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20TH ANNUAL • MAY 20 & 21, 2017 • QUEENS AT KUHIO BEACH, WAIKIKI Name: ____________________________________________________________________________________ Address: ____________________________________________________________________________________ City: _________________________________ State: _____________________ Zip Code: ___________________ Gender: Male ______ Female ______ Age (as of 5.20.17): ____________ DOB: ___________________________ Day Phone: _____________________ E-Mail (for event updates): ______________________________________ • Fees: $25 entry fee. Limit ONE division only. Includes t-shirt, goodie bag and lunch. Late beach entry fee $50. pa • All H.A.S.A. and N.S.S.A. participants and non-Hawaii residents are not eligible to enter the contest in any division. • Deadline: Entries must be postmarked by May 10, 2017. Sorry, NO REFUNDS, NO EXCEPTIONS. • Divisions: Limit ONE division only. No parental assistance in the line up with the exception of the Kokua Division. Boys Shortboard - board must not exceed 2 feet over your head. O 6-8 years old O 9-10 years old O 11-12 years old Girls Shortboard - board must not exceed 2 feet over your head. PRESENTED BY: O 6-8 years old O 9-10 years old O 11-12 years old Boys Longboard - round nose board must exceed 3 feet over your head. O 6-9 years old O 10-12 years old Girls Longboard - round nose board must exceed 3 feet over your head. O 6-9 years old O 10-12 years old Boys & Girls Bodyboard FEATURING THE: O 6-9 years old O 10-12 years old Boys & Girls Kokua Division - parent assist, short or longboard. O 3-6 years old • Mail Entries with Payment to: T&C Surf Designs/Grom Contest 99-807 Iwaena Street, Aiea, HI 96701 • Checks Made Payable to: Town & Country Recreations • For More Information: 808-483-8711 • Returned Checks: $25.00 charge • Contest Waiver: I acknowledge that surﬁng and related activities are hazardous and that I have made a voluntary choice to participate in these activities despite the risk that they present. In consideration of my
being permitted to participate in the HSP/T&C Surf Grom Contest, I agree to assume any and all risks of death which might be associated with or result from my participation in the event. I understand that this waiver holds harmless the State of Hawaii, The City and County of Hawaii, Hawaii Surﬁng Productions, T&C Surf, and sponsors of all the events listed as well as members, administrators, ofﬁcials, and ofﬁcers of the above mentioned parties from all/any liability for injuries and damages what so ever arising from my presence or participation in the events. I, the undersigned, have carefully read and understand this agreement and all it's terms. I understand that this release of liability liabili which will legally prevent me or any other persons from ﬁling suit or making any other legal claim for damages in the event of my death or any injury to me. I also agree to conduct myself in a professional and sports man-like manner before, during and after, and while I am in the vicinity of, all HSP/T&C Surf related events, I understand that any unprofessional or unsportsmanlike conduct, will be cause for immediate disqualiﬁcation from the event at the discretion befo of the president or executive director of HSP/T&C Surf events. I understand that all entry fees are non-transferable. I further agree that HSP/T&C Surf or any other subsidiary or afﬁliate thereof may photograph me (on ﬁlm or tape), and record my voice, cover-station and sounds during and in connection with th event. I agree that HSP/T&C Surf or any such subsidiary or afﬁliate shall be the sole owner of the results and proceeds of such photograph and recording. The results and proceeds of such photograph and recording, and any portion thereof, and my name, voice, likeness, and biographical materials and editorial comments concerning me may be used, published, displayed and/or copyrighted in any and every form, style, size and/or color by HSP/T&C Surf, it's subsidiary or afﬁliate, their successors and assigns, or by any other person, corporation or association duly authorized by HSP/T&C Surf or any such subsidiary or afﬁliate, without any restriction or limitation whatsoever, forever, in all media, including without limitation print, radio, motion pictures, television, and Internet, when used in connection with this or other events.
Contestant’s Signature: _______________________________________ Date: _____________________________ Parent or Guardian Signature: __________________________________ Date: _____________________________
F R E E
P A R K I N G
Defying age by threading deep Backdoor barrels during the winter season, patriarch Michael Ho consistently sets the example for Mason, Coco, Burger and others who seek longevity in waves of consequence on the North Shore. Photo: Brent Bielmann
TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S / D E PA R T M E N T S
06 Free Parking 14 Editorâ€™s Note 16 News & Events 30 Aperture 52 Sounds 54 Environment 56 She Rips 60 Grom Report 64 Industry Notes
Make a Difference! jambahawaii.com
Photo: Jordan Stallard
66 Last Look
TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S / F E AT U R E S
NORTH SHORE UNDERGROUND
Burger explains his three favorite underground surfers and why we can expect big things from each one in the near future.
TALK STORY: MASON HO AND BURGER
Examining the relationship between the most eclectic duo in surfing, from grom days to winning the Best Web Series at the 2016 Surfer Awards and everything in between.
PAU HANA: TAI VANDYKE Uncovering the story behind Tai’s surfing life, including his connections with Quiksilver and Volcom, along with the sights he’s seen by running the prestigious Volcom house for over two decades.
Tide. Simplified. Welcome the Base Tide.
Available at: Surf & Sea, Local Motion, Town & Country, Hawaiian Island Creations
3/14/17 10:35 AM
Publisher Mike Latronic Managing Editor Cash Lambert Guest Editors Mason Ho and Keoni “Burger” Nozaki Photo Editor Tony Heff Art Director John Weaver Multimedia Director Tyler Rock Ambassador-at-Large Chris Latronic West Coast Ambassador Kurt Steinmetz Staff Photographers Tony Heff, Chris Latronic, Mike Latronic, Tyler Rock, Keoki Saguibo Free Thinkers Kyveli Diener, Kahi Pacarro
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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 I
QUEEN KA‘AHUMANU CENTER KUKUI MALL L A H A I N A G AT E WAY
G U E S T
E D I T O R ’ S
L E T T E R
K E O N I
“ B U R G E R ”
N O Z A K I
JUST HAVING FUN For this issue, the Freesurf team allowed us to be Guest Editors and pick the features you’re about to see and read. They even let us choose the cover. The original idea for that started when we were all joking, talking about the time Andy and Bruce [Irons] were Guest Editors for another magazine, and they were trying to decide how to include Reef McIntosh and they said “Reef gets enough photos already, let’s give him a postcard size photo” and they did! It was so funny. We have so many friends and so Mason and I joked about putting all the boys on the cover, just in a small size and the team at Freesurf made it happen. How many times do you get to say that you put your friends on the cover? And we couldn’t put one of us there, because we’d get rousted and never hear the end of it. It’s something different, and out of the box. In this issue, we feature three Underground guys to watch in the coming years: Sheldon Paishon, Mikey O’Shaughnessy and Nainoa Suratt, on page 24. Both of us used to be Underground guys, so we can relate. If you have that desire, that fire to do what you want to do, nothing is impossible.
