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H aw ai ’ i
BUFFALO'S 40TH BIG BOARD CLASSIC
HAWAIIAN WATER PATROL Clyde Aikau Photo: Noyle / Quiksilver
MAHALO INVITEES A a ro n G o ld A l b e e Lay e r B ru c e I ro n s C ly d e A i k au T o m C ar ro l l D av e Was s el G a r r e t t M c N a ma r a G r an t B ak er Greg Long I an Wal s h Jam i e M i t c h e l l Jam i e O â€™ B r i en J e r e m y F l o r es J o h n J o h n F lo renc e K a l a A l e x and er K e l ly S lat e r Ko h l C h r i s t e nsen
Ma kua Rot h man
Ma r k H ea l e y
Nat h a n F l et che r
Noa h Joh nso n
Pet er Mel
Ra mon Nava rro
R eef Mc I nt os h
R oss C l a rke-J o n e s
Sh a ne D ori an
Sunny G a rcia
Ta kay uki Wa k ita
Kalani Chapman Ryan Hipwood
Mason Ho (Aikau Pick)
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HONORARY INVITEES Brock Little DO N N IE S O LOMON AN DY IRONS M ARK FOO M ARVIN FO STER RO N N IE BURNS Ricky Gri gg JAY M O RIARITY LE S TE R FALATEA M E L K IN N EY P E TE R DAVI S IO N M ILO SKY TIGE R E S P ERE To dd Che sser
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ST YLE THAT PERFORMS
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The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau is undoubtedly unlike any other contest, from the size of the swell required (“8 hours of 20 foot surf with 40 foot faces”) to the prestigious list of invitees (Kelly Slater, Tom Carroll, Greg Long, for example) and especially the quantity of storylines created when the contest does see a green light. John John Florence (right) took home first place at the 2016 Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau, but this wasn’t the only headline reverberating from the Bay on February 25th. Other post-event talking points included Clyde Aikau, 66-years-old, paddling into solid 35-footers for the last time, Mason Ho (left) later saying that he thought about switching stance while streaking down a 30-footer, and the Hawaiian Water Patrol racing to the sand on jetskis to escape one closeout set after the other, only to surge back into the gauntlet to serve as the last line of defense between the surfers and paying the ultimate price. Because the 2016 Eddie was unlike any Eddie before it, one can’t help but wonder if such glory and gore will ever be seen again. Photo: Keoki
COVER STORY by Zak Noyle During the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau, I was supposed to be on a jetski but I decided that swimming would be best option because the Bay would be closing out. The Hawaiian Water Patrol guys are the best in the world, but if I wanted to be in the right spot at the right moment with closeouts, I knew I’d have to swim. It'd be easier on my own because it would just be me with fins going through a closeout instead of a jetski. One of the coolest parts of the entire day was when Clyde came out. He was in his zone the entire day. I saw him in the morning by himself for 15, 20 minutes, just really in that zone, knowing it was going to be his last surf in the Eddie and also that this was his brother’s contest. There was an eerie feeling around him. In the water, he was so focused, never taking his eyes off the waves. Seeing that was a powerful moment, along with seeing his connection with Waimea, which is something no one else has. When Clyde would go on waves, everyone would pull back out of respect for him. To see that happen, to see that respect in action was insane. I had the best seat in the house. I swam for 8 hours straight: no food, no water. Just adrenaline. I was in my own world. I was just trying to survive out there, and I didn’t want to miss a single moment, a single photo. It took a couple days afterwards to fully comprehend all of it, especially this photo of Clyde. People would ask me how the event was from the water, how my photos turned out and I would respond that it didn’t seem real. After it was all said and done, to have taken this photo of Clyde is what made everything so special to me. It is a moment in history. The photo reminds me why I shoot in the first place: to evoke that power and that emotion and share it with the world. It was amazing to experience.
TA BLE O F C ONT ENT S
Features 36 Buffalos’ Big Board Classic 48 Eddie Went 60 Aperture Departments 8
10 Cover Story 16 Publisher’s Note 18 News & Events 70 Talk Story 76 She Rips 72 Community 98 Brock 90 Sounds 78 Industry Notes 80 Last Look
Model: Gi. Photo: Heff
Publisher Mike Latronic Associate Editor Cash Lambert 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 Blake Lefkoe, Jeff Hawe, Dan House, Chelsea Jarrell, Lauren Rolland, Arielle Taramasco
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Erik Aeder, Eric Baeseman (outbluffum.com), Brian Bielmann, Ryan Craig, Jeff Divine, Pete Frieden, Dane Grady, Bryce Johnson, Ha’a Keaulana, Ehitu Keeling, Laserwolf, Bruno Lemos, Mana, Zak Noyle, Shawn Pila, Jim Russi, Jason Shibata, Spencer Suitt, Tai Vandyke
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H YAT T R E G E N C Y WA I K I K I ALA MOANA CENTER
KOKO MARINA WINDWARD MALL WAIKELE
H A W A
QUEEN KA‘AHUMANU CENTER KUKUI MALL L A H A I N A G AT E WAY
PUBLISHER’S NOTE Mike Latronic
by Mike Latronic
As I sit down to scribe this note, I can't help but think it's really a moot point. I'll try my best, but to describe and portray the air of excitement, adrenaline and bravado of the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau in mere words is tough, if not impossible. Twenty-eight of the world’s best big wave riders gathered at Waimea Bay on February 25th to face some of the biggest surf conditions ever imagined. I’ve witnessed countless big days and big rides, but I’ve never seen so many waves ridden so eloquently and fearlessly in such harrowing conditions. From where I watched on the point at Waimea, my lungs were filled with salt spray and my entire body shook as 30-40 foot waves broke only 100 yards away. A few times, I thought the waves would surely rise above the rocks and the brick walls and flood Waimea point. For nearly eight hours, my adrenal glands were working overtime. My eyes were looking through a lens, my finger was clicking photos but I could barely contemplate what I was really seeing: massive drops from Mason Ho, Jaimie O’Brien, Koa Rothman and others. Sixty-six year old (and brother to Eddie) Clyde Aikau showing us all what true heart is. The Hawaiian Water Patrol had one of their craziest days to date: if you crossed the sci-fi movie Waterworld with the newest version of Mad Max, you could imagine what 8-10 jetskis look like dodging 30-40 foot waves and all of them racing in and out between the giant whitewashes. The Bay was total mayhem: hideous wipeouts on close out sets. Paparazzi. Wild crowds. This year's Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau was truly a one of a kind spectacle that I can only expect to see once in a lifetime. This is why we devoted three features to the Eddie, discussing not only contest coverage but also exploring the relationship between Clyde and Eddie Aikau, and talking story with the unsung heroes of the day: the Hawaiian Water Patrol. The Eddie went, and we will never forget Eddie himself nor the epic day that was named to honor him. Relive and reflect on the entire experience with us in the pages that follow.
BROCK LITTLE 1967 - 2016
NEWS & EVENTS
2016 MIKE STEWART PIPELINE INVITATIONAL RUNS IN REMNANTS OF “BROCKSWELL” by Tyler Rock
After a two-year hiatus, the bodyboard crew was more than ready to bring their wave riding craft back to the one and only Pipeline. Headline sponsors Mike Stewart and Science Bodyboards teamed up with Kellogg’s to bring the APB World Bodyboarding World Tour’s first 2016 stop to the famed North Shore reef.
New to the event this year was an invitational format bringing together the top APB riders with qualifying IBA Hawaii Tour competitors and a stacked list of invitee Pipe chargers from around the world to showcase a supreme level of bodyboarding on a world class stage. Also included in the event were divisions highlighting Juniors, Women, Drop Knee and the ever exciting Stand Up bodyboarding. The opening day of the event pulsed off the heels of the historic Brock Swell that detonated for the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau at Waimea Bay. With the remnant swell throwing out 8-foot plus wedgy peaks for the first two and a half rounds of action, the conditions were tricky but the canvas was present for late drops, big bowls and lips to launch. Standouts included Brazilian six-time world champ and current North Shore lifeguard Guilherme Tamega, who proved his competition skills are sharp as ever. Also putting in impressive performances were
Australians Lachlan Cramsie and underground Shark Island legend Christian ‘Rissole’ Riguccini who entered as a last-minute invitee replacement due to injury. Day One also included an appearance by all around Pipe virtuoso Jamie O’Brien. O’Brien was brought in as an invitee, competing with the desire to show his true commitment to the wave he loves, no matter what riding craft he’s on. “This is my home break and I figured it’d be something kind of fun to do,” he said. “I’ve been actually getting a few really good ones on the bodyboard so, it’s kind of exciting to me.” Jamie advanced through to the second round before falling out but also put himself into the Stand Up division, qualifying through trials and finishing in second place overall behind IBA Hawaii Tour standout Sammy Morretino from Kauai.
NEWS & EVENTS / 2016 MIKE STEWART PIPELINE INVITATIONAL
Pierre Louis Costes
Turning in the highest score of Day One was eighteen-year-old Puerto Rican prodigy Abner D’Arce, finding a long draining Pipe barrel for 9.33 points. “Pipeline is the best wave in the world and for me it’s a great achievement competing with the best bodyboarders in the world,” he said. “I love it and I just want to get more!”
