Duke’s Ohana

Gary Kewley
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Friday - September 01, 2006
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Duke’s OceanFest was a blast for surfers of all ages
Duke’s OceanFest was a blast for surfers of all ages

Aloha, surfers and beach-goers!

What a fitting end to the month of August: the Duke’s OceanFest. It was as if Mother Ocean knew one of her most beloved sons was being paid tribute. So she blessed us with nine days of great conditions and swell. The good waves came the day it all started and left the day after it ended. Seriously, the timing was so perfect, if you looked up the word “synchronicity” in the dictionary you’d probably see a picture of Duke and his OceanFest ohana.

Being in tune with the sea and surf was natural for Duke Kahanamoku. We surfers find our own deepest and most personal joy in those moments. You lose yourself in the waves ... in the sea. Yet it’s there you find yourself ... and so much more.

I’ve listened to other gifted men of the sea - men like Fred Hemmings - who’ve shared their connection to the Duke and saltwater. Fred said it best (as he usually does): “I learned a lot

(from Duke) just by the way he did things ... and the way he saw things ... and most of all the way he appreciated those things in life that money can’t buy ... and I think that was the man’s real wealth. He knew that friendships ... being able to paddle out, catch a few waves, and enjoy the blessing of Hawaiian nature were his real wealth. That spirit is the spirit of Duke Kahanamoku. He is the embodiment of everything we know and love about Hawaii.”


This full-blooded descendant of Hawaiian royalty was the greatest waterman of the 20th century. His status as “the greatest swimmer” spanned two decades. The father of international surfing has been honored on a U.S.

postage stamp - a fitting tribute to Hawaii’s greatest citizen of the 20th century. Aloha and happy birthday, Duke! We look forward to celebrating your 117th and OceanFest 2007!

Well, the summer surf season is not over, friends. We just had a little boost this week. Then we have another this Labor Day weekend! Then we have yet another south swell the middle of next week. These are likely to be some of the final south swells. The season is lasting longer than usual so we can give thanks. The summer of 2006 was sweet, indeed.

Now for the fall season: As of this writing (Monday, Aug. 28) we see the first hint of it. Often we get swells from a more northerly angle in the country. It looks as if this may be the case about 10 days out - nothing big, we’ll have to wait a month or more for that. I’ll keep you posted here and at SURFNEWSNETWORK.COM and 638-RUSH. Get ready, we’re launching the faster, new and improved SNN website this week, with new seven-day custom tide graphs statewide, weather and surf animation forecasts and much more. Check us out - stoked!

Quick contest update: The RVCA NSSA (National Scholastic Surfing Assoc.) went “off the scale” last weekend over at Lahaina Harbor! It finished on Sunday, with 200 ambitious surfers scoring consistent overhead waves. It was as if every heat were a final. More than 20 9.0 scores were given throughout the day. Leading the pack with a perfect score was Oahu’s Carissa Moore, who busted an “air 360” during the finals, and who celebrated her birthday the same day. Nice job, Carissa, and extra-happy birthday!

Other results: Open Div. in second was Bethany Hamilton (behind Carissa); Mini-Groms: Ian Gentil; Boys: Koa Smith; Juniors: Makana Eleogram; Mens: Granger Larsen; Longboard: DK Walsh. And to all the competitors, congrats! The NSSA rocks! Now back to the books.

I’ll be back right here next week. I hope you will, too!

GQ, dropping In 4 U!

Mahalo to Jamie Ballenger(J/B) of Hawaiian Water Shots for this OceanFest shot!

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