Would you risk your life for $5,000?
Well that is what the 18 tow-in surfing teams did on Super Tow Sunday as
they competed in the second annual Phelony North Shore Tow-In
Championships that took place Feb. 6th, 2006 in 15-20 foot top-to-bottom
spitting offshore surf at Haleiwa’s Puena Point.
The day started with some giant sketchy conditions and the Eddie Aikau
big wave Invitational at Waimea Bay was put on hold. But the tow-in boys
voted to go for it and it was a good call as the surf cleaned up by the
start of the event and became epic by the third heat. Haleiwa’s outer
reefs were rocking under sunny skies with brisk offshore winds that made
for some incredible rides. The longest I’ve ever seen in Hawaii.
Several 9.5 tube rides occurred. The best in the first round was
Brazil’s Edison Depaula and Joao Jabouy and Hawaii’s Dan Moore and Mark
Anderson. Followed closely by Garrett McNamara and Kealii Mamala.
By noon the waves peaked at 20 foot Hawaiian with a huge whirlpool in
the harbor channel. The press boat screaming over the radio, “We gotta
get out of here!”
Plenty teams went home exhausted and battered. Last year’s winner, Eric
Fisher and his partner as well as “team pickle fork”, the Brothers
Kamasugi, stand-outs last year, among the many beaten down hard this
Living legend Marvin Foster recently took-up tow surfing and was the
underdog local favorite until a long backside tube ride ended in a
wipeout and beating so severe the judges almost stopped the competition.
Carvin’ Marvin was rescued and brought to the beach in real bad shape;
Lifeguards tried to clear him of many gallons of sea water and
administered oxygen. It was very quite in Haleiwa for what seemed like
10 minutes. But by the time the paramedics came to cart Marvin away the
bull stood up and with some help and the cheers and claps from the crowd
got his own ride to the hospital were he is reported to be recovering
after a full night of tests and treatment.
One wave runner was lost to Puena Point’s lava ledges and several
leashes and boards broken in the live or die conditions.
But in the end local boys Garrett McNamara and Kealii Mamala netted the
$5,000 for first place by riding waves from up the point at Police Beach
all the way down the reef to inside Puena Point. No easy task with
double-up 20 yard sections, stiff offshores and 30+ foot wave faces. “
All I did was drive”, explained Garrett McNamara as he gave his tow
partner, Kealii Mamala all the credit for his surfing that was both
graceful yet extreme.
Second place went to John Gangini and Yuri Soledad who came over from
All 18 teams entered from Hawaii, Brazil, California, Florida and beyond
had the DLNR Tow-In Surf License or equivilant and all safety equipment
was checked prior to the 9:30AM start of the event.
The winner’s checks were written and handed out by Ace Cool before
sunset. The event was dedicated to Hawaii’s Mark Foo who passed away
December 23, 1994 surfing Mavericks, a big wave spot in California.
Check Highsurfwarning.com, Haleiwa-Tow-In.com, TowSurfer.com and
ProTowSurfers.org for more information.