March of the surfers

Gary Kewley
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Friday - March 02, 2007
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Joe LaRosa took sixth in the 19-24 division
Joe LaRosa took sixth in the 19-24 division

Aloha, surfers and beachgoers! Welcome to March 2007! Amazing ... It was only two years ago this month that we had huge surf. Indeed, March of 2005 hit the “rare realm” with Waimea Bay breaking and the outer reefs at 15-25 feet! This year we can expect “below” average heights of only 5 feet.

For many, our current “below advisory level” surf is a relief ... and don’t feel bad if this is you. If you took an “honest” survey asking “what’s your favorite size and what’s your maximum?“My guess is that out of approximately 50,000 board surfers in Hawaii most would say 4-6 feet is their fave and 8 is their max. Oh, yes, I’m speaking in HSF (Hawaii Scale Feet). So double to triple overhead is plenty respectable. It’s OK to be afraid. Bottom line is most surfers like it 6 feet or less. March will be just fine for most.

But I’m not writing off March for one or two big advisory swells (8 feet) - we’re still within range. It’s just that the models aren’t looking promising. As this issue goes to press on Tuesday, we only have a 5- or 6-foot swell around Sunday then more next week, if we’re lucky. The decent news is an early series of small 2- to 3-foot south swells to keep us wet and in shape for the coming summer months. I’ll keep you posted on my SNN website.

Speaking of staying in shape, the first annual Pyramid Rock Body Surfing Championships finished on day three last Sunday (Feb. 25). This spot is in the Kaneohe Marine Corps Base. It was a benefit for fallen and wounded Marines and their families. These competitors had to muscle through some harsh conditions. It’s true that for a regular hour of wave riding, you’ll burn more calories body surfing than board surfing. One must keep moving constantly just waiting for waves ... or sink. Body surfers then must “kick quick” and pull their entire body through the water. This requires 100 percent anaerobic capacity lest the wave pass you by. Lastly, at the end of the wave one must typically hold their breath in the kick out - especially at Sandy’s, Makapuu, Pipe, Waimea and Pyramid Rock! Geez, sometimes you have to hold your breath while riding the buggas! Try not breathing while running sprints ... you’ll see what I mean.

Kai Santos won the first Pyramid Rock body surfing championship at Marine Corps Base Hawaii
Kai Santos won the first Pyramid
Rock body surfing championship
at Marine Corps Base Hawaii

Finishing first was a guy no one would argue is one of Hawaii’s (and therefore the world’s) best body surfers: Kai Santos. He used to be a pro body boarder and would charge huge Pipe with the best. Now you’ll find him spinning deep at Sandy’s every day. Go watch and learn. The rest of the very competitive field did great, and I’ve posted the complete results at SURFNEWSNETWORK.COM. The photos are all from Greg Rice at GREGRIMAGERY.COM who’s always on hand to help out with his excellent photography. Indeed, a picture paints a thousand words.

The crew hopes to have even better conditions and raise even more money next year. Thanks to Capt. Ben Mercier of the 3rd Marines for the great idea and all who helped make this event possible ... to SNN reporter Mahina Chillingworth for keeping me in the loop ... or should I say barrel? And to the athletes who came out and showed their stuff.

“Most of the Marines are serving overseas and it’s very difficult,” said Col. Gregory Boyle, Commanding Officer, 3rd Marines. “You can send care packages out there to support them, but this is another unique way to be able to do it right here, come out here to the base and support the wounded and fallen Marines.”

A good reminder that although the fierce competition for our body surfing battle on the beach has ended, though the conditions were rough leaving a few battle scars, the real deal is still going on for our men and women in service to our country and our freedom so you and I can have days like this.

See you free in the surf and back here next week. I’ll cover the kickoff the highly anticipated 2007 Fosters ASP World Championship Tour! Plus, I write on the Cholos Women’s Pipeline Championship March 6-16.

E-mail me your surf stories: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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