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TO R R E Y
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P A R K I N G
It can be easy to lose focus during the winter season when entrenched on the North Shore, so an unidentified surfer pulling deep into a Backdoor pit isnâ€™t just a chance for glory; its also an opportunity to reset perspective on the reason for the season before it draws to a close. Photo: Tony Heff
TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S / D E PA R T M E N T S
08 Free Parking 16 Publisher’s Note 18 News & Events 30 Sounds 48 Aperture 58 Lucas Godfrey 18 She Rips 66 Surf Art 72 Environment 76 Memoriam 80 Industry Notes
Matt “Elmo” O’Rourke make a difference! jambahawaii.com
Photo: Matt Castiglione
82 Last Look
Photo: Tony Heff
TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S / F E AT U R E S
FIELD NOTES: 2017 VOLCOM PIPE PRO
Recapping the deepest barrels, the highest scoring rides and the action packed Final that saw Australia's Soli Bailey take the win.
TALK STORY: TORREY MEISTER
Torrey’s World Tour hopes have come undone due to multiple injuries in recent years. But in 2016, armed with a clean bill of health, the surf world saw Torrey’s full body of work, from charging Jaws to landing on the podium at the Vans World Cup. So how does the Big Island native plan to build on his 2016 breakout year?
APERTURE Your monthly dose of airs, barrels and high performance surfing throughout Hawaii.
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Publisher Mike Latronic Managing Editor Cash Lambert Photo Editor Tony Heff Art Director John Weaver Multimedia Director Tyler Rock Ambassador-at-Large Chris Latronic West Coast Ambassador Kurt Steinmetz Staff Photographers Brent Bielmann, Tony Heff, Chris Latronic, Mike Latronic, Tyler Rock, Keoki Saguibo Free Thinkers Blake Lefkoe, Kahi Pacarro
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P U B L I S H E R â€™ S
N O T E
By Mike Latronic Truth be told, I could rant and rave about how absolutely cool this next issue is, from the 2017 Volcom Pipe Pro coverage to the Torrey Meister Talk Story, or perhaps about how well received our media platform was at the Surf Expo industry gathering in Orlando recently. Because pictures are sometimes better than words, Iâ€™d rather show you a few of the smiling and stoked fan faces the Freesurf team was met with while distributing our magazine across the Islands last month. Each and every month, you the audience, these people behind the counters and all the surf shops and places we distribute make our hard work worthwhile. So on behalf of the entire staff here at Freesurf, Mahalo for being part of our surfing community!
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SOLI BAILEY WINS 2017 VOLCOM PIPE PRO
Throughout its eight year history, the Volcom Pipe Pro has seen only three different winners: Jamie Oâ€™Brien, John John Florence and defending champion Kelly Slater. Going into the 2017 Volcom Pipe Pro from February 2-4th and 9th, most predictions sat on John Johnâ€™s shoulders to win in blazing and barreling fashion. But the 4-day contest had several unexpected changes on the leaderboard, including a new Aussie winner, a bloodied eye, stitches, broken boards, reverberating cheers from the team houses and claim after claim. Day 1 action, which kicked off on February 2, featured unsung Hawaiian talent dropping scores and making headlines, like Wyatt McHale. The youngest competitor in the contest, the 15-year-old nailed an 8.50, the best wave ridden in the main event on day 1, and extended his impressive run of surfing into the second day of action.
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Josh Moniz Photo: Keoki/Manulele
Amplifire Model by Eric Arakawa: 5’11” X 18.75” X 2.38” Ala Moana Center Street Level 1, Mauka
Heff Bruce Irons
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“I got lucky,” said Wyatt, smiling from ear to ear. “I wasn’t even in the priority order, but I was kind of far down towards Off The Wall and it just swung wide and... I got it and I made the barrel, threw my hands up and made sure the judges saw me. It’s cool going up against some of the heavier veterans being the youngest one in this event, but I just really wanted to get a barrel and get a couple good waves, that’s kind of my game plan.”
“The waves, it’s not what you would expect but it’s a lot better than you would expect,” said Bruce Irons after his heat. “It’s like a point break sandbar, and it’s good competition waves.” Other than fan favorite Bruce making it through his heat, other noteworthy rides included Makua Rothman, who pulled into a Backdoor barrel that stretched to Off the Wall. Team houses erupted following the ride, and the judges rewarded Makua with the only 10-point ride of the day. “I was fortunate enough to be in the right spot and God let me out of that one... Backdoor’s my spot,” Makua said after his heat. He also touched on getting the competitive wheels turning for the first time in 2017. “This is my first contest back, I haven’t surfed competitively since before the Pipe Masters. It just feels
The game plan of Kauai’s Tyler Newton was simple: charge hard enough to get into the main event. The first day of action also featured the Volcom Last Chance Qualifiers round, where 8 of Hawaii’s own competed in a 45-minute surf off, with the winner gaining entrance into the main event. Pitted against the likes of Dave Wassel, Mark Healey, Derek Ho and others, Tyler slid into a 9.0 barrel ride, winning the heat. Young Barron Mamiya, also in the Last Chance round, turned heads with his courage and youthful energy by charging into thick closeouts, narrowly missing out on first place.
Day 2 featured a cocktail of favorable wind conditions but still challenging swell, saltwater and blood.
