It was known as the Foon@50 Tour, or Hawaii 5-0 Foon, but it was
really a gift vacation from MrsFoon to celebrate my 50th year.
All year, from the time we discussed it in January, I was eager to go.
But after a brutal month of Oct. both of us were kind of beat up for
the trip. I was not on top of my game physically, and MrsFoon was
preoccupied with other things. We planned to stay at the airport the
night before our early flight, which was a huge tactical error, seeing
that the Fairfield Inn we chose was at the foot of a runway. As a
result, I got 3 hours sleep before we left, and even though the First
Class cabin was a novelty and very decadent, I don't recommend it. You
will never be satisfied with the treatment you receive in coach again.
Arriving in Oahu I had the usual hassles with Avis over wheels and
chose a Teal looking Grand Am. Peppy but junky too. The ride from the
airport to the Turtle Bay Hilton on the very tip of the North Shore
was dangerous since I was starting to hit the fatigue wall, and the
Kam Hiway was thick with surfers and cars since a sizable swell was in
town. I kept narrowly missing hitting people as I craned my neck to
see some of the name spots. Finally, MrsFoon shouted that if I didn't
pay more attention to my driving she was going to take the wheel (and
club me in the head with it).
We chose the Turtle Bay Hilton on the advice of several ASers (thanks
guys) and since it is almost literally the only resort Hotel on the
North Shore. We had a top floor room overlooking the point with a very
nice break right next door. The plushness and amenities were mostly
wasted on us since we don't play golf, tennis, or horseback ride. The
TBH is a hotel on the mend with major renovations to the facility to
make it a 4 star joint again. The exterior is kind of beat up with big
chunks of cement missing from exterior balconies and walls as a result
of the weather conditions and age of the place.
After checking into the room and virtually blind with fatigue, I was
starting to collapse after making my connection calls to Neal. He was
ready and raring to go the very next morning and I agreed with good
intentions. I fell asleep immediately and woke up bright and awake at
MIDNIGHT (5:00am my time) and remained awake all night until Neal and
Buddy came to get me at 6 the next morning. By then I was so tired I
had tremors in my legs just standing, but I was determined to dawn
patrol with them. I soon realized if I even walked across the Kam
hiway, I was in grave danger. A paddle out was out of the question.
What can I say about Neal and Buddy? Exceptional people, very
generous, kind, friendly, concerned about my fatigued state, yet
stoked to hook up and patrol. At Laniakea we met Jules in the predawn
light. Neal patiently described the Lani setup pointing out channels,
reefs, sections etc. All the while my legs were almost in collapse as
I leaned against Neal's car.
I watched as Neal and Buddy escorted Jules out through the tricky
channel, then watched them put on a surfing demonstration in the
marginal conditions that morning. The place filled quickly, but I
could always make out Neal (riding his yellow spongerocket and
demonstrating all the moves a contest rated bodyboarder of high
quality can do) and Buddy, who in distinctive red Aloha print trunks,
could be seen charging the very biggest and choicest of the Lani's
crushers. I'll take a chance here and say if there were a contest
among all the best surfers on the ng, Bud would be in the top three.
He is a hard charging, talented pocketmaster, and a real pleasure to
Jules came in a little early and we got to talk story. Later Neal and
Bud came in as the wind got on it, and we stood around getting to know
All of a sudden a big white Van with AIPA Surfboards pulls in the Lani
lot and Neal walks over to talk to legendary surfer Ben Aipa. To my
amazement he brings Ben over to meet Jules and I. I am speechless to
be in contact with this famous surfer. It's been quite a year for me.
First Tubesteak, then Robert August, now Ben Aipa. I am flushed with
Seeing that I am on my last legs the group decides to hit my Hotel for
grinds and more talk. Everyone has things to do that day and the
breakfast is short but a lot of fun. What is not always conveyed in
these people's posts is how funny they are. I will relate a story Neal
told about another ASer named Fred the Pup later, which had us all
peeing our pants at Neal's house. Buddy, Neal and Jules are just great
people to sit and chat with. So interesting and informative about many
things other than surfing, yet all stoked to be out in the water
Finally, I bid them farewell promising to make the next dawn patrol,
Sunday. I went up to my room to get some zzzzzzzs only to have the
full defensive line of the Fresno State Football team (staying at the
Hilton and in town for a huge game against Hawaii) make so much noise,
I couldn't sleep again. Total snooze time 7 hours in 48.