The second day of competition saw the finals of the Junior, Women, and Drop Knee divisions, as well as culmination of the Men’s main event in clean 4-6 foot barrels on the last day of the waiting period.
NEWS & EVENTS / 2016 MIKE STEWART PIPELINE INVITATIONAL
Pierre Louis Costes
The Junior final showcased an international mix with a Frenchman and Brazilian as well as two Hawaii riders. But it was Kauai wonder kid Tanner McDaniel who relished in the pumping surf taking out the win and making his intentions clear for the coming year: “I’m going to be competing on the Junior World Tour and this is a pretty good way to start off and I want to win the Junior World Title this year,” he said. “I’ve gotten close two years in a row now and I want this year to be the year I win.” The business end of the Men’s main event saw the remaining Aussies, Brazilians and Hawaiian’s battle it out, mixing tubes with aerial repertoire. In the final, lone Hawaii finalist Jacob Romero from Maui put down an early lead over South African and reigning World Champ Jared Houston and Aussie charger Lewy Finnegan. But by the final horn, French APB Pro PierreLouis Costes tallied the highest score. Adapting to the changing conditions, PLC hucked himself into an impossible backflip on a Pipeline left and followed it up with a lofty air reverse on a Backdoor right.
PLC was beyond stoked to claim his first ever win at the famed wave. “The only comp I really wanted to win on tour was Pipe and I worked so hard at it,” he said. “I came here when I was 13 and I did my first event when I was 16. So hard to describe the feeling of something like this, I worked so hard to win this competition, it’s pretty much the best day of my life!”
For the Women, Japanese pro Ayaka Suzuki took out the field with commitment to charging the end section closeout with a big roll maneuver. The Drop Knee division saw continued dominance by current and multiple world champ Dave Hubbard. “I’m always stoked to compete out here, this is the epitome of the sport and it’s always been a real huge goal for me to do well here at Pipeline,” he said after his win. “So whenever I’m able to ride well in the events or in a freesurf out here I’m always stoked!”
For full results, visit sciencebodyboards.net and apbtour.com as the 2016 APB World Tour heats up.
N e w s & E vent s /
S H O W
NEWS & EVENTS /
R O O M
B I K I N I S , C LOT H E S & A CC E S S O R I E S Brazilian Showroom Hawaii Brazilian Showroom Hawaii
2016 MIKE STEWART PIPELINE INVITATIONAL RESULTS Men’s Final 1st Pierre Louis Costes 2nd Jacob Romero 3rd Jared Houston 4th Lewy Finnegan
Drop Knee Final 1st Dave Hubbard 2nd Sammy Morretino 3rd Dayton Wago 4th Mack Crilley
Women’s Final 1st Ayaka Suzuki 2nd Jessica Becker 3rd Karla Costa 4th Mayumi Kondo
Junior Final 1st Tanner McDaniel 2nd Socrates Santana 3rd Milo Delage 4th Kawika Kamai
Stand Up Final 1st Sammy Morretino 2nd Mack Crilley 3rd Alan Lamphere 4th Jamie O’Brien
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“FINDING TRUE NORTH” AT WANDERLUST OAHU By Blake Lefkoe Photos Eric Ward / Wanderlust
On February 25, the Wanderlust festival returned to the grounds of Turtle Bay for another challenging and sweaty event. Over the course of four days, yoga enthusiasts from around the world gathered to take part in what the Wanderlust team has dubbed “an allout celebration of mindful living.” From yoga to music, meditation to surfing, and delicious locally-grown food to dancing, there was no shortage of activities to engage in. Certainly yoga has become mainstream within our Islands as of late (whether it’s at the beach, the park, a living room or a formal studio) but Wanderlust shook things a bit by offering an incredibly unique and diverse range of classes and workshops. This year’s schedule had options such as aerial yoga, hula hooping, yoga on a stand-up paddle board, slacklining and acroyoga. Many classes
NEWS & EVENTS / WANDERLUST
were held in the grass and participants practiced facing the ocean (balance postures have an added level of difficulty when focusing on the horizon looking for whales) and were accompanied by musicians or DJs. In addition to yoga classes, festival attendees could also take advantage of the stunning beauty and raw power of the Hawaiian outdoors by participating in nature walks, surf lessons, guided hikes, fishing, horseback riding, organized trail runs and kayaking. There were also a variety of workshops where participants could learn more about the history of the Hawaiian people and culture. For those that needed a break from the physical activity or were interested in broadening their minds, there were ten Wanderlust Speakeasy sessions to choose from, which promised to “immerse yourself in the inspiring ideas of thought leaders...These intimate and casual lecture series cover topics ranging from holistic health to progressive politics, from personal empowerment to community betterment.” Each day, shortly after sunset, the Lululemon sportswear was traded in for short-shorts and little dresses while the guys donned their best board shorts and an entirely different kind of celebration transpired. Crowds flocked to the stage to listen to bands like Citizen Cope and Trevor Hall and shake their sore yet highly limbered muscles out under the stars. It didn’t stop there, either. When the musicians finished their sets, everyone moved to Surfer, The Bar where DJs spun records for bodies that only hours previous had held postures like Utkatasana (chair pose). This year’s festival provided an opportunity for people to practice yoga, explore the outdoors, examine and perhaps push their spiritual, physical and mental limits, dance to a plethora of live music, eat locally grown food and learn a thing or two about themselves and the islands while enjoying the experience with all.
CR E ATO R S &
K A M A L E I
A L E X A N D E R
I N N OVATO R S
STREET ARTISTS INVADE KAKAAKO:
6TH ANNUAL POW! WOW! Photos courtesy Pow Wow Hawaii During the week of February 8th, Honolulu’s Kakaako district was splashed with bold and colorful graffiti, manifested into expansive and collective murals that featured the likes of gladiator-clad mythical figures, cartoon-like animals and multiple, visually stimulating mantras. Called POW! WOW!, 2016 marked the 6th Annual event for the group that puts on art shows in the form of local and imported artists tagging approved areas, all in an aim to bolster the art scene in the specific region (other event locations include Long Beach, Austin and Taiwan). This year’s event followed a theme dubbed “Stranded in Paradise”, and featured works by Haroshi, Audrey Kawasaki, 1010, Hula and many more. POW! WOW! began when founder Jasper Wong conducted a small gallery show in Hong Kong. Kamea Hadar, a former classmate, noted that they should conduct something similar in Honolulu, and, according to Hadar, “that was where it all started.” The first POW! WOW! in Hawaii, although exhibited under a different name, had two focal points: first, showing the public the process of creating a canvas instead of the finished product. “We wanted to open the process of the creation of art to the public,” said Hadar. Second, an element of teamwork within an often individualistic medium. “We wanted collaboration, not just work separately,” said Hadar. “We brought in 7 international artists along with 5 local artists. At the end of that first one, we had a big party and ended up jamming on the wall parking lot outside, a jam purely by accident and for fun, and that ended up being the first POW! WOW! mural. We thought ‘hey let’s get a few more walls next year’. The community fell in the love with the idea, so instead of canvas we started murals...completely by accident.” Then came the big bang: throughout the past 6 years, the event swelled: in coverage, popularity and number of contributors. “We started getting more artists, bigger walls, bigger names and before we knew it, in 2015, we were at our max: 120 artists, something 30
SURF ART /
like 80 walls,” said Hadar. The 6th Annual event was shrunk down though, to help foster more a family, community feel among the artists. What’s the biggest difference between 2016 and past POW! WOW!s, other than shrinking down the size? “We added JP Kennedy to the crew, my close childhood friend and also one of the rockstars in The Green band. He came on board to help develop our live music arm so we threw a big concert at Fisherman's Wharf to close out the event,” said Hadar. The reasoning behind the event’s namesake, lettering that easily sticks out on a page, is two fold. “One of the artists created a piece that looked like an old comic book scene with one guy punching another with a big pow,” said Hadar, referencing back to the first POW! WOW!. “The name comes from comic book culture. There’s two exclamation points, because it's two separate words: pow is the way art hits you when you turn the corner and after it hits you, wow is the reaction when you internalize the art after the fact.” Also adding to the name is
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that POW! WOW! is a Native American term that refers to a gathering that commemorates culture, music and art. With such a gargantuan umbrella that is indeed art, Hadar noted that there isn’t one style that he and other members of the POW! WOW! staff look for when choosing which artists to bring in. “I would say the main thing we look for is just personality. Coming from Hawaii, it's a place where personality matters where reputation matters, people have respect and say thank you. I don’t care how famous or talented you are, if you’re not someone easy to work with, we’re not interested,” he said. “I think that's a big factor in the way that we curate. It always varies. In the past we’ve gone through big names who did huge murals. Sometimes we take people well known in fine art or who haven’t gone big and facilitate that, maybe a lesser known talent in some circles that we really believe in.” On a deeper level, POW! WOW!’s foundation and long term vision is to help foster the art scene in Hawaii. “When I was growing up, people said you had to choose between being an artist or living in Hawaii, because there wasn’t enough industry,” said Hadar. “I hope my kids can live in Hawaii and make a living as an artist if they want to be. To me, with the modern day technology, the internet has allowed us to turn places like Hawaii from island into a hub.”
