K fine. I admit it. Last year wasn't the best timing for our "Bright Side" Hawaii theme.
To refresh, the idea was to go into the season focusing on all the stuff we loved about the North Shore, as opposed to what terrified us about the place. No using all those tired, sensational buzz words every media outlet uses each year like: "Raw energy," "heavy," "enforcers," or "proving ground." It would be a "lighter look at Paradise." Which was a good idea…in theory.
But then the Jaws comp flexed. And then of course, the title was coming down to Pipe and there was this crazy-ass 6-way scenario or something where Adriano, Mick, Filipe, Gabs, Julian and even Owen (correct me if I'm wrong) could've won the world title if they won Pipe. Which was f–king intense.
And then Owen Wright got rushed to the hospital after a session at Pipe. And then Evan Geiselman drowned out there and nearly died not long after (blessings on Andre Botha). And then Adriano, (last year's Trump?), won the world title and Pipe Masters before the world's eyes. (Did that make Mick last year's Hillary?)
Anyway, so yeah, we kinda forced it. It was indeed, not a "light" year and we most definitely used a few buzz words to aptly describe weekly situations out there. How could you not?
But after strolling around the Country lately, after a few sessions out in those testo-fueled breaks we all love, after pedaling down Ke Nui Road and having a bite to eat from a food truck, still dripping wet …Something feels different this year.
Dare, I say it, lighter, maybe?
A local boy that went to the elementary school right across the street from Pipeline locked down the title before any bets were even placed on the final event. Before we could even print our John vs Gabs Rumble on the Rock tees. Thus, the pressure feels a little lower out here this year. A bit less emotional. A bit more fun.
Mason won the HIC Pro. Then, Albee landed a backside double-ro. Then Dane just released the best surf film I've seen since…maybe ever. And is there even a Wolf Pak I gotta watch out for these days? [He types, while looking over both shoulders cautiously.] Kiddinggg.
All I'm saying is that this year, something does feel brighter. And even if I spoke too soon yet again, we'll still be broadcasting live from this piece of paradise that scares the shit out of everyone at some point so much that they keep coming back and reliving that same story year after year. Enjoy the show.