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Also featured are two groms who we’re really impressed with: Isaiah Briley and Sara Wakita. For Isaiah, he has the bloodline, he has the most amazing head on his shoulders and is so respectful, so mature. He looks like Kalani boy and his Dad [Shawn Briley] put together in the water. He’s raised right, and he’s going to be all around ripper. Sara has those bloodlines too, and Mason says all the time that she surfs a lot like Coco. When we’re surfing with Sara at Rockies, it seems like she can have us comboed easily if we were in a heat situation. Tai Vandyke, who is also featured, is the man. If Tai is mad at you, you really messed up. He’s the coolest, funniest, raddest, BBQ master, he has the biggest power turns, pulls into the biggest barrels, he’s a comedian, a big brother, an Uncle, all of that wrapped into one, and we have nothing but love and respect for him and the Volcom guys. Read more about on page 48. We’re stoked we were able to include everyone on the cover, and be sure to read how we both have been rousting each other since our grom days in our feature on page 38. We’re just having fun. F#@$ the haters!
From top left: Sion Milosky, Jason Frederico, Kala Alexander, Kala Grace, Billy Kemper, Shane Beschen, Micah Moniz, Michael Ho, Clyde Aikau, Adam Crawford, Eddie Aikau, Daniel Jones, Dusty Payne, Kawai Lindo, Jason Magallanes, Seth Moniz, Sai Smiley, Sunny Garcia, Andy Irons, Gerry Lopez, Alex King, Tom Curren, Alex Smith, Braden Diaz, Sean Moody, Kalani Robb, Brian Toth, Isaiah Briley, Bruce Irons, Buddy Wiggins, Buttons Kaluhiokalani, Cassidy Kuakini, Christian Fletcher, Chris Ward, Coco Ho, Dave Wassel, Derek Ho, Dino Andino, Marvin Foster, Joel Centeio, Gavin Beschen, Dustin Barca, Kaipo Jaquias, Brandon Kuakini, Eala Stewart, Kahea Hart, Kaleo Patterson, Eli Olson, Fred Patacchia, Ha’a Aikau, Zeke Lau, Flynn Novak, Russ Keaulana, Keala Naihe, Isaiah Moniz, Nathan Florence, Ivan Florence, Cru Suratt, Jason Shibata, Jeff Crawford, James Labrador, Kai Mana Henry, Nathan Fletcher, TJ Barron, Kekoa Bacalso, Kamalei Alexander, Kalani Chapman, Liam McNamara, Ezra Sitt, Mikala Jones, Kawika Stillwell, Kekoa Cazimero, Kelia Moniz, Keanu Asing, Landon McNamara, Josh Moniz, Koa Rothman, Koa Rothman (oops!), Koa Smith, Lance Gruver, Landon McNamara, Makai McNamara, Makua Rothman, Malia Manuel, Marcus Hickman, Mark Foo, Mikey Bruneau, Mikey O’Shaugnessey, Noah Beschen, Nainoa Suratt, Pancho Sullivan, Makana Franzman, Peyton Chidester, Randall Paulson, Reef McIntosh, Tamayo Perry, Rory Parker, Ross Williams, Ryan Rawson, Sheldon Paishon, Tai VanDyke, Tom Dosland, Torrey Meister, Tory Barron, Tyler Newton, Chris Foster, Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning.
THE RUNNER The Runner evolved from one of Steve Morganâ€™s more popular hybrid shapes the Z-Glide - scaled down and tuned-up for high-performance surfing. Like the Z-Glide, the volume is a bit more forward which allows the board to catch waves easily. The bottom features a single to double concave, which makes The Runner really fast and loose, providing the speed necessary to really put the board on the rail. Available as a thruster or quad and with Round Pin, Squash or Swallow tail options.
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E V E N T S
N E W S
JEFF HUBBARD WINS 5TH PIPELINE TITLE AT 2017 MIKE STEWART PIPELINE INVITATIONAL In 8-12 foot conditions at Pipeline on March 6th, Hawaii’s own Jeff Hubbard bested a talented field of competitors to win the 2017 Mike Stewart Pipeline Invitational. “To win something like this in front of all your friends and family, and to get chaired up the beach, there’s nothing better,” Hubbard said after a champagne bath at the winner’s podium. “It’s what you dream of, and it doesn't get old. There’s nothing sweeter.” In the action packed Final was Hubbard, Iain Campbell, Alex Uranga and Australia’s Ben Player. Before the heat began, predictions as to who would come out on top was just as murky as the brown colored water on hand at Pipeline. In the semifinals, Campbell and Uranga out surfed an on point Socrates Santana and last year’s champion Pierre Louis Costes, who wowed judges and fans alike throughout the day. In the second semifinal, Player and Hubbard defeated an on-fire Amaury Lavernhe and charger Guilherme Tamega. Hubbard set the tone with an early high scoring ride in the Final, hoping to use the score as as backup, and continued searching for another high-scoring wave without priority. “After the first wave, I didn’t have priority, and I found a good wave that had a ramp. I landed that air reverse really clean, and another bowl section came at me so I did a big flip and landed
that one clean too,” Hubbard said. Hubbard’s full body of work throughout the heat, a combination of airs and deep barrels, builds on an impressive 2016 campaign, where won the 2016 Hawaii Bodyboarding Pro Tour. The win at Pipeline in March further cemented his status as one of the best bodyboarders to enter the arena. “The bodyboarders competing here today, they are the best of the best,” Hubbard said. “Pipeline is the best place to bodyboard on the planet and it showed today with the level of talent incredibly high.” Mike Stewart seconded Hubbard’s notion of the level of talent on display throughout the 3-day contest. “These are some amazing wave riders,” Stewart said. “I was watching the Final thinking to myself ‘I have to do that to stay up with them!’ They’re the future of our sport and it’s awesome to see.” The day’s action concluded the 3-day event that was slated to run in between Feb 25-March 10th. February 25th saw Day 1 action run in 6-10 foot conditions, which included the early rounds of the Men’s division. The following day saw Miles Kauhaahaa win the Drop Knee Division, Ayaka Suzuki win the Women’s and Ezra Hill claim the Junior’s, all in 5-8 foot surf.
