Big wave season and a night for Jeannie

Gary Kewley
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Friday - October 19, 2007
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Jeannie Chesser and her surf for survival. See you Saturday night!
Jeannie Chesser and her surf for survival. See you Saturday night!

Aloha surfers and beachgoers! Looks like the North Pacific (NPAC) is finally coming around. The storms are intensifying and dropping farther south. This means two things: 1) higher winds making higher waves and 2) closer open ocean swells having less “decay” time ... 1 + 2 = happy surfers. In fact, we’re in the middle of several back-to-back north swells, which will keep us in the overhead range into next week! Stay waxed and ready.

It’s excellent timing for the 24th annual Xcel Pro at Sunset Beach Oct. 27-Nov. 10!

This promises to be another insane kickoff to the whole big wave and pro season on the famed North Shore. No Fear is presenting and “Surfing Live"will be going live the whole event - SNN and 596-SURF will keep you posted for onoff status and results. Kauai’s Evan Valiere will defend his title, and you’ll be defending your spot on the beach. I’ll see you there.

Next week I interview the main man of Xcel - Mr. Ed D’Ascoli. This is an “Xcellent” phase in Ed’s Xcel Wetsuits career as he recently sold to Billabong. No ... he’s not going anywhere soon. Just be here for the inside scoop next MidWeek the weekend!

Congrats to California’s Bobby Martinez for winning the Mundaka,Spain,Billabong Pro Oct. 14. He also set a record, as nobody has ever won it two years in a row. The goofy footer went from 13th to sixth place in the overall rankings ... In 2006 he finished sixth in his maiden “rookie of the year.” Looks like our sophomore will be in the top 10 again. Let’s see!

The Foster ASP World Tour extraordinaire continues Nov. 30 in Brazil ... then it’s off to Hawaii for the final Vans Triple Crown showdown. But what will the showdown be? Will we already have a world champ in Mick “White Lightning” Fanning? Or will Kelly Slater and Taj Burrow keep the chase open till the final heat at the Billabong Pipeline Masters? Will Andy Irons show the ASP Pros that a fifth Triple Crown and Pipe title are his alone? One thing is for sure - at this point only three guys have a chance at the o,verall world title: Fanning, Slater and Burrow - one American, two Aussies. Whoa ...

I had the chance to chat it up with my friend Jeannie Chesser earlier this week. She’s getting psyched for another round of chemo this week by hitting the surf first.When you’re Jeannie Chesser, that’s what you do. There’s no other option. Surfing is survival.

I started off with a few unpublishable jokes and then continued with the usual.

GQ: Jeannie, how you feeling? JC: I’m feeling a little tired right now, but I went “stand-uping’”(SUP) this morning at Bowls ... there was nobody there. I don’t go out there when it’s that big.

GQ: You must be really strong to do that ... stand-up is G-narly.

JC: Well, I’m at the top of my game right now because Wednesday, I go in for more treatment and that shoots me down ... for a couple weeks. Last time I had a cold as well and was barely able to move around.

GQ: So, is this a brand new disease?

JC: It’s not that it’s brand new ... it’s just really rare. I mean, even doctors I talk to say “oh, we studied that in school but we’ve never seen a real case of it.” (Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare and aggressive type of skin cancer that forms on or just under the skin.)

GQ: What’s the difference between this cancer and, say, melanoma?

JC: For one, they don’t know much about this cancer ... it’s just totally different. It can come back. It’s a weird alien thing. I-we don’t even know. It spread from my lymph nodes to my thigh. That part is gone now.

GQ: So it’s working, Thank God! JC: Yes, and this is my last treatment, and if they say we want to do more I’ll say no way, ‘cause this !@#$ (chemo) is killing me.

GQ: I’ve heard stories how some choose death over more chemo because it’s so brutal.

JC: Oh yeah, yeah, that’s the thing! And some people tell me that I’m doing so well! I can’t imagine someone who’s not doing well.You know, like someone older and less healthy than me ... in less shape. I came from being a fine-tuned machine and then they go and zap me.

GQ: What next?

JC: Then it’s radiation for five weeks, five days a week. Then it drops off and it’s not nearly as hard as chemo.

GQ: And keep surfing ...

JC: And keep surfing ... Jeannie’s next fundraiser is this Saturday,Oct.20.Come down to the Treetops Restaurant in Manoa Valley (inside Paradise Park) to show your support and enjoy a night of the best island music (featuring Josiah Kekoa of Ten Feet) and ono pupus galore! This is a non-alcohol celebration open to everyone, and is a great family night event! Tickets are on sale at T&C Surf: Ala Moana, Kahala, Pearlridge, Ward Centre and Windward Mall. Cost is $22 for adults and $14 for keiki and includes food, entertainment, slide show and great door prizes.

I’ve got lots more of the Jeannie Chesser interview, so please stick around for the coming weeks. She’s got so much to share with you.

GQ, dropping in 4 U!


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