In last month’s tow-in certification course, instructor Jim Howe introduced ‘Lil’ Fesi to the class full of North Shore heavy-hitters, saying, “This is our future.” Fesi Klink is a 12-year-old girl who made history that day, becoming the youngest person to become tow-certified.
The class, which costs about $100, was a Christmas gift to Klink from her mentor, Caron Farnham. Caron took up towing last year after accepting the position of contest director of Ace Cool’s first-ever tow-surfing event in Oahu, which just got underway this year. Aside from being a hardcore North Shore surfer, she spends a few months at sea every year working as a commercial fisherman, where water wisdom can mean life or death on a daily basis. “I trust Caron,” stated Fesi’s mom when questioned about her daughter’s safety in the big surf, also mentioning her confidence in Fesi’s swimming ability. Klink trains with her swim team every week, does the ocean-swims from Sunset to Pipe or Waimea in the summertime, and already has three years of junior lifeguard training under her belt.
Caron is comfortable with the responsibility of Klink’s safety, clarifying that “she is worthy” to take on the challenge. Caron explains that along with Klink’s strong ocean and swimming skills, she has a background in riding motocross, which gives her an understanding for what it’s like to be around fuel and heavy machinery. She is also accredited at the top of her age division in a list of other sports, including water polo, wrestling, and of course, paddle-in surfing.
You couldn’t find a better role model than Malia Kamisugi, who took on the first heat of the first-ever tow-in event on Oahu with the highest buoy readings all season in the worst possible storm conditions, and then managed to catch the biggest wave all day. Caron plans to have ‘Lil’ Fesi out on the boat to watch Malia in the next round of competition. “The significance of Malia’s inspiration goes beyond just surfing,” stated Caron, describing her as a “quiet achiever” who possesses the humility of a true athlete, an important trait she sees and hopes to instill in Klink.