Giving Back

Gary Kewley
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Friday - November 24, 2006
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Mick Fanning from Australia, known as the fastest surfer in the world, rips it up at the OP Pro
Mick Fanning from Australia, known as the fastest
surfer in the world, rips it up at the OP Pro

Happy holidays, wave riders! There’s so much going on in Paradise. So much to be thankful for! I can only cover a delicious portion this Thanksgiving.

I’m writing while watching the Men’s OP Pro. Very cool! We’ll have a winner by the time you read these words ... so checkup at SURFNEWSNETWORK.COM - click on the Vans Triple Crown banners. We also give contest “status” daily by 7 a.m. sharp. You and the world will know: ON, OFF or STAND BY! Please call the SNN hotlines, too: 596-SURF and 638-RUSH.

The best surfers are here and they are soooo inspiring ... even when the surf isn’t optimal. As my column last week said, the NNE swell angle is not the best for Haleiwa. But there are currently sunshine, trades and a declining 6- to 10-foot NNE swell. The boyz are busting “airs,” carving 360s, bashing lips, and pulling off missions impossible. Their speed is several gears up from what you and I normally see - it’s incredible.

Plus, nowadays the judges are rewarding bigger, more risky moves, so you get to see more incredible performances as a result. For example, a surfer might “almost” complete an “air-reverse” (360 over the wave), but fall after landing it in the white water; he still may get a good score (say a 7 out of 10 points). Another pro may rip the same wave without falling and get the same score of 7 because of no huge, risky move. But any dude who pulls it off on one of those freakish acts will get the winning score. That’s just the way it is ... especially over the last couple years. The evolution of pro surfing states the same thing nature does: “Adapt or die!” Some youngsters might say “go high or die.” They love aerials. So do judges.

We must remember how far all these pros have come. They were all menehunes at one time - young and impressionable kids with tons of untapped potential. Those given the best support may choose to go pro. But the support has to be there for the youths to maximize their chances. For example, it didn’t hurt Pipe Master Jamie O’Brien that he lived beachfront at Ahukai with his lifeguard/surfer dad Mick! Since I lived with these two surf fanatics10 years ago, I got to see the epitome of support. Jamie could not have asked for a better circumstance or a better surf supporter than his dad. Most are neither so lucky nor so talented.

Yet how many talents are out there right now that we don’t know about? How many kids don’t know or believe they can do it? My guess is a bunch will be out at Makaha this Friday through Sunday. You’ll wanna zoom in, too ... for the 31st annual Rell Sunn Menehune Surfing Championships. Though the main goal is fun in the sun with family and friends, there’s true talent to be nurtured. Rell was all about giving back ... especially to our keiki and youth.

It’s a fitting coincidence that the second jewel of the Vans Triple Crown - the O’Neill World Cup at Sunset Beach - will be in its holding period at the same time. Our current champs may be hitting the water on the North Shore at the same time our future champs hit the water on the West Shore. You can bet that if the O’Neill World Cup is OFF for the day, some pros will head out to Rell’s event to give back. The Big Names can stoke out the youth and make a difference, even if it’s just a “howzit” or a handshake. Remember that young Westside kid with the great smile named Sunny? Ask him - Mr.

Garcia -if he had heroes - and if they helped him win the 2000 World title and six Triple Crowns!

I’ll finish with the one who said it best: “The aloha spirit is real simple. You give and you give and you give ... and you give from here (the heart), until you have nothing else to give.” - Rell Sunn.

We’ll see you at Makaha and/or at Sunset Beach. Rell’s Menehune Surfing Champ Entries are available at RELLSUNN.COM.

Also, this weekend it’s Freddy P’s movie premiere Interrogation at the Old Haleiwa Gym on Saturday night to benefit amateur surfing! Plus, the Surfrider Foundation benefit “Sipping Jet Streams” on Monday Nov. 27 at Waimea Audubon Center, and then at the O Lounge Wednesday night. Go to Surfnewsnetwork’s website for details. Mahalo for your support of these events that give back.

I’m GQ, dropping in 4 U!

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