Stormy Weather

Gary Kewley
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Friday - March 24, 2006
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Laniakea, North Shore, March 16, 2006: There are times when it is safer on dry land than in dirty water
Laniakea, North Shore, March 16, 2006: There are
times when it is safer on dry land than in dirty water

Aloha, Surfers!

The big news the past few weeks is not the surf ... it’s the weather. If you’re wondering if this is one of the worst - or at least longest - periods of storms and rain, you may stop wondering ... because it is! By the time this hits your mailbox we’ll have already been hit again by rain. We Islanders have had few rare sunny mornings, reminding us of what it used to be like. Don’t worry; this can’t last forever ... can it?

Another thing this rain causes, besides flooding, is brown water runoff ... right into surfers’ favorite playground. It’s like a latte with cinnamon, but it sure does-n’t smell nor taste like it. Of course, such conditions bring to the top of mind another factor that begins with “S”; I’m not talking about a four letter word, I’m talking about a five-letter word: shark! Indeed, when surfers can’t see their toes through the murkiness it makes them tingle and curl up a bit. It sounds cute, but it isn’t. Surfers would much rather get something, like an infection, than lose something, like a leg! Now, we all know that the chances of getting eaten alive are about as good as getting hit by lightning. But by the looks of our weather, we know that those chances have increased.

In fact, there were two separate accounts of sharks wanting to compete with surfers in March! A big shark cruised into Makaha for the Buffalo Big Board Surfing Classic the first weekend of competition. I guess he was looking for his special “gray suit” division in this competition ... or maybe it was the “big bully” division. Either way he won his heat by default ... and the contest directors kept the shark’s heat to 20 minutes max, then resumed like nothing had happened. This can only happen out on the Wild West side.

Then it happened again on March 14! This time the T&C Women’s Body boarding finalists were battling it out at Pipeline when a 7-foot tiger “cut them off,” so to speak! This predator came right into the line up 20 feet from shore, freaking the girls out and all the spectators. This has never occurred before at Pipe during a competition. Normally the waves pose the greatest threat. Not on this day. So in the end, after the ladies scurried up the beach, each took home an equal split of the earnings and lived to surf another day.

The four Body Board finalists were Japan’s Aoi Koike and Moe Watanabe as well as Australia’s Mandy Zieren and Lilly Pollard. Contest director Betty Depolito was, in the final analysis, positive about their second year. “I’m so happy that we were able to put on this contest here at Pipeline for the girls,” says Betty. “We didn’t have the ideal conditions this year, but the girls did the best they could with what Mother Nature gave them, and we all had a lot of fun!” Now that’s what I call a good conclusion. Good on you, Banzai Betty.

When one stops to think about it, that’s all any of us can really do - just make the most of it! Because Mother Nature rules, whether it’s under the water, on top of it or up in the sky. The recent rain and muddy H20 will eventually give way to sunshine and clear water, and, God willing, we’ll all be there to surf another day. Stoked!

I’m GQ, dropping in 4 U!

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