NEWS & EVENTS /
NEWS & EVENTS
BUFFALO’S BIG BOARD S U R F I N G C L A S S I C By Cash Lambert Photos Keoki Sitting under a row of tents that stood atop two-story scaffolding, Buffalo “Richard” Keaulana watched as competitors at the 40th Annual Buffalo Big Board Classic exchanged airs, power turns and deep barrels for maneuvers that Buff designed, like the dead cockroach, the coffin and the Buddha. If stances like these weren’t enough to show the audience at Makaha Beach the uniqueness of the Buffalo Big Board Classic, the heat categories certainly did. Where else can surfers compete using paipo boards, alai’a boards, bully boards, canoes, and SUPSquatches? And where else can an entire surfing community, all donning “Buffalo Big Board Classic” t-shirts, greet and embrace an 81-year-old living legend of the sport as if it were a Christmas family reunion? A reunion is exactly what the Buffalo Big Board Classic has been for forty years on the sands of Makaha Beach, where members of the global surf community gather to compete in a contest unlike any other, founded by Buff - a man unlike any other. “The Buffalo contest is timeless,” said renown lifeguard and bodyboarder Mark Cunningham on the beach at the 40th which ran the weekends of Feb 13-15, 20-21. “The cast of characters gets a little older, and there’s always a younger generation coming up. Forty years is an incredible body of work, so hats off to the Keaulanas, the DeSotos and the entire Westside community that puts on this wonderful event that is so giving to the surfing community and to the surfing world.” “I’ve been here for forty of Buff’s contests, and they just get better every year,” said Quiksilver’s Glen Moncata. “This is more of a Hawaiian luau than a surf contest. If you walk down the road you’ll even see the roasting of a pig... It’s more of a friendship than it is a competition.” 36
The Buffalo Big Board Classic’s acclaimed history began in 1977, where it was founded upon an desire to reflect and celebrate Hawaiian roots and heritage. “Every year is special, it just magnifies every year,” said Brian Keaulana, Buff’s eldest son. “From the first to the fortieth, it’s practicing traditions and the intent of my father. When he first sailed in 1976 from Hawaii to Tahiti on Hokule’a, he had the vision of bringing back a culture of family, values, bringing back the whole beach culture to what you see today. Every year, there was more improvement, more fun and more laughter, along with a sharing of food, a sharing of knowledge. That’s the treasure chest that my parents have given me and this community. The ocean community isn’t separated by land, but connected by water. All people show up and they become part of our family.” According to Ants Guerrero, a friend first and advisor second to Buff, no one could have predicted what the Buffalo Big Board Classic would evolve into. “When Buff started it, we didn’t know we were part of a revolution,” said Guerrero. “We just wanted to go back to our roots and we knew we had fun doing what we do. All of sudden, it exploded.” On the beach at Buffalo’s 40th Annual, it became evident that the tales spoken of colossal beach concerts by the Makaha Sons and bikini fashion shows at events of years past were closer to fact than fiction. “There’s been some changes to the event,” said Moncata. “We don’t have the bikini contest anymore. I thought that was the best part of the event.”
NEWS & EVENTS / BUFFALO’S BIG BOARD CLASSIC
While today’s judging focuses on a repertoire of powerful airs and turns, scoring at the Buffalo Big Board contest is quite the contrary. Winning heats depends upon surfers displaying a number of unique maneuvers, such as the “Coffin”, as seen above.
According to Bonga Perkins, a two-time ASP World Longboard Champion, “the difference between then and now was that the beach was a lot bigger, and there were big stages and bikini contests night and day.” Guerrero credits Brian Keaulana with the evolution of the event after its founding in 1977. “Every year we added something, and the latest addition was the SUPsquatch, and before that was SUP. But all that’s Brian. Anything new, he wants to figure it out. Buff insisted the surfboards had to be 10 feet. We wanted the old style of Hawaiian surfing.” In Fierce Heart: the Story of Makaha, author Stuart Coleman writes that “just for the sheer fun of it, Brian would do stunts where he would take a beach chair, umbrella and surf magazine out on his board, catch a wave, then sit down and act like he was reading the mag. Once he took out a ladder on his board and climbed up it while surfing to shore.” At the 40th Annual, the categories encompassed the paipo board, the alai’a, team body surfing, bully board, canoe, SUPsquatch, tandem surfing, and team stand up surfing. “It’s why the event is so unique forty years later,” continued Perkins. “There’s a level playing field, whether you’re a World Tour vet or young kid on the beach. It’s surfing at its core because there’s so many divisions. Take canoes. That’s part of Polynesia, they’ve been traveling this earth for thousands of years and we’re doing the same thing just with lighter materials. Some guys even made their alai’a just a week ago.” “I’m in at least 8, maybe 9 divisions, really honing all the skills,” said Duane DeSoto, winner of the 2010 Oxbow ASP World Longboard Championship. “I get an opportunity to challenge Mark Cunningham and Don King in bodysurfing, there’s also the opportunity to come up in canoe surfing against all the best steersmen. It’s super competitive, but it’s also super friendly. I’m with my whole family, everybody’s cheering, camping, we’re having fun cooking-- it brings us together. There’s no other beach that carries this type of ‘ohana.”
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NEWS & EVENTS / BUFFALO’S BIG BOARD CLASSIC
The King Stance, the Tiki and the Allen Wrench maneuvers all on display at the 40th Annual Buffalo Big Board Classic.
Which is what the essence of the Buffalo Big Board Classic has been for four decades: a family-like get together, something that is a breath of fresh air from today’s current competition format. “I can remember forty years ago when Buff and I were young pups, thirty-one and forty and racing everything,” said Guerrero. “Now we’re the kupunas, checking it out and watching the children and more so watching the grandchildren, the young Keaulanas and the young DeSotos That’s what it’s all about, family, ‘ohana. It’s not about winning or losing. It’s about the process and having fun.” “It’s not a performance contest in most cases,” agrees Moncata. “For the men’s open, they have to do the tricks Buff designed, like the tiki stand, the buddha or and the dead cockroach. Probably the most popular now is the SUPsquatch. I think we had 27 SUPsquatch teams this year, which was a record.” Fostering records, progressive thinking, and always looking to build upon the foundation of the past are staples that the Makaha surf community prides itself on. “We’re pretty innovative over here,” said Guerrero. “I first did SUP in 1963. We didn’t have the right paddles, we had heavy wooden paddles. Once they came around with fiberglass paddles, Brian and those guys started it right here and it just took off.”
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NEWS & EVENTS / BUFFALO’S BIG BOARD CLASSIC
Maneuvers aren’t the only unique element of the Buffalo Big Board Classic; heat categories include surfing on an alai’a (bottom left) as well as in canoes (bottom right).
“What we do here, all the innovations, the SUPsquatches, riding canoes, it all existed but didn’t exist to this level that we take it [to],” said DeSoto, solidifying the claim. “What Uncle Brian did with jet skis, adding to water safety that is now world wide, like with the sleds on the back...that came from right here. The ingenuity, the sharing with the world is kind of crazy to all come from one beach. The impact worldwide is amazing and I don’t think people really understand how impactful this beach has been to the world. But it doesn’t matter,” he said with a grin. “We don’t want everybody coming here anyway.”
No shirt, no service: Devon Howard minds the dress code at the Number Threes barefoot bar. Waikiki, O‘ahu. KEOKI SAGUIBO © 2016 Patagonia, Inc.
Island style. For the last 30 years, our Pataloha® designs have celebrated Hawaiian tradition while reflecting our own experiences in search of the best surfing, fishing, climbing and fun hogging. This season’s limited edition shirt honors Rell Sunn, the Queen of Makaha. Revered as one of the greatest Hawaiian surfers, she helped us create the Pataloha collection, searching the Pacific for patterns that captured her heart. In Auntie Rell’s memory, this ti leaf print on textured 100% organic cotton is a direct reissue of one of her favorites from the mid-1990s.
