google doodle – it’s a Duke


Screenshot 2015-08-24 22.22.20

It was in the turbulent Pacific waters off Corona del Mar 90 years ago when Duke Kahanamoku, the celebrated Hawaiian surfing and Olympic swimming titleholder, proved once again to be a genuine American champion. He is the subject of a Google Doodle today.

Dawn was breaking that Sunday, June 14, 1925, when Kahanamoku, then 34, in the company of several surfers, including Gerard “Jerry” Vultee, his best friend and pioneer aircraft designer, was preparing to enter the waves on his 12-foot mahogany surfboard.

The “Duke” (who was born 125 years ago today) could see that trouble was brewing when massive waves and swells propelled by fierce winds began to lash the coast.

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All of a sudden, one of his companions cried out, “That boat is in trouble,” pointing to the 40-foot, 5-ton yacht Thelma attempting to enter Newport Harbor through the churning breakers.

Coastal storms had come up suddenly during previous months, and just recently they had brought havoc and death to the very waters Kahanamoku and his friends were planning to surf.

A year earlier, on June 8, 1924, the 30-foot fishing boat Adieu, carrying 16 passengers and its captain, overturned during a storm off Corona del Mar, drowning five fishermen from Santa Ana. On May 21, 1925 — just three weeks before the Thelma’s foundering — a rowboat carrying three teenagers capsized in heavy waves. Two of the youths made it to shore; a third drowned.

So the fears of Kahanamoku mounted as he observed the hapless Thelma struggle to stay afloat.

“Only a porpoise or a sea lion had the right to be out there …,” he later recalled, according to old news stories. “From the shore we saw the Thelma wallowing in the water just seaward of where the breakers were falling. You could see her rails crowded with fishermen. She appeared to be trying to fight her way toward safe water … but it obviously was a losing battle.

“A mountain of solid green water curled down upon the vessel … spume geysered up in all directions … then before the next mammoth breaker could blot out the view again, it was obvious the Thelma had capsized and thrown her passengers into the boiling sea.”

The following day, in a dramatic Page One story headlined, “Five Are Drowned When Waves Capsize Yacht … Twelve More Narrowly Escape As Swimmers Bring Victims to Shore on Surf Boards,” the Los Angeles Times described the frightening scene.

“The swell, as it gained momentum, merged into a mountainous wave and crashed over the bow, smashing the plate glass window of the engine-room, flooding the compartment and stopping the engine,” according to the article. “Practically all the members of the pleasure party were swept overboard with the first wave and were struggling in the midst of the torn wreckage and pounding waves.

“Before the fishermen could put on life preservers and assistance could reach them, the boat was caught broadside in the teeth of the tremendous breakers and rolled completely over twice.”

The sinking, said the newspaper, “resulted in the drowning of five passengers. Twelve others were pulled from the sea in a spectacular rescue staged by Duke Kahanamoku, famous Hawaiian swimmer, and others who braved the heavy seas on surfboards.”

PWA Aloha Classic


Watching this makes me miss windsurfing (a bit)

Siver snatches the victory from under the nose of Seadi after an epic day in Ho’okipa

The wind and wave Gods were shining over Ho’okipa Beach Park on the fifth day of the JP Aloha Classic – presented by Nalu Kai – as the PWA single elimination was completed in epic conditions. Just as the forecast predicted the wind and waves built throughout the day, and by the time the competition was reaching its climax the swell was pumping with over mast high sets rolling into Ho’okipa, providing a pulsating finale to a enthralling day. Levi Siver (Quatro / Goya Windsurfing / MFC) sailed superbly and he was rewarded with victory at the end of the single elimination. Will the American be able to hold onto his single elimination JP Aloha Classic crown?

The final was run as a four-man battle over the duration of 22 minutes to give Kauli Seadi, Morgan Noireaux, Bernd Roediger and Levi Siver the maximum chance to really exercise their prowess.

The American delivered one of his stunning trademark aerials and a couple of turns, which sent the spray flying by the bucket load.

Roediger and Noireaux were also going for broke, as they attempted air takas and frontside wave 360s respectively, but ultimately it was Siver who stepped up to the plate.

On his final wave of the heat, Siver lined up the critical section to launch into a frontside 360, which he claimed, before delivering another gouging turn.

With no time remaining Seadi tacked onto the final wave of the heat and rotated through a perfectly executed goiter, but it wasn’t a counting wave for him, which left for a nail biting finale.

The result proved to be almost inseparable with just 0.02 of a point in it, much to the delight of Siver it was soon revealed that he had clinched the single elimination victory.

“I just told myself that I want to enjoy it. At the end of the day we’re all friends who love this sport and I think we should keep that spirit of Aloha, and just keep encouraging each other”, said Siver.

JP Aloha Classic | Single Elimination:

1. Levi Siver (Quatro/Goya Windsurfing/MFC)
2. Kauli Seadi (JP/Hot Sails Maui)
3. Bernd Roediger (Quatro/Goya Windsurfing/MFC)
4. Morgan Noireaux (JP/Hot Sails Maui/Maui Ultra Fins)
5. Matt Pritchard (Tabou/Gaastra)
5. Josh Angulo (Angulo/Gun Sails)
7. Kevin Pritchard (Starboard/Ezzy/MFC)
7. Graham Ezzy (Quatro/Ezzy)

Surfing Legend: Sean Tompson’s Surfer Code (Bustin’ Down The Door)


Shaun Tomson‘s Surfer Code

– I will never turn back on the ocean
– I will always paddle back out
– I will take the drop with commitment
– I will know that there will always be another wave
– I will realize that all surfers are joined by one ocean
– I will paddle around the impact zone
– I will never fight a rip tide
– I will watch out for other surfers after a big set
– I will pass on my stoke to a non-surfer
– I will ride, and not paddle in to shore
– I will catch a wave every day, even in my mind
– I will honor the sport of kings

Too many people look at the latest videos but Bustin’ down the door documented a seminal change in the mindset of groms in the 70’s and 80’s. The doccie was made in 2009 and is well worth renting / buying

During the winter of 1975 in Hawaii, surfing was shaken to its core. A group of young surfers from Australia and South Africa sacrificed everything and put it all on the line to create a sport, a culture, and an industry that is today worth billions of dollars and has captured the imagination of the world. With a radical new approach and a brash colonial attitude, these surfers crashed headlong into a culture that was not ready for revolution.

Surfing was never to be the same again.