With the feeling of Autumn comes cool crisp mornings upon each dawning day, and the anticipation of seasonal change which brings great excitement and anticipation to many. For some, it’s a new football season, their only escape from reality with each passing game. Personally if not for the fact that my 11-year-old son loves to play and wants to be an NFL player, I would have zero interest in the game.
For students, it’s the start of a new school year. Which means for many parents, it’s a moment to relax just a bit through the day knowing your kid is in school and you’re temporally off the clock from child duty until 2:30 PM. Or is there ever a moment of relaxation? Knowing you still need to do the laundry, clean the house, grocery shop, pay the bills and if you have time, go to the gym or a quick stop at Starbucks with the ladies or lads. As a single Father raising two boys of my own while sharing custody, trust me, I kinda get it.
But wait a minute, you ask, there has to be more to this changing of the season then the above mentioned? Something that makes you feel alive and scared with each and every breath you take? There has to be another escape besides Monday NIght Football and Foamy Frothy Starbucks, you would think?
Which brings me back to what the changing of the season really means to me and thousands of global surfers. It means, that the shit is about to hit the fan and the big massive marching North Pacific and North Atlantic Hemisphere storms are about to awaken and deliver the biggest, meanest and heaviest waves of the year on all coastlines. For many surfers this is a sigh of relief from the boring summer south swells that lack to produce any home turf wedgies unless you were fortunate enough to travel south of the border on all sides of the planet straight into Southern Hemi Winter Wonderland. If this was you, then you scored some bombs and you are officially ready and warmed up for the real deal of winter in the North Pacific and North Atlantic.
Bottomline boys and girls, men and women, it’s time to get your ducks in a row, get your stories straight, with employers, teachers, family, and friends, arrange your sick days, cancel all unnecessary appointments and kiss your bosses ass. All while telling a significant other you’ll be right there, as you remain bug-eyed, frozen stiff, and staring at the charts for hours on end looking for the right swell to coordinate with your ever-changing schedule and family life. End result? DRAMA! but you will be chasing your wildest wet dreams of big wave surfing at your favorite local spot, outer reef and or point break for the next six months all while ruffling a few feathers along the way. Such is life as a seasoned surfer in search of that ultimate big wave fix.
The good news, Mother Nature will have no excuses, no scheduling changes, no if’s or and’s about it. She will deliver the goods as she does every season and you better be ready. Whatever your story or excuse is, get it straight early on because it’s about to start.
According to the Climate Prediction Center, American and European weather models are trending toward a weak La Nina event, which is defined as at least five months of Eastern and Central Pacific ocean temperatures below normal both at the surface and below the surface.
Here is what we can expect for certainty in the up and coming big wave competitive season of 2017/2018.
The WSL Big Wave Tour will host three more stops which now includes Peahi (aka JAWS) on Maui’s North Shore, Mavericks located in Half Moon Bay NorCal and Nazare, Portugal. With Kai Lenny currently leading in points, it’s going to be an exciting tour season. And how stoked is everyone that Mavericks is now a part of the tour? Great job to all involved parties that negotiated that deal!
The WSL 17th Annual Big Wave Awards that will acknowledge the biggest, baddest and heaviest waves ridden and document around the world thru March 19, 2018. Winners will then be announced at an Awards Banquet at the end of April or early May of 2018.
The three-month holding period for the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational, a World Surf League (WSL) Specialty Event, “The Eddie” can only run when wave face heights hit the range of 40-feet-plus for a full day of competition. Beginning in 1985, the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational has been an invite-only big-wave event that takes place at Waimea Bay on the North Shore of Oahu, where the late Eddie Aikau served as the North Shore’s first lifeguard. The waterman became a legendary figure in Hawaii after an ill-fated attempt to save fellow crew members onboard the Hōkūle’a in 1978, and continues to inspire generations with his symbolism of bravery, camaraderie and aloha spirit. The Eddie has only run nine times in its storied 32-year history. As a WSL specialty-sanctioned big-wave event, The Eddie has drawn a prestigious cross-section of the world’s finest watermen, including competitors from the elite WSL Championship Tour (CT) and underground chargers that hold high merit within the big wave community.
How about the first ever Women’s Waimea Bay Championship? Who’s ready? Born on the island of Maui in the 18th century, Queen Ka’ahumanu redefined the perceived roles of Hawaiian women. Defying the Kapu system’s strict separation of men and women, this strong Hawaiian monarch and surfer sat at the table and dined beside the king. With all the chiefs and priests to bear witness, she was not struck down by the gods, no lighting came from the sky, and with this one public act set forth a ripple of change. In this spirit we wish to sit at the table, to humbly showcase the raw beauty found in the giant surf of Waimea Bay, and to demonstrate the strength and grace of the women who ride her waves.
First swell of the season schedule to open wide on Sunday the 24th for Nazare, Portugal.
For some real jaw-dropping and hair-raising free surfing monsters that have the potential to break over 100’ right before your very eyes, or on top of you, on the right swell, of course, how about Nazare, Portugal? Now a globally recognized giant surf zone in a sleeping little European fishing village has become the mecca for many big wave surfers, media, and tourist from around the world, October thru February. Thanks to the pioneering legend and current world record big wave surfer Garrett McNamara, his wife Nicole, Hugo Vau, Andrew Cotton and friends, this location is the true testing grounds for the biggest, heaviest and scariest waves on the plant for paddling and towing. Be careful what you ask for and be ready to get your ass pounded like never before. Luckily, this zone has some of the most experienced and trained rescue drivers in the world willing to risk their own lives and assist any and all surfers in distress. There have been a few very close calls over the years but fortunately, Mother Naza has been forgiving to all surfers, including Maya Gaberia who almost drowned a few years back and has since then been conquering this wave every season.
