January swells, Pipe champs and bravo Bethany

Gary Kewley
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Friday - February 01, 2008
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Bethany Hamilton reveals her faith and talent in and out of the water
Bethany Hamilton reveals her faith and talent in and out of the water

Howzit, surfers!

There went January ... and what a January it was! I’ll measure it up against almost anywhere in the world. Those who think it wasn’t great are greatly spoiled. The North Shore averaged about 6- to 8-foot local scale. Most surfers in the world would drool for their local break to average double to triple overhead. January finished off with a triple overhead NE swell and NW swell, both within a few days of each other. Right now we see a string of smaller, fun-size swells that most can handle. Remember, February is still one of the BIG three months of winter; we can still dream of a couple more outer reef and bay days ... this means four- to six-times overhead. Feel better now?

We are in the holding period of the Billabong-Monster Energy Pipeline Pro and Honolua Surf Company (owned by Billabong) Pipeline Body Surfing Championships. I’m compelled to extend this great surf company my gratitude for its commitment to Pipe and those who dare to ride it. Jamie O’Brien is the defending champ ... and yes, he’s the same dude who just won the Da Hui Back Door Shoot Out.So watch out ... he’s going all out. I also wish to say thanks to my buddy Beau Hodge, who corrected my error last column. Jamie has won not just four but five events at the Pipe. The one I left out was last year’s Monster Energy ... whoops. The other guy who’s won five events is three-time world champ Andy Irons. Many forget (unless you’re Beau Hodge) that AI won the HIC Pipe Pro back in ‘96 when he was a 17-year-old amateur. Add that to his amazing string of four Billabong Pipeline Masters, and you have five! The only other guy to surpass these freakish numbers with six Pipeline Masters is the freakiest freak to ever surf planet Earth - Kelly Slater.As with Tiger Woods, some wonder if he’s from this sector of the solar system.

Speaking of inspiration, have you heard the news about world surf hero Bethany Hamilton? She lost an arm and nearly her life in a brutal shark attack on the North Shore of Kauai in 2003. Since then, she’s never given up but, instead, has lifted her new life up to the Lord. Fast forward to today: She reached - with one arm - the semi finals of the 6-Star WQS Roxy Surf Festival on Jan. 25.

It was held in Phillip Island, Australia, and they were all amazed! “She blows my mind,“contest director and former 12-time ASP World Tour event winner Jodi Cooper said of Hamilton’s performance. “I don’t think a lot of people fathom the effort this young lady goes through to not only paddle out, but the technique it takes to stand up and then, once she’s up, the balance and body rotation she demonstrates to complete those big turns.”

How do you surf at a world class level with just one arm? Bethany knows.“I’m feeling so blessed right now,“Hamilton said.“I want to start off by giving Jesus all the glory because he’s the reason I can surf and mentally make it through every day. I’m so stoked with these results, and my goal is to win the whole event, so I’m just going to do my best.”

The pros know her abilities and surf against her with all the strength and determination they and their two arms can muster. But when you have Bethany’s raw experience coupled with deep faith and focus, well, you pick off the best wave in the last minutes and get the job done ... no excuses. This result is her best ever. Bethany is a blessing to us all - surfer or not.

Last items: The rally to save our free parking at Bowls and Kaisers was a huge success. Mahalo for the support! We have the next sea level community support event for Jeannie Chesser and Defend Oahu Coalition marching up to Waimea Falls Feb 16.We - a bunch of you - really do make the difference in this great country we live. It’s all about suiting up and showing up. And, what do you know? That’s how we all began surfing.

Thanks for reading ... See you back here next week in MidWeek!

GQ, dropping in 4 U!

Call the Billabong/Monster contestant hotline for on or off status
at 638-RUSH and 596-SURF. Also


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