E V E N T S
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2017 MIKE STEWART PIPELINE INVITATIONAL FINAL RESULTS Men’s 1 Jeff Hubbard 2 Iain Campbell 3 Alex Uranga 4 Ben Player
Drop Knee 1 Miles Kauhaahaa 2 Dave Hubbard 3 Sammy Morretino 4 Bud Miyamoto
Women’s 1 Ayaka Suzuki 2 Valentina Diaz Langdon 3 Jessica Becker 4 Hiromi Takase
Junior’s 1 Ezra Hill 2 Kawika Rohr-Kamai 3 Gavin Pellkofer 4 Peyton Oda 5 Keoni Horswill
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N E W S
E V E N T S
41ST BUFFALO BIG BOARD CLASSIC Photos: Ha`a Keaulana The Buffalo Big Board Classic was back for its 41st year during two back to back weekends: February 18-21, and 25-26. Located on the golden sands of Makaha Beach, the event paid homage in both name and action to Buffalo “Richard” Keaulana and Rell Sunn. Instead of competing on today’s high performance surfboards within modern day contest formats, surfers at the Big Board Classic competed in fun-sized surf using paipo boards, alai’a boards, bully boards, canoes, and SUPSquatches. The event wasn’t just a contest; it was also a celebration of surfing, with those present donning “Buffalo Big Board Classic” t-shirts and greeting and embracing Buffalo, 82-year-old and still watching the contest that he created 4 decades ago. For a full list of results, visit Freesurfmagazine.com! 20
E V E N T S
N E W S
PAIGE ALMS CLAIMS 2016/17 WSL BIG WAVE TOUR TITLE
In February, Paige Alms made history by winning the World Surf League Women’s Big Wave Tour Title, which consisted of a single event won by the Maui native: the Pe’ahi Challenge. “Being the first Big Wave Women’s Champion at Pe’ahi is an amazing feeling,” said Alms. “I’m stoked to be able to put that notch on my belt, and I'm happy to be an ambassador for the sport and for women in surfing. This wasn’t just a win for me; it was a win for women’s surfing and a win for the Maui community.” Alms started charging big waves at the age of 15, and her career has been self-supported through juggling multiple jobs to fund her travel and training. “Every session we have for big wave surfing for men or women means the sport is progressing,” she said. “For female big
wave surfing, the more opportunities that we have like that in an empty line up, the more you're going to see the best big wave women doing the best big wave surfing. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the WSL has in store for next year, and this is just the beginning. I think we are going to look back in ten years and say, ‘remember that time?’ I think the possibilities are endless.” 2016/17 Women’s WSL Big Wave Tour Top 5: 1 - Paige Alms (HAW) 12,500 points 2 - Justine Dupont (FRA) 10,416 points 3 - Felicity Palmateer (AUS) 8,680 points 4 - Emily Erickson (HAW) 6,029 points 4 - Keala Kennelly (HAW) 6,029 points 4 - Laura Enever (AUS) 6,029 points
N O R T H S H O R E
GUYS TO WATCH AS TOLD BY BURGER
SHELDON PAISHON Sheldon is from Makaha, and the first time Mason and I met him was when we were out surfing Rocky rights. He’d be yelling “hey brah where’s the waves,” just paddling circles around everyone, this pidgin kid all moked out. Mason and I were cracking up the whole time. He rips, too! He’s a regular footer who has the meanest style, and everyone would be hyping him in the lineup saying “yeah Shelds!” The kid ruled Third Dip. He’d yell at the Moke bodyboarders and say “hey brah watch
out I’m going” and the mokes would let him go! They’d scream “yeah Shelds go!” I was watching with Mason and we were baffled, this grom telling huge mokes to beat it and then the mokes were cheering for him. Like who is this kid? And where did he come from? I asked him one day and he said “Johnny Boy my cousin” and I said that made sense. After that, he’d come and stay at my house and at first, he wouldn’t do the dishes and things like that and I’d snap on him, scold him but these
days he’s grown up, just a humble kid. He surfs so good, and he has a good heart. All he has to do is start charging Pipe a little more and get that one big one to get comfortable out there. His air game, contest surfing...he’s got it. Ask anyone, from the Moniz’s to the McNamara’s and even some of the CT guys, and they’ll tell you he rips. He’s working hard these days and Mason and I are really proud of the man he’s becoming.
Oâ€™NEILL INC. 2016 US.ONEILL.COM TORREY MEISTER PHOTO: MARC PREFONTAINE
HYPERFREAK BOARDSHORTS AVAILABLE AT HI-TECH SHOPS
I met Mikey through Solomon Ortiz, one of the Big Island boys. Solomon would hang out at the Volcom house and I was always there, so Solomon introduced me to Mikey. At the time, Mikey didn’t have a surfboard, so I let him borrow my 6’2” Mayhem. I just said go surf the waves are pumping. He’s so much bigger than me
and he’s actually younger than I am. We’ve been hanging out ever since. He was hungry so he moved over to the North Shore, and he’s so down to earth. He’s humble, passionate and has a good heart...He’s won Wave of the Winter, he’s charging Off the Wall and ripping Pipe. He wants to do the contest thing and like I
said, he’s hungry. I’m psyched on that, the guys that chase their dreams on their own. They work and hustle and a couple guy help them out. Just like Sheldon and just like Mason, Mikey charges. He surfs Jaws like a madman, and he’ll surf big waves. He’s just a super cool underground guy.
Growing up, I remember going over to Nainoa’s big gnarly skate ramp that he had in his backyard. He was the gnarliest skater, he’d always have the surfing cover shot, he was the neighborhood hero. Just a guy who ripped, and had that raw power. Mason and I grew up watching him surf at Shores and Sunset, and we learned by watching him. Everytime he paddled out, we’d watch. Nainoa gave both of us
tough love, you know acted as our older brother. He helped turn us from boys to men. We always wanted to surf like him. He would connect the dots and just make it look fun, and you never knew what he was going to do. He had that element of surprise, like Andy and Bruce. When I was still a grom he quit surfing, and I’m not sure exactly why, all I know is that he was always cruising with Eric Diaz, a
super gnarly surfer who was Billy Kemper’s oldest brother. They were best friends, partners, and when Eric passed that’s around the time that Nainoa quit surfing. Losing a friend that young...that’s like me and Mason. I can’t even picture that. But Nainoa is getting back into it, and both of us can’t to see what he does next.