Still tired I hit the reef next door for a two hour session on
Saturday and shared it with a bunch of hotel employees on break and
some bodyboarders. The waves seem huge, yet 3 of 5 back off the reef
and provide a very gradual ride with lots of opportunity to cut back
and position for the reforms. No one rides them all the way in since
paddling back out is a bitch against the current. There's a jump off
spot on the point among some very sharp lava rock. I see several guys
time the jump to hit the trough of the wave so they aren't driven back
into the rock. I calculate that if I tried to make the 5 foot jump, it
would be the shortest vacation I ever took. A guaranteed trip to the
hospital. I take the long way and paddle out from the beach. The
distance is far more than I'm used to on the Right Coast, and it takes
it's toll. I have noodle arms after just 4 waves. So I linger outside
and start just taking the drop, then get out which is easy since there
is almost no wall after the drop until well inside.
Set waves by my Right Coast standard were 6-8 feet, green tinted
water, bright blue sky, white puffy clouds. I am in ecstasy.
In the evening, I'm nervous and antsy but the session has settled me
down. The jetlag is killing me. That night I sleep like the dead for
almost 12 hours. By dawn I feel refreshed but I still have bad
arthritis in my left leg, the previous days session and massive
amounts of Motrin have not loosened it up. I feel like I need a cane
to walk. I get up anyway determined to meet the AS Hawaii chapter for
a surf. I take 800 mgs Motrin and head out in the dark, down the Kam
hiway past some of the most famous breaks in the world.
Next: One Foot Hawaiian - my fat white okole!
Island Odyssey #2
Dawn in Hawaii these days is about 6:00 am. If it's not cloudy the sky
brightens to the East earlier. On this Sunday morning there were light
sprinkles or mist and some cloud cover as I drove by the Lani's
parking lot, missing it in the dark. I u-turned up the road and pulled
in behind Buddy's Black pickup. Neal, Jules and hubby Steve already
there, Makani was in the truck with Bud. Intros all around then
speculation about the surf. In the dim light all I could see was white
water. Jules wondered if it was bigger than the previous Friday? I
thought not, Buddy grinned and said, Oh yeah. I could barely see
someone take a drop and it was definitely overhead by a few feet.
Everyone started to gear up for the sesh.
I was determined to share this event even though I was sporting a bum
leg. Who needs two legs when you're bodyboarding anyway. One's enough,
right? Wrong. Buddy and Makani took off to head for the juice, Neal
guided the rest of us out describing the setup and various peaks as we
This day Lani's had a double black diamond peak for experts, and
moderate section for experienced and an inside peeler to the channel
for beginners. I followed Neal out to the main peak, already watching
Bud drop a few. My up close observation told me, yeah -definately a
few feet ohead, and smackin.
Usually I take awhile to size up a spot and see how it's breaking. But
within minutes the lineup was filling up with Sunday surfers of all
denominations. It was clear you had to grab 'em early. Winded from
the long paddle out I passed on a few that Neal grabbed and deboned
easily. I still hadn't had a warm up wave when Neal, blocking on the
outside waved me into -by my Right Coast Standard- an 8 foot face.
Aware this was a generous offer I began paddling glancing over my
shoulder to watch this monster wall up. My instincts for reef
surfing were all wrong. Taking the drop straight and banking off the
bottom using the speed of the drop was the way to go. But where I come
from, when a big wall stretches into the distance, we take the turn
high and try to race the lip using angle down the line speed, since
beach breaks most often close out when they are this big..
At the last moment I kooked and tried to turn high catching the
collapsing lip broadside. At first all I felt was slight pressure from
above and I thought, "Hey, this ain't that bad." What I was unaware
of was that during this short fraction of a second of serenity I was
free falling down inside the lip. Upon reaching the bottom you could
say reality came crashing in. I got stuffed like a Micheal Jordon
Slam Dunk. I waited for the downward pressure to let up then swam for
the surface, a little farther than I'm used to. My first thoughts
were, "Holy Shit!!" My second thoughts were, "Damn you Miyake!!"