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 I
QUEEN KA‘AHUMANU CENTER KUKUI MALL L A H A I N A G AT E WAY
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great to be back in the water feeling good enough to surf.” Warrior status of the contest went to Kekoa Cazimero. The rail of his surfboard hit him directly in the face, and as he stood on the sandbar accessing his injury, the crowd stood to their feet watching as the beach patrol raced to the scene. “I felt really dizzy and confused,” Cazimero said after getting stitched up. “I was spitting out blood and it was all in my eyes too. Makua Rothman and Joel Centeio were right there to check on me by the water’s edge, and they told me I needed stitches but I was determined to win.” That’s exactly what happened, and Kekoa made it through to the next and 3rd day of competition, which saw John John Florence and Kelly Slater enter the ring. Welcoming the former champions of the contest were 15-foot barrels, and the day would widely be considered as one of the best contest days during the winter season. Kelly entered Round 3 against young gun Seth Moniz, and Seth started off the heat on one of the bigger waves of the day. With a confident and calm backside approach at Pipe, the 19-year-old navigated multiple barrel sections and was blasted out into the channel by a massive saltwater spray. The judges awarded the wave as a 9.17, and with momentum in his corner, Seth scored 22
two throw away 7s and secured the heat lead with the backup score of an 8. “I’m feeling so good right now, that last heat was amazing,” said Moniz back on the beach. “I started off the heat with a 9 at pretty much the first minute and that’s the best way you can start off a heat. I’m super happy with my performance… It’s firing out there, it’s perfect Pipe and Backdoor.” “That was a cool heat for me, my first heat with Kelly,” continued Moniz. “I’ve had Bruce out here last year actually, but I was really happy to surf with them. No pressure going against guys like that, they’re like the best surfers in the world, they’re legends, and so I was going out there just to have fun. I still wanted to win, I was still competing against them and wanted to beat them really bad, and I’m really happy that I won.” In later heats, John John advanced and Makua continued his hot streak by scoring another high scoring ride, this time a 9.50. “This is a dream come true for anybody in the world that surfs, even people that sit on the beach it’s a dream come true to come and watch this,” said Rothman. “We’re just here to put on a good show and do our best and have fun with our friends.” The last day of action ran 5 days later on February 9th, and of course, the sentiment was that the day would conclude with John John on the podium. But that abruptly ended in the first
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semifinal, where he was bested by Australia’s Soli Bailey, and California’s Griffin Colapinto. In the following semifinal, Bruce Irons and Adriano de Souza out surfed David do Carmo and an in form Aritz Aranburu. A 10-minute pause before Final allowed for fans on the beach and on the webcast to examine the upcoming heat draw. Would brash youth in Soli or Griffin lay claim to first place? Or a Volcom legend in Bruce? What about the former World Champ in Brazil’s Adriano? At the outset, it looked like youth would prevail. Soli dropped the first proper ride of the Final, a 5.67 for a long right. Griffin was also off to a fierce start, jumping on the first couple of waves, while Irons opened up his campaign early as well. Meanwhile, Soli and Adriano got into a paddle battle for position, but didn’t find a solid score until after the biggest set of the day swept through the lineup. The massive waves snapped both Soli’s and Bruce’s leashes and forced them back to shore to adjust their equipment. Adriano took advantage of the cleared out lineup and scored a 4.50 on a small left. The best wave of the 35-minute Final, and the first place prize check, went to the Australian for a double barrel combined with
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a solid frontside turn, which garnered a 7.33 and an absolute eruption from the beach crowd and the team houses. He backed this up with a 5.93, which put him ahead of runner up de Souza. “It’s pretty surreal right now,” said Bailey atop the podium. “All I know is something amazing just happened, there were some great waves ridden and I’m just stoked right now.” How did Soli feel about facing Bruce and Adriano going into the heat? “I had John John in the Semis, he’s just as good if not better than those guys,” he said. “It’s a wave catching contest, and I wanted to face some good guys in the Final, so that if I did win, it would be well deserved.” And it certainly was. The 22-year-old takes the confidence and the QS points into his 2017 campaign as he continues to inch closer to the prestigious World Tour. Seth Moniz was also recognized at the awards ceremony for his fierce commitment and impressive performance throughout the event. He was presented with the annual Todd Chesser Hard Charger award, which is given out in memory of big wave waterman Todd Chesser, who passed away in 1997 during an outer reef surf session. But his legacy lives on at the Volcom Pipe Pro and this year Moniz demonstrated the sportsmanship and outstanding performance that caught the eye of Jeannie
Oâ€™NEILL INC. 2016 US.ONEILL.COM TORREY MEISTER PHOTO: MARC PREFONTAINE
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It wasn’t just the competitors that felt the stoke. Volcom also presented a $60,000 check to the Boys & Girls Club and a $16,000 check to the Sion Memorial Fund, further showcasing the cultural and community involvements, which continue to be a cornerstone of the Volcom Pipe Pro.
“This is pretty amazing to be here right now standing and receiving the Todd Chesser award,” said Moniz. “Ever since I was a little kid I always heard about him. I never got to meet him, but I heard he was a super nice and humble guy who went out there and charged. I’m just super honored to be here, to receive this award, thank you auntie.”
Chesser, mother to Todd.
1st Soli Bailey (AUS), 13.26 2nd Adriano de Souza (BRA), 8.43 3rd Griffin Colapinto (USA), 3.90 4th Bruce Irons (HAW), 3.66
STUFF WE LIKE
OR G A N IC S U N S C R E E N
Oxybenzone, cinoxate, dioxybenzone…yeah, we can’t pronounce them either. And that should be reason enough to put some time into researching these chemicals, which are actually ingredients, before putting them on your skin and also releasing them into aquatic environments. There’s heaps of other hard to pronounce names in today’s sunscreen bottles that we use on a frequent basis, like phenylbenzimidazole, menthyl anthranilate and methoxycinnamate. Yes, sunscreen provides much needed UV protection. The Skin Cancer Foundation reported that each year, there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon, and one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
But some sunscreens offer protection at a cost to the environment. Many chemicals inside sunscreen bottles have a detrimental effect not only on our bodies - some chemicals have been linked to heightening the risk of cancer - and also on coral reefs.
That’s why organic sunscreen is not only something we like; it’s something we recommend.
For example, oxybenzone, an ingredient found in a large amount of sunscreen brands, has been found toxic to young coral, and levels were astonishingly high in the waters surrounding Hawaii, according to a recent report from the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology journal.
The motto of Surfscreen Organics is clear, concise and to the point: “Made with ingredients you can read.” The company sells sunscreen lotion for $6.50, and Surfscreen kits for $31.
Take octinoxate as another example. Also in many of the sunscreens used today, it’s like oxybenzone in that it will absorb UV radiation. Exposure to it can actually awaken dormant viruses within the algae. This can cause them to rapidly multiply, leading to coral bleaching and coral death.
So what constitutes as safe sunscreen? From our perspective, sunscreen that is made from raw and natural materials.
The company aims to bring the highest quality of product to the market, following both FDA criteria for Sunscreen Products: the FDA Static SPF Test and FDA Critical Wavelength Test. They’re even open to showcasing their data and clinical trials. Coral Isles Sunscreen is another sunscreen whose mission poses this question: Is your Sunscreen Reef Friendly? The sunscreen is oxybenzone,
zinc and titanium-dioxide and paragon free, and the company also serves as a resource for education on the subject. They even claim that if present rates of destruction are allowed to continue, much of the coral reefs on a global scale will likely disappear over the next 30 years. There’s Raw Elements, too, a sunscreen that has a number one Rating for Safety and Efficacy from The Environmental Working Group, is Non-GMO Project Verified and is also eco and reef safe. These are not only safe sunscreen options for you and your family; they’re also educational resources to use as we, as a community, aim to protect both our bodies and our environment. Visit Coralisles.com, Organicsurfscreen.com or Raw-elementsusa.myshopify. com for more information.
S O U N D S /
COMMON KINGS LOST IN PARADISE What does waking up early to check the conditions at Ehukai, sitting in Town traffic, having a bonfire at Keiki Beach, getting ready for a night out in Waikiki and driving the lush East side all have in common? Lost in Paradise, the new album from the reggae band Common Kings, serves as the perfect backdrop for all of these settings. And not only because the soothing lyrics perfectly mesh with Hawaii’s cultural vibes; the sounds are simply that good, from the catchy guitar riff on Take Her, the head banging bassline from Stretch, and the enticing build up and emotional fervor on Everybody Wants to Fool the World that pulls you in like a riptide.
King, guitarist Taumata Grey, bassist Ivan Kirimaua, and drummer Jerome Taito - trace their musical roots from? Peek into Lost in Paradise with its feel good vibes and upbeat lyrics and you’d initially think they were collectively born and bred in Hawaii. A majority of the musicians that comprise Common Kings were born in the South Pacific region, but were raised in Southern California, where they met and a few jam sessions later, the band and mission was formed.
So where does this eclectic group of musicians - Lead singer JR
Visit Commonkings.com for more information.
The album, which dropped this year after the release of the single Lost in Paradise, is the brainchild of the group and Island Empire records and builds upon the group’s past album success: Hits & Mrs and Summer Anthems.
They began releasing self-produced independent singles back in 2011 and issued a pair of EPs - #WeOnTour Soundtrack and Summer Anthems - two years later. The next year, they released the six-track EP Hits & Mrs, toured with Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 World Experience, and will be touring the United States until May, with the help of Makua Rothman, who has spent time on stage with the group.