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Bruce Irons. The modern day Pipeline rockstar. Photo: Tony Heff
Kevin Sullivan, The Prophet. Saw this barrel coming a week before. Photo: Dooma
Coco Ho, graceful in the water and on the dance floor too. Photo: Tony Heff
Derek Ho. The master of the seven-mile miracle. Photo: Pete Frieden
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S T O R Y
T A L K
d Burger By Cash Lambert & Chris Latronic
here’s no duo in surfing quite like Mason Ho and Burger. Sure, there are power couples and successful coachathlete tandems and pairs of industry influencers, but none reach both the talent and entertainment level that the North Shore boys possess. The two, both in their mid-20s, have been doing antics on the North Shore since childhood, like stealing cases of soda from contest officials at the Pipe Masters, paddling into mysto waves breaking over unforgiving dry reefs and making everyone around them laugh in the process. Strangely, it’s “only recently” that the two have “blown up” outside of Hawaii. The fruits of both their exploits and their labor have been sponsorships, social media stardom, and License to Chill, their video series that won the Best Web Series at the year end 2016 Surfer Awards, even beating out John Florence’s high octane web series. At the Awards ceremony last December, Mason and Burger took the stage, and immediately had the crowd rolling (Mason: Just want to thank my sponsors...Etnies, you guys better get me that new contract!..Burger: All you guys that do gnarly airs..don’t forget your history!”). Today, Mason is, according to Burger, “The most interesting surfer in the world” and Burger is happily traveling and scoring alongside Mason. After handing the reigns of this issue over to the duo, we sat down to talk about their earliest memories of each other (“One time I was surfing Haleiwa, and I was so stoked to see Mason paddling out that I actually started paddling towards him and just ran him over,” recalled Burger) the origins of Burger’s name (“Everyone says I lost the cheese, so now I’m just Burger”), whether or not their
acceptance speech was planned (“I won a contest once or twice and never felt like that, that urge to celebrate,” said Mason) and what we can expect in the future, as the surf world watches Mason and Burger continue to help each other succeed, rousting each other every step of the way. How did you guys meet in the first place? Mason: I remember my Dad would always go to your house, Burger. Plus, your Dad always had super good food for us to eat. Burger: Yeah my Dad could cook really good food, you know, BBQ. Mason liked that I was the fat kid. Mason: Burger and his 3 brothers, they were just classic. Super funny. I can remember hanging out with him one afternoon for really the first time and the next morning I woke up thinking ‘Am I going to cruise with Burger today?’ Suddenly he appeared outside and said ‘Mase!’ and I said ‘Burgs what’s up!’ and he said ‘let’s surf!’ I would only boogieboard but Burger was always out there surfing. After I surfed with Burger for the first time, I told myself that I was going to do this every single day. That was the only time our parents would let us go somewhere by ourselves, and we’d sneak off to the beach and hide in a bush and surf all day. Things haven’t really changed since. We’d play at the beach for 6 hours a day. I’d sleep at Burger’s house, and we’d wake up, fill our backpacks with raw salmon, two towels and be at the beach, from 6 in the morning to 6 at night. Burger: Yeah, there was a bush we’d post up in, and anytime anyone brought us food, like plate lunches, they’d be gone instantly. Burger, what was your first impression of Mason? Burger: We’d always be doing BBQs, and we’d surf
years old, I went
to Maui and surfed the comp that was in memory of someone named Cheeseburger. When I heard it, I told myself that I was going home and going to call my best friend Cheeseburger everyday.
Mason When I was
Shores. Mason was cool, he was good at everything. I’m not kissing his ass, he was just really talented. He’d go to the skatepark and drop in barefoot and only a couple of guys, like Kalani David, John John Florence, can do things like that, not surf for weeks and go out and do the gnarliest move in the water. Mason has natural talent that you can’t teach. Something else I learned early on was how competitive he was. Football, soccer, hide and seek, horse, anything, he’d hate to lose. He’d get so eggy if he didn’t win, and wouldn’t let you walk away from the board game if he lost. He’d say ‘best out of three’ and things like that. Just unreal. With him and Coco, they had a backgammon board and they would snap at each other, that’s how competitive they were. When I did win, I would get rousted. What are some other grom memories you guys have?
urger: Hanging out at the Gerry house and doing things around the contest. I remember we’d steal cases of Mountain Dew because they used to sponsor the Pipe Masters. Mason, Cru Suratt and I would go watch the Pipe Masters from the Volcom house. As a kid, I was starstruck. All the boys were in the house, from Johnny Boy to Bruce and Andy, the gnarliest guys. You dream of being like them, you know? So Mason and I, we’d play hide and
seek in the house and I remember the boys saying ‘hey, who’s this fat kid’ and Mason backing me saying ‘that’s my friend Cheeseburger’, because I was the quiet kid. Bruce and Andy would say ‘yeah Cheeseburger come over here and massage my shoulders, be my good luck charm and caddy for me.’ Back then, they still let caddies out in the channel at the comp. I said ‘nope I’m good’ but they were like ‘no you’re caddying for us let’s go!’ so I had to caddy for them. The year Bruce won the Pipe Masters, he gave me his winning jersey and a gold Nixon watch. I wore that red jersey in the water every day, I wouldn’t leave home without it and I wouldn’t surf without it. Something happened to it, someone stole it or something and I was so bummed, but I just remember being starstruck, watching guys psyching up to surf firing Pipe and all we could think about was how to get the sodas.
ason: Yeah, at the contests we’d dig a hole under where they kept the food and we’d steal cases of Mountain Dew. We’d then bury it and hide it in the sand. The contest guys, they’d figure out they were missing soda so they would make the barricade tighter and we’d dig deeper and even be under the podium. My Dad would see all this soda afterwards and he’d say ‘where is your stash? Leave that in the fridge!’ Burger: Another time Johnny Boy taught me how to roll craps at the Gerry house. I’d be watching and he said ‘hey come here boy’ and I said ‘oh no Uncle’ and he said ‘hey hurry up boy get over here’ and he taught me everything. I went from no money to having $40. When you’re 8 or 10, that’s a lot of money. Especially when Kammi’s Market was still open with the dollar pizza, free drink and 10 cent Laffy Taffy. Mason: Nowadays, we make money still because of that. When Burger has the dice, I know he has the mojo because Johnny Boy taught him what to do so I’ll put more money down. Burger: It’s not wise to bet against Johnny Boy.
Mason: Yeah, that was when we were 12 or 13. I still remember when I was 11 or 12, Andy and all those guys were priming at the comps. During one Pipe Masters, I had staples in my foot and it healed in like 4 or 5 days. I’d ask my Dad if the contest was on. When it was, he’d tell me ‘you’re going to school, go study’ and I would say ‘my foot hurts so bad’ and he’d let me stay home. It was completely healed, but I kept the bandages on just so I could stay home and watch the action. Burger: My Dad didn’t care what contest was on, I had to go to school. Mason: We begged your Dad to let you off! Burger: I remember your Dad rousting my Dad saying ‘don’t make him go to school, let him watch the contest’ and I’d say ‘yeah Dad, listen to Uncle Mike!’ 42
You guys had a front row seat to all the legendary Pipe Masters. What other memories come to mind during this time that you guys cherish?
Burger Then we went to Sunset, discovered Rocky Point, and we made our way down to Pipe.
Mason We surfed every day. We went from Burger running over everyone at Haleiwa and Shores to V Land.
Mason: I went into the Gerry house and I was jumping 3 feet in the air and then someone would turn a corner and see me messing around and I’d pretend that my foot was hurting, and they’d say ‘don’t worry, I won’t tell your Dad,’ just laughing at me, this grom totally faking it. What about in the water? What was it like to be in water when you guys were growing up? Burger: One time I was surfing Haleiwa, and I was so stoked to see Mason paddling out that I actually started paddling towards him and just ran him over. Mason: Burger was always ahead of his time, surfing before everyone else and wearing helmets. We were all afraid he’d run us over at Shores. Even girls from school...if we saw Burger surfing, we’d yell ‘watch out for Burger!’ But we weren’t calling him that yet. It was still Keoni. Burger is the one who got me off the boogie board and onto a surfboard. How did that come about?