Shaken up by my first try I was very reluctant to attempt the main
peak again. I moved over to the intermediate break and began sizing up
the smaller waves, catching a few and warming up to the task.
Unfortunately my leg was starting to feel like it had a hot poker
stuck in it. I was not going to perform at my best level today.
Later in the session Neal came over to check on us, talking to Steve,
Jules and myself and giving us some stoke and good advice. Then a good
size set appeared. Again generously Neal offered up the first big wave
(Starting to notice a pattern here?) which I went for and missed. As I
turned around I could see Neal scrambling for the Horizon as the set
of the day started to take a bead on me. Very unfortunately my missed
wave placed me precisely in the impact zone for the following three
monsters, every one of which I took right on the head regardless of
how deep I tried to bury myself. The second bloody bomber slammed me
so hard, it blew my fin and fin sock right off my foot. Neal had
mentioned before the trip maybe I should consider fin tethers. " HA!!"
I thought, I've been surfing for years without them. Never lost a fin
to a wave yet.
Neal, feeling guilty about gettin me stuffed, or eager to see what
kind of damage I'd incurred (like watching a car wreck) took one of
the waves in the set . I told him I'd lost the fin and sock.
Miraculously, the sock was just inside about 20 yards and he
retrieved it for me. I figured my session was over but soon I spied my
fin just 30 feet away floating in the foam. I quickly moved in got the
sock from Neal and started to put them on. It is about then funny boy
took out his camera and decided to "capture the moment."
A bit shaken by the working I decided to take a break and go over to
the channel to see if I felt like continuing this thrashing. Soon I
was feeling much better, in fact GREAT!! I WAS STILL IN ONE PIECE
DAMNIT!! Having taken one of Lani's best right on the head!! I moved
back over to the middle break and caught a series of shorter walls,
some of which were quite fun and zippy. But I was aware I still had to
go back to the hotel to grab MrsFoon for our trip to Turbo's. So after
an hour or so I went back in.
As I paddled back in I passed Ben Aipa paddling out. I recognized him
immediately from Fridays introduction. I smiled at him, said, "Howzit
Ben," and gave him my best shaka. He looked at me strangely, barely
smiled and nodded, then paddled harder. The look in his eyes said
sadly, " Dis gon be plenny bad day, wen sum frecka face Haole wit a
stoopit bazball hat say Howzit!!" Maybe he was right. Ben got worked
on his first three waves.
When we all got to talk later I asked Neal how big he thought the surf
was. "Oh it was small today, one foot, maybe two to three on sets."
hmmmmmm, I got the working of my life on one foot Hawaiian. I think
I've got the sizing standard figured out.
It works out to what ever they say (1 foot) over what you can normally
handle. I know I saw Bud or Makani drop a 2xohead that day (Right
Coast), and I wasn't that far from where they did it.
In hindsight now I am deeply grateful to Neal and the others for
giving me the opportunity to share waves with them. I have a whole new
perspective on the type of conditions they routinely have and a deeper
respect for their surfing chops. These guys are great.
Wed, 01 Dec 1999
After the Sunday FoonThrash/sesh, it was decided we'd all
take off to Turbo Bodyboards in search of a new stick for
me. Neal had been very generous letting me use his newest
board, but it was so light I felt undergunned compared to
the heavy, buoyant Toobs monster I usually ride. The caravan
split up with Steve and I in one car, Jules and MrsFoon in
another, and Neal solo. Bud and Makani had bid us good bye.
Having Jules and MrsFoon alone together for quality time
made me nervous. You know what happens when "girl talk"
occurs?? Sure enough, they bonded like glue. There's no
telling what Jules knows about me now. MrsFoon assured me my
reputation was in tact. That was my worst fear.
Neal was very kind to take us to Turbo and we thought we'd
meet up with Mama Sus too. Unfortunately the Turbo Store had
hundreds of boards on sale, but not the Manta 44 inch Pro
x5T I'd thoroughly researched and desperately wanted. I
would have saved about $45 on the Right Coast price too.
