"Do they deserve it?" asked John Shimooka with a questioning inflection.
OFF THE HINGES
Recently I found myself sitting with Shaun Tomson and Peter Townend at Snapper Rocks in Queensland, and though the surf was perfect, the three of us – all former world champions – were there not as competitors, but as enthusiastic spectators. Nearly 25 years ago we all would have been a little ways up the coast at Burleigh, at the top of our form and facing each other as mortal rivals in the Stubbies Pro. It’s a strange thing, time; now we were three world champions still keen as mustard, still crucially involved in the sport of surfing, watching the final heat of the Quiksilver Pro as eagerly and excitedly as stoked grommets. …
Jimi had been dead a year, but the revolution – or at least a movie version of it – kept right on jammin’ without him.
A FINE MESS
"The past is a foreign country," goes the adage. "They do things differently there." The same certainly goes for surfing’s past. Too often, when maundering through the pressed flowers of bygone days, our surf historians seem to fall into the rut of cataloging things in sing-song rote, "One fin, two fin, three fin, four – Slater won eight, MR won four."
ETCHED IN STONE
On the Northeastern coast of the Hawaiian island of Lanai lies a small pocket of sand known as Shipwreck Beach. Isolated and windswept, a visit requires a jarring trip over a rutted red-dirt track, recommended for four-wheel-drive vehicles only. The beach itself, a patch of gold cupped in the hands of black lava, is a lonely place, the tumbled ruins of the Poaiwa lighthouse keeping forlorn vigil over the jetsam-scattered berm. Across the Kalohi Channel, the island of Molokai humps up out of the blue sea like the back of a whale. Tourists – at least the intrepid ones – come here for the view, or to comb the wind-and-current swept sand for exotic shells and glass fishing floats, or to contemplate the fate of the many ships that have come to grief on this desolate shore. Very few realize that this wild spot on one of Hawaii’s least-visited shores could very well be the birthplace of an entire culture. …
LOOK WHO’S KNOCKING NOW
Work at a surf magazine for 10 years and at some point your memory just gives up. You don’t remember dates or specifics, just random snippets. I worked in-house at SURFER Magazine from 1989 to 1998, and a handful of images still stand out. One of them is of Lisa Anderson, who stayed at my apartment on Calafia Street in San Clemente when we profiled her in 1994. At that point women were having a tough time getting any kind of respect in what was a very male-dominated surf world. At events the women’s heats were predominantly used as bathroom breaks, especially at places like Sunset, where many of them would simply get washed around and pounded. I remember watching and feeling sorry for them because, save for a handful of relatives and reporters, the judges were the only ones watching – and even that was debatable.