continue to push the issue.