Freestyle: North Shore surf season begins
BY ELIZABETH KIESZKOWSKI / email@example.com
The North Shore surf season is here — along with big waves, wavering trades and a spate of shark attacks. It’s a time of excitement and danger, with big fun and feats of athletic prowess.
The HIC Pro competition serves to “set the stage” for surf season, as commentator Kaipo Guerrero said during Friday’s third and final day of the surf contest. It’s a chance for surfers to win a slot in the Triple Crown, and Hawaii surfers often jump in and dominate the competition.
This year was no exception; by the quarterfinals on Friday, 12 out of 16 surfers were Hawaii-based.
The swell came along right on time for the beginning of the HIC Pro holding period, letting the contest begin on Wednesday. That made the timing of the HIC Pro kickoff party right as well.
On Tuesday at the party, HIC unveiled a collaboration with Triple Crown of Surfing sponsor Vans at its Haleiwa surf shop.
The new concept store at 66-224 Kamehameha Highway offers official event merchandise from Vans, Billabong and HIC, along with surf accessories (fanny packs, even), beach gear and surfboards by North Shore shaper Eric Arakawa.
The World Surf League organizes Triple Crown events, and Jodi Wilmott, WSL general manager for the Hawaii/Pacific region, was on hand for the party. Wilmott said many long days necessary to set up the events had already been spent; her attention now turns to the competitive events and the needs of surfers who arrive to participate.
“I feel confident is saying we’re the most sustainable event in Hawaii,” she said. “We’re the most visible event, globally, because of the Internet.” Millions of observers tune in, online, in person and through other media channels, to keep up with the surf season.
Wilmott, who took over management of the event from fellow North Shore surfer Randy Rarick this year, has been involved with the Triple Crown for many years. One day may go smoothly, she said; another may be spent in the hospital, sorting out care for an injured competitor.
We’re going to be at work every day through Christmas,” Wilmott said, keeping the machinery in motion.
And the competition is just going to get tougher from here.
“We’re going to see all the best surfers in the world,” said Guerrero. “It’s an international gathering. You see people, year after year, come together for this time, a cultural tribe, with surfers, the media, members of the surf industry. … It’s a great tradition.”
His advice, if you’re coming up to watch the surfing: “Bring water.” It gets hot on the beach. And come early, to stake out a good viewing spot.
Here’s the World Surf League schedule for the Hawaii surf season:
» Nov. 7: HIC Pro Beach Cleanup, 10 a.m. to noon at Army Beach, Mokuleia. To volunteer, meet across from Dillingham Airfield, on the beach side of Farrington Highway. There’ll be lunch from Cholo’s Homestyle Mexican, and prizes from HIC and Vans will be given away. Find out more at http://oahu.surfrider.org.
» Nov. 12: Hawaiian Pro waiting period begins at Ali‘i Beach, Haleiwa. The first competition in the Triple Crown runs on the biggest and best four days of surf, through Nov. 23. Contest days begin at 8 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m., public welcome.
» Nov. 14: Surfrider Foundation John Kelly Awards, 6 to 10:30 p.m. at Waimea Valley. Tickets available at www.johnkellyawards.com.
» Nov. 15: Na Kama Kai Day at Ali‘i Beach, spotlighting Na Kama Kai’s youth ocean programs in connection with the Hawaiian Pro. Public welcome. Visit www.nakamakai.org for more info.
» Nov. 21: Target Maui Pro waiting period begins at Honolua Bay, Maui. Contest window closes on Dec. 4.
» Nov. 24: Vans World Cup of Surfing waiting period begins at Sunset Beach. Event will run on the biggest and best four days of surf through Dec. 6.
» Nov. 28: West Side Stoke-A-Rama at Makaha Beach, hosted by Na Kama Kai (tentative).
» Dec. 2: North Shore Community Chamber of Commerce Christmas Party, 6 p.m. at Turtle Bay Resort. Visit www.gonorthshore.org for more information and to purchase tickets.
» Dec. 3: Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Opening Ceremony, 3 p.m. at Waimea Bay, public welcome. Contest waiting period ends Feb. 28, 2016.
» Dec. 5: North Shore Community Land Trust Benefit Dinner, 5 p.m. at Mokuleia Polo Fields. Tickets available at www.northshoreland.org.
» Dec. 6: Surfer Poll Awards at Turtle Bay Resort (invitation only).
» Dec. 7: Vans Golf Charity Tournament at Turtle Bay.
» Dec. 8: Billabong Pipe Masters waiting period begins at Ehukai Beach Park, North Shore. This is the third and final competition of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing and the culminating event of the WSL Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour. Event will run on the biggest and best four days of surf through Dec. 20.
Elizabeth Kieszkowski is editor of TGIF, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s weekly arts and entertainment section. Reach her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter.