‘Green Eye’

Gary Kewley
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Friday - April 01, 2005
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Howzit, surfers and beachgoers?!

Megan Abubo shows her power and
finesse in the SPC Fruit Pro Australia
and she’s going for a title

Wave No. 1 … Let’s kick it off with the World Tour … 2005 began “Down Under” early March. The guy who won the first event, the Quiksilver Pro, is considered the fastest surfer on da planet … He’s Mick Fanning, one of Australia’s most likely to win a world title! Our own current World Champ Andy Irons is tied for fifth with Kelly Slater … and with 11 more contests anything — I mean anything — can happen … and usually does in this sport of kings! … On the women’s side, Hawaii’s Megan Abubo is No. 1 after two events … Check out her power and finesse. A title is what she wants.

Wave No. 2 … Why isn’t a sunset one of the seven wonders? How many of us have sat on our boards at dusk during an evening session and looked out at the horizon in awe and wonder?! Sunsets in Hawaii are definitely one of the sweet side benefits of surfing … And so is a green flash … if you’re lucky …

You may not ever witness the elusive green flash here
in Hawaii, but beautiful sunsets are guaranteed

Hey, are you one of those who cannot see a green flash? Ever feel jealous and wonder what it is exactly? You may be surprised to learn that the elusive green flash is not “all” out there on the horizon! It’s also in your head … where your eyes sit. The seemingly simple green flash is actually quite complex. It’s science … It’s … a) astronomical refraction, plus … b) physiological eyeoptics! Equals “m” for mirage … ouch … my eyes and head hurt!

The refraction part is cool … ’cause it means that sunlight bends … and it does because of the Earth’s round horizon (light beams at sunset near the ocean are traveling farther through more atmospheric stuff than at high noon). Now this leaves the red portion of lights’ spectrum getting to our eyes — followed by yellow, then green … (Think “rainbow” here). Often green is the last color seen due to a common amount of haze in the atmosphere … though not always, that’s for sure. That’s what makes these buggahs special.

Now the eyeball part of the green flash story … At sunset your eyes are always affected by the bright red sun, even for a few seconds. It’s called “bleaching” of the red-sensitive photo pigment from the retina. This bleaching distorts color perception without your permission or you knowing it. This “loss of red” sensitivity basically leaves you with “Green Eye” (… I’m kinda kiddin’ here, but you get the idea, right? Right …)

Now what about the “mirage” part? Well, that’s what a green flash is … in simplest terms! However, green flashes are no illusion! They are as real as the eyes in your head and a beautiful Hawaiian sunset. Enjoy! But don’t stare too long!

I’ll “see” you back here next week for more fun-in-sun surf stuff! I’m GQ droppin’ in for you!

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