Chopu Challenge

Gary Kewley
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Friday - May 12, 2006
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Former event winner Keala Kennelly of Kauai placed second behind reigning ASP world champion and defending Billabong Pro champion Chelsea Georgeson of Australia in round one of the Billabong Pro Tahiti in Teahupoo May 8
Former event winner Keala Kennelly of Kauai placed
second behind reigning ASP world champion and
defending Billabong Pro champion Chelsea
Georgeson of Australia in round one of the
Billabong Pro Tahiti in Teahupoo May 8

Aloha, surfers and beach-goers!

So far sooooo good for spring flings in the surf. All shores have offered up some medium-size fun for several weeks. Here’s a little look back for you surf history buffs. On Monday (4/24) we had a 6-foot NNW swell, and a couple days later a 5-foot SSE swell. Then on Saturday (4/29) we got another 5-foot NNW, and a really good 5-foot SSW on May 3. This past Monday we rode up to 6 feet in the country. Realize ... we get plenty of quality in-between time too, as swells slowly drop off. And this isn’t the end of the good record! As I write Monday (May 8) we can be counting on a small “bump” in the country Thursday. Plus some 3-foot Southern comfort from Friday through Mother’s Day weekend.

OK ... let’s roll to the present. The Fosters ASP World Tour began again this week in Tahiti at the notorious Teahupoo on the main island of Papaetee. This is the third event of the 2006 season. The women got off to their two-day event last Monday and the men should be well on the way into their four days of dangerous competition. Log on to SURFNEWSNETWORK.COM for up-to-the-minute information.

When it comes to danger in the Sport of Kings, there are two “left-handers” which come to every surfer’s mind - Pipeline and Teahupoo (pronounced CHO-pu). Indeed, as the saying goes “The ultimate measure a man (and woman) is where he (and she) stands in times of challenge.” Each year the pros challenge Mother Nature in a desperate dance to win. Only here at Chopu it seems at times it’s a desperate attempt to survive. Many say it’s the heaviest left tube in the world. There’s a huge shelf that just pops up from the deep open ocean on this outerlying reef pass - the wave heaves its weight like a 10-ton guillotine upon the shallow reef. This legendary wave was once thought to be unsurfable. Today, they definitely surf it. They blow minds on it. Once you witness it, you’ll say there’s nothing like it.

Unlike Pipe, which is usually maxed out at 12 feet, Chopu will actually get more hollow and keep its form even up to 20 feet! The most amazing characteristic is the thickness. The beast is as fat as it is tall. I will not apologize when I say that what some surfers are doing out there is ridiculous. Laird Hamilton rode the “heaviest wave of all time,” and dare I say of his entire life out there ... and this man defines the word “heavy.” Last year Shane Dorian rode what many consider one of the best, death-defying tube rides of all time ... he was even deeper than Laird - a freakish accomplishment. These are HUGE volume waves which have no “back” to them! The whole ocean just unloads straight over onto the reef. You’d think they’d feel it in Africa on the other side of the planet!

Stop me from going on. Just be ready for an amazing contest.

Speaking of contests ... The 21st annual Local Motion Surf Into Summer will get under way Memorial Day weekend, May 27-29! The big news is that it will be at Sandy Beach instead of Ala Moana Bowls. The reason, of course, is the water-quality issue in the Ala Wai Canal following March’s long rains and sewage spill. Bowls may still have questionable levels of potentially harmful bacteria. My buddy Mitch McEwen, Local Motion’s marketing director, got together with his major sponsors and agreed - it’s not worth the risk. Good call. Hey, Sandys will go off! It’s going to be a surf-fest-contest the likes which have not been seen since the Gotcha Pro days of the late 1980s. Very cool! I can’t wait! And neither can the more than 300 competitors. I’d like to say mahalo to O’Neill Wetsuits for their support. The event is Hawaii’s largest amateur surf contest and is the official kickoff of the summer season. 596-SURF and 638-RUSH will be on hand to cover it all. You must get your entry form in now! Go to LOCALMOTIONHAWAII.COM.

That’s it for me this week ... I’ll see you back here and in the lineup!

And, one more very important thing ... Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

GQ dropping in 4 U!

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