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N O R T H S H O R E TA K E O V E R
The number of those suffering from substance use disorders from prescription opioid pain relievers is staggering: 2.1 million people in the United States. This statistic, a finding by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is even more dramatic when realizing that the population of Hawaii - estimated at 1.5 million - is actually less than the number of those dealing with the disorder.
“We’re a lifestyle brand,” said Eric Sorensen, the Weedmaps Action Sports Director. “Weedmaps is the first technology app that directs users to dispensaries, deliveries and doctors. Weedmaps has opened the door allowing patients to have access to things like edibles and cannabis who suffer from cancer, trauma, epilepsy and other disorders. We also want to change the stigma of cannabis, as well as keep bringing the awareness of its benefits into the mainstream.”
Talk to those who have walked through the valley of opioid addiction, and most explain that it begins with good intentions: simply trying to ease the pain from an injury or a traumatic event.
Eric continued: “I’ve connected with a lot of the guys who have been injured, epileptic or PTSD who have felt better with CBDs or cannabis. It’s a positive healthy message. It’s a movement.”
But then two pills are used when one used to work, and the doctor is more than willing to write more prescriptions, making it as easy to obtain as candy. It’s a deadly cycle that becomes difficult to break.
“Weedmaps is an online directory service that tells you where the delivery services are, the dispensaries, where the deals are,” said team rider Nathan Fletcher. “I’ve used the app way before I knew the people behind it. It helps you get your medicine. The drug situation is terrible, and medical marijuana is a gateway drug to recovery.”
What is Weedmaps? The company, which serves as a safe alternative to prescription pain medicine, is a research database - in app and website form - that aims to help everyday people find cannabis storefronts and doctors near them. Imagine it as a Yelp or a Tripadvisor, but for locating medical marijuana dispensaries. The company also serves as a hub for the medical marijuana community to review these storefronts, delivery services and doctors.
Bruce Irons, also a team rider for Weedmaps, seconded Eric’s notion that Weedmaps is making a personal impact among close friends, and that he fully supports the mission. “I know of friend’s children who have seizures, and CBD helps,” said Bruce. “CBD is everything but the THC, and THC gets you the high. They’re helping people get to the right source, and helping to get people off the prescription stuff, which is rubbish. What Weedmaps is promoting is from the earth, it's not pharmaceutically engineered.”
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Nathan agreed. “A friend's’ daughter had deficiencies, and after trying CBD oils through Weedmaps, she started moving and functioning better,” he said. Nathan’s involvement with Weedmaps began when he used medical marijuana after watching a close friend and a beloved member of the North Shore community drown. “It helped me with post-traumatic stress,” he said. “I didn’t even know that was possible, but I was surfing with my friend Sion Milosky and when he drowned, I was there. After that, thinking about big waves I would have flashbacks of his face foaming. That was the most terrible thing ever, it was hard to sleep. I noticed that using it would really calm me down and help me deal with the problem, along with stretching and breathing. I can’t say for anyone else, but for me, it was a huge plus.” Infiltrating the North Shore If you spent anytime on the North Shore during the recent winter season, there’s a good chance that you heard of Weedmaps. From spotting someone in the Foodland checkout line wearing a trucker hat with the Weedmaps emblem advertising it to hearing others on the bike path raving about one of many Weedmaps get-togethers, the company, along with their message, was the talk of the North Shore community. It goes without saying that there’s few opportunities as ripe for brand recognition when advertising from the sands of the 34
North Shore during the winter season, and this is something that Weedmaps and Eric both recognized and took full advantage of. With the world’s best surfers and most eager surf fans embedded on a 7-mile stretch for multiple months, word of mouth and other grassroot strategies are potent. Weedmaps rented a beach house, featuring two stories, a pool and an epic view of Sunset Beach. This served as Weedmaps HQ, a team house for sponsored surfers, and the location of multiple parties during the season. Eric noted that at the house, there were “no egos, no arguments. We opened our doors for everyone to come and eat healthy, give back and everyone left with a product... A t-shirt, a lanyard and hats, we wanted to give and allow everyone who came through to be apart of the movement. By the end of the season, word kept spreading and building and people felt comfortable in the house. That’s the environment we wanted to create, and it turned into one of the biggest parties the North Shore has seen by the last night.” But Weedmaps didn’t come to party nor advertise: they came to support. Sponsorship “Weedmaps is now sponsoring surfers and promoting wellness and health and medical benefits of medical marijuana,” said Nathan. “In the past, that wasn’t researched or known because
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of the laws, and the more and more legal it becomes, the more is known about it. Weedmaps is promoting a healthy lifestyle with CBDs and medical benefits of medical marijuana, and I want to be a part of that.”
the application that shows where to find the legal marijuana dispensaries. Eric told me that he was going to do this a few months ago, and I said that sounds great but a lot of people don’t do what they say they’re going to do. He talked about a sick house, training and a ton of healthy food, almost like a learning facility. He underplayed it. They got the best house, brought out the meanest skateboarders along with a motocross guy. Catered food, doctors, IVs, yoga. They did it the way it should be done.”
“I’ve known our sponsored athletes for quite some time, and we’re about the relationship and building that, determining who each athlete is and what they want to do,” Eric said.
“At the end of the day, athletes are risking lives, from surfing, skating and motocross, so we want these guy's treated well and have their bodies and minds right to perform,” said Eric. “We wanted to create the Los Angeles Lakers’ locker room on the North Shore.”
“We’re here to support them and keep their dream alive, whatever that looks like, and whether it's through CBD oils or cannabis, we want to give them opportunity and choice to be medicated and keep mind right in moment to focus from event to event to relax or oils for inflammation,” he continued. Their sponsor team includes Nathan, Bruce, Joel Tudor, and Dustin Barca, and is rumored to grow throughout 2017. But Weedmaps didn’t stop there. They even sponsored a team at the 2017 Da Hui Shootout - Team Weedmaps - who won the team sponsored category. “Weedmaps is a new sponsor for me,” said team rider Bruce Irons. “They’re
And, according to Bruce, that’s exactly what they did. “Pool, jacuzzi, massage, catered food, all non-GMO, organic food...They’re taking care of their athletes they way they should be taken care of and the way a company should be doing.” Weedmaps also set a new standard for team houses. “They showed up, said what they were going to do and did it,” said Bruce. A lot of people were baffled, with this new company getting the nicest house and having coolest get-togethers. They’re moving forward fast and quick and either get on board or get out of the way.” “For myself, it's a risk to put your name with something like this,” said Nathan. “But now with the laws changing, the benefits are being seen...what their doing to help opiate recovery, stress, different sorts of anxiety. Just like you use an advil, and you can have the same effect without eating a synthetic pill that ruins your stomach lining, not helping the problem.” “Educate yourself,” Bruce continued. “You can take my word, but educate yourself. Do the research. Then you can make your opinion about the movement.”
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TORREY MEISTER By Cash Lambert
Torrey Meister looks relaxed, and the 28-year old certainly has reason to be. We’re standing on the Meister property that overlooks Sunset Beach, a cool breeze blows through the abundance of trees, and bumper to bumper traffic on Kamehameha highway sits far below with the blue, beckoning Pacific unfolded in front of us. A handful of surfboards lay in the soft grass next to Torrey, alongside multiple ping pong balls. The whiskers of the Meister family dog graze everyone’s feet as the Big Island native talks about building on his 2016 year. Although injuries threatened Torrey’s career and skill in previous years, he stayed healthy and focused last year. No bad hip. No ruptured spleen. And no fear of pushing his body to the absolute limit.
