Ignoring Injuries For A Series Of Epic Swells

Gary Kewley

North Shore Surf News

Aloha and howzit, surfers and beachgoers.

Wow, that was a big south swell. The storm from New Zealand cranked out waves that peaked near 10-feet local size June 1.

Diamond Head, a deep water spot, breaks like Sunset Beach when it gets toward 8-feet Hawaiian scale or 15-feet crest to trough. Waves were feathering way outside off Cliffs. It was beautiful, heavy water.

My buddy Darrell Payapaya surfs Diamond Head more than anyone I know. Darrell is half Hawaiian, half Filipino and is known as the Prince of Diamond Head. He still rides a tiny under-6-foot quad, and he’s well into his 50s.

Hardcore doesn’t capture his commitment to surfing. Darrell called more than once pretty pumped about paddling out, and it wasn’t on his small board.

I’m an adrenaline junkie and had vertigo for almost 10 weeks, so I hadn’t ridden a real wave in ages. It foolishly was decided that I wasn’t going to miss this rare swell.

Like a dried-up sponge, my mind and body went berserk absorbing the beauty and energy. I headed out for two-and-a-half hours, catching some of my best wipeouts in years.

Though dizzy, I was so happy I could even surf. There were several bailouts from 15 feet straight down the elevator shaft. Friends who saw them didn’t hesitate to hoot, as we surfers love a good wipeout.

The roll around Down Under wasn’t as violent as it looked. I rode a 6-foot-8 Glenn Minami, which worked like a charm until my last wave. Sure enough, my luck ran out as I turned toward shore and got clipped. My board and I connected, and the back of my left thigh got skegged.

There was a chunk of fat sticking out of my leg. Luckily, I didn’t bleed too bad and made it in just fine. I spent the evening at the Kaiser ER, getting stitched by a surfing doctor. The admitting nurse was a surfer, as was the lady who sent me on my way. It was a classic finish to a classic session, one for the record books.

We had a great last weekend with great happenings because of the great people in paradise.

A big mahalo to Ron Iwami and all the wonderful folks who came out to the ninth annual Kewalos Beach Clean Up last Saturday. If you missed your chance to support this event fundraiser, you can go to kewalo.org.

On the same day, Turtle Bay Resort celebrated World Ocean Day with the North Shore Oceanfest. It’s a wonderful family day, which raises funds for the North Shore Ocean Education Coalition.

There also was China Uemura’s 19th annual Wahine Surfing Classic at Queen’s Surf all weekend. They always seem to score waves. What a huge success this has become, and China and da crew are just getting warmed up. Log on at chinauemura.com for the summer schedule, and sign up!

Last but surely not least, we had tons of liquid fun June 6 for the HIC/Quiksilver All-Military Surf Classic, presented by MWR-Hawaii at White Plains. These men and women in uniform can compete and rip! It’s very impressive and a real joy to see. A special mahalo goes out to HIC Surf and Quiksilver for supporting the troops.

That’s it for me.

See you back here next week.

GQ, droppin’ in 4 U.