A Kiwi storm kicks up Hawaii waves

Gary Kewley
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Friday - August 31, 2007
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Bonga Perkins captured the paddle division
Bonga Perkins captured the paddle division

Aloha, surfers and beachgoers, Stoked…we have waves! It’s been a long time coming, but the waves always do come. Remember what they tell you to pack nowadays when you travel - your patience. Well, surfers can use such advice; we’re an anxious bunch when there’s little to no surf. Take hardcore coffee drinkers without their morning cup or three - they’re not always fun to be around, and you’re going to hear about it. We surfers can sit on our pity pots and revel in the pain of tubular deprivation: Poor, poor me ...poor, poor pitiful me ... pour me a drink.

Not anymore, thanks to the “jet steam” down under by New Zealand.We love to see it flow right up alongside the east coast of our Kiwi friends. However, most of the time this large air flow which “steers” storms travels left to right vs. bottom to top. When it goes Zonal (west to east), the storms which create waves that pass our “swell window” too fast, not allowing for sea development towards us (the fetch). What we had was a brief period (four days) when the Jet tilted up to Hawaii and allowed a big storm to achieve a captured fetch. This is why more people are smiling in Hawaii. It’s like a big gulp of coffee or that perfect, on-time flight.

Not to say we haven’t had some fun swells to keep us wet. The Duke Foundation’s Dukes Oceanfest scored peeling surf in the 2-3-foot-plus range, which allowed high level performances the whole way through. It was an Oceanfest of the best kind: in the spirit of aloha inspired by the father of modern day and international surfing, Duke Kahanamoku. Duke’s 117th birthday was Aug. 24 and his legacy lives on in this sixth annual event. It raises funds for Hawaii’s scholar-athletes and community organizations committed to perpetuating the spirit of Duke Kahanamoku - for example, college scholarships and athletic grant programs. Though the Oceanfest is a major contributor thanks to you and so many others, one can still support the ODKF (Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation) anytime of year; just log on to DUKE-FOUNDATION.ORG ... One million mahalos for your participation.

Big congratz to all the competitors who made the event the action-packed festival it’s famous for. Former world champ long-boarder Bonga Perkins won the SUP (Stand Up Paddle) surfing category. This unique method is over 40 years old and is riding a huge wave of resurgence the past three years. Bonga used to do it as a kid in Waikiki to help the beach boys take pictures of visitors. It’s a great way to stay in shape and it does-n’t matter if the surf is small.

Another beautiful form of surfing includes tandem, and it’s in a resurgence That’s a pretty perfect script for pairs intent on competing.Winners of the category this year were from the Garden Island of Kauai: former tandem champ of 1967, Blanche Yoshida, and Waterman extraordinaire,Kalani Vierra.

Did I write 1967? That would be 40 years ago and Blanche would’ve been 14.Yes, that’s right. It’s enough to make me never complain about my age ... Wow, talk about longevity. Of course, having an athlete like Kalani helped… But, their competition was at the top of tandem talent pool; for example, Brian Keaulana and Kathy Terada who have likely more tandem titles than anyone.

Duke would have appreciated this nose ride at the Duke's Oceanfest last weekend
Duke would have appreciated this nose ride at the Duke’s Oceanfest last weekend

In the end, contest director for the tandem event, Bear Woznick, was ecstatic with the results. “All four teams were incredible,” Woznick said. “We had some older, experienced tandem surfers and some younger, really talented surfers. Just like the man lifts up the woman in tandem surfing, one generation lifts up the next and the sport goes forward.”

There’s a world tour, and one of its great proponents is the ITSA (International Tandem Surfing Association). Go to ITSATANDEM.COM for details. Mahalo to Tsunami’s Waikiki for presenting the contest.

Last wave: Surfers unite in the Hawaii Blood Bank drive Sept. 30, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Surfing is our life blood and blessing, so here’s our chance to give some back. Please log on to HAWAIIAN-SOUTHSHORE.COM to register. As Hawaiian South Shore’s way of saying mahasaying mahalo for donating blood, you will get a free T-shirt, ice cream from Tropilicious and a 20 percent off coupon for all clothing and surf accessories(no surfboards).Your one donation will save three lives. Drop in!

I’ll look forward to us hanging out here next week in MidWeek! From SURFNEWSNETWORK.COM, I’m GQ, dropping In 4 U.

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