Paddling Out

Gary Kewley
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Friday - July 21, 2006
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Andy Irons gets high at J-Bay for the Billabong Pro ... but not high enough
Andy Irons gets high at J-Bay for the Billabong Pro ...
but not high enough

Aloha, beach-goers and surfers!

First Wave: We have another 3-foot south which began arriving Thursday and peaking Friday. It seems like this is the same story over and over: lots of fun size, but nothing juicy. It seems as though the rest of July will play out like this. Hey, it’s hot and sunny, there’s cool water and waves waiting ... so you know what to do.

Second Wave: The inaugural Maui International Paddleboard Race is this Sunday (July 23) 1 p.m. The course for the race begins offshore from Maliko Gulch, follows the coastline and ends nine miles later on the beach at Kahului Harbor. There’s $10,000 up for grabs and it promises to become a classic in the world of paddleboarding. It should take most competitors around 1.5-2 hours to complete.

It may not be as fun as a surf session, but paddleboarding has been the ultimate way for surfers and watermen to stay fit and ready for the “big day.” Indeed, since the days of the legendary Waikiki Beach Boys, there’ve been plenty names to go around: Duke Kahanamoku, Tom Blake, Tom Zahn, Rabbit Kekai or George Downing - they’ve all paddleboarded around the Diamond Head buoy on a flat summer afternoon. The most “in shape” modern-day watermen race across the Kaiwi Channel from Molokai to Oahu; modern day legends like Aussie Jamie Mitchell will be there to win again ... and again. This year the Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard Race happens on Sunday, July 30. These arm-, shoulder- and neck-wrenching endurance tests have always been the same: a true survival of the fittest - man vs. man, and man vs. sea. Thanks to the Honolua Surf Company for its support as title sponsor this weekend and to Quiksilver Silver Edition for the Kaiwi Channel race.

Third Wave: The ASP World Tour continues with event No. 6. Andy Irons, who is ranked at this writing No. 2 and just 100 points behind the leader, Kelly Slater, scored one wave with a perfect 10 at J-Bay South Africa. Irons even won the best aerial maneuver during an “expression session.” It seemed he could do no wrong! And then a shocker ... he lost to Australia’s Roy Powers in round 2! This is a major upset. This is way early to go out for any contest. Oh well, the ups and downs of major competition are some of the reasons it can be so exciting. We love to see our heroes come back and “pull it off.” The great ones do this consistently, and Andy’s great.

There are five events left this year ... that’s plenty enough.

Fourth Wave: The eighth annual Ho’onua ‘O Ke Kai Ocean Fest is set for Aug. 5-6 on the Garden Isle! It’ll go down at a spot called PK’s (Prince Kuhio’s Beach) on the south shore right in front of the Beach House Restaurant. Since it’s presented by the Kauai Surfing Association, it promises to have that feel-good competition among family and friends ... Open to all amateur surfers, event categories include shortboard, longboard, body-board and masters. This year, the KSA special events include the “keiki push-in” for 6 and under, open ocean swim and paddleboard competition. Is this classic? Let’s go!

Final Wave: Board Stories on OC 16 is always a stoker, and now they’ve outdone themselves again! Mike Latronic and his crew lay claim to the “new and improved” Board Stories. Be sure to check ‘em out and the schedule on I love it when Hawaii goes bigger and better!

I’ll be praying for “bigger and better” surf between now and next week! That’s when I meet with you next ... right here.

GQ, dropping in 4 U!

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