S T O R Y
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Torrey opened up about the fruits of his labor in the last year, including scoring some of the best waves of his life at Jaws, a solid result at the US Open in July, his best competitive finish: a 3rd place finish at the Vans World Cup in December and ending the year with his personal best QS ranking: 21. He also spoke about how the Big Island’s volcanic coastline molded his surfing (“On Oahu there’s no lava rock in front of the wave with sea urchins everywhere”), his love and hate relationship with Backdoor (“I forgive her for breaking my face and rupturing my spleen”), and why humor is the best medicine during big days at Jaws (“when you’re laughing, that’s when you put up your best performances”). While recounting times, trials and tribulations, Torrey continued his relaxed demeanor, because in his mind, he’s “paid his dues”, and from here on out, it’s nothing but solid health and solid surfing on a hyperfocused 2017 QS grind, along with dipping into the big wave arena as he pursues the illustrious Championship Tour.
T A L K
Let’s start with getting caught up on 2016: Talk us through how the year was different for you. It was a crazy year for me. I came back from two of the most major injuries I’ve ever had. Last winter season, it being El Nino, was the wildest winter I’ve ever seen, there were so many huge swells. I finally got equipment together and surfed Jaws. That was a crazy eye opener for me, because it was a whole aspect of surfing that I had never really done much of. It
stole my heart, it was everything I want to do. And besides Jaws, you competed full time on the QS, too. Yeah, I was feeling strongly about the big wave thing and then it stopped. Then I went on a trip back to Australia doing the QS at Manly Beach where the waves were 1 foot. I was thinking whoa is this what I want to be doing? I came back home and there was another swell at Jaws... it was a
rollercoaster of emotions for me, because when you find something new that you’re super excited about, it’s the only thing you want to do and that was Jaws for me. Jaws isn’t always going to be there and big waves aren’t always going to be there, so I got back into the competitive mind frame again. I had a good result at the US Open and was fired up on competing. Did it surprise you how much interest you had in big wave surfing?
I didn’t think I’d be as into it as I was. It was totally a game changer, it was all I wanted to do. That was new. Like I said, I’ve been surfing my whole life, but when you find something new and fresh, you feel like a grom again. That was a really good thing for my career. It helped in all aspects, even competing. Reflecting back on this year, there’s always a lot of losses on the QS, it’s a full rollercoaster ride. To surf the Vans World Cup and make the Final was incredible, I’ve actually never made a Final in Hawaii so it was really
special and a long time coming. I’ve made quarters and semifinals, but never quite got past that. It felt good to get there, and it felt like I won, even though I didn’t. What was it like spending more time with Maui boys like Matt Meola, Dege O’Connell, Albee Layer and others who have been on the forefront of progression at Jaws? I’ve known those guys since we were little kids. They really have a way of making it
fun out there. We’re all really scared when we look at the waves, but they turn it into humor because it’s so scary and sketchy that you can’t help but laugh sometimes. Humor helps with it. When you surf Jaws, you’re already focused because you’re surfing for your life, but when you can laugh about some things, it helps. When you have a good time and you’re enjoying it, even laughing, that’s when you put up your best performances. You mentioned before that you spent
time out of the water with previous injuries, and that provided motivation to charge Jaws. I ruptured my spleen, and had a hip injury. How did the spleen injury happen? It was at Pipe Trials. Backdoor was fun, maybe 4-6 foot with some Kona winds forecasted. I was out there warming up, and this double up, 4-5 foot wave came. I started paddling and thought I was going to make it, but I hit this warble and had one of the weirdest falls I’ve ever had. I fell sideways on my stomach, and had an instant feeling of a kidney shot. I paddled back out to catch a few more, then I started feeling really sick so I paddled in, went to the O’Neill house and took my wetsuit off, got a glass of water and it felt like I was drinking fire, just this crazy sensation. I knew it was an organ thing, not a bruised rib. I ended up going to the hospital and found out I had a ruptured spleen. I don’t think there’s been many ruptured spleens in surfing before. It’s more of a hockey, MMA, football injury. I 44
didn’t even know what a spleen was. It can be a dangerous injury. I was at the hospital at Queens for 3 days, and had to stay off my feet for a good two months. It was a trippy experience, it was the closest I’ve felt to seeing death in a way. I felt like my body was fighting hard to keep me going. Did that make you dislike or fear Backdoor? Backdoor has been my favorite wave since I was a little kid. I remember when I was 8 years old, it was a 3-foot day and I hit my face on the reef. It was just from duck diving and the wave slammed my face into the reef. It split my lip, I had a full hole where water would come out when I tried to drink water. Fear has been something Backdoor gave me right away. I still love the wave. I’ve never been so pushed down against the reef in my life from any other wave, where it feels like it’s trying to push you through the reef. It’s been a rocky road with Backdoor, but all good relationships are rocky. I forgive her for breaking my face and rupturing my spleen.
And after the spleen, that’s when the hip injury hit? So I came back from that and went to Australia. My hip was bothering me, and I had an MRI afterwards. It was a huge tear in my labrum and a bone spur. That took me out for 3 months, and one day my hip would feel better but then it would get worse the next day. So when I came back from that, I said that I had paid my dues and I’m going to surf Jaws and heavy waves and try and push myself on a personal level. Injuries have a way of teaching us things that otherwise we wouldn’t learn. Was this true for you? When you get hurt, one thing you learn is how much you appreciate surfing and how amazing the gift is that you have. When you’re out for months, all you want to do is go surfing, and that puts gasoline on the fire to come back. If you do something every single day, it’s human nature to not appreciate it as much but when you
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have an injury and you come back you’re like a grom again. I was nervous coming back... my first session at Backdoor I was skeptical. It made me surf timid, and surf in a way that I didn’t want to surf, just second guessing. When I do that, I’ve had my worst wipeouts. So either I have to surf 100% or not surf at all. I’m sure people have had worse injuries, but I could have died there and I want to live every day to the fullest. Injuries are a two way street. You can either say surfing is cool and I want to surf small waves or push harder. I realized I had to go all out or nothing. Take us back to growing up on the Big Island. How did that mold you into the surfer you are today? I think it’s the best place to grow up. All the waves on the Big Island break on really shallow and sharp reef. We don’t get the biggest waves, but there’s always a degree of difficulty and danger. A one foot wave can slam you onto the rocks and cut you up, so you’ll learn to not go for crazy waves, you have to have that in your mind when you’re surfing. That helps
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when you come to a wave like Pipeline, because there’s not huge boulders on the beach, you’re not going to get washed over rocks and there’s no lava rock in front of the wave with sea urchins everywhere. The Big Island is also a perfect stepping stone. Even when I go home now, the waves are so gnarly, they still freak me out as much as any wave. How have other Big Island natives influenced you? My peers have been a huge motivation for me. Having Shane Dorian around, seeing what he’s done over all the years... he’s the nicest guy ever, even when the waves are huge. Then he’ll come to Banyans and rip the place apart. Seeing what he’s done has motivated me to be the most well rounded surfer, and that’s what I care about more than anything... being as well rounded as possible. That’s the kind of surfer I want to be. Talk to us about your 3rd place result at the Vans World Cup. How did everything come together for your
best competitive finish? I was really excited going into Sunset, because I read a WSL post that said if I won Sunset, I’d qualify for the World Tour. That was a dream of mine since I started surfing. I was happy that I was still in the running, because I thought it was already over after a 3rd round loss at Haleiwa. I told myself that I had to win at Sunset. It ended up that everyone in front of me on the leaderboard did really well, so going into the Final I knew there was no way that even if I won that I could qualify. Throughout the day, I had a crazy rhythm with Sunset, good waves were appearing and I had priority, just a magical day. I got 3rd in the Final but felt like I won. My personal goals were achieved, and ending the year like that, finishing 21st, put a new motivation for competition on the QS in 2017. Thinking of making any changes in 2017? New training regimens, new coaching or new equipment? The same as 2016, really. Just chasing the
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QS, putting work into training, especially my mind. At Sunset, I felt like I had done a lot of mental exercises. I told myself I could do it and my whole thing for the contest was to believe. I had a couple really close heats where I was losing but I told myself just believe, you’ve surfed this wave your whole life and it ended up happening. In those moments where your confidence goes downhill, if you can stay strong and believe in yourself, it will push you over the edge of some of the guys. It’s so easy to crack. As we move forward into the year, how do you think the sport will continue to progress? The envelope for surfing will keep going up and up. Guys will be sending it on crazier waves. The El Nino progressed the sport so much, and I think one day I’m going to be an old man, just baffled at what people will be doing. I mean, 20 years ago everyone was riding huge boards at Sunset and now everyone’s riding a 6’6”. It’s an exciting time in surfing. It’s an exciting time in our sport, seeing fans excited, seeing surfers taking their jobs seriously and as professionals is really cool. They’re treated like stars. Big wave, small waves, turns, airs... everything will go higher and higher. I feel blessed to be a part of it and hopefully I can help it progress a little bit.