Frustrated by the other attractive boards I resigned myself
to having to ride lenders and rentals for the rest of the
trip. I kept Neal's board for two more sessions on the North
Shore. I finally got it wired on my last sesh.
After we set a time and date for a party on Tuesday, Jules,
Steve, MrsFoon and myself went to Jules' house
wayyyyyyyyyyyyy up on a hill overlooking Honolulu to get a
book she wanted to lend us. What a magnificent view she has
of the South Shore. Later she took us to a Sandwich shop
named Anininumi num num or something like that where I ate
an avocado hamburger bigger than my head. I was swooning
with pleasure. This was some major onolicious grinds.
Alt.surfing Hawaii had it's party at Neal's on Tuesday
night. Thanks to good directions and a sign saying
"alt.surfing" on the side of his house, we knew it was the
right place. We met Mama Sus there for the first time and
she honored our attendance with ceremonial Hawaiian
neckwear. You can see it in the pic. I was very touched by
MrsFoon committed the first Fax Paus by not removing her
sandals, as is the Hawaiian custom, before entering
someone's home. I'm so glad they dispensed with the usual
punishment of lopping off her feet with a machete and
throwing her in a volcano......No wait.... That's Borneo.
What can I say, when ASers get together, massive quantities
of food and drink are present and consumed. I can't remember
ever seeing so much to eat. All of you could have been there
and there would have been plenty, and so good
hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. I'm salivating just remembering
it. Chinese, sushi, you name it. Goooodddd grinds.
Among the nights entertainment were drinking, watching
endless surf vids on Neal's home theater, eating, dishing
you people on alt.surfing (ya'll took a real beating),
eating, explaining to Neal's lovely wife and MrsFoon what
the group dynamic was (they were horrified), eating, a
delightful song and dance routine by Neal's daughter, Taryn,
accompanied by her parent's singing along. Neal's wife has a
lovely voice. Neal........surfs really well :)
One of the highlights of the evening was Neal retelling a
story by Fred the Pup who apparently has such bad vision
that one day he was out in the lineup waiting for waves. He
tried to strike up a conversation with someone nearby, who
did not respond. Fred couldn't figure this out until he got
a little closer and discovered he was talking to
....A PELICAN!!!!!! I swear I almost wet myself just
imagining this event and what Fred thought.
The party was one of the highlights of our trip. MrsFoon was
just completely taken with everyone's genuine kindness. She
said these were some very special people I'd found in this
group and that I was very lucky to travel all over the place
and be greeted and taken care of by complete strangers.
Sometimes I marvel at this amazing circumstance myself. This
is truly a wondrous medium.
Someday I hope Buddy can steal the picture we saw of Neal
performing at Rainbow stadium, and mount it on his site. It
shows our very own Neal way up in the air performing a
perfect straight leg split, toes out. Man I've never been
that flexible in my life, but it gives testimony to his love
of life and abilities in the water.
Finally and most sincerely, I would like to thank each and
every one of the people we met in Hawaii for the friendship
and kindness they showed MrsFoon and myself. This trip was
great but it was made all the more special by you folks. I
only hope I can return the favor some day.
Truth be told, part of my Hawaii vacation was funded by
Surfoon Magazine. My editor told me while I was over there I
could slip in an assignment by covering the Vans G-Shock
Triple Crown of Surfing, held at Haleiwa's Ali Park. The
mission was to slip behind the scenes and get the real
I'd never been to a big time surf contest. The one's I'd
been to on the Right Coast seemed more like a family picnic
in comparison. This ASP (Assoc of Surfin Pros) event was the
real deal. This is the Bizness of Surfing, big, colorful,
exciting and curiously strange.
For some reason my credentials were not at the media center,
so I was relegated to prowling the beach mingling with both
spectators and contestants, who for some reason did not hang
out in the contestants staging area, except to get a
Watching some early women's heats I quickly became disgusted
with the running commentary provided by two talking heads on
the PA system. Condescending, un funny, cliquish and boring,
the two would ramble on using surfer dude slang and
simplistic imagery, assuming the average spectator was a
total idiot. The only thing they were good for were
identifying which contestant was which. Also later in each
heat they would announce the standings based on wave scores
and tell each contestant what they needed to score on their
remaining waves just to place. Talk about pressure.