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Results Legends Final 1 Dennis Sambrano 2 Manny DeSoto 3 Bunky Bakutis 4 Tommy Reyes 5 Mike Coleman 6 Bruce DeSoto 250-Pound Final 1 Brandon Martin 2 Travis Palmer 3 Conrad Martin 4 Jonathan Powell 5 Matt Patterson 6 Bruce DeSoto Men’s Open Final 1 Duane DeSoto 2 Chad Keaulana 3 Zane Aikau 4 Lance Ho’okano 5 Brandon Martin Women’s Final 1 Ha’a Keaulana 2 Melanie Bartels 3 Naluenu Pu’u 4 Chelsea Bizik 5 Miku Uemura 6 Pake Salmon 250-Pound Bully Board Final 1 Brandon Martin 2 Mel Keawe 3 Ikaika Van Gipson 4 Nainoa Barnes 5 Burla Yiu Lin 6 Jonathan Powell Bully Board Final tandem 1 Makama and Puamakamae DeSoto 2 Ikaika and Tamaroa Kalama 3 Noland and Christina Keaulana 4 Bonga Perkins and Kirra
Team Body Surfing Final 1 Makamae DeSoto 2 Don King and Mark Cunningham 3 Duane and Ronald DeSoto 4 Makamae DeSoto and Anthony Tandem Final 1 Duane and Keanuenue DeSoto 2 Aimee Marcia and Christian Bartson 3 Leleo Kinimaka and Melanie St. Dennis 4 Brian Keaulana and Kathy Terada Alaia Final 1 Makamae DeSoto 2 Chad Keaulana 3 Bobby Fernandez 4 Brandon Martin 5 Benny Ferris 6 Duane DeSoto SUPSquatch Final 1 Feel The Mana 2 Brian Keaulana 3 Na Kama Kai 4 Ilio Nui Canoe Final 1 Show Me Da Money 2 Budweiser 3 Hana Inu 4 Hawaiian Water Patrol TEAM SUP Final 1 Bonga Perkins and Pomai Hoapili 2 Ikaika Kalama and Atilla Jobagi 3 Brandon Martin and Noland Keaulana 4 Som Pae and Keola Auwoa
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PHOTOS BY JAKE MAROTE
CELEBRATING BUFFALO Though the topics of conversation during the 40th Annual Buffalo Big Board Classic included the pristine conditions and the types of crafts being ridden, the resounding dialogue throughout Makaha Beach was a palpable love for Richard “Buffalo” Keaulana. We sat down with a handful of iconic characters at the storied event to get their perspective on the man so revered by the surf community. “My dad had the Duke, and I had Uncle Buff,” said Bonga Perkins. “I can only read stories about the Duke and hear stories from Rabbit and the Waikiki Beach Boys from where I grew up initially. With Buff, I got to live and breathe and grow up with his kids. He made sure that we were taken cared of. Just like Duke, Buff is an ambassador. He went all over the world, shared with kids all over the world and that’s my modern day Duke and a huge influence on my life. I used to sleep over at their house, on the beach he’d feed me. Not too many people can say that.” “He’s a mentor, someone you can go to if you have a problem and talk about it,” said Mark Cunningham. “He’s always been that guy I could sit down and talk to.” “Uncle Buff, he’s one of the most influential people of the world as far as ocean culture,” said Duane DeSoto. Brian Keaulana, one of Buffalo’s sons, had countless stories to offer when discussing his 81-year-old father. “My dad would feed not just us but the whole beach,” he said. “There wasn’t one person he wouldn’t offer food to, tourists, people off the street. I remember being his bag boy and jumping in and he would catch fish like crazy. I remember as a kid my father would throw us in the rip and swim with us and say ‘look never swim against it, swim with it. Look down the beach and swim down and out utilize the speed of the current to get in faster, like a merry go round’.” Brian continued: “Another time, the shorebreak on the beach came up and grabbed this infant baby, whisked him into the undertow because Makaha can get as big as Waimea,” said Brian. “The mom screamed, and my dad jumped into the water and searched, but the visibility wasn’t clear. He found the baby, and came flying up with him in his hands. The baby was screaming, but the screaming was a joyous feeling of wow, you were so just packed full of emotions. What was heavy about the whole story is that years later the boy was 20 years old, maybe older and he came down beach and told my dad he was the baby he grabbed. There’s a thousand stories my father has like that.” 46
Photo Mike Coots
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By Nick Carroll
Leaving a flat Australian summer and flying into a forecast like they were laying out for February 25 on the North Shore this year is weird. It’s not just a plane ride, it’s a matter transporter. It dumps you out into another dimension, one where humans should fear to tread. But they tread anyway, because you have to. My little brother and I had spent several wigged out days in Sydney watching that storm pull together and calling each other every few hours: “Whaddya reckon?” “They won’t go, that last time spooked ‘em.”
Two days out, it turned into: “Which flight?” We landed in Honolulu around midday Wednesday and wandered out to Sunset Beach, where lazy eight-foot surf crumbled under a light onshore. Everyone in the water seemed pretty chilled, if not completely worn out by the barrage of El Niño-inspired surf. “Nobody’s got any boards left!” a guy told me. “We’re all fried… got sore backs, sore shoulders. Please, somebody turn of the surf tap!”
“It won’t be big enough!” “It’ll be too big!”
The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau, an event that hasn’t seen a green light since 2009, slated some of surfing's most prestigious and hard-charging competitors (like Kala Alexander, left and John John Florence, right) against one another in some of the biggest and heaviest conditions in the contest’s acclaimed history.
It felt odd, this relaxed vibe. Last time the Eddie ran, in December 2009, the feeling in the air the day before was electric,
2016 QUIKSILVER IN MEMORY OF EDDIE AIKAU /
As 28 contestants (such as Hawaiiâ€™s Mason Ho, bottom) battled for top scoring rides at the 2016 In Memory of Eddie Aikau, thousands of onlookers crowded into the Bay to see the historic contest go (top).
expectant, twitchy, almost agitated. People were pretty much gate-crashing Foodland, if they weren’t trying to sleep in other people’s yards. Maybe it was the failed call a couple weeks back, taking the heat out of things this time. Maybe just too many waves. The Kauai buoy changed all that. Late afternoon, the swell hit it like a sledgehammer. 14 feet at 21 seconds. Then 18 feet. Then 21. The North Shore’s numerous masseurs, chiropractors, sports medicine experts and alternative treatment practitioners were hard at work that evening, smoothing and tweaking invitee muscles back into shape. We saw Kelly Slater at one: “26 feet at 19,” he said. Holy crap, that is too big. Did people sleep that night? Not the people camped out around the rim of the Bay. That roaring darkness is not a restful sound. By 6 am, when we pulled into the Waimea Bay parking lot, people were everywhere: carrying blankets and coolers, flashlights and sunshades, but not jumpy — more awestruck by what the gray light was revealing before them. Instantly it was obvious: This is ON. I went up into the viewing scaffold and watched as guys jumped in for a quick free surf. The ocean looked dark; an occasional set reared way out, like a line drawn in black crayon, then pulled down and away to the west, exploding across Leftovers. For 30 minutes it didn’t stretch the 20-foot mark. Then around 7:25 am, it did. Three or four major waves, then a brief gap, then two or three more. The rhythm of the day. A guy got a great wave in that set, by the way. One of the waves of the day. He cruised and rolled it into the shorebreak and did the classic backside kamikaze pull-in and drove the crowd crazy. I still dunno who it was. Nice ride, mate. Everyone on the invite list seemed utterly relaxed about what they were about to do. Too much Jaws, I expect. I sat for a bit with Grant “Twiggy” Baker after that first big set hit; he scrolled through his phone to show me pics of his fresh little baby, one month old and on the other side of the world. “I was gonna go home, but
2016 QUIKSILVER IN MEMORY OF EDDIE AIKAU /
Twig’s wipeout ripped the day open further — showed people what was really happening. The crowd made an amazing noise, somewhere between a shriek and a groan. Here’s what they didn’t see, couldn’t see: Clyde Aikau in the channel, looking straight in at what Twiggy had tried to do.
swell itself. Tom Carroll and I had missed the safety briefing the day before at Waimea, when he’d laid down the law to a dozen or so of the best big wave riders in the world. They were bickering about this and that, when Clyde suddenly stepped in. “Everybody cut the bullshit,” he growled, and boy did they shut up and listen. He’s been the living heart of this event since the beginning, and he came down to the keyhole for his heats with a regal cool that I bet he was only partly feeling inside. Hell, it was 30 feet! But Clyde got out, took some gas, went out for the second time, and picked off a wave that looked like 25-foot Burleigh Heads. It took him hours to hug all the well-wishers.
I know John John Florence won the contest, but Clyde was the biggest thing about February 25, other than maybe the
That was an odd thing about the day — the way that mellow feeling perpetuated, despite all the crazy ferocity happening
my wife said, no, stay, I’ve got a feeling it’ll be on,” he said. Just over two hours later he was dangling from his leash halfway down the face of an absolute beast of a wave, maybe the thickest thing anyone tried to ride on February 25. I hope he shows his kid the photo one day.
Shane Dorian (left) and Jamie O’Brien (right) placed 3rd and 9th respectively at the 2016 In Memory of Eddie Aikau.
Grant “ Twiggy” Baker Latronic
2016 QUIKSILVER IN MEMORY OF EDDIE AIKAU /
just offshore. It felt like a club contest, but in 30-foot surf and with 20,000 spectators. Shane Dorian, Mason Ho, the Rothman kids, Jamie O’Brien, all went out and took off on closeouts and were ragdolled into a state of wide-eyed adrenalin, came in, and shook hands with people on the beach like they were at a luau together. Tom Carroll got blown off the back of a colossal wave and felt like a doofus, until we watched the replay later; getting blown off that thing was the best thing that could’ve happened. Ross Clarke-Jones was calculated and superb. And amazingly, apart from a few sore and sorry humans next day, and Noah Johnson’s knee coming into rather violent contact with Healey’s rail under a cleanup set, nobody was hurt. Late in the afternoon, the swell began to relax too, and a backlit near-tranquillity descended on the Bay, something you couldn’t have imagined at 6am. In three days, we’d be stepping back through the matter transporter to the other, less fearsome dimension. Did all that amazing shit really just happen? Aaron Gold, the quiet achiever, was standing next to me just behind the stage. I asked Aaron what he had planned next. “Going snowboarding,” he grinned.
“Koa Rothman, he had no fear in his eyes,” said Kawika Foster, one of the many members of the Hawaiian Water Patrol who were all tasked with plucking competitors from the roaring, avalanchelike whitewash via jetskis during the contest.
