Surf Rhythms

Gary Kewley
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Friday - May 20, 2005
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Howzit, surfers and beachgoers?

When you’re surfing … do you hear the music? Do you feel the rhythm? If you don’t, listen carefully … it’s there … in the water and in the waves … and if you listen more deeply you’ll hear it in your heart and feel it in your soul! The sea has a pulse all its own … and we surfers play along with it each time we ride the waves … Look in-between the sets or lulls in the action … it’s like the space in-between the thump of a drum beat … or a melodic refrain … you feel it coming … and get charged up! Move with it … and it takes you on a ride … move against it … and you feel like a dork on a dance floor … out of synch with some greater force … and nobody likes feeling like a dork … We want to feel like divine dancers … and getting into the rhythmic flow of the ocean is one of the most divine states. Just like Wade Cambern from the Hawaiian Style Band sings, “Feel the rhythm, rhythm of the ocean … hear it calling your name …” Wade is right when he continues “… there’s water in you just like the sea, it’s movin’ and groovin’ to the rhythm of the ocean …”

Just off the top of my head, there is an amazing array of “surfer/musicians” who come to mind — far too many to include all of them here! But just to mention a few (besides yours truly) … Pro surfers: Jack Johnson, Tommy Curren, Kelly Slater, Rob Machado, Donovan Frankenreiter … Bands like Ka‘au Crater Boys and tons of other local talent … Plus, a multi-mix of friends … North Shore lifeguard captain/ guitarist Pat Kelly, board shaper/keyboardist Pat Rawson … and two more of special mention: Hawaii’s own legendary slack key guitarist, the late Sonny Chillingworth, and his wonderful daughter Mahina Chillingworth!

Mahina Chillingworth and son Nainoa

Indeed, not many — including Mahina — knew that Sonny body-surfed! It was only until later that she discovered her dad’s secret love affair with the waves. Just listen to some of his classics and you’ll go “Oh yeah, this goes hand-in-hand with surfing!” Mahina plays a mean slack-key, too! Besides the talent for laying down some mean guitar riffs, Mahina can lay down “inside” some mean tubes … she’s an expert body-surfer. Whether it’s huge Waimea Bay shore break or slamming Sandy Beach or Rock Piles near Kaiser Bowls, Mahina will be there — all smiles — riding without anything but fins … and a bathing suit. Mahina is the first female ever to be on the board of directors of the Da Hui O He‘e Nalu in its 30-year history! They’ll be celebrating three decades Sunday, May 29, at Pipeline Café from 5 to 10 p.m. I’m proud to have Mahina as a SNN (Surf New Network) team member for more than 10 years now … you can hear her on Saturday mornings on 596-SURF (7873), KTUH93.5, KINE105.1, KCCN100.3 … Sometimes you’ll hear her dad’s slack key guitar in the background while Mahina gives you her “one of a kind” voice for a “one of a kind” surf report! Thanks for always being there for us all, Mahina. I’m looking forward to the day when you have Rich, Kilia and Nainoa out there in the surf with you … and, of course, the music … feeling the rhythm … the rhythm of the ocean.

Hawaii’s Keala Kennelly on one of the biggest
waves ever ridden by a woman

Some reminders and stuff … Last chance to get your entry in for the Local Motion Surf Into Summer going off all Memorial Day weekend off Magic Island … The Pro Women finished their surf stint in Tahiti and revealed new performance levels in lifethreatening conditions. Altho’ Australia’s Chelsea Georgeson won the event, it was Hawaii’s Keala Kennelly who was named “Queen of the Reef” after charging the biggest and gnarliest waves. (check the photo — that’s a woman riding that monster wave!) You’ll have personal coverage on the results and impact of the Men’s Foster’s World Surfing tour not quite finished in Tahiti as of this writing.

See you here next weekend! I’m GQ dropping in for you!

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