Though the surf was building, the conditions were
deteriorating due to wind. I spotted a particular
photographer who'd set up his camera and massive lens
nearby. Wearing a huge straw sun hat he would shoot nearly
every ride. I guessed he'd batch loaded his film so he could
shoot dozens of shots without reloading and asked him
simply, "What film you using?" He looked at me like I was
daft. "Film? No one uses film anymore mate, " he said with
a slight Aussie accent, "this is a digital camera. I can get
over 200 shots per disk and I shoot 2-3 disks a day."
Embarrassed by my naivety, I quickly began picking his brain
about his equipment, and shooting contest pictures. In all
I spent about 4 hours with "Pierre" who turned out to be the
official ASP photographer for the tour. He was very kind to
answer all my questions patiently and gave me a wealth of
knowledge in surf contest picture taking.
After spending the day shooting as many waves as possible
hoping to get a handful of good shots. He would go back to
the contest media center and download the pictures reviewing
them all. Selecting good ones, he would then mount them on
the ASPlive website. Pierre uses a Canon digital camera
with a 1000 mm lens that he often put a 2x converter on. He
shoots at 1/1250th sec, f-stop and focus are automatic. If
he holds the shutter button down, he can get 4-6 shots per
sec depending on the action he's shooting. After shooting a
bunch of Rochelle Ballard he backed up the disk and showed
me the sequence. Nothing special except one wipeout that
made her appear to be squatting and taking a dump on the
face of the wave. That would be saved for the "party
When I asked about the relative quality of his pics and
printing them in magazines, he claimed they are fairly small
files which came out at about 300 dpi. Then offhand he said
that he didn't need really high quality images for the
website and kinds of magazines who published these shots.
He conceded that the really high quality surf photogs still
use film for the coffee table book type pictures. For the
kind of work he did, digital was just fine. His rig cost
over $25,000 for camera and lens.
With the swell building, the break next to Haleiwa called
Avalanche, was getting some ooohs and aaahs as a couple of
riders were taking some 2-3xohead elevator drops. I watched
this action through my binoculars. Soon the contest
officials stopped the women's heats and started calling the
men's. It just so happened I'd found a bit of shade sitting
at a picnic table next to the Vans' Tent, which I found
amusing since I was wearing my red dirt filthy Airwalks.
While I was sitting at the table I sensed several guys
sitting down around me and talking about the woman's heats.
I looked up to see, Kalani Robb, Rob Machado, Mark
Occhilupo, and CJ Hobgood, all contestants. I'd some how
found the hang out table for the contestants to wait at.
We all watched as Trudy Todd of Australia did one of them 10
foot floater things. The guys hooted and I looked up to see
her countryman Occy smiling broadly. He winked at me and
said "Good 'un huh?" I nodded and immediately decided this
would be the ideal moment for a SurFoon exclusive interview
with the World Champion apparent, Mark Occhilupo.
Interview with Mark Occhilupo, Nov. 16, 1999 for SurFoon
Magazine as filed by Foondoggy:
SF: So Occy, what do you think of the competition and
conditions here at the Triple Crown?
Occy: This is a great contest. The ASP does a really good
job in Hawaii. All their contests are first rate and well
run. We have a splendid time here on the North Shore each
SF: What do you think your chances are this year?
Occy: Look, you know we all travel the tour together.
Everyone has their good and bad days. I've been especially
lucky this year, but often it comes down to the prevailing
conditions at the time of your heat. Haleiwa favors a
regular footer, but any good surfer is going to shine no
matter what the conditions. I have as good a chance as any.
SF: What do you do on the days the contest is canceled Occy?
Occy: Oh a few of us will check out other breaks where
future contests will be held like Sunset, and go out for a
surf. If it's really flat, we play golf.
SF: What kind of car do you drive Occy?
Occy: Uh, a 1980 Mercedes. Um, what magazine did you say
you were with?
SF: Thanks Occy, the readers of SurFoon magazine will be
rooting for you.
Editors Note: The following is the real transcript of
Foon's interview as transcribed from the actual minicassette
used in the interview:
Foon: Hey Occy, Howzit?
