Winter swells, Sunset waves and Menehune

Gary Kewley
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Friday - October 31, 2008
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A mom pushes in her Menehune champ at Ali’i Beach Park earlier this October

Aloha, surfers,

It’s game on for the winter swells! The 2008 Xcel Pro presented by Honolua Surf Company went on day three of the holding period. Yep, Tuesday, Oct. 28 saw another high surf advisory 6- to 8-foot swells with close intervals. It was generated by a close fetch of winds leaving little time and distance for the swell trains to “clean up and spread out.”

Nonetheless, it is always exciting to watch these hungry locals grab their waves and chances to become “known” in the surf world. Sure, there are more than 100 WQS events annually around the world, but win one at Sunset Beach and you stand out. The world now has its eye on you. You have more “potential” than the average aspiring pro who can surf anything as long as its not jacking and over 6 feet.

Sunset Beach demands guts and good wave judgment. Not to mention plenty of skill. You better be in shape, too. One wave can offer the drop of a lifetime, a thigh-burning bottom turn and a lip hook that’s downright heavy. And, this is the beginning of the ride.

Plus, there’s always that hefty west peak that can “catch” you on the head. It can be brutal out there, but that’s why Sunset is one of the most-respected waves ever ... and anyone who surfs it well is likewise respected.

Assuming the Xcel Pro is still going by the time you read this ... be sure to get there to witness the action. If you happen to be elsewhere and have a computer, go ahead and watch it live at

One of the greatest ever to ride Sunset is surfing legend Michael Ho from Sunset Beach. He can still charge it and pick off waves no one else can seem to find ... and he’s in his 50s. I’d match Michael up against anyone near his age and watch him easily win.

Well, Michael has a son named Mason - and he can surf, too. Watch for good things -great things - from this young gentleman. He’s super well-spoken and is great in front of the mic and camera. He’s very humble and mature; plus, he’s got that genetic disposition to compete and win like his dad. Mason just won the Oakley Pro Junior ASP North America Championships in 4- to 6-foot Santa Cruz, Calif. This series is for those 21 and under. Mason is 20. Check to see how he did in the Xcel Pro.

Lastly, not too long ago we had the North Shore Menehune Surfing Champ hit the Ali’i lineup. Skill Johnson’s been doing it more than a few years (32 to be exact) and Franco ( was there again shooting pics of our stoked groms and future surf stars. For lots of kids it’s their first time and, for others, it’s old hat already. Actually, some of these youngsters rip; don’t be surprised to see them “touring” some day.

But it’s still a family affair with a laid-back, hang-loose vibe. There’s lotsa fun in and out of the water - as it should be. I’ll get some results posted at SNN as soon as they’re available. If you missed seeing any photos, just check Franco’s website above.

So, there you go ... Let’s surf now. See you back here next week in MidWeek.

GQ, dropping in 4 U!

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