FINAL RESULTS 1 - John John Florence (HAW) 301 2 - Ross Clarke-Jones (AUS) 278 3 - Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 249 4 - Kelly Slater (USA) 238 5 - Dave Wassel (HAW) 230
TOP 4 WAVES (BOTH ROUNDS) John John Florence (HAW) 301 Ross Clarke-Jones (AUS) 278 Shane Dorian (HAW) 270 Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 249 Kelly Slater (USA) 238 Latronic
Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 231 David Wassel (HAW) 230 Mason Ho (HAW) 191 Jamie Oâ€™Brien (HAW) 180 Aaron Gold (HAW) 139 Mark Healey (HAW) 133 Takayuki Wakita (HAW) 123 Koa Rothman (HAW) 117 Ian Walsh (HAW) 115 Reef McIntosh (HAW) 112 Makua Rothman
Grant Baker (ZAF) 109 Kohl Christensen (HAW) 109 Bruce Irons (HAW) 101
Ramon Navarro (CHL) 100 Danilo Couto (BRZ) 93 Clyde Aikau (HAW) 91 Nathan Fletcher (USA) 88 Sunny Garcia (HAW) 87 Peter Mel (USA) 86 Kala Alexander (HAW) 86 Greg Long (USA) 71 Tom Carroll (AUS) 67 Noah Johnson (USA) John John Florence
/Ben Wilkinson (AUS) 37
2016 QUIKSILVER IN MEMORY OF EDDIE AIKAU /
MY BROTHER’S KEEPER: CLYDE AIKAU By Stuart Coleman
The 2016 Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau took special precedence for Clyde Aikau, the brother of Eddie: it was the last time the 66-year-old would compete in the momentous contest.
Dawn, Waimea Bay, Feb. 25th, 2016. It is the morning of the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau Contest. Clyde Aikau stands with his spearlike board on the beach with a grave look on his face, as if debating whether to paddle out into the massive waves at Waimea Bay. Because the swells have to be a minimum of 20 feet, the big-wave contest has only been held eight times in 31 years. The announcers say this is the biggest swell they’ve seen at the Bay.
At age 66, Clyde is the oldest surfer in the “Eddie,” decades older than most of his fellow competitors. Some of them like John John Florence and Mason Ho weren’t even born when Clyde won the first “Eddie” at the Bay in 1986— 30 years before! So why is this middle-aged man risking his life to surf against the world’s best big-wave riders and gunslingers? His siblings Myra and Sol Aikau stand on the beach, nervously watching their brother drop down the faces
of these moving mountains of water. The crowds on the beach and cliffs cheer each wave he rides and then let out a collective gasp as he falls in a horrendous wipeout. A million people across the world are watching the event from their computer screens, phones and TV sets, all wondering how this gray-haired, Hawaiian man could find the courage to compete in such large waves. But to understand Clyde, you have to know Eddie. As the youngest of the family, Clyde Aikau always looked
up to his older brother Eddie. He would watch in awe as Eddie seemed to perform the impossible, whether it was paddling into the biggest waves ever ridden at Waimea Bay or rushing into the North Shore’s treacherous waters to save some drowning soldier or tourist. Following in Eddie’s footsteps, Clyde started surfing with him on the North Shore and working as a lifeguard with him at Waimea Bay. The two brothers became best friends, surf buddies and even
a musical duo, pushing each other into bigger waves and more complicated melodies. As a surfer, lifeguard and allaround waterman, Clyde went wherever Eddie would go. But in 1978, he lost his brother in a tragic sailing accident. Since then, Clyde has spent the rest of his life trying to find ways to honor him.
As an aspiring surfer himself at the time, Clyde says he was a “sixteen year-old scaredy cat,” frightened to death of surfing waves that big. Fearing for Eddie’s life, Clyde was thrilled to see him holding his own in
needed to do something to bring Eddie back home and put his memory to rest. Nainoa Thompson, the navigator who had helped rebuild the Hokule’a, felt the same way; so he invited Clyde
Honoring their father’s wish to share Eddie’s legacy with the world, Clyde, Sol and Myra helped organize the inaugural Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Contest at Waimea Bay in 1986. During the waiting period for the contest, a mammoth swell hit O’ahu’s North Shore, flooding roads and destroying two homes. When a filmmaker asked famous surfer and TV host Mark Foo whether they should hold the contest in such dangerous surf, the big-wave rider turned to the camera and said the immortal words, “Eddie would go.”
Years after Eddie disappeared at sea, Clyde even sailed on the resurrected voyaging canoe Hokule’a to bring his brother back home. And on this February morning, Clyde’s love for Eddie is so strong that he would paddle into some of the largest waves on the planet to pay homage to his brother. After an epic day of thrilling rides and painful wipeouts, young John John Florence would end up winning the Eddie Contest. But in the end, Clyde Aikau won the respect and admiration of his fellow big-wave riders and all those who witnessed his courage that day. The following excerpts from Stuart Coleman’s new book Eddie Aikau: Hawaiian Hero (Bess Press, 2016) paint a portrait of Clyde’s relationship with his older brother over the years. In the winter of 1967, ten years after Greg Noll and his gang first surfed Waimea, Eddie finally got his chance to take the stage. He was 21 and about to make his big wave debut in one of the largest swells of the decade. The waves were said to be more than 30 feet high, and in one photo he streaks across a massive wave more than five times his height! His performance that day would remain a vivid memory for those who witnessed it.
they first arrived in Hawaii. When the canoe finally sailed back into Honolulu Harbor, Clyde knew had completed an epic journey. “I feel like I brought Eddie home.”
such massive surf. Still in awe of his brother after all these years, Clyde tends to speak in superlatives about him, and you can see the excitement in his eyes. “Eddie was definitely the master of Waimea Bay, surfing the biggest waves in the world. He made his mark in November, 1967. It’s still the undisputed biggest day at Waimea Bay that’s ever been surfed. I don’t think Waimea Bay ever got as big as that day and still rideable. That was the first time I ever saw Eddie ride big waves. It’s incredible how one day can really change your life.” Still haunted by Eddie’s disappearance [after he was lost at sea in 1978], Clyde
to sail on the voyage from the Marquesas to Hawai’i in 1995. Following in his brother’s wake, Clyde decided to take up Nainoa’s offer and sail on the canoe. “It was a voyage to complete Eddie’s voyage,” Clyde says. “He didn’t have a chance to make it so I was going to take up where Eddie left off and complete the journey.” After a month at sea, Clyde heard shouts as one of the crew members spotted the majestic peak of Mauna Kea on the Big Island in the distance. It was a beautiful sight watching each island slowly rise up out of the sea, and he imagined what his ancestors must have felt when
During the finals of that first contest, Clyde and Mark Foo were competing neck and neck in the giant surf. As the judges tallied the final scores, everyone wondered whether Clyde had been able to overtake his early lead. When the emcee finally announced that Clyde had won the event, a surge of electric energy went through the crowd. Family and friends swarmed around him. Overcome by emotion, he could barely speak. With tears in his eyes and a stammer in his voice, Clyde dedicated his victory to his brother, just as Eddie had done for Gerald during the Duke Contest ten years before. Since then, the phrase Eddie would go has become a powerful mantra in Hawai’i and throughout the surfing world. And as the Hokule’a embarks on her voyages across the Pacific and around the globe, it is said that Eddie’s spirit sails with the canoe and her crew.
2016 QUIKSILVER IN MEMORY OF EDDIE AIKAU /
HAWAIIAN WATER PATROL
THE UNSUNG HEROES OF THE 2016 QUIKSILVER IN MEMORY OF EDDIE AIKAU By Chris Latronic Photos Tony Heff Imagine having the job of being the premier water safety team for the biggest event of surfing history in the most gnarl-binding Waimea Bay conditions you’ve ever seen. Unless you were part of the Hawaiian Water Patrol guarding the participants during the 2016 Quiksilver In Memory Of Eddie Aikau that day, you can keep dreaming. Most only know what you saw on the live broadcast (which was no doubt spectacular) or what you felt and saw 1/2 mile away on the beach or in an awkward posture amongst your selfmade perch. What was it like to literally be in the belly of the beast while providing safety on that pinnacle of a day? We caught up with the HWP to recap their heroic experience, from the historic conditions to the iconic cowboys and indians-like chase scene during the biggest closeout of the day.
BROCK’S SWELL "Every part of involvement with that event was taken to the max,” said Rocky Canon, age 36. “The waves set the tone, the swell early on, the conditions, the surfers stepped up to the plate to go out and charge and the water safety committed to being at the tail end of every wipeout, every ride or at least having someone vigilant and watching every move for every surfer.” "I’ve been around for 5 of the 9 Eddies that were run but this one was the biggest,” said Kawika Foster, age 42. “I’ve seen it closeout before, but never this consistent.” "It was really, really, really big. It was the biggest and most consistent we’ve ever seen it,” said Kyle Pao, age 31. “A lot of us have sat in the lifeguard towers for years but we were pretty baffled at what we were experiencing out there.” "I’ve been privileged to work 8 of the 9 Eddie's,” said Steve Machin, age 49. “By far, this one was the biggest and definitely put all of us to the test that Uncle Terry has passed down to us. 58
It’s something going into the books as one of those epic days and nobody got hurt.” "I’ve been apart of every Eddie,” said Abe Lerner, age 43. “This was the biggest, the best, the most adrenaline, most fun for sure. It’s the Super Bowl of surfing.” "You could feel it building. It wasn’t big big yet but you could tell something was going to happen,” said Clifton Botelho, age 41. “Hawaiian Water Patrol is like a band of brothers. I can trust anyone on the team, the North Shore boys and West Side family as well.” "Everybody was saying it was Brock’s swell,” said Terry Ahue. “That day...the adrenaline during the event was flowing. I couldn't ask for a better bunch of guys out there on that day.”