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NORTH SHORE UNDERGROUND
LUCAS GODFREY By Cash Lambert
If you’ve recently seen a silhouetted figure riding a yellow, bruised and battered board deep in a Pipeline barrel, the afternoon sun isn’t playing tricks on you. That silhouetted figure is Lucas Godfrey, 22 years old, and the boards he rides are not the newest, the greatest, the most innovative or the most expensive. Like most of us, Lucas has a day job and only buys equipment that he’s budgeted for.
His rides infiltrated social media and magazines, and the question grew amongst the surf community: who is Lucas Godfrey?
On the biggest and best Pipe days, Lucas finds a way to get off work and catch waves among the pack of pro surfers on his stickerless boards, and during the winter season, photographers have captured the North Shore Underground charger deep in Backdoor barrels, sliding casually behind enormous Pipeline curtains, and exploding out of Off the Wall tubes.
Take us back to your surfing roots. How did it all begin?
What was your focus during the winter season, Lucas? This winter I focused on having a lot of fun, just being in the water every day. Overall, just try and have fun. Stay happy and positive and catch good waves.
My earliest memory of surfing was sand sliding on a boogie board at Sunset and Three Tables. I remember thinking it was the best thing ever. Then going into the shorebreak and getting pounded, graduating to the soft top and going further out. It was one of the best times of my life, no
worries, just going to the beach with my friends and going to school. Did attending Sunset Beach Elementary, across from Pipe, help motivate you to push your surfing skill? Yeah. Watching Pipe from a young age, you want to be out there, watching guys get barreled out of their minds. You tell yourself I want to be one of those guys one day, and if they’re doing it maybe I can be doing it as well. What was your first contest? My first contest was at the Menehune surf contest when I was 11. I never really performed well in contests so I never continued doing them. I thought of surfing more as a fun time, while at the contest everyone is serious and trying
to win. I didn’t feel like I fit in. I’d rather surf with my friends and have fun, it’s a lot less stress and a good time. Did you ever think of surfing as a career? I never thought of surfing as a career. It's my passion, how I have fun, what I like to do with my life. I love the ocean, the beach, and Hawaii and as long as I can stay in this place and keep surfing, I’ll be happy. I don’t have much of a focus or determination to do something in particular other than having a good time. It's about the adrenaline rush. Any wave out there is a good wave, it doesn’t matter what happens as long as you're ok and come up laughing. What is your day job? I work in landscaping and
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carpentry. I help my Dad or other people I know and try and choose my days when the waves aren’t good to get work done and then when the waves are good, surf. We’ve seen you all winter long at Pipeline and Backdoor. Are those your favorite places to surf? I love surfing Off the Wall and Pipe. A couple years ago, I didn’t like surfing over there, I grew up at places like Chuns, but I began to enjoy hollow waves. You’ve been spotted by multiple photographers riding some interesting boards in the lineup at Pipe. Tell us about them. Boards for me are difficult because they cost so much. I’ve had so many new boards I’ve broken the first session and I thought wow I paid so much money for this board. I try and get boards a little cheaper and on the older side. I’m not too specific with them...it seems like old boards do well in the barrel no matter how old they are. As long as they float and paddle good and draw a good line, I’ll ride it. I love yellow boards because when you break them, you're not bummed about it, you just go grab another one and do it again. I’ll go to friend’s houses, look under the house, find some old boards and slap some spray paint and some old surf stickers on it and send it into a closeout.
NO R T H S HORE U NDE R G R O UN D / L U C A S G ODF R EY
Define for us the North Shore Underground. The North Shore Underground is whatever you want it to be. It’s about getting the good waves when no one knows who you are, when you're not on the World Tour but you’re getting insanely barreled. That’s the Underground. It's about getting good waves and staying unnoticed. I’ve never had a sponsor, so I embrace the Underground. It’s cool when you’re on a yellow board and get a good barrel and people say who was that? The Underground involves good surfers who don’t get the representation, and it’s cool to be a part of it. Who are your surfing influences? There’s a long list of surfing influences. I always liked watching Andy and Bruce Irons, especially Bruce in the old Volcom videos. Just his style and attitude, I wanted to surf like him. Mason and John John, how they approached waves and are always having fun and unpredictable. Gavin Beschen, too. I try and mimic him, especially when the waves are big. He has a cool style even though it's crazy out there. It makes it a lot more fun and less scary. What can we expect from you next winter season? Next year, I definitely want to get more trained at surfing the Outer Reefs. I’ve only been riding single fins, so I need to re-think my strategy and get some better equipment so I can make that happen.
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SHE RIPS /
It’s late January, and Zoë McDougall is paddling out in the Sunset Pro Junior Final. The conditions are well overhead, there’s a light breeze, and Zoë’s usualsmiling face is stern and focused. Up for grabs are QS points, a prize check and bragging rights among peers for winning at the challenging big wave arena. After the buzzer sounds to begin the Final, Zoë locks in: She takes off on the first couple of waves in the heat and secures the lead with a 5.75 and 4.90, all the while looking comfortable despite the powerful and heavy conditions. Her seemingly effortless carves and spot on wave selection can be attributed to her raw talent, and also to the fact that she grew up surfing Sunset Beach. “I just want to carry this momentum,” the 17-year-old 62
says after the heat, beaming and holding the first place prize check. “I started the year at Junior Worlds and got a Quarterfinal finish, and then to come home to this was great. I head off to Australia for the 6,000s next so I’m going to do everything this year.” After the contest, Zoë did just that: she packed her equipment, clothes and expectations and jetted off to test her talents against an international field of competitors. We can’t wait to see both her results and her expectations come to fruition as she brings a wrecking-ball of momentum to contests throughout the competitive year.
What’s your first surfing memory, Zoe? My earliest surfing memory
is probably surfing the white water reforms at Ali’i beach and Shores after school with all the other North Shore kids when we were about 6 years old.
The two dots over the “e" give it the “y” sound.
At what point did you commit to competitive surfing?
Honestly the best thing about competing is winning.
I’ve always been a competitive person. The first time I ever competed was when I was 5 or 6 in the Kokua division of the Menehune contest in Haleiwa. That contest is really awesome because everyone wins first place. It got me really stoked. Where does your name come from? Is there any story behind the name Zoë? I think my mom really just liked the name Zoë, because it's Greek and means Life. And what’s the significance of the two dots over the e?
What do you like the most about competing? The challenge, the outcome?
Who are your biggest surfing influences and why? I think the biggest influences in my surfing are Stephanie Gilmore, because her style is so flawless. Also John John. I grew up next to Coco Ho and we surf together a lot...she is really inspiring. What about your favorite wave when you’re back home in Hawaii? Where can we find often find you? That’s a question I get asked all the time and it’s tough, because there are so many good waves and it’s hard to
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choose just one. There’s so many choices you can’t go wrong. I really love surfing Vland, Haleiwa and Sunset. How do you balance school with your surf schedule?
Ko Olina Marriot Beach Club Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at our kiosk on the pool level.
I can fit my schooling in the morning or evening because I’m homeschooled, and I’m currently taking classes like Spanish 2 economics, math and chemistry. What are your surfing goals for 2017? In 2017, I really want to stay in first place on the Junior Pro ratings and win the Regional Title, which would qualify me for World Junior Championships. I also want to get some good results in the QS and finish in the top 20 or 30 to be in a good spot for the next year. What has grinding it out on the QS taught you? The QS has taken me to a lot of places and I’ve learned to surf waves that are really different from my home, it gives me a good appreciation for the swell that we get. It has also taught me a lot about
SHE RIPS / ZOE MCDOUGALL
what the rest of the world is like and has given me lots of friends all over the earth. Your biggest challenge on the QS: what is it and how are you facing it? My biggest challenge is probably how different all the waves that we have contests are from where I live, but practicing as much as I can in those conditions and figuring out my boards has helped me a lot. How does the North Shore inspire you? The North Shore has a unique, raw beauty about it and it inspires people that have a really happy and healthy lifestyle. Everyone’s focused around the ocean, whether you're surfing, diving or bodyboarding. You’re always in the water and it’s your playground growing up. Best piece of advice you’ve ever received? I think the advice I live by is to always try stay positive, humble and grateful.
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CATCHING UP WITH WYLAND By Mike Latronic Photos Wyland Worldwide
In the world of art and ocean awareness, no one man does it better or bigger than renowned artist Wyland. This man, whose namesake headlines galleries around the world, unveiled the first of 100 “whaling walls” in Laguna Beach California in 1981, and it wasn’t on an oversized canvas. Instead, it was literally a whale sized pictorial on the side of a large building in the middle of the art-infused town. While the actual length and width were hundreds of feet, the impact and positive step for ocean awareness and conservation were immeasurable. We had a chance to sit down with the esteemed artist, who values both art and conservation equally, at his home on the North Shore to find out more about what makes this man tick and what exciting projects we can expect from his creative mind in the future. Talk us through why you decided to take on the unprecedented art endeavour of painting 100 murals in 100 different locations. I’m at ocean person, but I grew up in Detroit far from the ocean. The ocean was the Great Lakes for me, you could actually body surf in Lake Michigan, but my dream was to go to California and be an artist. I was inspired by Jacque Cousteau, he inspired our generation. So when I was 14, we went to visit my aunt, piled into a car and I saw the Pacific. It was a dream. I dove underneath a 66
wave, came up and a California Gray Whale breached right in front of me, it's barnacle encrusted back breaking the surface. The whale tail flipped up, and it made such an enormous impact on my life and it continues to inspire me today. That whale was a sign that maybe the whale was going to be a focal point of my art. Why did you decide to paint murals instead of on canvases? I was frustrated trying to paint a life size whale that I had seen onto a canvas. I needed larger canvases, so I started looking at the side of buildings. I felt if I could paint a whale life size, I could learn more about them, plus if I could paint it in a public place, people would become aware about the plight of whales. So I painted the first wall in 1981 in Laguna Beach, California of the very whale I saw 10 years earlier in 1971. What was cool was that those were the whales depicted life size in the first of what became a 100 ocean murals around the world featuring dolphins, turtles and sharks and other marine life. That was the first wall. At that point, I had so much fun doing the first mural that I decided I would paint 100 of them, and I did. That took me 27 years. What reaction did you receive from the community? After painting the first one, I saw the impact it had on the community. Schools were busing in kids to stand next to a life size whale, because how many people are actually going to
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California’ and I said ‘that’s right’, and she said ‘you may be a good artist in Detroit but you’ll never make it in California.’ That could discourage any artist but I say let it be the fuel that drives you to be successful. How do you define success in the art industry? Or any industry, for that matter? Doing what you love. If you’re doing what you love, you’ve reached a pinnacle of success. Like I said, it’s important for me to pass on what I learn as I go through life and share it in a creative way. You’ve traveled all over the world, and now you spend a lot of time on the North Shore. Why call the 7-mile stretch home? experience something like that? Very few. Art is so powerful, and public art can be a world changer. When you paint art on that scale, people can’t ignore it. You can choose to not go into an art museum, but you can’t ignore a 200 foot mural of a life size whale. That was the simple philosophy that I had: bring the ocean to the cities. Talk us through the political hoops you had to jump through in order to paint the first mural, because that couldn't have been easy. When I brought the concept of a 200-foot, life size mural featuring Gray Whales, the city of Laguna looked at me like I had 3 eyes. I told them my subjects are big, so I need a big canvas. It took 3 years of politicking. I needed permission and the person who owned the structure and the hotel, and after I received it, I started painting. Now, I could only rent the scaffolding for 30 days, so I had to paint it in 30 days. That’s all I had. I rented 3 scaffoldings, would run up and paint, run down and push and people felt sorry for me so they began to volunteer. That’s where the volunteer aspect came into play, and if you think about it, the story of how these murals are accomplished... it isn’t about me painting a great mural. The ‘Whaling Wall’ project is about how people came together to give a gift to their community. The art I do becomes part of the fabric of the community. As an artist, what have been some of your biggest challenges? The struggle is part of the fun. That’s how you really learn, the challenges you face. It’s how you deal with them. I remember when I was 19 and about to leave the nest, I was taking out the garbage and my neighbor said ‘I heard you’re moving to
Who hasn’t been inspired by the North Shore? Just don’t tell anyone, because we have too many people here. I was looking from my deck today and saw a whale breaching. Hawaii inspires, but Hawaii also teaches. It said to me that if you’re successful, you can give something back and I continue to try and do that. Is there one specific mural or piece of art are you the most proud of? My proudest thing is painting with kids wherever I go. At every Whaling Wall project, I invited the schools to bring the kids and I painted with them. I’ve painted with over a million kids in 100 countries and all 50 states, that’s what I’m most proud of. How did conservation come into the mix? Well, unfortunately, the kids don’t know who Jacque Cousteau was. He instilled in the heart of our generation a passion for conservation. That’s what I try to do with my art. I use the success of my art to accomplish my vision of using art to not only educate but inspire action about protecting our ocean and our water. I realized that I had to be successful because I wasn’t getting a lot of support in the beginning. If I was successful, I could give back more, and I’ve always used that as my model. What are your thoughts on the state of our planet? The seas are becoming plastic, the water has been poisoned but there's a lot of hope. Sylvia Earle said that we need to protect the heart of the planet, which is the ocean and so we need more
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protected areas. And that’s happening. It's not happening fast enough for Silvia or myself, but it is happening. So people are beginning to take actions that are ensuring that our future looks brighter. Right now, we’re destroying it faster than we could protect it. But the good news is that the children are aware, taking action and doing good positive things. When you plant the conservation ideas in the minds and hearts of children through art, that's the best investment you’ll make because it bears fruit. I see the kids I painted with 30 years ago and they tell me ‘I’m a marine scientist’ or ‘I’m working with NOAA’ or forest service. I did have an impact on those generations, and that’s the real spirit of who I am and what I try and do with my art. Give us some practical solutions that the everyday person can take to me more conservation minded. Forget about our generation. Put everything we have into the next generation. Kids have open minds and open hearts. If you want to protect environment today, talk to my generation but if you want to protect it for the future, talk to the kids. The specifics, for me it’s all about water. Right now the Wyland Foundation has developed the World Water Pledge, where we’re encouraging 7 billion people to be water wise and to learn how you can save water. We have plenty of it, but we aren’t taking
care of it, and we need to be better stewards. The water we have here has been here since the dinosaurs, we don’t get any more. It’s very empowering when you learn how to shut off the faucet when you're brushing your teeth. It's a little thing, but it adds up. By saving water you’re saving energy, money and the planet. Water is the most important issue of our day and will be for the next 100 years.
