NORTH SHORE WEEK IN REVIEW

posted by / News / December 1, 2003

WHO ARRIVED: Andy Irons (“It’s been so bad over here, I stayed on Kauai until the night before my heat.”); Keith Malloy (“I’d rather hang out in shitty surf in Hawaii than shitty surf in California”); Brock Little (“Why am I spending so much time in LA? Because the stunt life’s been good to me.”); Dino Andino (second tour of duty even though he’s out with a shoulder injury); Bethany Hamilton (who’s looking to tow in with Pancho Sullivan or Layne Beachley); John Shimooka (Quiksilver’s smooth-talking Hawaiian Australian resident is back); Gary “Kong” Elkerton (You thought he was good in Mad Wax? You should see him now at {{{Rocky}}} Rights.); Rob Machado (second tour of duty, looking primed for the Pipe Trials); Taylor Steele (campaigning for Campaign and planning his next Big Deal).

WHO LEFT: Bruce Irons (Went home for Thanksgiving dinner, missed his flight the following morning and missed the Rip Curl Cup Trials); Benji Weatherley (back to California for week or so); Dustin Barca (to Kauai and back again for turkey and mashed poi); Keoni Watson (off to California for a Billabong sales meeting); Brock Little (“When Hollywood calls, I gotta answer.”); Brett Simpson (see “Crazy Fricken’ Anecdote”).

PERFORMANCES: Where do we start? After two weeks of either lost-cause flatness or victory at sea, this past week at least made the surfers happy (most photographers are still weeping in their Starbuck’s). Sure, it hasn’t been classic conditions at the classic spots, but a number of noteworthy sessions went down, sessions laced with superlatives:

Funnest: Monday, Nov. 24, Off the Wall. Sunny California comes to Off the Wall. Head high, north swell, glassy and peaks littering the beach had everyone with a board or lens scrambling into position. When the day finished and a ball-rashed Mark Healey limped back along the bike path, photographers could at least call home and say they shot their first roll. Or ten. Shane Dorian’s four-hour marathon stole the majority of those images, followed by Jamie O’Brien’s helicopters, Fanning’s speed slashes and Taj Burrow’s warp arcs.

Stealthiest: Monday, Nov. 24., Censored. Even though the entire North Shore thought they were being sneaky when they headed over to the East Side, they quickly found out they weren’t the only ones jetting beyond Kahuku (one day had as many as 30 guys out at the normally empty [CENSORED]. No, the real under-the-radar award goes to Luke Egan, who headed west past Haleiwa when everyone else went East. “Nobody would come with me,” he said. “So I came by myself.” There, he surfed bowling, overhead lefts for hours with only three guys out. And he didn’t just surf them; he annihilated them, busting out total-rotation airs, in-the-hook reverses and full-metal carves. “No one tells, no one knows,” he said.

Most Dangerous: Tues, Nov. 25, Log Cabins. “Log Cabins is not a surf spot.” So says Taylor Knox and a good portion of the rest of the North Shore. But on this morning, you wouldn’t have known it. Solid, north/northeast swell marched straight into that shifty, landmine-riddled zone just east of Rockpile, creating the occasional open cavern too wide to resist. Fearless ledge artists Kieren Perrow, Brendan Margieson, Mikala Jones, Jake Paterson and about a dozen others were on it, with Margieson claiming he got the “hardest-spitting barrel of his life.” Despite the allure, other noteworthy chargers weren’t afraid to say they sat back and watched. “Yeah, I checked it,” said Jesse Merle Jones. “But I know I would have hurt myself if I would have went out.”

{{{Smart}}} move, because yesterday (Nov. 30), during a similar swell, a 22-year-old Argentinian bodyboarder drowned at the break. Aussie pro Phil MacDonald was the first to get to him. “I saw the wave,” he said, still shaken up. “He straightened out on this big right and took it on the head. I saw his bodyboard floating after that, and I thought he just lost it. Then I saw everyone waving on the beach, so I paddled over there and found him attached.

“His eyes were rolled back, there was stuff coming out of his nose and he had a big abrasion on the side of this neck. He clearly hit a rock straight off and got knocked out. We tried to revive him on the beach, but it was too late.”

Like Taylor said, “Log Cabins is not a surf spot.”

Heaviest: Friday, Nov. 28, Laniakea. When there’s a 10- to 12-foot-plus North swell and a contest on at Sunset, there’s only one other option: Laniakea. Only this time, there were few takers. Why? Because it was heavy, a whole different place from the weekend funboard spot it’s become. “Are you kind of scared out here?” asked Chris Malloy to his brother Keith, Shane Dorian and Kelly Slater, all clearly shocked by the relentless cleanup sets, the 12-knot rip going out to sea and the scaffolding-size barrels freight-training across the Second Bowl. Slater broke his board and Dorian called it the “worst beatings he’s gotten in years,” but they didn’t give up until they got in a few digs of their own. Dorian in particular’s “10-foot, huge Backdoor-like double barrel” might go down as one of the best rides ever at Lanis.