Occy: Uh yeah.......hi......are you......uh with the
Foon: Um...no. I'm just here on vacation.
Occy: Oh, that's nice...........having a good time?
Foon: Why yes, thanks for asking........Say would you be
interested in going over Chulo's for lunch? It's on me!
Next: Seven days prowling the North Shore, Snapshots of
Surfing's Magic Playground
Snapshots of the North Shore:
Country - They call it country because right next to the
biggest and only resort hotel on the North Shore (TBH)
there's a dairy farm, and if the wind is just right you can
catch a whiff of that unmistakable odor of masticated grass,
mixed with water and processed through a cow's
gastrointestinal system. The Kam hiway is a little two lane
road that winds it's way past 7 miles of the most famous
breaks in the world. There is no development of the North
Shore on purpose. Many of the homes there are very old. It
is almost pristine and that's the way it must remain. A
surfer's magic playground for sure and definitely out in the
Foodland - The only name grocery store on the Kam hiway, it
packs them in at dinner time. We cruised the aisles for
some supplies and ran into many name surfers. We were
checking out behind a group of four of the Women's
competitors and I was amazed at some of the stuff they
bought. I can tell you what kind of food they eat,
cigarettes they smoke, magazines they read, hair color they
use (yes they do) make up they put on, snacks they eat,
beverages they drink and other stuff they use.. I will say
watching one of the biggest name women buy a loaf of Wonder
bread and a jar of peanut butter then make 5 sandwiches at
a little table out front and eat them, is not a sight you
see every day. The guys eat like garbage compactors,
anything and everything. There's a big name surfer who
apparently likes quart jars of pickled herring.
Pipeline - I only knew it the first time because Buddy told
me it was a hundred yards South of Ehukai Beach Park and
when I walked down there I saw the surfcam pointed
at.......nothing. It was flat and undistinguished looking,
not much different from many beaches with no surf. But I
sensed it was a very special place. During my final visit I
fairly shook with excitement. It was going off big and
nasty. The ground shook, the waves spit, the bodies flew,
the broken boards piled up, and the rip was incredible. I
have such great respect for anyone who paddled out that day,
and there were many determined to taunt the beast.
Incredible rides, wipeouts, drops, housings......surfing- a
very elite type. I consider this visit and the pictures I
got to be one of the highpoints of my stay on the North
Shore. The wave is so unique and simply the most amazing
thing to watch first hand.
Haleiwa - We went to Haleiwa every day. Either to shop,
watch the contest or eat a meal. I've visited and lived in a
few "Surf Towns" in my life, but I've never seen any to
compare with Haleiwa. It is extraordinary and it knows it.
The number of businesses associated with the surfing culture
is unusual, yet the spirit of aloha is every where. There
are many transplants. When asked if they could live
elsewhere, all said they wouldn't. I loved the town, the
shops, the galleries, the eateries, and the atmosphere.
Several of the restaurants, Jamesons, Joe's, had great pics
autographed by name surfers of them riding the world famous
breaks nearby. Huge and lovely specialty boards and
equipment were everywhere, and three contest surfers ate at
Joe's one night with their sponsor at a table right next to
us. I overheard them talking and was amazed to hear them
plotting strategy, like in, "your airs suck in 4-6 feet,
stick with the big turns, floaters and cutbacks." One of
these guys ate a chunk of prime rib, bigger than his head.
Another drank too much. The sponsor picked up the tab.
Waimea Bay - Was completely quiet while I was there except
one afternoon the point at the Northern side was going off
at about 10-15 faces, 5 guys out. Other spots on the North
Shore were bombing. I can't imagine what it takes for Waimea
to crank up. The pictures I've seen make me believe the
outside reefs don't start showing until maybe 15-20 foot
faces. The shorebreak that same afternoon was about 6 foot.
Pacific Marine Arts - A gallery in Haleiwa was featuring
Steven Valiere, an artist whose unusual surf art was
featured last year in Surfer's Journal. I didn't know who
he was but struck up a conversation with him about one of
the paintings I recognized from the Journal. He had the
original there plus a reprint which looked identical right
down to the oil paint brush strokes. When I asked how this
was possible he said it was a process which scanned the
original then reproduced a reprint using a very
sophisticated laser (like Iris) printer. He then went back
over the reprint with a brush and paint recreating but not
exactly the texture of the original. He did this for a
limited number of reprints which he numbered and
authenticated. Steven was a super interesting artist,
transplanted I believe from California, now living in Kauai.