Where did the Cheeseburger name come from? Mason: When I was 9 years old, I went to Maui and surfed the comp that was in memory of someone named Cheeseburger. When I heard it, I told myself that I was going home and going to call my best friend Cheeseburger everyday. Yeah, when he was young he ate everything on the planet. But you could call him anything and he’d start laughing. I’d yell ‘Hey Sammy let’s surf!’ and he’d start laughing. When we first started calling him that, I’d yell ‘Burger’ and at the Volcom house all the boys would be yelling ‘yeah Burger!’ It was a laugh attack. And then we got older and the ...Lost guys were all stoked on it, they were our first real sponsor. They’d only put the name Cheeseburger on the ads. I’d be over at their office and they’d be making the ads...saying ‘you think he’ll get mad at us if we just put Cheeseburger?’ Everybody was wondering what his name was. Burger, did you hate the nickname? Like it? Burger: The whole time, I was just baffled, but I mean I was a big kid. One day I was with Mason and everyone and I was eating a cheeseburger at Ted’s, and Mason’s Mom said “oh that’s a perfect name for you!” I remember thinking “are you kidding me?” From then on, I couldn’t get rid of it, no matter how hard I tried. Now, I don’t mind it because I’m so used to it. Sometimes Mason calls
urger: My Dad pushed me early, so I was always asking Mason to go surf. I remember Mason finally said yes and he grabbed one of his Dad’s magic boards and dragged it through the street until we got to the beach. It was a squash tail, and by the time we got there it was a round pin. I’ve tried to push him, he used to not surf Pipe and I said you can do it, and he’s so good out there.
me Keoni and I’m wondering if I did something wrong, like if I broke one of his magic boards or put a finger imprint in one of them. Everyone says I lost the cheese, so now I’m just Burger. How did your surfing evolve from there? Mason: We surfed every day. We went from Burger running over everyone at Haleiwa and Shores to V Land… Burger: Then we went to Sunset, discovered Rocky Point, and we made our way down to Pipe. We’ve had that bond from early on, and when you know someone before they’re big time like Mason is now, you always have a relationship and that bond. Burger, are you surprised with Mason’s success? Or it’s been in the works the whole time? Burger: Mason is finally getting what he deserves. I knew this was coming, it’s not something new. Everyone’s so surprised by what he does in and out of the water, but this has been going on for years. He’s a real, he’s true. ...Lost had a big part in that, they were the first company that saw Mason and stepped up and hyped everything up. Talk us about how License to Chill grew into what it is. Mason: Joe Alani, Rory Pringle and Burger…we all kept piling footage together, and after I switched from ...Lost to RipCurl, we needed an outlet for the footage. It dwindled into a web series. It was never “we need a clip of you waxing board” or “Burger go put sunscreen on Coco’s back.” It’s...Burger naturally putting sunscreen on Coco’s back. The whole thing was
unscripted...until we started scripting it. For the most part, Joe and I would be playing with it, Burger would chime in, Joe knows how to put that movie touch in it. I’ll come in as a second filter guy, then we show Burger and he’s the final draft guy. Rory just keeps the camera rolling the whole time. He has the eye of what everyone wants. He knows what to look for, knows when to turn on the camera and how to get everyone talking. Burger: Yeah, if you can get a filmer like that...and the editing, that’s the hardest part. The surfing is the easiest. Rory always is in your face with a camera. But its sly, I’ll be cruising on the couch and I’ll see him on the computer and the next second I look up and the camera is pointed at me.
Mason: He did celebrate. We weren’t invited. He went sailing. I was checking Haleiwa, it was pretty junk and I looked the other way saw his boat taking off. I was like ‘there’s the party!’ I saw the shimmering trophy going out and I’m like ‘no I want to be with you guys, I know you’re going to find some waves. Burger better not be on there!’ Burger: Yeah it’s crazy that we won, we’ve grown up with him. But he deserved it. Everything’s crazy today, too. Trump is President!
Mason: So over Trump. Burger: Go Trump! Nah nah. Mason: My Dad would snap talking about Trump. The new thing is to see how long in the day he can go without mentioning Trump. I’ll wake up and hear him say ‘oh turn off the TV Trump just f@&*%$ up again, I’m going to go surf!’ I told him ‘Dad it doesn’t really matter’ and he’s like ‘you don’t understand, it does matter. He’s making me surf more, because he’s pissing me off!’ And you guys are social media stars. What’s the origins of your Instagram names: Cocom4debarrelkilla and BurgerinParadise? Mason: Coco started mine and Burger’s. Well, I just wanted my name barrel killer. So it’s Coco made and the 4 is an A. Coco made barrel killer. I was too shy to claim barrel killa, so I thought if Instagram is one of those lame things, I’ll blame it on Coco.
And that beat out John John Florence’s web series at the Surfer Awards in 2016. Burger: How did we beat John John?
ason: I’ve seen wrong results my whole life but this was the right result. They got it right. The awards speech, was that like the series: unplanned? Burger: It just happened. Mason: We played Jerusalem by Alpha Blondy, the mellowest song, on the way there and when we arrived, it was the opposite. Burger: I didn’t think we were going to win and beat out John John... Mason: I won a contest once or twice and never felt like that, that urge to celebrate. I remember winning that award and it feeling different. Burger: Has John John had a World Title party yet? It’s been like two months, hasn’t it?
Mason Nowadays, we make money still because of that. When Burger has the dice, I know he has the mojo because Johnny Boy taught him what to do so Ill put more money down. Burger Its not wise to bet against Johnny Boy.
Burger: The only reason I have Instagram is to keep sponsors happy. I didn’t have an Instagram. I didn’t even make my name until everyone started using the hashtag Burger in Paradise. What does the future hold for you two? Burger: Mason’s headed off to the comp in Australia in March, and we might do a trip in April. We’re planning something to take over the world... Working on a few more projects, keep having fun and hopefully everyone will enjoy the videos and enjoy the most interesting surfer - Mason - and his vibe and a couple of my random clips in there. Hopefully, big things. pau
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TAI VANDYKE By Cash Lambert
Its Spring time on the North Shore and the salty air is quiet. The only noise is the soft whistle of the wind whipping up shoulder high swell at Pipeline, being surveyed by Tai Vandyke who is perched on the steps of the Volcom house. “Mason and Burger...they’ve always been such solid groms,” he says, a smile spreading across his face as we explain that the duo, serving as Guest Editors, wanted to feature him in the issue. “They learned from the best, Uncle Mike and Derek. They’re respectful, both charge and rip and they’ve been partners for as long as I can remember. Burger is one of the best guys out here” - he points at windswept Pipeline - “and Mason has that bloodline, plus he’s so positive and surfs so good. I can remember the first time I saw Burger here at the Volcom house, he was this tiny roly poly kid, and everyone would say ‘look at this cute grom! He’s Cheeseburger!’ And even when he was young he had style. When Mason was young, everyone knew he was going to be the guy one day.” Tai’s eyes turn back to the water, and the scene goes silent. Which is a strange contrast, because during the fall and winter seasons, the Volcom house is loud and crowded and is home to the party on the North Shore. Today though, the crowd has migrated with the World Tour elsewhere but the captain of the ship, Tai, remains. 48
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For nearly 25 years, Tai, has presided over the Volcom house, acting as the point man for helping out sponsored surfers, helping with retail and events, teaching respect when it is needed, along with putting his renowned power surfing on display for all to see in front of the house. So how did it all begin for the Maui native? “My earliest surfing memory is riding waves at Koki Beach in Hana,” he says. “ I would go to the beach and skimboard, boogie board.” And then Tai caught his first wave. “It was the first time people were hooting at me and I was thinking about how fun it was. It’s definitely an addiction. Even nowadays, you can be having a terrible session but if you get one good wave, it can make your day.” After being hooked at age 12, Tai’s first introduction to the North Shore came around age 14 from Mr. Pipeline himself: Gerry Lopez. As member of the Gerry Lopez Surf Team, Tai received a North Shore tour from the living legend. “He showed us every spot on the North Shore in one drive,” Tai says. “At the time, I didn’t realize how priceless that was, and as I get older I realize how lucky we were to have that support. During that trip is when I met a lot of my good friends, like Jason Magallenes.