Weirdest: Sunday, Nov. 30, Gums, Backdoor, Off the Wall. “Check it out! It’s Burleigh Heads!” Mick Fanning said this as he darted down the beach at first light, amping to be the first one out in the strange, tea-colored barrels of the point-like sandbar. Fanning and Parko’s Superbank experience certainly showed, as they soul-arched through double and triple barrels that stretched from “The O’Neill house all the way to the Oakley house.” (For those of you don’t know your team houses, it’s the equivalent of 150 yards.) Andy proved he knows how to surf a pointbreak, too, as he raced through a handful of foamy, sand-sucking tunnels of his own. The verdict from Hawaii charger Dustin Barca? “The best sandbar I’ve ever seen out here.”

Inspiringest: Great performances weren’t just in the water this week. Take the annual Todd Chesser Thanksiving Memorial event, held at “The Hill House.” This year, Jeannie Chesser and the Hill family — including Mom Cory, Senior, Racquel and MC Ronald — outdid themselves, with a great surf contest (won by Indo surfer Dede Suriyana over a twin-finned and Guinness-goggled Kelly Slater), great food (can’t beat that Hill House turkey) and great words. “There’s not a bad person here tonight,” said Senior. “If you’re bad, Chesser would have chased you out a long time ago. And we’ve always left our door open for you guys, for you to sleep, eat and track sand in the house.”

Over on the Westside, Rell’s daughter, Jann Carrera, kept Auntie’s spirit alive with the 28th annual Rell Sunn Menehune contest. One of the sportsmanship awards went to a well-deserving Yohan Hedeman (son of Hans Hedeman). Yohan was watching a younger division heat on Sunday when one of the kids lost his board all the way to the beach. Yohan ran down to the shorebreak, got the board to the kid, and sent him on his way back out. “My mom always encouraged that kind of stuff,” said Jann, “For the kids to help each other out when they need it. And we want to reward that when we see it.”

NIGHTLIFE: When a homebody goes out five nights in a row, you know it’s prime time on the North Shore. Here’s just a few highlights from this week’s dawn-patrol killers:

The Rip Curl Windows Premiere: Nov. 26, Haleiwa Joe’s. Hype up a new Jon Frank film, offer some discounted Foster’s, and you know people will come. That was the case this night, when the anticipated film “Windows” premiered at Joe’s. The movie itself was solid: crazy Oz desert footage of Kieren Perrow, Fanning at home on the Gold Coast and spectacular angles and moods from the always innovative Frank. At the party, Perrow and Hedgey celebrated their parts with a few rounds of Foster’s, while Taylor Knox impressed the ladies with his “faux hawk.” (think: Mohawk without the clippers) It’s always a good night when travel-animal photog Ted Grambeau is the last man standing.

Aamion Goodwin’s Birthday: Aamion’s normally a mellow guy, but you only turn 25 once. And what better occasion for neighbor/photog Daren Crawford to bust out his Bluenote records and let the good times spin? Needless to say, Healey, Goodwin, the Malloys and others didn’t see the sunrise the next morning.

LeiLei’s: Any night. You can always rely on Haleiwa Joe’s for a good night of star-tracking, but the stars already know this. So, when they want to get away, they go to Leileis (by the Turtle Bay). There, you’re bound to see a Parko, an Occy or a Burrow ordering the steak, or a Slater, Dorian or Knox on the seared ahi program. But please, no bothering the animals while they’re feeding.

The Rip Curl/ Bethany Hamilton Fundraiser: Waimea Falls Park, Saturday, Nov. 29. Shark-attack victim Bethany Hamilton is the strongest 13-year-old girl alive, and the world knows it. Less than two months after a 13-foot tiger shark severed her left arm, she was already back in the water, walking the nose on a longboard. She was also at the Rip Curl Cup Trials, handing out the trophies and beaming with pride. It’s no surprise, then, that her Saturday night fundraiser event saw one of the biggest turnouts in North Shore history. Nine hundred people descended the pavilion at Waimea Falls Park, there to participate in the auction, watch Ruben Tejada make his modeling debut in the strange-but-fun fashion show and — above all else — give Bethany a big, heartfelt hug. Organizers raised thousands of dollars for Bethany’s ongoing therapy, with the big-ticket item — a VIP booth during a Lakers game at Staples center — going for $2300 to local Sam Fisher.

CRAZY FRICKEN’ ANECDOTE: And finally, we’ve heard of a lot of strange injuries on the North Shore, but none stranger than Huntington ripper Brett Simpson’s last weekend. Running out for a surf at sunset, he stepped on a pine needle that went all the way…to the bone? Apparently so. And they’re poisonous, too, which forced him to fly back to California for some treatment. Which tells us only one thing: no matter how big or small or where you go, there’s always danger afoot on the North Shore.Evan Slater

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