Saturday afternoon, we made the short trek down to Lower Trestles to see the finals of the Boost Mobile Pro. We got there with just about 20 minutes to spare before Kelly Slater took on Pancho Sullivan in the finals. Prior to the finals going off the conditions were amazing, but once the finals started Trestles became stingy. It produced a few great waves, which Slater capitalized on, in the midst of inconsistency. Anyway, Slater took the final convincingly - collecting his ASP record setting 34th victory. Slater is an eight time champion for a reason - the guy is unbelievable.
It was pretty amazing to see a finals of an WTC event in person. Video footage does not do it justice. Josh and I just kept talking about the speed and power of the moves these guys were pulling in the water. We also talked about the atmosphere of the event. I don't know of too many sports outside of surfing where the average person can get so close to the pros.
Hence the photo above. If you click on it, you'll see yours truly in the red hat, with Josh standing in front of me with a black hat on. When Slater came out of the water, we were close enough to pat him on the back. Josh was so stoked...
Desperately needing a bit of a break, I spent the majority of the morning at the Boost Mobile Pro being held at Lower Trestles. After a few days off, due to poor conditions, round two kicked off this morning, with the earlier heats boasting some pretty good match-ups.
Got the opportunity to hang with the crew from Mada to watch their newly inked team rider, Bede Durbidge, absolutely manhandle tour rookie Luke Munro. Durbidge was the 2006 Boost Mobile Pro Champion and, from the looks of his heat this morning, is going to be tough this year. Also got to see one of my personal favorites, Bobby Martinez defeat Gabe Kling .. Martinez looked good, real good this morning.
Round three tomorrow, with at least one classic match-up - Kelly Slater vs. Rob Machado.
You can keep up with everything Boost Mobile Pro here, including a live webcast of the event.
The Orange County Register recently ran a contest for the best beach photos. This last week they posted the best 85 submissions for people to enjoy. Some of the photo are just amazing. So if you're a SoCal transplant, or just love the beach... check them out.
As for the winners of the contest...
[Surfer flying high, above the waves. Photo by Chris Owen of San Clemente]
[Soaring dolphin caught off Newport the weekend of July 7. Photo by William Nelson of San Clemente]
So on Saturday, before heading home from Beach Camp, we swung through Santa Barbara to pay homage at the mecca, the holy of holies of surfboards - Channel Island Surfboards. Located on a side street in the industrial center of Santa Barbara, CI is home to perhaps the greatest surfboards and shaper, Al Merrick. I can't confirm this, but I believe that CI has more world championships than any other board manufacturer - at least in the last 20 years. [Dudley would know for sure... he's a walking encyclopedia of surfing.]
Anyway, it was sweet to be in the shop, see the rows and rows of boards, pick up a few CI clothing items, and share a sweet moment with my daughters. Madi was bummed because Dad didn't spring for a board for her. Not until Dad gets one, okay...
From the "You Gotta Be Kidding Me" File comes this photo of Greg Long, of San Clemente, who won the Biggest Wave Award at the 2007 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards. This shot was taken in July 2006 at Dungeons in South Africa and measured a record 65 feet. You can read more here.
[YET ANOTHER DISCLAIMER: Yes, the photo is one of those generic stock photos of Pipeline. This is due to the fact that we bolted so quickly to get to the North Shore that none of us remembered to bring along a camera. I know. I know. Lame.]
So we ventured northward to take in the sight of what is perhaps the Mecca of all surfing - Pipeline. And, ah, yea... it was as advertised. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. As we were nearing the Mecca, we passed Pupukea Beach Park and got a small taste of what was to come. There was a nice, strong offshore with 6-8 footers. As we approached the tiny parking lot at 'Ehukai Beach Park, it was overflowing with cars and folks adding one last layer of wax - always a good sign! We found a spot to park and headed onto the beach.
It was flat out amazing. I was speechless. Up and down the stretch of beach there were a few healthy breaks going off - perhaps 10-12 footers, maybe better. I talked with a local guy who was just coming in, asking him for a tour of the breaks. He pointed out which break was Pipe [which ironically was the smallest that day]. Others - 'Ehukai, Gas Chambers, and Rocky Point - were all in classic winter form. I think we sat there for about the next hour, completely messmerized by the force of the ocean. We watched as folks headed out - some more confident than others. This stretch of ocean was something that definitely demanded a healthy respect. Over the next hour or so we saw some of the most amazing rides [not to mention some colossal thrashings]. There's definitely a reason some of the best surfers in the world come from Hawaii!
As we left, you felt like you'd seen something unique - something truly special in creation. I guess there's a good reason why this is considered the Mecca...
[Disclaimer - Judging by the comments from my last post, as well as the messages I received on my cell, I am fully aware that this post will inspire no sympathy whatsoever among the readership!]
After the six hour flight, I made it to Honolulu and a pretty good downpour. The forecast [according to the good people at weather.com] was 60-70% chance of rain through the week. Well, last night that proved accurate. It absolutely poured.
With this trip I've been to Hawaii six times - once to Maui, twice to Kauai, and [now] three times to O'ahu. For me, Hawaii has always been a special place - a place where I can let go, breathe, and recalibrate my soul. Perhaps that's why I'm so drawn here.
I'm pretty much an outer island kind of guy. I love the unspoiled beauty of Kauai, as well as the mixture of nature and tourism on Maui. I've never been too big on Waikiki though - it's kind of like a tourist Mecca by the water. Lots of people. Lots of high-rise buildings. Lots of way upscale shopping. So if you're looking at coming to Hawaii, O’ahu has some great things to offer [Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, North Shore, etc...], just be sure you get some time on Maui or Kauai - you won't regret it.
That being said, the morning was great. The sun was shining [despite the reports to the contrary]. We had the breakfast buffet at Duke's and time spent the rest of the morning on Central Waikiki Beach - where they charged us something like $40 to rent two chairs and an umbrella for few hours. Geez, what a racket...
I decided that since I was here in Waikiki, in the shadow of Duke Kahanamoku, I needed to get in the water for a surf session. So I rented a board and jumped in the crowd, literally. After paddling out, which seemed like forever since the break is so far out, I found myself in the middle of a crowd. I was like the rest - all trying to catch something to show for the effort. But alas, in the end I was denied. After bobbing for a while and catching zippo, I headed back in, kinda disappointed, but still enjoying the time out there.
Now it's off to website writing... [just so you all don't think this is a vacation or something!]
Off to North Shore tomorrow to take in the legendary Waimea Bay and Pipeline. Until then... Aloha.