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“It was a condo at Turtle Bay, that was the first one. We had this big red station wagon that we called Big Red, and I met so many good friends like Gavin [Beschen] and [Shawn] Barney [Barron] there.” Fast forward into the early 2000s and the Volcom house, as it is known today, was born. “Wave Warriors had the house next door but it was mellow and tight,” Tai says. “This place, this house, on the other hand, erupted. The doors were open, and we had 10 guys from Kauai, 10 from Maui, boys from the Big Island and the North Shore. It was nuts.” At this time, there weren’t other team houses stretching up and down Kamehameha Highway. This placed the Volcom house and the Volcom logo at the epicenter of surfing, giving Tai a front row seat.
According to Tai, it’s sometimes better to be lucky than good. That’s how he explains what would unfold in the coming years: developing a relationship with Volcom that he would maintain for over two decades. It all started when he was handed a box filled with Quiksilver clothes and stickers at a contest in Maui, thanks to Donald Pahia. “I used to go to school with rags for clothes and the next day I showed up with these brand new Quiksilver clothes,” Tai says. “I basically stumbled upon it, because I didn’t surf better than 10 other guys who weren’t sponsored. After that, I worked hard and tried to get photos to keep the sponsor happy.” Although he enjoyed freesurf sessions more, Tai surfed in local contests, and ventured to California to compete. There, one of his close friends - Magallenes - reintroduced him to the Volcom team. “I met Wooly [Richard Woolcot] and those guys a year before and surfed with them, and when Jason took me to talk with them, Wooly asked me to ride for Volcom. They gave me some stickers and a t-shirt, and told me I was on Volcom. That was in 1993. So when I got back to Maui, I picked up an old magazine called Wave Action and I was on the back cover with Kaleo and [Dave] Wassel. I remember thinking ‘this is crazy’ and they used me in ads and video parts. I loved it, and I knew that only the best guys stay in the game for a long time, and that’s what I wanted to do.” Then in 1996, Volcom landed its first house on the North Shore. Well, sort of.
“That time was surf history, with Andy. It really was. He was a brother and good friend, and to watch him take out Kelly Slater and get those two 9s and win the World Title and Pipe Masters... the only way I can explain it is this” - Tai stopped to point at his arms - “straight chicken skin. From Bruce winning, even when Kalani made the Finals with Slater. I watched so many friends get the waves of their lives.” But the Wild West infiltrating the Volcom house wasn’t meant to last forever. Rules were soon instituted to keep the exploits from spilling over into courtrooms, and that, combined with other team houses arriving, mellowed the scene dramatically. “We still have our fair share of good times, though,” Tai says. “It’s just kept under wraps.” Today, Tai’s job duties entail much of the same: taking care of the houses, getting surfers to and from the airport, helping with retail, events, all things Volcom. hether he’s behind the camera or watching from the steps of W the fabled Volcom house, Tai has seen both the history and the evolution of modern surfing, and plans on continuing to watch it progress. The power surfer does have one critique, though. “The talent level is insane today, and the state of surfing...I’d say people are starting to value on the face rail surfing a little bit more. The last couple of years there were too many airs and today you see surfers trying to work on their carve and rail game. I’ve seen guys do a million airs and I’m thinking brah just do a turn already!”
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CATCHING UP WITH LANDON MCNAMARA ON HIS DEBUT ALBUM A DOLLAR SHORT AND A MINUTE LATE On December 2, when Landon McNamara released his debut album A Dollar Short and a Minute Late, the surf community including Mason and Burger - rallied around their friend, helping to advertise Landon’s music on their social platforms. “That’s what brought my music around the world so quick,” the 20-year-old said, discussing his 11 song album. “I have so many cool relationships because of surfing, and the surf community has my back.” In short, the album exploded. The groovy melodies and soothing beats of favorites like Time to Waste, Deep Water, and Don’t Go Away reverberated from Hawaii to the world, with the album quickly reaching #1 for reggae on iTunes as well as #5 on Billboard’s reggae charts. “I started making music by myself in my room and was inspired with all the boys around, and that includes Mason and Burger,” Landon said when we told him that the duo wanted to feature an update on him in this Guest Editors issue. “Mason, he’s the gnarliest in the water, and he’s as unique as you can get in the
surfing world, and that’s to say a lot because we have a lot of unique characters. The same goes for Burger, I’ve laughed the hardest around him, and there’s never a dull moment with either of those guys. Two legends in the making.”
The same can be said about Landon’s growing music career.
When we spoke with Landon in the Spring, he was on the road in “a soccer mom van” in Florida, playing at crowded festivals and has plans to tour “as much as we can” during the summer months. “It was those friends who gave me enough courage to go into the studio and record” Landon said. “Now that it’s all settled in, I’m still baffled and stoked on it, it’s showed me there’s a possibility I have a future in music. And it’s different when you’re in front of a crowd, to know that something I created has an impact on people, it's an unreal feeling. As long as I can play music and surf, I’m good.” Visit Landon-mcnamara.com for more information.
n. An excursion-ready, four-stringed instrument built for your next destination.
Kala ukuleles are available online and in surf shops coast to coast.
Walking back South down the abandoned coral runway, he noticed a disturbance of sooty terns obviously annoyed by something. As he approached, he eyed the culprit: a juvenile monk seal disoriented and headed the wrong way away from the ocean. If Sulli didn’t react quickly, the monk seal would get stuck, overheat, dehydrate, and definitely trample through numerous bird nests. Worst case scenario, the seal could die and with only 1,400 left, this cannot happen on Sulli’s watch. He considered herding the young seal but realized this could cause undue stress and the straight path goes right through dozens of seabird nests.