What can expect from you in the near future, as an artist and on a personal level? I think that I’ve had a great run, but I’m just getting warmed up. I’m going to do 100 monumental sculptures in 100 cities in the world in the next 25 years. Ten of those will be underwater too. I want to create larger than life sculptures of animals from the red list, the endangered and threatened species. You may be driving down the highway and see a paddlefish made of maybe stainless steel and it will cause you to look at these animals differently. I think art will play one of the most important roles in the conservation of our blue planet and I’m going to be right there on the front lines encouraging the artists that come behind me.
E N V I R O N M E N T
BAN THE FOAM By Kahi Pacarro
I can almost guarantee you’re shredding (or think your shredding) on a toxic vehicle made up of a multitude of materials that can and will negatively impact our environment after its final wave. In the coming months, we’re going to unveil the ground breaking materials that are helping to get us off our hypocritical shred sticks and putting us on sustainable sleds. For this article I want to segue into one specific material that many of our boards are made of and how it relates to our current Hawaiian culture. The ubiquitous styrofoam plate holding the staple local meal, a perfectly segmented container that keeps our rice and mac salad from blending into the meat, is made out of the same toxic material that many of our surfboard blanks made up of. The continual use of this product is having detrimental effects on our environment and on you. Styrofoam or more appropriately identified as EPS (expanded polystyrene) entered our culture to replace the paper plate and cardboard box and arguably has tainted it ever since. It is most commonly used in Hawaii to house our plate lunches which we consume in a few minutes, yet the EPS container will persist in the environment for hundreds of years. EPS is created by adding heat, air, and moisture to Polystyrene beads also known as nurdles. If you were to go to any beach on the East side of any island in the Hawaii chain and take a sample about the size of a small bucket, you’ll find nurdles. They look like large grains of sand and come in different colors from clear to black with most being white. They have infected our coastline but their presence
is unnoticed because they are so small. We’ve found them in the stomachs of fish and albatross because when they are in the ocean they look like fish eggs. Sadly though, when they are in the ocean they attract toxins like pesticides which are then transferred into the animals as explained in last month's article. In Hawaii, we ship in billions of polystyrene nurdles every year because we actually make much of the EPS we use right here on Oahu. Nurdles enter the ocean from a multitude of locations but primarily from factories that make and use them and from containers lost at sea. They now inhabit beautiful beaches around the world, not just here in Hawaii. The biggest reasons for the need for a ban on EPS are pollution and health. From a pollution standpoint, EPS remains one of the main items found on beaches around the world and nurdles, by count, remain near the top of the list. From a health standpoint, I’d like to focus on indirect health effects and direct health effects. From an indirect effect, polystyrene nurdles and EPS, when in the ocean, collect petroleum based toxins like pesticides due to their lipophilic attributes. When the nurdles and EPS are ingested by animals, these toxins are transferred into the animals fatty tissue. These toxins continue to biomagnify up the food chain until reaching us, often served ironically in a styrofoam container.
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A direct effect from using styrofoam containers is toxic exposure to chemicals. Toxins like styrene leach into our food and into our bodies in a similar way to animals in the oceans. You may have seen this happen yourself when you have really hot food in a styrofoam clamshell and see the disfiguration in the corners. That is a sign of the styrofoam melting and the transfer of styrene into your food. It’s even worse, you don’t need to have super hot foods to have this happen. Simply oily foods can initiate the transfer of toxins into your food. Styrene is considered a carcinogen, meaning it can cause cancer and the United States Department of Health and Human Services has identified styrene as “reasonably anticipated to be a carcinogen.” The 2017 State Legislative session is off to an exciting start. In past years, any attempts to ban styrofoam were met immediately with drastic push back and quickly died despite the risks to the environment and public health. But this year, Senate Bill SB1109 is on a tear with unprecedented support. There is another bill - HB 1545 - in the House of Representatives that negates the ability of the State to purchase styrofoam. This is exciting considering the majority of school children eat their lunches on styrofoam plates every day. The time is now. Let’s make it happen and encourage our lawmakers to pass SB1109 and HB 1545. Be a part of the solution by submitting testimony and becoming an active participant in our political system. You can also encourage our restaurants and shapers, to stop using EPS and move to alternatives. The surfboard alternatives are on the horizon. I’ll tell you more about them soon.
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SOPHIA TIARE BARTLOW By Blake Lefkoe
When people think of Sophia Tiare Bartlow, the first thing that usually comes to mind is her smile. It was bright, vibrant and full of life. It was virtually impossible to be in the presence of this joyful soul without smiling yourself. On Saturday, January 28, the world lost this happy and loving young woman. She died in a car crash on Waialua Beach Road around 10:15pm. Although Sophia’s time on earth was short, she had an incredible zest for life and lived each day to its fullest. This goofy and playful wahine was forever doing gymnastics on the beach and pulling off incredible handstands on her longboard. She wore bright colors, had endless energy and emanated love and happiness. Her laugh was like her smile: beautiful, lively and infectious. In addition to being a radiating beacon of stoke, Sophia was also an extremely talented waterwoman. She grew up surfing in Long Beach, California and on her webpage, Seasistersophia, wrote how being raised on the ocean “inspired a reverence and understanding for nature so great and profound, I’ve yet to find the words that can describe it.” This ocean enthusiast was beyond passionate about surfing. It didn’t matter whether Sophia was riding a longboard, shortboard, SUP or Alaia; when she was in the water, her already brilliant light shined its brightest. She loved to freesurf, but also excelled in competition, and won countless titles, awards and contests in every division she entered. This successful competitor even placed in numerous men’s events, or as the only female in an “Open” category, on an Alaia, longboard, and SUP (distance as well as surfing). In 2014, she became U.S. SUP Tour National Champion.