We spent an hour discussing the color printing of his work
in catalogs and magazines. He invited us to a private party
that night at the gallery with free food and drinks, but we
never got there due to some happy hour at our hotel.
Surf Wheels - I think it's a point of honor on the North
Shore among locals, to own a car or truck specifically to
go to the beach in. It seems this vehicle must be barely
operating, and almost totally unworthy of driving on the
road or passing inspection. The collection of wrecks I
witnessed with boards hanging out or stacked on would make a
junkyard owner salivate. The ones missing lights were
especially interesting since they were very hard to see at
night. I saw one cop car the entire week on the North Shore
and it said, Honolulu Police, on the side.
North Shore Market Place - a great little shopping plaza in
Haleiwa that contained at least 4 surf shops, three
restaurants (not including a nondescript KFC) two art
galleries, a surfing museum, several clothing stores and
gift shops. Strong Current Surf Co is where I bought my 2000
Woodies Calendar. Down the way I picked up a few pounds of
Kona Blend coffee. One day for lunch we ate at a little
cafe called Chulo's and I had a slightly scary moment:
We'd sat down in the colorfully decorated Mexican motif
dining area. A huge man of Island ancestry with a long,
thick, black pony tail to his waist and biceps the size of
oil drums greeted us with a "Howzit" and a friendly smile,
offering us some tropical drinks. The menu was quite
interesting with many original mexican type entrees. When
"Kimo" came to take our order I had made up my my mind.
"I think I'll have the quesadilla Kimo." Kimo didn't reply
but looked at me expectantly as though I needed to tell him
much more. Not having my reading glasses I was unaware there
were possibly several kinds and I frantically looked at the
small print on the menu. Kimo's patient demeanor turned
into an angry stare, as I glanced up after a few minutes and
saw him flexing his arms and tapping his pencil on the
check. Finally he blurted out, "Want BEEF?"
Alarms went off in my head as I knew from Neal's tutoring
that this was a very serious threat from a Bruddah and I was
about to get my ass kicked. I broke into a cold sweat just
as MrsFoon touched my arm and said, "Beef, chicken, veggie,
or shrimp Foon. Those are the choices". Kimo smiled and
nodded. I ordered shredded beef in honor of my server, and
another pineapple-quava smoothie. I gotta bone up more on my
Sunset at Sunset- One night MrsFoon and I decided to watch
what promised to be a spectacular sunset at Sunset Beach.
It was only a short ride from the hotel and we pulled into a
one of the few open parking spaces by the side of the road.
Sunset Beach Park was jammed that evening. The surf was
going off and the lineup was thick. Every wave had an
incredibly skilled rider. Standing barrel after massive whip
turn, after monster floater occurred for our enjoyment. As
the big red ball headed for it's nightly nap we broke out a
gift bottle of champagne and a bag of Goldfish crackers (I
know, I'm a hopeless romantic) and toasted our good fortune
being at this place at this time of our lives watching an
incredible spectacle. The sunset was awesome, and so were
the waves. The goldfish weren't bad either, but next time
I'll get the extra cheddar.
Tue, 07 Dec 1999
Will it ever end? Yes......eventually, but not until I pay
off my Visa.
I wanna be like Neal-
Sponge is a remarkable rider. He's one of the best and most
fluid bodyboarders I know. (Yeah, I don't know many but....)
I saw several waves of his at Lanis where he effortlessly
escaped getting worked by a falling lip or deathpit suckout
by just turning on the speed and out racing the waves. How
does he do that? I wanted to be like Neal.
It's all in the pants (in a manner of speaking). Neal is the
only one I know who wears bike shorts to surf. That had to
be it. He's so slick he flys through the water. When I
asked him about it he assured me it was his best kept
secret, and directed me to the Xcel shop to get a pair.
