Dora, Sunset Beach, Kelly Slater, Russian Surfers
Rarick has directly or indirectly been a part of almost every aspect of our surfing history and surf culture. In many ways he’s the Forrest Gump of surfing history.
SURFER: Not much has taken place in the surf world that you didn’t have some involvement with. Before we get into the Triple Crown stuff we want to play a little “six degrees of separation.” I’m going to throw some names out and you tell me your relationship with that person. Let’s start with George Greenough.
RANDY RARICK: George and I go way back to the 60s when I made I my first trip to Australia, George and I hung out together at Byron Bay when he was influencing the shortboard revolution. And later we worked together on Big Wednesday. George was a water photographer and I worked behind the scenes, so George and I got back about 40 years.
SURFER: Maurice Cole?
RANDY RARICK: Maurice I’ve known since my days in Australia. I met him in ’68 at Bells before he was a shaper. He relocated to France and was one of the guys who pioneered the Hossegor area.
SURFER: How about Felipe Pomar?
RANDY RARICK: Felipe… I actually knew before he won the ’65 World Contest in Peru. We actually surfed together on Kauai at a place called Pikalas. He was training there. Then of course he went to Peru and won the World Contest, then he moved to the North shore and we surfed Sunset a lot together.
SURFER: Well you are a world traveler. Each year after the Triple Crown you pack your bags and head off some where, usually off the beaten path. Where have you been lately?
RANDY RARICK: I went to the Comoros between Mozambique and Madagascar. We got some really good waves there. I’ve surfed pretty much everywhere that is known, so I’m on a mission to surf obscure, weird out of the way spots. The last ten years I’ve been to Kenya, Liberia, Burma, India, Korea…places you don’t normally see in the surf magazines. It’s amazing that there really is surf everywhere in the world. And on that note it is also amazing that there are now surfers everywhere. You go to these places and there are literally people surfing wherever there is a body of water. Earlier this year I was in Lithuania and there were guys surfing this little wind swell. There are surfers in Russia. Russia has it’s own surf magazine.
SURFER: What was your relationship like with Miki Dora?
RANDY RARICK: Dick Metz, who ran the old Hobie store here in Honolulu, hired me as a ding repair kid in the early 60s. At the time Hollywood was filming “Ride The Wild Surf” here in Hawaii and the waves were up at Waimea and a bunch of boards were thrown up on the rocks. So the boards cam to me for repair and one of them was Miki’s board. Now, I’m only 14 years old, so I’m really impressionable so I’m thinking, “oh my gosh, I get to repair Miki Dora’s board!” I’ve got to say, I spent so much time fixing this board. I matched the color perfectly. It was really hard to match the colors but I did it and fixed the whole board perfectly. I was so stoked because Miki Dora came in to pick it up. I was just star struck. And Miki walked in, this God of surfing, and he says to me, “shit, it’s about time kid.” He grabbed the board and didn’t even say thank you. That was my first encounter with Miki. And I encountered Miki many other times throughout my life. About six years later I was France near Biarritz, and it was the dead of winter, and the parking lot was completely empty. Not a soul. There was little green van there, and there was Miki throwing a ball against his van and playing with his dog. I pulled up next to him and said, “Hey Miki, it’s nice to see you again.” Miki took his ball, grabbed his dog, got into his van and simply drove away. I could tell you a ton more Dora stories. He and I had a few run-ins over the years.
SURFER: Sunset Beach is a place that is close to your heart. Why is it such a special place? Why is it such a special wave?
RANDY RARICK: Well no question Sunset Beach is a very special wave. In the old days, when I was growing up, Sunset Beach is where you had to cut your teeth. If you couldn’t surf Sunset good you weren’t considered a great surfer. Mostly due to the longer boards we were riding back then. As the board got smaller the emphasis shifted down towards the other spots, Off The Wall and Pipeline. And certainly when the 90s rolled around and Slater and that crew of guys showed up the emphasis really shifted away from Sunset. I think it is a shame because what I like about Sunset is that you can ride it at 1-foot and you can ride it at 15-foot. It holds an east, a northeast, a northwest, and a west swell. It is such a complete wave. The only reason it has lust some of it’s luster is that it is so far out that the photographers can’t really shoot it all that well.
SURFER: Well it’s a sad statement when the photographers are dictating what wave we should ride and what wave we shouldn’t. Not to take anything away from his achievements, because Kelly Slater’s competitive achievements are untouchable, but as you know, Kelly Slater has never won at Sunset Beach? Do you think the top 45 guys should have to go through the hallowed gates of Sunset Beach to claim their title?
RANDY RARICK: You know that is a very interesting fact. You know Kelly has basically made his mark here at Backdoor Pipeline. He has won the Pipe Masters multiple times, primarily going right. He focused his career over here at Pipeline. Then what followed was the Irons brothers doing the same thing. We’d love to have the top 45 surfers at Sunset. There is a lot of politics. Ironically the local surfers here like it as a WQS because it allows them to surf in the event. Adding another ‘CT out there is difficult because of permit restrictions. It would be great to have a WCT at Sunset but I don’t see it happening in the next few years.
SURFER: Randy, before I let you go, one last ‘six degrees of separation.’ I think I can stump you on this one. Imelda Marcos. Do you have any life experience with Imelda Marcos?
RANDY RARICK: Well actually back in 1980 I went to the Philippines, and I went with Kirk Aeder, Mike Benavides and Chris Barela, and we called on the Marcoses to pay tribute, because they had a big following here in the Islands in those days.
SURFER: Well there you go, cannot stump Randy Rarick. Randy best of luck with the Triple Crown this year and well see you in a few days.
RANDY RARICK: Scott thanks for the chat, see you when you get here. Aloha.