THE SET "During that big closeout set we all tried to get outside but we saw that only Pomai made over, then the set began to feather,” said Kawika Foster, age 42. “The rest of us had to turn it around towards the beach looking for a safe area. But every time I looked back it kept getting uglier and growing closer to us. The pre-game plan for this case was to beach it in, be safe out there and just come in. Other than that, everything went pretty smooth. Everyone finished the day safe. Everyone was focused... they were charging. Especially Koa Rothman, he had no fear in his eyes.”
"One of the waves must have been 60 feet at least,” said Lerner. “I didn’t want to mess up the wave for Mason Ho, who came close to us, about 50 yards away. After the contest I said ‘hey Mason, I hope I didn’t mess up the wave for you’. He said ‘No, no. At that moment I was thinking about switching stance’. I said... You thought about switching stance on a 60 footer?” "At the end of the day, I caught a wave in on the jetski, hit the beach and I was safe! It was all good from there,” said Pomai Ho’opili. “We cracked open a few and talked story about all our different angles. It was a cool experience. I’m blessed to have this job. Working with all these guys everyday I learn so much. Everyday something is happening and you gotta be able to adapt. That’s the Hawaiian Water Patrol way.” pau
"Six of them can’t get passed this 35-footer,” said Canon. “There’s 5 jet skis coming in, I’ve seen 1, 2 maybe even 3 get chased in... 6 of them all come into the sand. I used the words unprecedented and historic on the mic and to say ‘give the Hawaiian Water Patrol a round of applause’, it was like a James Bond movie...the beach was really showing their love. There’s no shame in getting chased by a 35-foot closeout. The boys looked like studs and stallions coming in on that huge wave and riding up the beach and getting that ovation from the crowd. It was a great memory for the everybody.”
S h a n e Dorian Ph oto: Ta i Va nd yke
B arron Mam iya Ph ot o: To ny Heff
E zra S itt Ph oto: Jak e M a ro t e
M i ke y Bruneau Pho to: Keo ki
Ka i Barger Pho to: B rent B ielma nn
Photo: Erik Aeder
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KAIMANA HENRY By Cash Lambert
Kaimana Henry, at the age of 37, has seemingly discovered a potent, ageless elixir because the Maui native is having quite the career year. He just happened to snatch one of the best waves of the entire winter - scoring an 11 point ride - while competing in the 2016 Da Hui Backdoor Shootout, eventually hoisting the first-place prize check. He then won the first ever international QS event in Rangiroa, French Polynesia, two months later. “It feels amazing,” he said after the latter victory. “It all fell into place.” Although he’ll humbly admit that his career and sponsorships have also “fallen into place” over time, the gentle giant’s rite of passage is far more intricate. We sat down with the beloved (and perhaps nicest) member of the North Shore tribe to hear his humble beginnings, how his relationship with Volcom developed into him now overseeing one of their storied North Shore houses and what that ageless elixir truly is. Where did surfing first come into play for you? I learned how to swim before I learned how to walk. My dad was a full watermen, fishermen and an unreal diver. My parents loved the ocean. Maui is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Hana was great for that, real mellow. The first time I surfed I was probably 7 years old. My friends’ Dad had a fishing boat in the harbor, and he would make us swim out to boat and clean it. He had some longboards on there. I remember being super stoked having something to do, something I liked and I remember getting barreled for the first time. I probably barely even got barreled. I just remember
TALK STORY / KAIMANA HENRY
the feeling, I was so amped on it, I just wanted to do it over and over. That was 30 years ago, and I’m still trying to get barreled and keep the stoke alive. When did you first come to Oahu’s North Shore? On my first trip to the North Shore, I was blown away. There were so many gnarly waves. Just seeing old surf videos, like the North Shore movie, I was in awe looking at everything I’d seen in movies. I lived here off and on. I made $300 a month from my first sponsor, and I remember thinking ‘wow you can make money from doing this’? Once I got straight out of high school I moved here. How did you relationship with Volcom start? Volcom’s always been the raddest brand. When I rode for other companies, I’d say ‘hey Tai can you get me some Volcom boxers’ or whatever. After I lost all my sponsors, I went back to Maui and was over it, I didn’t surf too much. I still surfed but there’s times when I didn’t surf. That was hard because in 2000, I had one of my best years. I got 5th in the Shootout, did good in a couple ASP contests and got a lot of coverage. I got a cover in Surfing and Transworld... Then I got dropped by my sponsors. I was frustrated, thinking ‘wow that’s heavy, you do your best and just get cut’. I basically moved back to Maui, said I would go back to the North Shore to get some good waves. I never really made it back. I got caught up in the scene, it’s so easy to not do anything and just have a good time with friends. I was over surfing. I almost didn’t want to be a surfer at the time. In 2009 or so I got fired back up and wanted to surf. I had a bunch of good boards, was psyching on it and moved back here. What re-kindled that fire? I don’t think I really lost it that much, I’d still go on surf trips. I went to Mexico and still loved surfing, it’s just not what I wanted to do for a living. I could have roughed it out, hung in there but I didn’t want to at the time. Now, I realize that you can make it. I can live on nothing and get good waves. That's what fired me back up, remembering where it all came from and remembering that first time 7 years old on a longboard and remembering that first barrel, saying this is what I want to do. I’ve been here 3 years now, taking care of
the Volcom house. If everyone takes care of their own part, surfing here will just really motivate you. We’re living in the best waves of the world. You won the Backdoor Shootout in January thanks to an 11 point. Tell us about that wave. Usually at Backdoor, if it looks like a closeout, that’s the wave you want. It might have been a closeout, but I went for it anyway. Did one big pump at bottom and the board took off on me. I got my head down, and it was a crazy vacuum suck spit, pure white and I made it through coming out into a big blue room. It started running on me, and after a couple more big pumps I saw a doggy door. There was so much adrenaline going on all at once, it was one of the crazier Backdoor waves I’ve ever gotten. It was radical. Any words to those aspiring to be professional surfers, to the groms? Don’t get ahead of yourself, even if you’re one of the nuttiest groms around. You want to be humble and treat everyone equal and be a good person. I think that’s why Gavin Beschen is such a rad person, because he’s so good to everybody and I think those are some good footsteps to be following. pau
TALK STORY / KAIMANA HENRY
KAI(HA’A)LE'A KEAULANA By Chris Latronic
From the West Side of Oahu, the Keaulana Ohana portray the definitive spirit of what it means to be at harmony with the ocean at every moment and condition - a humble spirit exemplified throughout history in Buffalo, Brian, and the band of brothers and sisters in between. In today’s millennial generation, there is one young wahine who would emerge amongst the fray of modern day technology “joyfully dancing on the sea” and into the hearts and minds of over 100,000 followers around the world (you're probably one them). Her name is Kai(Ha’a)le'a Keaulana and she rips! Staying true to her roots and following her passions, Ha’a gained global recognition by simply being herself and living her extraordinary ocean lifestyle to the fullest. We caught up with Ha’a at her Grandfather’s 40th Annual Buffalo Big Board Classic before her Longboard division victory later in the day to hear her story.
Growing up, what was a day on the West Side/Makaha like? I had such an awesome childhood growing up on the West Side! The community is very tight because there's families names that have been living here ages. Everyone pretty much treats each other like family. We didn't go to parks or playgrounds because we had the beach. It's was way better than the playground in my opinion.
What do you remember about your first wave? My first wave that I remember is with my Grandfather at Waimea Bay after sitting with him on his board at the Eddie Aikau paddle out ceremony. We caught a super tiny wave by the rocks and we were breaking the leis in the water so turtles wouldn’t choke on them. I was about 3 years old. What about your earliest memories from the Buffalo Big Board Classic? My earliest memories of the contest is playing under the scaffolding, which I still do to this day. Swimming at the shoreline and getting yelled at when a big board or canoe was on the loose too. It’s literally a big family party, you get so stuffed walking down the beach because every tent is trying to feed you. What’s the significance of the name Ha’a? I was given my name by our family friend Ka'upena Wong. My Dad wanted something with ocean and my Mom is a hula dancer so he walked the beach the morning I was born and came up with Kaiha'ale'a which means ‘Joyful Dancing Sea’. Who is your biggest inspiration? Of course my Grandparents, they made us who we are. In and out of the water. They've taught very strong ocean and family values.
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At what point in your youth did you realize how deep of an influence your Father and Grandfather have on the West Side, as well as the global surfing community? I think a specific moment I remember was when I went to Japan when I was 10 with my family and Japanese fans came running up to my Grandpa crying and taking photos with him. I guess that's where I first realized how much he impacted the surfing community. How did your passion for surfing develop?
My passion for surfing goes as far back as I can remember. I catered more towards longboarding because I feel like it makes you take your time when reading a wave. I come from a family of watermen who experimented on every single board possible. We always stick to our roots and go with longer boards. Right now I’m riding an 8’ 6” fun thruster longboard. But it doesn't really matter what I'm riding. I get the same stoke even if I'm body surfing.
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At what point did you start traveling? My first time on a plane was when I was a baby and I was going to see my Dad on the weekends while he was working on Water Wrld on Hawaii Island. My first time traveling out of country was 10 years old with my family to Japan.
SHE RIPS / KAI(HA’A)LE’A KEAULANA
and loved it from there on. I'm also blessed to have amazing Uncles that are legendary surf photographers to give me advice. Can you describe your surf style in 5 words? I can do it in 3: ‘Joyful Dancing Sea’.
Your favorite waves to surf in Hawaii? And what about your favorite waves around the world?
Social media - your thoughts on the fact that over 125,000 accounts follow yours?
Of course Makaha and a bunch of other spots I can't mention out here, Ali'i Beach, Ehukai, and sometimes Waikiki. I love the waves in Tahiti. I only surfed a few but I love to swim and shoot beautiful waves in clear water.
I gained a big following from being featured on NatGeo's social media networks from when they featured my family on a story they did for Hawaiian Surf Culture. It has become an awesome tool to show the world my ocean lifestyle.
Your entire family is certainly full of wisdom and knowledge -how has your father/grandfather taught you things? Was there ever an instance where they let you experience something on your own in order to learn some type of lesson?
Talk to us about the West Side culture. What do you like most about it?
I've learned almost everything I know from them and also just the ocean alone. One funny story that sticks out is learning about the rip current when we were young. My Dad told us when we were small to not pass the lifeguard flag because that's where the rip starts. My younger brother or cousin passed it and got caught then one of us went to help and got caught to. Then there was 4 of us swimming in the rip from trying to save each other. The lifeguards came down to help but my Dad told them no so we could learn how to get back to shore on our own. We learned the hard way that day. Photography -- when and how did it become a passion? Going to Waianae High School, I was involved in their awesome media program which pretty much taught me a lot of the basics of working with a still or video camera. I had a waterproof point and shoot that I loved playing with so I invested in my own DSLR
People out here are very raw and may come off as scary to others but most of those kind of people you will find has the biggest hearts. Everyone is treated the same with respect and love no matter where you come from. Like I mentioned before everyone treats each like family. What are some values and qualities that you’ve earned from your family? What I learned from my family is respect and love, especially respecting anybody and it doesn’t matter if you live in a shack or mansion, you treat everyone the same and give the shirt off your back without expecting anything back. Any last words for the Freesurf Audience? Do everything from the heart. pau
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by Hank Gaskell Photos Kaua Photography His hands were unlike other farmers. Not calloused, hard, cracked and stiff, but broad, flexible and quick. He seemed not to mind the thick white suit we were both wearing or the suffocating screen helmet. I felt like I was going to melt away. The deeply forested Waiho‘i Valley on Maui has countless wild bee hives that are vital to the flowering ecosystem. Avocado, mango, guava, ohia, rainbow eucalyptus and wild ginger thrive in fertile soil that’s fragmented by dark lava veins. The Kapia stream ribbons down through it all towards the ocean. At the base of the valley, nestled in a dead mango stump, a hive plagued a local fisherman and his family. The gnarled location of the hive forced my friend Kenny to be more attuned and work more smoothly than usual—he had been doing this for twenty years. When the bees attacked he remained calm and focused. With surgeon-like precision he worked the hive, angling the box and gently adjusting the combs to fit snugly. His movements were clever and patient yet eager. The white suit clung to my sweaty skin, making it easier for the bees to sting me, but I watched intently. I was hooked.
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I learned so much from Kenny that day, including the lesson that things don’t always go as planned. For whatever reason, the queen elected to abandon her proposed new home to recolonize elsewhere in the Hana wilderness. Gallons of liquid gold, however, were a decent enough consolation for my first attempt at beekeeping. I decided to give it another go when my mom found a wild hive in an old Styrofoam cooler at the edge of our property. Acting with the wisdom I had picked up from Kenny, my buddy Dege and I did a great job. The cooler broke apart nicely and the comb fit easily into the box, along with the relatively docile bees. Many great successes and heartbreaking failures later I am up to seven colonies. I have performed extractions from houses and yards where unwanted bees would otherwise be exterminated. After being relocated to my property or my friends’ farm, the bees share a great abundance of organic citrus, mango, avocado, exotic fruit trees and wild flowers. Inside each hive, tens, sometimes hundreds of thousands of little workers are “busy as a bee.” The small females soar through the clouds and the flowers collecting pollen, nectar and propolis over a three-mile radius. As the girls return from their foraging missions it’s easy to spot the bright yellow, orange and red powder on their legs. Pollen is their protein source. It can also be collected and enjoyed by us. Propolis comes from tree sap and acts as the glue in strong, well-insulated hives. Nectar is collected and then regurgitated from one bee to the next until enzymes in the bees’ stomachs break it down enough for long-term storage. So, yes, honey is actually bee vomit! Drone bees have only one purpose in life: to mate with the queen. At about 23 days of age, the queen takes her nuptial flight. In order to protect against inbreeding, only drones from nearby hives pursue her. At around 100 feet up, only the strongest drones are able to catch her. After mating with about a dozen of the finest specimens, she returns to her hive with enough sperm to lay as many
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as 2,000 eggs per day for the rest of her life. The drones who mated with her will die shortly after. As a colony grows the queen may elect to “swarm” with a little over half of the population. After two or three days of hanging on a tree branch scouting the area, they will select a place to build their new home. The worker bees in the old hive create a new queen by extending the cell in which an egg is laid and feeding her a special food called royal jelly. In the past year or so, my girlfriend Malia and I have created a small informal business we call Milk and Honey Farms. It is our dream to one day have a real farm with all kinds of animals and to live as selfsufficiently as we can. For now though, we’re busy being young! Malia is working full-time in Seattle at a physical therapy clinic and plans to go to PT school next fall. Life as a professional surfer keeps me away from Hana so much that it’s hard to commit to anything steady at home. Although, another thing I find fascinating about bees is they are completely self-reliant and require very little maintenance. I can pick up and leave any time the surf is pumping. While away, I dream about coming home and picking up where I left off. Expanding the bee family whenever possible brings us one step closer to the real Milk and Honey Farms. pau
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Br o ck L it tle On February 18th, iconic big wave surfer, waterman and Hollywood stuntman Brock Little passed away while fighting cancer. The moment the news was announced, the surf community began an outpouring of condolences for the 48-year-old and the Little family through social media and word of mouth. One week later on February 25th, as the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau ran in what was dubbed “Brockswell”, many of the competitors paid tribute to the man so beloved by the surf community. “Brock is pretty much my inspiration for getting into big wave surfing as a kid,” said Mark Healey. I don’t think it’s a coincidence this swell came after his passing. I think he had a hand in this swell coming to us. Thanks Brock!” “Brock was one of a kind, he was larger than life,” said Kala Alexander. I looked up to him ever since I started surfing. I’ve known him for 30 years, and a time that stands out is the first time I surfed Waimea. A big set came in, and me and a few other guys that had never surfed Waimea before all paddled for the horizon and he just sat there and didn’t paddle and had that smirk on his face. I turned around to catch a wave and he knew I was too far out and that he was going to catch it. A week and half ago I saw him and he had that same smile on his face. I asked him how he was doing and in typical Brock Little fashion he said he could be better, and I gave him a hug and he told me he loved me and he was at peace. Brock wasn’t afraid of anything. Nothing made him nervous. He just confronted everything head on. He didn’t care what anyone thought about him. Until the end he was a warrior, and I can’t tell you how much respect I have for him.” “Brock actually sponsored me with some Gotcha shoes back in the late ‘90s, I was so stoked,” said Jamie O’Brien. “He was always a hero, an icon and someone I always looked up to as a little kid. Brock
always was a nice person and would always go out of his way to talk to you. It’s crazy the legacy he left behind. What a nice guy, just such a great all-around person and so much respect goes out to him and his family.” “To me, he was my hero. Growing up, he was like an older brother,” said Shane Dorian. “A role model, and he continues to inspire a lot of people. He brought us all together after he passed and he’s going to continue to be one of the most special humans ever, for a long long time.” “I met Brock in 1986 when I first came to Hawaii,” said Ross Clark Jones. “He was eighteen and I was nineteen. He was the Waimea guy, and I was trying to be the young Waimea guy from Australia. We met and became friends, I always had respect for him. He was a soldier, and just... ‘whatever’. That was the classic quote from him, whether the swell was big or who was in the heat, he was like ‘whatever’. He didn’t care. Good guy.” “I always hung with Brock, he was my surfing partner,” said Brian Keaulana. “I had one of the greatest talks with Brock when he found out about cancer and he talked about his life being so rich and fulfilling and content and he’s so surrounded by loving people and friends. He was appreciative. Brock has always been not only a friend but teacher of humility. He accepted life and death in balance. I’m going to miss him.” “Brock Little…he had everything to do with big wave surfing. He’s the guy we grew up watching,” said John John Florence. “These last two swells have been the two Brockswells. It was cool to have him around as long as we did and paved the path for everyone in big wave surfing now. We’re going to miss you, Brock.”