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CALL TO ACTION: JOIN HMSRP THIS SUMMER TO HELP HAWAII’S ENDANGERED SEALS By Kahi Pacarro The cacophony of seabirds never ends in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. But as the sun begins to peak above the horizon, the crescendo reaches a level that makes sleeping past sunrise an impossibility. With so much work to do in bringing back the Hawaiian Monk Seal back from the brink of extinction, there’s no time to sleep in and Sulli is wide awake. Sulli is a member of the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program (HMSRP). It all started when a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) research vessel dropped off his team on a deserted island. Their presence at French Frigate Shoals took the human population from zero to four. Their closest contact to civilization then days away. They were on their on. Summer is the calmest time in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument and it coincides with the same time critically endangered monk seals 54
give birth. With only 1,400 Hawaiian Monk seals left in Hawaii, each seal is integral to the species survival and the HMSRP is responsible for 30% of all those currently alive. Today is Sulli’s day to do the entrapment walk, making sure that no seals are entrapped and if they are, untangle them and remove the entanglement hazard, and secondarily to identify any new entanglement hazards and remove them before they become a problem. With the constant influx of marine debris, this is an ongoing job. But unable to walk by any other harmed animals, the crew also regularly helps seabirds and turtles. At the Northeast tip of the island, there’s a beautiful beach where seals and turtles tend to congregate, but right before the beach there sits an eroding double seawall that traps seabirds quite often as they fight for roosting spots. Less aggressive birds fall into the 4 foot gap between the two walls. It was here that Sulli found a female frigate bird stuck unable to get out. With the incoming tide and the Iwa bird running out of footing, Sulli lowered a stick - utilizing his experience - to coax the bird towards survival. After lifting her out, the bird expanded her giant 6 foot wingspan and takes flight. Sulli got his first save of the day and wasn’t even 8AM.
Luckily, he’s part of a team and without alerting the seal of his presence, he broke into a sprint back to base camp. His ninjalike skills were imperative to minimize monk seal interactions. The goal of the HMSRP is for the monk seals to not even know that they are there, even avoiding eye contact. Like guardian angels that step in to save you just in time, the HMSRP are the monk seals godsends. The team returned ready to deploy the stretcher net. Sulli and colleagues calmly and cautiously placed the seal into the stretcher and loaded the ends onto their shoulders.
A s they escorted the seal back to the
interior of the atoll, they avoided the singing seabirds and their nests. A seamless transition had the seal back on the beach and into the water in no time. This is their job, their summer, and their passion. HMSRP volunteers and employees look forward to these 4 months every year and this life changing experience is not far out of your reach. If living in a National Geographic movie while saving critically endangered monk seals sound like a fun job for you, then connect with the HMSRP. The deployment season’s right around the corner and they’re looking for you. Consider becoming a part of the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program, contact them at their Facebook page and apply for an experience of a lifetime. Search: Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program.
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SARA WAKITA By Kyveli Diener
Takayuki Wakita has been called the most respected Japanese surfer in all of Hawaii, a title he earned by charging every wave that came his way for nearly 30 years. His reward wasn’t only respect and deep barrels - a takeoff spot between Backdoor and Off the Wall was affectionately dubbed Wakita’s. But even the worst of wipeouts couldn’t have prepared him for what happened in 2011. A massive earthquake and tsunami struck Wakita’s native land, where he was still living part time with his wife and two children. When the resulting damage left a Fukushima nuclear plant leaking radiation into the ocean, Wakita decided to bring his family to Oahu’s North Shore full-time so his kid’s burgeoning surf talents could be honed in radiation-free waters. This turned out to be a great call, because in 2016 - a year that saw big wave charger Takayuki back in the Eddie Aikau Invitational - his son Taichi, 17, earned the Rookie of the Year title in the Japan Pro Surfing Association, and his 14-year-old daughter Sara, the youngest professional surfer in Japan, made 5 finals in regional WSL Junior and Qualifying Series contests. Sara surfs under the Japanese flag, but her fluid cutbacks, mellow personality, and humble respect for everyone around her are indicative of her Hawaiian upbringing with a close-knit family of hardworking legends (and, according to Mason Ho, “Sara surfs just like my sister!”).
What do you remember about the 2011 earthquake that led your Dad to move the family here full-time, Sara? I was still going to school in Japan when the earthquake happened. I was in class when it happened. It was just so scary and everyone was crying and stuff. I was only maybe in 2nd grade. What was it like for you when you first moved here permanently? I had been coming here since pre-school half-time, so it was pretty regular for me. I’ve been living in Hawaii most of my lifetime and I think of myself as representing Hawaii sometimes, but having a Japanese passport won’t let me go to ISA or WJC from Hawaii. When people ask me which I represent I’m not sure either, but I’m representing Japan in order to get to the world. Do you remember your very first wave? The first time I remember it was my Dad putting myself on the top of the Waimea gun around age 3 and going at Castles, Malaekahana Beach. I was so scared I wouldn’t let go of the board. It was big for me. You’ve been competing a lot in Hawaii for years with HSA, but did you also compete in Japan?
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I didn’t really do contests in Japan. I started here for the Menehune contest and then I ended up doing HSAs. When was that? I was splitting my time — my first contest was, I think, 7 years old. I got sixth place and I won a surfboard in the raffle. I didn’t really like surfing up until that contest. Why didn’t you like surfing at that time? My Dad is a big wave surfer, so he doesn’t really know what’s small and what’s big for me. He would push me into waves that were super big for me, but like super small for him, and I would get really scared and didn’t really like surfing, but then my friends started contest surfing. What’s it like growing up a Wakita here on the North Shore? My Dad’s really good friends with everyone who surfs at Pipe, so he introduces me. I’ve met a lot of good guys there, so that’s probably the most good thing to being a Wakita. But he’s also a big wave surfer, so everyone’s like, “Oh, if you’re a Wakita you
can charge.” I don’t really like surfing big waves, but I try. I’ll go to Sunset or Haleiwa. What are some of the lessons you got from your Dad or anyone else that you use a lot, for surfing or for life? When I was really small, I entered the Makaha contest, the Menehune. I got really scared in the first heat, and then Carissa Moore was signing the posters and she wrote “Never give up, live your dreams.” That was right after my first heat, and then I won that contest. I was maybe 8. Who are your sponsors? Volcom, Blue EcoSystem, Tokoro, Handy, Dove wetsuits, FCS, Nixon, North Shore Surf Shop, and Go Pro. My Dad was sponsored by Dove, so that wasn’t really my first one but it came down to me. FCS was my first one when I was maybe 12. Final words for the Freesurf audience? Everything starts with a dream, because if you don’t dream where you want to be then you can’t see yourself being there.
