Heat stroke in the surf

Gary Kewley
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Friday - June 08, 2007
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Photographer Jamie Ballenger will be getting more shots like this one of top amateur performances at the Burger King State Championships Thursday through Saturday at Ala Moana Bowls — notice the high-tech camera apparatus over and behind the wave

Photographer Jamie Ballenger will be getting more shots
like this one of top amateur performances at the Burger
King State Championships Thursday through Saturday
at Ala Moana Bowls — notice the high-tech camera
apparatus over and behind the wave

Aloha, surfers!

This is an exciting week in Town as a new swell creates great waves for the 45th annual Burger King Hawaii Amateur Surfing Association state championships. What sweet timing! They’ll be scoring hard, especially the first day of competition, Thursday (June 7), just as the SSW swell begins to taper. Not to worry, though, waves will slowly decline and Saturday’s finals should be epic. It’s a huge milestone for HASA - an amazing 45 years of giving our talented and stoked youths a way to excel in their favorite sport of kings. Duke Kahanamoku would be very proud. I’m also proud of Burger King coming on board to make this year the biggest and best yet - yes, I mean a “whopper” of an event! Make sure you get down to Magic Island to show support for our rippers coming from throughout the Islands. There’s more than $10,000 in cash and merchandise to go around for the top performers. Ala Moana Bowls will be on fire with Hawaii’s - and therefore the world’s - best amateurs. Watch ‘em bust the biggest moves known today ... or at least try.


With summer in swing and so many out and about in the sun and surf, it’s time to mention one particular danger: heat stroke.

Heat stroke occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature.It’s basically a severe form of hyperthermia or over-heating. The body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down - especially if a per-

son has drunk too little water. Body temperature may rise to 106 degrees F (41.1 degrees C) or higher within 10-15 minutes.

Here’s the thing: Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not given. Though some bodies can handle more heat than others, everyone has limits - don’t test it. There’s no need at all.Another thing: Being in the water can give people the sense that they’re cool - literally. But this isn’t always the case. Body exertion heats and dries up your innards, too!

Some signs of heat stroke are 1) An extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees F orally), 2) Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating), 3) Rapid, strong pulse 4), Throbbing headache, 5) Dizziness, 6) Nausea, 7) Confusion, 8) Unconsciousness.

If you see any of these signs, you may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency. Have someone call for immediate medical assistance while you begin cooling the victim by getting him or her to a shady area. Cool the victim rapidly, using whatever methods you can.

Those at greatest risk are infants and keiki up to 4 years old, folks over age 65, those who are over-weight, ill or on certain meds, and those who overexert.


I had a small bout of hyperthermia from overdoing it on Memorial Day. It was about eight

hours in the elements with a couple surf sessions and the Memorial Day Paddle Out. I also didn’t drink enough water, and I think that was the clincher. Now that I look back, how could I have been so stupid? I know about keeping hydrated. I suppose sometimes when you’re having too much fun you can forget. Water, water, water all day long ... don’t hesitate to drink it! Don’t run out of it.

Once the damage is done it’s too late, my friends. I found that out for a day and a half after I dried out my insides: Chills, fevers, body- and headaches, sick in the gut and wiped out. I was in “slow mo” mode ... and that’s an uncomfortable pace for me.

See you in the lineup (well hydrated) and back here next week in MidWeek. I’ll post Burger King state champs on SURFNEWSNETWORK.COM and keep you up to date on 596-SURF and 638-RUSH.

GQ Dropping In For U!

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