And last but not least, let’s not forget the infamous PNW Nelscott Reef Pro/Am Event going on its 15th season. Thanks to Adam Wagner, his commitment, and experience, he has pulled off a successful event each year with the support of the locals, WSL crew, competitors, and sponsors. Located in Lincoln City, Oregon otherwise the PNW, Nelscott Reef has delivered some the biggest and cleanest swells for every event thus far. Rumor has it, this years line-up will be very impressive and will include the best locals in the area.
So folks, whether you are a frothing big wave surfer, a media personnel or just a fan of big waves, one thing is for certain, ‘The Monsters Are Awakening’!
For all the latest big wave updates, interviews, news, photos and postings follow us on Live From the Channel.
Most importantly, everyone is safe, keep your eyes on one another and have fun!
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A few words from a recent Kai Lenny Interview, ‘Modern Day Waterman’ about the upcoming big wave season.
Going into the 2017/2018 Northern Hemisphere Big-Wave Season, you must feel pretty good, as I’m sure you are now focusing on winning your first ever WSL Big Wave Tour World Title at the end of the season. How confident do you feel about competing in the remaining big wave events at Mavericks, Nazare and Pe’ahi? Break each location down for us.
I’m so excited for this year’s tour, I think it’s going to be the best one in the tour’s history. To have four of the best big waves in the lineup is insane! To have a win under my belt definitely gives me confidence coming into this northern hemisphere winter. I’m really excited to compete at all of these waves, they all pose a different challenge and are all so heavy. I would love to win them all, but who wouldn’t. My goal is to have fun, try to rip as hard as I can, and use everything I’ve learned in competition to get to my goal.
Your thoughts on whether or not we will ever see the Eddie Aikau Invitational event added to the WSL Big Wave Tour?
I don’t think we’ll ever see the Eddie Aikau invitational on the tour. It’s a special event celebrating the life of Eddie and by where it stands is the most prestigious event in surfing in my opinion. I’d like to see an event at Waimea Bay and I’m not sure how that will work but either way, I hope to compete at Waimea one day.
Talk to us about your safety team and the measurements your crew takes to keep you safe? You call it the triangle effect. What exactly is that?
Growing up with Mount Everest (Jaws) in my backyard and having the best guys pioneer the spot. I was taught from an early age that safety was just as important as riding the wave if not more important. You can never be too safe and the day you are is probably when something will go wrong. When I sliced my foot in half a couple years back the safety plan paid off. Within 45 minutes of my injury, I was getting stitched up at the hospital. I was picked up by the jet ski, taken to the boat and bandaged up before the helicopter picked me up and took me into town. Everything went so smoothly it was a breeze. I want to keep that level of professionalism with my team no matter what because maybe one day it’s not me it’s someone that’s close to me or even someone I don’t know. But life is important to hang onto. On an average day surfing big waves out at Jaws, I’ll typically have 3 jet skis, a boat and a helicopter on call. My team consists of Victor Lopez, Milton Martinson, and Ola Curnan on the Skis. Matt Smiths boat, and Don Shearer’s Helicopter. On top of that my Dad helps me coordinate all of the logistics to make sure everything runs smoothly with the safety, film crew, and friends visiting.
In your opinion, how important is it for all big wave surfers to establish for themselves a safety protocol and safety crew when being in the mix on those XXL days?
I think no matter who you are you should have a Plan A, B, and C. Most people don’t rely on others who are prepared. The best guys in the world all have their stuff together I think that’s what makes them the best in the world. If anything it just gives you more confidence when you’re out there to be in the moment and not worry about what could happen.
What can we expect to see this season out at Pe’ahi coming from the current Maui crew? Who are some of the NEWER up and coming, underground chargers that we have probably not heard of yet?
I think you can expect more of the same from the Maui crew. To be some of the best guys out in the line-up at Jaws and around the world. We will see what this winter brings. I don’t think it will be like the mega one we had a few years back but whatever comes we’ll take it and make the best of it! As far as the new underground chargers, there are so many already but as for who the next generation is, all you have to do is go to Honolua Bay and see them surfing. On a big day at the bay, it’s the most similar to a mini Jaws there is. I’m so excited to have those groms in the line-up surfing with me one day.
What are some of your current projects we can look forward to in the near future?
Things have been developing so fast and I have a ton projects going on at the moment. One that I’m particularly most excited about is my new movie called Paradigm Lost. It’s a film that follows me and my friends through all the water sports and the reasons we do them. I’m just so excited for everyone to see it! We have been working on this for a while now. My new movie “Paradigm Lost” is a multi-sport film including Surfing, Windsurfing, Kitesurfing, SUP, Hydro Foiling, Big Wave Surfing, and more! Thanks to our crew for working day and night on this film!
Starring: Albee Layer, Jamie O’Brien, John John Florence, Levi Siver, Kelly Slater, Airton Cozzolino, Marcilio Browne, Kalani Chapman, Ryan Hipwood, Ridge Lenny, Matt Meola, Robby Naish, Ian Walsh, Dusty Payne, Greg Long, Julian Wilson, Clyde Aikau, Kala Alexander, Dave Kalama, Victor Lopez, and yours truly.
A Film by Kai Lenny and Johnny DeCesare
Maui Arts and Culture Center
Friday, September 22, 2017
Poor Boyz Productions
Thanks Kai for an amazing interview and we look forward to catching up with you soon.
So stoked Eric and Richard, thank you both for all that you do for our sport and the athletes.
(C) Towsurfer.com 2017