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ISAIAH BRILEY By Cash Lambert
When we asked Guest Editors Mason and Burger who they would like to feature in the Grom Report, Mason answered without hesitation: “Isaiah Briley. Kid is nuts, people don’t even know. I went to Indonesia and cruised with him last summer. The kid’s gnarly. He charges.” “He’s going to be the next Pipe guy,” Burger chimed in. “Yeah, he has just a super good style for how young he is and he’s getting better quicker than anyone else I’ve seen,” Mason continued. “He’s got respect and he’s got the blood.” Weeks later, we met up with the 14-year-old at his classroom, which isn’t inside of a school. Instead, it’s a computer in the family house. “I’m working on this class called Digital Arts,” Isaiah said.
“It’s about photography and photo editing. Once I finish with school work I can go surf and hang out with my friends. But if I don’t do school first, I can’t surf. It’s that simple. Want to see my boards?”
was a skater back then, I wasn't into surfing that much so I just wanted to skate. Eventually I got more into surfing.
With that, Isaiah pulled out two fresh black and stickered up surfboards, thanks to Bret Boards, and said that he planned on surfing in the afternoon. We quickly asked him his earliest surfing memories, when he realized his Dad’s talents and well known history at Pipeline, and why he focuses on freesurfing, so that the grom could finish his school work and get in the water before the forecasted swell dropped.
It was at the Menehune Classic, I was 7 years old. I did the Kokua division, and I just went straight on a wave. I was holding up my trophy, just stoked.
What’s your earliest surfing memory, Isaiah? My Dad took me out to Chuns, I was 5 or 6 years old. I caught a couple waves, just cruising. I
What was your first surfing competition like?
How did it grow from there? As I got older, my Dad took me on trips to Bali and Tahiti and Fiji and every time I went, I wanted to surf. Every trip, that hunger got better and better and I wanted to surf more and more. Tell us some of your favorite memories from the trips. I was 9 when we went to Bali, and I got a couple scars from
surfing there. My Dad pushed me into a solid 4-foot wave, and I was in the barrel, but I didn’t take the high line and I drifted into the lip and it smashed me and took me straight into the reef. When I was in Fiji, I remember getting licked by a solid set at Cloudbreak, and getting some good waves too. In Tahiti, I landed my first air reverse, I was 11 then. The whole trip I was saying ‘I landed my first one, I’m so gnarly’ and my Dad said ‘yeah grom you’re not that gnarly, you still have a ways to go’...I went to California and did the whole contest scene, but I wasn't that into it. I went back to Tahiti surfed perfect waves and barrels, went to Bali again. I surfed Desert Point, and there were perfect barrels. So you’re focusing on freesurfing rather than competition? I don't compete a lot, my Dad
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didn’t like competing but he said if I want to do it I can. I like freesurfing more, making videos and going on surf trips. Because other kids are surfing Huntington when I’m surfing Lakey Peak or Teahupoo. I can either be at a contest or on a surf trip. My goals are to go on more surf trips and get good clips and make a sick edit for my sponsors: Rip Curl, Oakley, DaKine, Sticky Bumps Wax, Bret boards, Shade Sunscreen and Cobian Footwear. Mason and Burger are the Guest Editors for this issue, and they wanted to feature you in this Grom Report. What’s it like to have them as idols? They’re classic. I look up to them, Mason is my favorite surfer, Burger is the funniest person I know. They both surf really good. I hung out with Mason all summer in Desert Point, he’s a good role model. He’s super cool to all the kids. Same as Burger, he’s so funny. Is Mason your favorite surfer? Yeah, because his surfing style is so different. He has a unique style and he has fun. He’s cool to hang out with and a good role model to me. What is it like surfing with your Dad?
Everytime I surf with my Dad he wants me to have fun. When he sees me do a turn and something is out of place, he says ‘try this’ and it's different but it’s better and it helps. The other day at Rockies I was waiting for a wave for like 20 minutes and then a wave came and he dropped in on his 9’6”, did a huge bottom turn, got barreled all the way across and did a huge carve and I was thinking ‘are you kidding me?’ Because I was going to go on that wave. But I was stoked for him, he was so happy. When did you realize that he was a renowned surfer? When I was younger I didn't have a clue. When I was 10, I walked into the house and Mick Fanning, Freddy Patacchia and Kelly Slater were watching football with my Dad and I freaked out and said what are you guys doing here and they told me and I said really? He’s not a pro surfer. And then he told me that he was. I didn’t even know. Anything you’re fine-tuning within your repertoire? Better style. Being more powerful with my turns and rail game, being able to push my tail as hard as I can. That’s my future and what I’m trying to work on.
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Malia Manuel started off the year in blazing fashion in March by winning the 2017 Australian Open of Surfing at Manly in some of the best conditions the event has seen in its history. Manly tuned it on for the second WSL Qualifying Series (QS) 6,000 event of the year with clean 2-to-3 foot waves for finals day. “I’m so happy I’m not the bridesmaid today,” Manuel said. “I think when you return to an event that you have finished runnerup at you can really put a lot of pressure on yourself to perform. I didn’t want to do that and took a relaxed approach, which seemed to work. It was awesome to surf heats with all of the CT women and has got me super pumped for Snapper.” John Florence was recently presented with a special award in recognition of his record-setting professional surfing performance in 2016. The Pono Award recognizes John’s winning three of professional surfing’s most prestigious titles - all in a single year: the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau, the World Surf League World Tour Championship and the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. The Pono Award was presented to John Florence on behalf of the North Shore community in which he grew up and also on behalf of the people of the Nation of Hawai’i, Ke Aupuni o Hawai’i, The Hawaiian Kingdom. The award is a 3 by 3 foot, koa framed, archival poster of John Florence smiling and holding up the Hawaiian National Flag (hae Hawai`i) in victory just after he learned that he had won the 2016 WSL World Surfing Tour Championship Title on October 25th, 2016, while competing in Peniche, Portugal. The picture is flanked by a picture of John John as a 10 year old North Shore grom and as John Florence, pro surfer and the WSL 2016 World Surfing Tour Champion. In February, Vans, the original action sports and one of the largest youth culture brands in the world, announced the release of its global campaign, This Is Off The Wall. Following up on Vans’ 50th anniversary series, which welcomed newcomers to the brand’s rich heritage and thanked decades of loyalists, the 2017 campaign focuses on creative expression, the core of Vans’ “Off The Wall” culture. Visit Vans.com for more information. The World Surf League (WSL) announced a partnership with Visa as the official payment partner of the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast, the first stop on the 2017 WSL Championship Tour (CT). “We are thrilled to welcome Visa, one of the most iconic brands in the world, to the WSL partner family,” said Mark Noonan, Chief Commercial Officer at WSL. “We look forward to working with them to showcase their innovative payment technologies to our fans at the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast and those watching the live global broadcast.”
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L A S T L O O K Burger calls Mason “the most interesting surfer in the world,” and it’s easy to understand why: paddling into massive Waimea Bay closeouts? Check. Cross step floaters? Check. Airs out of necessity for survival, above dry rock, as seen here? Check. Not even Burger knows what Mason is going to do next, and that’s why the surf community has adopted Burger’s opinion as its own. Photos: Pete Frieden