Surf safe tip: Don’t panic

Gary Kewley
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Friday - June 29, 2007
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Jamie Ballenger of hawaiianwatershots.com captures a classic moment at Sandy Beach
Jamie Ballenger of hawaiianwatershots.com captures a
classic moment at Sandy Beach

Aloha, surfers,

Watch out ... here comes the end of June! It’s amazing how fast time goes by. Could it be because the speed of light is 186,000 miles per second? And to think ... light is made of waves - cool.

Good news in the wave department! A new SSW swell is gracing beaches this Aloha Friday from Sandy’s to Sand Island and from Ewa plains to beyond Makaha. It’s been awhile since we’ve had well overhead surf.This one should peak at about 3- to 4-foot overhead on Saturday with another pulse likely through Monday. This means July is kicking off just the way we like it. The trades will be backing off, producing cleaner conditions and crowds as well.


With all the excitement surrounding our world of ocean activities it’s a good time to throw in a cautionary: You can drown. I don’t mean to be blunt, but there it is.

Hawaii is the most dangerous state in the U.S. when it comes to death by drowning.

There were almost 400 drownings from 2001 to 2006.This means about 60 people die right here in Paradise each year on average. The stats show that of this 60, about half are local and half are visitors. Most of these tragedies are in the ocean - nearly 80 percent for kamaaina and almost 90 percent for tourists. Most of these are avoidable.

Another frightening fact is drowning is the second leading cause of death for kids ages 1 through 14. You never want to be the parent.

Hawaii just lost a precious

young 10-year-old girl named Mollie Dauner from Ewa Beach. It was her backyard playground. She and her brother were body boarding about 100 yards off the shore Sunday afternoon (June 24). The waves were not big, but this did not matter when she lost her body board and panicked.

Lifeguards will tell you first off and straight up “don’t panic,“as this preserves vital oxygen and allows for clear thinking. But tragically too many are not prepared when the time comes. It’s best to never be in a situation where panic is even a possibility. It’s extremely difficult not to panic; it’s an automatic response for most people. I feel panic several times a winter and a couple times every summer. It’s normal. However, it’s what you do next with that emotion that counts. How many of you, your family and friends are prepared for panic?

Two basic rules are 1) Know your limits and 2) If in doubt, don’t go out.Two related obligations of every swimmer are preparation and prevention. So many tragedies could be avoided by these simple ideas/rules. For a more complete list of surf and swim safety tips, log on to

SURFNEWSNETWORK.COM. Learn it. Do it. Then enjoy it.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Mollie Dauner.


Last surf item ... By the time you read this we may have a winner of the Rip Curl Search in Arica, Chile. This adrenaline-charged WCT event scored heavy waves at a place the pros had never surfed before. The wave gets up to 15 feet and is hollow like Pipeline. The wave finishes on bone-dry, mussel-infested rock. Most guys wore booties, but not Andy or Bruce Irons. Those two dudes - ga-narly. I was watching on the Internet (of course) and when Kelly Slater got beaten in the fourth round by Aussie Dean Morrison, one of the commentators said he overheard Slater say"that’s it.“Hopefully it was just the moment. Surfing needs Slater.

That’ll wrap up this week in MidWeek. Stoked you’re here. I’ll see you out there, safely in the lineup. Take care of yourselves and one another.

GQ, dropping in 4 U.

Thanks to the guy who’s always on it and in it - Jamie Ballenger for the Sandy’s shot from Hawaiian Water Shots!

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