The salesbrah at Xcel pointed out the rack with the solid
black nylon and neoprene shorts but I had no luck finding an
XXL. Salesbrah told me they didn't make an XXL but
diplomatically left out the fact that if you needed and XXL,
you probably didn't want to be seen in a pair.
Having gained a few pounds on my vacation, it was a little
tight stuffing the Foon carcass into the XLs. Butt, once I
was in them......I could feel the speed, and not much else.
My first chance to try out the shorts was in Kauai at a
shallow little reef called Waiohai. After being accepted by
the small lineup of 6 riders I was soon faced with one of
those black and white decisions. A 30 foot section of a
shoulder high wave walled up in front of me. It was either
bail or go for it. Getting caught would deposit me on a very
shallow reef in about 6 inches of water with all of the
accompanying cuts, bruises, scraps and abrasions. I don't
heal very quickly.
Not feeling real confident about my slippery new, black
shorts, I went for it anyway. Had I been wearing my baggy,
old, green Quiksilvers, I no doubt would be getting stitched
up in a hospital emergency room. But the Foon Butt was
smokin (metaphorically speaking). I zipped that section
smooth as a nylon zipper, with headroom to spare. The
illusion of speed was intoxicating for a guy my size and I
owe it all to Neal. I wanna be like Neal. All I have to do
now is figure out how to do all them nifty 360s, rollos,
floaters, cutbacks, deathdrops, and tube tucks in 2xohead
On a few days I was attending the Vans G-Shock Triple Crown contest at
Haleiwa Ali Beach Park, the TV show Babe Watch was filming an episode.
The first day only 2nd camera units were on site, filming background
and filler shots of contest atmosphere. The show had strategically
placed some big props near the Contest tents and trailers like a huge
Life Guard tower and an overly plush public shower made of faux bamboo
with a modesty panel that allowed them to film the actresses as though
they were naked, but without showing too much. What a concept??!!
I know people in the entertainment industry and I'm aware that to hit
it big all it takes is pitching the right idea to the right guy. As I
walked around the contest site I saw someone wearing a BayWatch sport
shirt, holding a clipboard, and wearing a cellphone headset, and giving
orders to set designers and camera crews. This guy had "Deputy
Assistant to the Associate Vice Producer's cousin-in-law" written all
over him. This was my chance to pitch my idea. I approached him
directly even though he was already eyeing me warily through mirrored
"Hey brah, howzit. Ya know I'm a big fan of the show and I'm so stoked
you guys have moved to Hawaii. Let me be one of the first to welcome
you even though I'm not a local, I'm just here for the contest. By the
way, the surfing content in your show is a little thin. You need some
authenticity my friend and I'm just the one to give it to you. Been
surfing over 30 years, though not so well lately, ya dig. So here's a
story line you can get in bed with but don't have to marry: A
middle-aged man enters a surfing contest to get back in the sport and
reclaim the stoke of his youth. He competes in a heat where the waves
are bigger than he used to and gets conked on the head. He has to be
rescued and resuscitated by one of your lifeguard/babes. It's genius I
tell you. Here's the beauty of this, pal......are you listening hoss
cause your eyes are scanning around here and I'm only gonna give you
"You see, your demographics are shit, sorry to clue you in. You're
getting the male/female 14-29 crowd but you've got nada in the 30-54
segment. This, my young friend is the fastest growing piece of the
population pie and the group with the largest percentage of
discretionary dollars, which your sponsors crave. With my story you
got this surfing thing to entertain the kids, but you also have the
middle-age kook returns-to-the-sport-he-loves-to-regain-his-youth hook,
to reel in the Boomers. Plus, the character gets the girl after she
lugs his sorry ass in on a rescue board and gives him mouth to mouth,
realizing - HEY! This guy's as old as dirt, but he's a good kisser!!"
"It's a goldmine I tell you slappy and lucky you, I'm giving you this
sure fire hit for almost nothing. All you gotta do is cast me in the
part of the middle-aged surfer. I know you're saying I got no
experience. Shit I can do this part in my sleep. I damn near lived it
for real last Sunday at Laniakea. So what do you say buddy. Do you
want to make TV history?"
TV Guy: "SECURITY!!!!"
-Foon (Watch for me, I snuck into the background on a couple crowd