This accomplished surfer referred to herself as “a third generation waterwoman” and was immensely proud of her “roots” - the women who came before her. On her website, she wrote, “I’m blessed and grateful to have grown up into a family of water women.” Sophia’s grandmother, Bobbie, was a junior Olympic swimmer and her mom, the infamous Jericho Poppler, is a surfing legend. Poppler was a World Champion surfer who helped to create a place for women in the professional surf world. She was a founder of the Surfrider Foundation and in 2004, was inducted into the Surfer’s Hall of Fame. Sophia summed up her mother’s influence as, “Jericho has left, and continues to leave, an incredible legacy on the sport...It’s an honor to follow in her footsteps.” Sophia lived her life from a place of appreciation. Two of the main quotes on Seasistersophia.com are: “Grateful for the opportunity to be me,” and “Gratitude for simply being, is what fuels my joy.”
She was forever giving thanks for the life she led and was always looking for ways to give back to the world and people she loved so dearly. One of her primary goals was to “Facilitate a positive, everlasting impact” on everyone and everything around her. In her short 26 years, Sophia, a fun-loving bundle of energy, helped to make the world a better place than she found it. She spread the stoke of surfing and the spirit of aloha to all she encountered. She will be missed.
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The 13th Annual Kona Surf Film Festival (KSFF) presented by ALTRES went off with a bang on Saturday, January 28th, on the Kona shores of Hawaii’s Big Island. Celebrating independent films from both established and emerging surf filmmakers from around the globe, the festival has become a favorite Big Island tradition for the surfing, art, and music community, and the 13th year was the biggest and best yet. Set on the beachfront in Kailua Bay, the idyllic venue at the King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel simply can’t be beat. This year, KSFF hosted 12 surf films, over 30 local art and clothing vendors, live music, and sold out to nearly 1500 people. Locals and visitors got cozy under the stars and mingled with filmmakers and professional surfers like Shane Dorian, the Goodwin Family, and Ian Walsh. “This year was the most exciting year yet,” said Festival founder Chad Campbell. “It’s amazing to see our Big Island surf community come together to celebrate the sport, and what makes KSFF so special, is that the people involved really come together like we are all working on the annual backyard barbecue for the family. It’s very casual, very roots, and very awesome. Our island community is the reason we all put so much effort into this event.” From the community and for the community, KSFF is the world's first and longest running Surf Film Festival, but still maintains the cool down-to-earth vibe that it began with. Local legends showed up to mix with young shredders. Surfers, bodyboarders, and more all got along and bought each other beers.
This year’s featured films were, “The Aloha Project”, which highlighted some of Hawaii’s best adventure athletes, the magical, "Given," starring the Goodwin Family, and the heartpounding action documentary, "Distance Between Dreams," starring Ian Walsh. Filmmakers Ryan Moss and Etienne Aurelius both gave awesome speeches, and their films (the Aloha Project and Ulualoha, respectively) were impressive. Both Walsh’s and the Goodwin Family’s films drew oohs and aahs and left the crowd moved and motivated. Also included in the entertainment were musical guests Ron Artis II featuring Thunderstorm, Hualalai, and Moni. StoryBOARDS also featured amazing wall panel live art installations, pairing artists Justin Dryer and Eukaretz with kids from Ke Kula ‘o ‘Ehunuikaimalino and Konaweana schools. Shane Dorian, Ian Walsh, and the Goodwin Family all signed autographs for the groms. Keeping the big screen tradition alive while representing the Hawaii Island community, and the surfing culture as a whole, the 13th Annual Kona Surf Film Festival presented by ALTRES was a stellar success. In addition, KSFF helped raise money for Surfrider Foundation Kona Chapter and the Hawaii Wildlife Fund. The festival was made possible by amazing sponsors: Big thanks to the title sponsor ALTRES, Hawaii’s number one human resources company. Additional support provided by Primo Beers, Island Air, Hurley, Kohanaiki, Kona Boys, Freesurf Magazine, and all the filmmakers, musicians, artists, photographers, the vendors, the local legends and frothy groms, and especially all the volunteers who make this a rad event.
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INDUSTRY NOTES Varial Surf Technology signed an R&D endorsement contract with the 2016 WSL Rookie of the Year, Caio Ibelli, to be the test pilot for the brand’s new Infused Glass Technology. The 23-year-old Brazilian surfer and with his shaper, Xanadu of San Diego, CA, will work with Varial to build the ultimate performance surfboard by combining high-level mechanical testing with on-water R&D. After working with some of the most widely known shapers and athletes around the globe for the past 4 years, Varial has utilized its advanced engineering capabilities to expand beyond Varial Foam, the company’s high-performance, proprietary surfboard blanks. Varial’s new, patent-pending process for glassing boards is known as Infused Glass. This technology, adapted from processes used to make giant wind turbine blades and racing boat hulls, yields a highly-repeatable, uniform laminate with extremely low resin content. Visit VarialSurf.com for more information.
The International Surfing Association (ISA) announced the official opening of the application period for the 2017 ISA Scholarship Program, which distributes financial aid and equipment grants to young surfers around the world. More than 300 surfers have benefitted from the ISA Scholarship Program since 2007, receiving a total of USD $248,500 to upgrade surfing equipment, travel to contests, and pay for education fees. The scholarships are awarded to surfers 18 years and under based on their financial need, dedication to surfing, and academic excellence. In 2016, 35 surfers from 21 countries across all five continents were selected as scholarship winners, exemplifying the global growth of Surfing and the ISA's commitment to developing the sport in non-traditional Surfing nations. Many ISA Scholarship recipients have been selected to represent their National Surfing Teams in World Championships, with 17 past winners representing their countries at the 2016 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in the Azores. Some recipients have gone on to rank among the elite athletes of the sport including Carlos Muñoz (CRI), who won in 2008 and 2009, and Chelsea Tuach (BAR), who won in 2008.
In February, Maui County officials learned that Alexander & Baldwin sold a a 339 acre parcel in Paia, Maui, to a California businessman for nearly $10 million back in December. Officials originally hoped to preserve the land, which is across the street from the Paia Youth and Cultural Center and is close in proximity to the big wave locale Jaws. Little is known about the developer's intentions. Although it was previously used to grow sugar cane, the land can be used for commercial and residential properties. Stay tuned to local news stations as the story develops.
The 2017 ISA Scholarship application period ends on April 30, with the winners being announced by August 1.
The North Shore’s Mason Ho added yet another sponsor in the early months of 2017: Reef. “I’m so thankful to be part of such a classic team and company!” he said. “They’re the best slippers around!” Team rider Shane Dorian welcomed Mason to the team by saying “I’m so pumped this legend is now on the Reef team...Pumped to finally do some trips together. Welcome to the team!”
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“Begin with an end in mind” says the old phrase, but a surge of backwash dismantled any hopes of Barron Mamiya landing where he previously planned. It’s those surges of unpredictability that keep our sport so enticing, and have Barron continually surfacing while laughing. Photo: Tony Heff