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ZION THOMPSON FROM THE GREEN by Chelsea Jarrell
Driving down Kamehameha Highway along Oahu’s foamy coastline while salty-skinned, strummed notes from The Green’s sweet reggae guitar echo from the radio: “She was the best ‘cause she always came running, she always came running to me.” Slow paced, swirling keyboard beats match the rolling tide hitting the rock’s edge beside the road. It suddenly feels like a shady day under the pine trees at Bellows Beach as the construction of a campfire and tents begins on beachside real estate. Candy-coated lyrics to radio hits like “Chocolates and Roses,” would seemingly wrap up the night, alongside a campfire quietly roasting twigs and marshmallows. The air, ocean, surf, and precious land are all represented by The Green’s modernreggae style. The six band members that comprise The Green began harmonizing full-time with their guitars and keys here on Oahu in 2009. Since then, they’ve released hit songs and radio favorites such as “Love I”, “Good Vibe Killah” and “Hold Me Tight” and have laid claim to a handful of accolades, such as selling over 20,000 copies of their 2013 album Hawai‘i ’13, their debut album being named iTunes Best Reggae Album of the Year (2010), and being named as the 2014 and 2015 Honolulu Pulse Award for Best Local Band.
Caleb Keoulani (vocals), JP Kennedy, and Zion Thompson (both guitar and vocals), Ikaika Antone (keys-vocals), Brad Watanabe (bass-keys), and Jordan Espinoza (drums) have known each other since “early days”, as bandmember Thompson explains it in this exclusive interview. They are a mix of friends and family that feel the responsibility to teach positivity and love through their music. Speaking with Thompson, it’s evident that he holds fond memories of the journey just as much as the destination, as he recalls kicking it at beach parks as a kid, listening and playing music and dreaming. Now jamming on stage at those same venues and even internationally, Thompson and The Green never veer far from Oahu’s roots. How has your music evolved in the past few years, Zion? I think our music has evolved a lot because of touring super hard on the road for the last five to six years. I think that we’ve picked up so many things from all over the country and being on the road. So many inspirational artists we’d hear bits and pieces of. All of that helps to shape the music. Guaranteed, our music has evolved a bit but it’s coming back to its roots. Where are some of the places The Green has spread aloha? We’ve been very lucky to have travelled all over the US, New Zealand--which was
hands down one of the coolest places, Guam, Tahiti. One time out in Okinawa we got to play at Kadena Air Force Base for a sumo wrestling match. Some of the coolest times have been on the road. From a van, to a little bit bigger van, to a bus. Just looking out the van window it’s crazy just how much is out there. Sometimes we’d go places and the road would just look the same for miles. Just rows of corn and cows all over the place but those were the best times. When you’re on the road and don’t have wifi, there’s time to actually talk to each other. How did all of you mesh into one band? Everyone played in different bands. We were all in the music scene separately and would see each other on and off the stage. Caleb and JP Kennedy are cousins so they’ve known each other for a while obviously. They played for a band... If you’ve ever heard of ‘Next Generation,’ they’re big on the radio here in Hawaii. Everyone had their own projects and around the same time the opportunity kind of opened up to join up together. What is it like having multiple songwriters? Everyone brings songs to the table. We make albums by songs that make sense together and go together and all of us write so there are lots to choose from. Some songs we sit on for a while, others get finished. For the most part we bounce off each other pretty well.
What do you see becoming of the music scene in Hawaii?
What is the thing you miss most about Hawaii when you’re away?
I definitely see the production value getting better. There are artists out there that are finally getting recognized. Like Lion Fiyah for example, that guy’s been around forever. There’s a lot of talent out there. Hawaii is a place people look to as a leader for a certain type of music. Gaining the recognition outside Hawaii and spreading aloha - that’s what The Green is all about. We’re a product of the Hawaii music scene. And we want to show people that there’s so much more out there. We have the voices, the tools, and opportunity. I find it our responsibility to spread aloha with our music.
Definitely family--yeah I’d say family is the hardest part. The ocean, the people and the food. Hawaii is a beautiful place. Just being away makes us all appreciate it that much more. We’re lucky we get to live here now while recording this new album.
So is it best to play at home? I think Red Rock was one of the most amazing places we’ve ever played. Well, there and Tahiti, which guaranteed was in everyone’s top three coolest places they’ve been but yeah there’s no place like home. Everyone just has so much stoke for each other. Kids and their parents reminds me of the beach park growing up and playing music. There’s nephews running around like ‘Aye, Uncle!’ and I’m like woah, they’re as big as me! It’s special and makes us proud to play here at home.
What are The Green’s plans for 2016? We liked working with Hurley Studios in California for our last album but this next album we are recording here at home. It’s pretty cool that some of our closest friends just happen to be pros-Leslie Ludiazo and Christian Mochizuki for example are two of our really great friends. Our goal is to finish this new album before going back on tour this summer. Name of the new album? We’ve been calling it ‘The Garden’ so that’s what we might stick with. Okay, last question - who has number one shave ice on island? Shave ice? Well I got to be true to my roots in Kailua and choose Islands. The snow cap with the ice cream at the bottom. That’s the best. pau
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INDUSTRY Professional surfers and brothers Dane, Pat and Tanner Gudauskas, in partnership with their Positive Vibe Warriors Foundation and the Jamaican Surfing Association, have launched a month-long surfboard drive benefiting Jamaican youth. For the entire month of March, Positive Vibe Warriors will accept used surfboards of any kind, as long as they are watertight, at all JACK’S surf shop locations in Southern California.
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“The global surfing community is very diverse, but we’re unified by our appreciation of riding waves,” said Dane Gudauskas. “There are so many places that have the passion for surfing but lack resources. Our hope is that through this board drive and our foundation, we are able to help others share in our passion and grow the sport around the world, starting with Jamaica.” Donations are tax-deductible and can be brought to any of JACK’S Southern California locations listed on their website. In April, the Gudauskas brothers will personally deliver all of the donated boards to Kingston’s Camp Jamnesia and will hold a “day of stoke” enjoying the ocean. The event will be open to kids from all over the island and invites them to come enjoy the surf and learn about ocean safety. Those who don't have a board to donate or don't live close enough to a JACK’S shop can visit www.positivevibewarriors.com to make a contribution. On March 16, 2016, Vans brought together 50 years of “Off The Wall” heritage in action sports, art, music and street culture for a worldwide celebration of creative expression at the House of Vans. Vans’ legacy was brought to life in ten cities across the globe to celebrate its 50th anniversary alongside the extended Vans family that have made the brand what it is today. From New York to London to Hong Kong, Vans was thrilled to welcome a mix of eclectic performers including Nas, Dinosaur Jr., Wu-Tang Clan, The Kills, Erykah Badu, Jamie xx, Dizzee Rascal, Yeasayer, Shlohmo and more, within an immersive brand environment specially created for Vans’ anniversary year. The most exciting component of the House of Vans 50th anniversary events comes from the engaging experience that will bring to life Vans’ 2016 brand campaign. Not yet released, the 2016 Vans brand campaign puts a spotlight on Vans’ 50 years of enabling creative expression through the brand’s cultural pillars. For a sneak peak at the campaign visit YouTube.com/ vans.
Celebrating the Cuisines of the New Americas, with Aloha
The International Surfing Association [ISA] has welcomed the inclusion of Surfing on the Sports Programme for the 2017 Central American Games which will take place in Managua, Nicaragua. Surfing's inclusion in the Central American Games comes after the announcement last year that the sport will feature in the 2019 Pan American Games for the first time in Lima, Peru, and it is another significant boost on the path towards Olympic inclusion at Tokyo 2020. Driven by a strategy underpinned by the growth and development of Surfing worldwide, the ISA's relationship with the Olympic Movement has been a strategic priority for the governing body for many years. The inclusion of Surfing in another international, multi-sport event demonstrates its global popularity and highlights how National Olympic Committees and major event organisers are embracing the sport. The ISA has an active and vibrant membership across Central America and has itself hosted several ISA World Championships in the region.
After partnering with some of the biggest shapers and athletes in the world over the past 3 years, Ventura, CA-based Varial Surf Technology is offering cash prizes to surfers who win advanced rounds of 2016 World Surf League Men’s and Women’s Championship Tour events on Varial Foam. Each prize includes a payout to the shaper who designed and built the winning board from one of Varial’s advanced foam blanks. Varial is also offering a prize for the best 2-minute video segment filmed on Varial Foam, allowing free surfers to join the contest. At Pacific Standard Time Co. they hold the traditions of the entire Pacific including Hawaii and other islands in high regard. As a homage they have created their first wooden watch, perfect for water sportsmen, made out of the local wood from the islands. Pacific Standard Time has created their Koa watch using fallen Koa trees from the Big Island of Hawaii, and is planting a new tree for any they salvage. Their watches are waterproof, and will withstand pressure up to a depth of 100 meter. This makes them the ideal watches for light water activities and snorkelling. The first 300 backers are able to get one of the Pacific Standard Time Co. watches for only $175, retail they will be priced at $499.99.
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With such epic days and epic sessions going down at crowded North Shore locations like Waimea Bay, Pipeline and Sunset Beach, Nathan Florence logs time at a less crowded sandbar as the El Nino winter season draws to a close. Photo: Brent Bielmann