A perfect moment for Kelly Slater - again
Friday - March 07, 2008
Aloha, surfers and beachgoers! The beautiful ride continues through this weekend into next week. The weather and surf have been amazing. For more than two weeks we get surf galore and mostly light trades and clear, dry skies. This scenario comes from “ridges” (long areas of high pressure) on or near the Islands. The large upper air currents or jet stream has been relatively low at about 30-40 degrees latitude. Hawaii sits at near 20 degrees, or roughly 1,500 miles south. This “jet” more than 20,000 feet up steers winter storms closer to the Islands, which in turn push the high pressures down and/or farther east. The end result is softer trades or even light and variables. This is why you have clear, cool, calm mornings and afternoon sea breezes, and cloud build-up due to land heating. Surfers get their waves from these easterly tracking storms up in the north Pacific, and they also get perfect conditions. Add perfect weather to this mix. Now you’re in heaven, Hawaii style.
Of course, sometimes things aren’t so perfect, such as when one of these lows get so low we have fronts move through. But let’s milk perfection for all its worth while it’s here.
Wow, that’s my segue for the next item! If there ever was a “perfect” surfer, I’d have to say he’s happy, alive and well today. In fact, on Monday he just won the first World Tour event of 2008 Down Under ... at the Quiksilver Pro. OK, I admit there’s no such thing as a totally perfect person or surfer or anything ... but there are perfect moments that inspire our ideas of what perfection even means. Like the weather and waves, Kelly Slater had his perfect moment ... again! The most-celebrated surfer ever to set foot on a board just reset the bar. He beat the current world champ Mick Fanning at his own home break. Fanning was defending his 2007 Quik Pro victory in front of thousands of loyal, frothing Aussies on the beach at Snapper Rock in Coolangatta, Australia. I’ve never seen such a scene ... just packed like sardines. Fanning was all pump and prowess, front and center, while Slater was low-key and under the radar ...until the quarters. That’s when Kelly started talking and surfing as though somehow he knew destiny and he were working together ... again. When this man gets into that state of mind there’s a roll, and there’s no stopping him. At 36, he’s beating guys more than a decade younger who grew up under the new school he created in the early ‘90s. In fact, he beat France’s claim to fame, rookie of 2007 and No. 8 ranked Jeremy Flores - who is just 19! Do the math ... that’s a 17-year age difference. Flores was 3 years old when Slater was the top rookie of 1991. Slater won against the most competitive/talented group of top 44 surfers of all time ... again. I pray he doesn’t stop competing for years to come, though he’s been talking more about retirement. Next up is the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach. Come on, ring that bell, Kelly Slater! Ring that bell and blow our minds ... again.
The Hui O He’e Nalu (aka: Da Hui) and Glaceau Vitamin Water are proud to present the “First Annual Da Hui Waimea Bay Shorebreak Shootout” either March 8 and 9 or March 15 and 16 (weekends only and surf permitting). This amateur bodysurfing event is a first at Waimea Bay shorebreak in more than 20 years. While most North Shore bodysurfing contests are held at the challenging Pipeline, Waimea shorebreak offers bodysurfers a chance to enjoy the sport with a nice sandbar and no-reef bottom. They’ve also added a “fun-kine"division called the “Kanaka Style Rubbah-Slippah Handboard Division,” meaning that competitors must use a rubber slipper on their hand in order to compete. I’ll be on da mic for Da Hui and Bobbie Kaleikau. For more details, log onto www.dahui.com or www.surfnewsnetwork.com
This event will be in memory of our friend Bobbie Kaleikau, who passed away Feb. 18 from acute bronchial pneumonia. Bob’s funeral is now set for tomorrow, March 8, 4:30 p.m. at Ehukai Beach Park. Surf permitting (should be about 5 feet) there will be a paddle out, followed by a potluck after and services at Ehukai Beach Park. Please bring any photos you have of Bob throughout the years as his family will be in attendance and wishes to catch up on much of his history in Hawaii. Thanks to L.G. and Cullen at WRV where Bobbie worked. He shared his beautiful smile and aloha with all who passed his way. You could never meet a nicer human being.
Catch you back here and out there catching waves ... perfect!
GQ, dropping in 4 U.
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