NORTH SHORE WEEK IN REVIEW

posted by / News / November 25, 2003

WHO ARRIVED: Ola Eleogram, Peter Mendia, Otto Flores, Damien Hobgood, Shea Lopez, Cory Lopez, Joel Parkinson, Phil MacDonald, the whole rest of the ‘CT who wasn’t already there and anyone smart enough to postpone their trip to the beginning of Haleiwa.

WHO LEFT: You kidding? How can anyone leave? Nobody really caught any waves yet. Of course some guys have prior engagements — Travis Logie did bail back to South Africa to surf a tourney — and others simply need a change of pace, like Bobby Martinez, who said adios the second his ‘CT hopes went sour.

PERFORMANCES: “You know it’s bad when Monster Mush has been the call.” So said Freddy Pattachia last Monday, reminiscing about some epically small days filled with big names like Mark Occhilupo, Pancho Sullivan and Love Hodel. Little did anyone know it could actually get worse. Instead of just being tiny, it got tiny and windy. Then it got big and windy and from the wrong direction, as a 20-foot north northeast swell slammed into Oahu’s East Side. How big was it? Parts of the Kam Highway were closed due to washover, forcing Garret McNamara to backdoor his way to tow-in at 15-foot Sandy Beach on Friday with Dave Kalama. Meanwhile the rest of the North Shore looked like one big rip current, and a weak, warbly left — that’s right, a left — worked it’s way into Haleiwa to run the contest before it slowly cleaned up and dropped. Come the 23rd, spots like Off the Wall and Rockies were a more manageable 4- to 6-foot, occasionally bigger, but still not much to talk about. In fact, queried as to his morning session late Sunday afternoon, Aamion Goodwin condensed the chaos to one single word: “Bad.” Still, when you got the best surfers in the world on hand, bad waves can produce something surprisingly good. And the best thing it is you can pinpoint the memorable rides, almost to the minute.

- Monday, 3:14 pm: Josh Kerr busts a three-foot 360 air at two-foot Off the Wall, while Gabe Kling lacerates a few shore-lappers himself.

-Tuesday, 12:06: Brian Toth squeezes in a pigdog barrel on a poodle-sized wave.

-Wednesday, 4:20, Andy Irons paddles out at out-of-control Insanities and gets smoked all the way down to Rockpile where, according to photog Chris {{{Van}}} Lennep, he receives “a good massage.”

-Thursday, 11:34 am: Jamie O’Brien goes out for a half-hour rinse in six-foot and scores escapes a nasty barrel with open arms.

-Come Sunday, the swell finally begins to restrain itself and, mesmerized by light winds and lighted skies, a rabid crew of surfers and photogs flocked the marquis stretch between Backdoor and Off-the-Wall. Over the course of the day, Mick Fanning nails a radically long barrel and Timmy Reyes, Rusty Long and Mark Healey manhandle some good’uns; meanwhile, Shane Herrington breaks two boards and Roy Powers attempts to break someone’s face for running him over.

Otherwise, because of the sweeping conditions, the bulk of the action was contained to the {{{Vans}}} Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa since it was the only surfable spot from Wednesday to Saturday, even if it was mostly a three-foot, dyslexic left with schizophrenic tendencies. As reported this week, madman Troy Brooks took the trophy, but here’s a rundown of who else got crazy in the craziness.

-Hawaii’s own Fred Patacchia, Brian Pacheco, Pancho Sullivan, Joel Centeio and Jesse Merle-Jones went down swinging in the Round of 32, with Merle-Jones’ lighting frontside attack setting the pace.

-Zane Harrison showed deadly form despite surfing his first heat in 15 months due to a pelvis injury. Australian Kirk Flintoff wowed the crowd by busting a big reverse in almost every heat he surfed. And Trent Munro showed why he’s one three WQS events this year: we ain’t seen a backside so beefy or polished since Sir Mix-A-Lot was on MTV.

-Who’s Eric Rebiere? Well, if nothing else, he’s a French dude with one helluva cuttie, and the ability to connect sections with carving 360, as proven in one high-risk heat. You’ll learn more about this poisonous frog as he heads on the WCT next year.

-Andy, Andy, Andy. What a shame the amazing Mr. Irons melted down in the semis; his early rounds showed a mack-truck of slice-and-dice momentum matched by no one, except maybe . ..

-Slater. We’ve seen the alien and the rumors are true: he’s on another level. In fact, we cant’ even describe what the seven . .. er, we mean six-time champ does as surfing anymore. He’s officially slatering. Maybe one day our grandkids will too.

-Speaking of KS, his quarter clash with age-old foe Shane Beschen proved remarkable, but not for the reasons we expected. It was setting up for another back-and-forth battle until Shane lost his board boosting an air with six-minutes left. Shane’s fate looked sealed as his board bounced within thirty feet of shore until he flexed his heroic skills as competitor and waterman, bodysurfing a weak roller all the way in from the outside and paddling back out for a last-ditch attempt. They should’ve just given him the score for his prone performance alone.

NIGHTLIFE: Take your pick: Breakers’ regular Thursday night shindig kicked off the festivities, drawing the ousted competitors to drown their sorrows. Friday’s Roxy Pro wrap party turned Turtle Bay into Chick City, prompting one female attendee to comment, “There was so much estrogen in that room, I think I just started my period.” The Vans Hawaiian Pro official shindig returned to Breakers Saturday, drawing some of the mature surfers and industry crowd, while Kalani Chapman’s house party was more of a youthful, local affair. But Troy Brooks proved he is definitely the endurance champion in and out of the water when his victory celebration went two full days, migrating from the Quik House to the Globe house by Monday. Those who stuck around got to witness the grand prize: Beau Emerton in a bikini.

CRAZY FRICKEN ANECDOTE: How many photogs does it take to capture a surfer? We may never know. Despite the bulk of lenses lining the beach, Kelly Slater managed to paddle out at Backdoor, snag a bomb, get barreled twice all the way through Off the Wall, and run back up the beach without a single snapshot to prove it. And you thought Mick Fanning was fast. Matt Walker

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