SuperCity: From Hong Kong to Haleiwa

Dec. 18, 2013 | 1 Comment


BY CHRISTA WITTMIER / Special to the Star-Advertiser

I usually shy away from the country during the VANS Triple Crown of Surfing season – it’s an entirely different world of people, where locals become even more protective and us townies can feel a bit more isolated.

Photographer Zak Noyle watches the first day of Pipe Masters from the balcony of one of the RVCA houses (Image courtesy of Brandon Shigeta)

Zak Noyle watches the first day of the 2013 Billabong Pipeline Masters in Memory of Andy Irons from the balcony of one of RVCA’s houses on the North Shore. (Courtesy Brandon Shigeta)

It’s not like there’s a negative energy; more like, I feel like I’m intruding. It reminds me of crashing set parties for TV shows or movies. The day-players and friends of friends who found their way inside can never be in the inner circle among those who spend 12-16 hours each day for weeks, or even months, together. They know who you are.

After accepting a very gracious offer to visit the RVCA house and talk with photographer Zak Noyle about a recent trip to Hong Kong for the global action sports photography competition Red Bull Illume, I was both excited and scared. RVCA founder PM Tenore had brought tons of his advocates with him for a RVCAloha Project, many who I’ve followed for years (and was trying to keep cool about it).

Nobody likes an overly-excited fangirl on the North Shore.

The day I drove up was a beautiful one — incredibly clear skies and huge waves. It was the first day of the Billabong Pipeline Masters in Memory of Andy Irons, so there were many people on the back porch of a house overlooking the contest. Skateboarders Kevin Spanky Long and Josh Harmony, artists Estavan Oriol and Barry McGee, musicians ASAP Mob, YG and tons of others were milling about, watching fellow RVCA advocates Makua Rothman and Danny Fuller in the water, among others.

The waves were so huge you could feel them breaking. As someone who doesn’t get out to watch sports too often, I tried to be cool with each “WOAH!” that would escape my mouth whenever someone would shoot out of the lip of a heavy wave.

Noyle winning the Sequence Category at the Red Bull Illume Award Ceremony at the Avenue of Stars in Hong Kong, China on August 29th, 2013   (Courtesy of Brian Ching See Wing)

Noyle with his Red Bull Illume award during a ceremony in Hong Kong on Aug. 29. (Courtesy Brian Ching See Wing)

Zak was the best, immediately making me feel welcome and taking our group up to the second floor so we could watch from the balcony and talk about his trip to Hong Kong.

As one of four staff photographers in the world for Surfing Magazine, Noyle is the kind of globe-trotting creative people can easily look up to. He is patient, humble and shows great appreciation for all forms of art. Having traveled to Japan, Puerto Rico, Tahiti, Easter Island, Australia, Mexico, Indonesia, California and Orgeon, he shows no signs of complacency, telling me Hong Kong was a very memorable visit.

“It was so sick,” he said.

His sequence photo of surfer Gabriel Medina was selected from more than 30,000 applicants among the top 250 images, which earned him an invitation to see if he made the top 50. Winning his category was a breeze, he said, but he also had the opportunity to meet and mingle with hundreds of other action sports photographers at the event.

“I liked a lot of the skate and the snow photography.” said Noyle. “Mainly because it was so different from what I do in the water. I liked seeing how they use light and different elements to capture their subject.”

Each of the top 50 images were on display in illuminated cubes in Hong Kong, but have since been packed up and shipped to the United States for a nighttime exhibition that will travel from Phoenix to Atlanta.

All of the mind-blowing images can be seen online; a special collector’s edition book with all of the top 250 images is also available for purchase.

Zak Noyle's winning photo. (Courtesy Red Bull)

Zak Noyle’s winning photo. (Courtesy Red Bull)

ALSO THIS weekend: It’s my birthday!

I love this time of year so much and have found bringing everyone together to have a party, as a party person, is the best birthday present to give myself.

There’s so much happening with the POW! WOW! Hawaii music program, I wanted to produce a showcase for that and raise money to support programming for the big February event that’s coming up super-fast.

“BANG! BANG!” will feature performances by students in the POW! WOW! School of Music from 9 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, at NextDoor, 43 N. Hotel St. They’ll be followed by the announcement of 2014’s featured Hawaii music artists, who will then take over for the most ultimate dance party celebration yet. One of my favorite visual artists, Ekundayo, will also be painting live and Visual Cortex will display projection art all night.

Cover is $10 for everyone 18-and-over; click here to buy tickets online. I hope you can come!
Christa Wittmier has chronicled Honolulu nightlife since 2004. She is senior marketing director at Young’s Market Co. of Hawaii and executive director of music for POW! WOW! Hawaii, and also helps promote the popular “Bacardi Pool Party” on Oahu. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

  • ronald1216

    neat humane ferrous wheel