The North Shore's Aaron Gold is an endangered species of wave rider: the competitor/surfer/shaper. Up in Pupukea hills, under the Gold Surfboard label, he builds guns for big-surf hunting. The 29-year-old regular foot— originally from the Big Island— has been shaping since he was 12. And whenever his favorite North Shore outer reef is firing, Gold opts for his trusty, self-shaped 10'2" or 9'6."
Thruster inventor Simon Anderson was the last competitor/surfer/shaper on tour, and Gold hopes to be the next on the Big Wave World Tour in 2012. But he isn't chasing the Big Wave Tour championship, but rather, he sees the contests as a necessary first step to achieving a lifelong goal: an invitation to the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational. His gromhood dream is to win The Eddie, like his hero and fellow Hilo boy Noah Johnson.
Like Noah and Sion, Gold is a humble, underground big-wave surfer with a blue collar. He works as a manager and caretaker for a 30-acre property in Pupukea, where he lives with wife/model/wedding photographer, Corinne, and their 9-month-old daughter, Avaleah. She was born earlier this year and is the couple's first child. But having a family hasn't hindered Gold's charging— it's actually made him value surfing, people and time a lot more than before. —Daniel Ikaika Ito
Sion was totally underground, as we all know, and living like him is to go out every time and catch the biggest waves. The guy was unbelievably talented at what he did and he had this persona about him: the waves would come to the guy.
I know for a fact that every morning Sion would take his two daughters to school. To me, that's big because I'm a family man now, I got a kid, and I know how important it is. They're the next generation. The waves could be firing and he'd still be doing it. You gotta prioritize those things. Surfing is surfing, we all revolve around surfing, but you gotta remember where you came from and in Hawaii it's family.
Having a baby has been unreal. The feeling is indescribable — better than catching any big wave. I feel that [Evaleah's birth] has given me a lot more motivation for my surfing and the goals that I've set. I really had to sit down and prioritize because I have the family. I'm excited for what's coming up.
It's a pretty gratifying feeling to ride your own board [that you shaped] and it works well. I also get to take it back and refine it because I know how it worked. Most guys have surfer-shaper relationship in that sense I get to be both. When you pack a big wave on a board you made you're stoked, and when guys give you feedback that your boards are working good it gives you the same feeling as when you ride a good wave.