Hold Your Breath Time

Gary Kewley
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Friday - October 13, 2006
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Andy Irons advanced to the fourth round after winning this heat at the ASP tour’s stop in Mundaka, Spain, on Monday
Andy Irons advanced to the fourth round after winning
this heat at the ASP tour’s stop in Mundaka, Spain, on

Aloha, Wave Warriors!

We’re into fall, full-on, with tons of surf on tap through the weekend. Those storms we love so much are getting hotter with each passing week. I hope you’ve been scoring. We may even see some South Shore action this weekend and later next week - amazing this late in the year!

Speaking of the time of year: With big winter waves approaching, we should all be getting in better shape. You just know many surfers think about it, even if they don’t talk about it. There’s that feeling in the pit of the stomach saying: “Oh boy, here we go!” Like a roller coaster ride just before the first huge vertical drop.

When I swim after my work-outs at 24-Hour Fitness in Mililani, I sometimes do my underwater stuff just to check up on myself ... and it isn’t looking too good. I swim 25-50 meters underwater a few times, and some folks may comment that I’m in pretty good shape. I know better.

I took a tow-in class to get certified (insane). Two teachers were Brian Keaulana and Ken Bradshaw, legendary Big Wave Maestros. They shared a few stories, many of which can take your breath away ... without being underwater!

Ken told me that he likes to over-train with this not-breathing-while-you’re-swimming thing. Yes, over-training is a funda-mental discipline for many endeavors besides sport.

So what does he do? He’s very calculating; Bradshaw knows you can be held under for 40 seconds on a big day, maybe even up to a minute if you’re really unlucky. So he makes sure he can swim 90 seconds under water - an extra half minute more than your worst nightmare. It’s like swimming under an entire football field!

Remember, when you wipe out or get caught inside, you haven’t been meditating calmly in a nice comfortable 104-degree Jacuzzi. You have not been able to rest and prep your body by hyper-ventilating before that big gulp of air. Not even!

What is more likely? You’re scratching (anaerobically speaking) for the horizon. Why? You wish to make it over that sickening liquid mass which has just made the horizon disappear.

You expend a large portion of your air (and possibly something else) even before you take the plunge ... and pray. The “best of the best” know how to achieve Zen states to save oxygen. The average surfer most often achieves a more active state of mind - panic! Their mantra sounds something like “Mommy!” or some non-publishable explicative. I’ve used them all, but my all-time favorite is: “God help me ... I’m sorry I haven’t been calling you much lately ...but, I really, REALLY promise this time ... if you get me out of this mess ... I’ll talk to you all the time ... OK? Please?” BAM, CRASH, BOOM!

Needless to say, God has been good to me - so far. I’ve also kept my end of the deal - so far. Now prayer is fine, but backing it up with action is even finer. So I’ve got my program in the works for my goals. They are not the same (or as big) as Ken’s or Brian’s, and that’s a relief.

Speaking of being in shape: Huge congradz to Team Shell Va’a of Tahiti for winning the men’s Moloka’i Hoe last Sunday! Unreal, and they had to muscle it through, due to lack of trade swell. These men even established a new record of 4:50:31. This is the world championship of long-distance canoe racing (41 grueling miles, and there is no doubt that Tahiti is back. They won the top three spots! But it was Shell Va’a that blew the field away.

Outrigger was fourth overall and first from Hawaii with a time of 5:01:10. Lanikai, which won the Molokai Hoe in 2004 and ‘05, was fifth in 5:05:56. “We don’t go out to break records, we just try to go as fast as we can,” Shell Va’a coach Gerard Teiva said. “But today, I guess God gave us the strength to get the record.”

Stay tuned for the Xcel Pro coming up toward the end of this month! And be here next week for some ASP and NSSA coverage! I’ll see you then or before at MIDWEEK.COM or SURFNEWSNETWORK.COM

GQ, dropping in 4 U!

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