Randall Paulson – A New Sense of Focus

Hawaiian-born Randall Paulson has a dream. A simple dream. A Technicolor
dream. You see he wants to win the Pipeline Masters at Banzai Pipeline this
December (December 8-20, to be exact about it) so dearly, it’s become his
life’s work. Paulson took a big step toward turning his dream into a reality
on February 7, 2006 when he made it to the quarter finals of the ASP 4-Star
WQS event at Banzai Pipeline. Upon doing so, he was granted one of 12
bitterly sought-and-fought “Hawaiian” wildcards for the aforementioned Pipe
Masters. Born and raised in Oahu, the island of which Pipe pounds, Paulson
spent his youth watching the best surfers in the world charge the wedge of
water. And it wasn’t until he was 13 years-old that he finally paddled into
the Pipe lineup.

“I grew-up sitting on the inside watching the legends surf,” says Paulson,
age 30. “I was this scrawny little kid and I’d just sit outside the pit in
awe. I was mesmerized by the wave. After watching Pipeline for so many
years, over and over again, it built this hunger in me; it built this

So much so, that it would not be out of like to say Paulson has a love
affair with the wave’s kaleidoscope hue’s of greens, blue and Krylon-white
overspray.”Pipeline’s the most beautiful wave in the world,” he declares,
chin out. “My friends and I push each other bigger and deeper into the wave.
The wave is my passion. I surf it for the rush. I like to be scared and Pipe
is a scary place. When I surf it, I’m either going to wipe-out or get

While Paulson describes Teahupoo [Tahiti] as an amazing, powerful wave that
you can’t take anything away from, it’s just not the same as Pipeline. “Pipe
is right in front of you,” he says of the majestic, pounding curl of
water.”When it’s big, you can feel the ocean roar and feel the sand shake
and feel the spit of the wave. It’s right there in your face. It’s like
watching a huge TV screen. I uses that’s why so may people and so many
tourists get stuck looking at it. Once you see it, you can’t leave. I’ve
been that way my whole life. Getting barreled there is all I want to do.”

So committed to his goals of becoming the main man with the master plan in
the Pipeline, Paulson has purposely made moves, literally and figuratively,
to better both himself and his surfing.

“I used to live on the North Shore, but during the last three years, I moved
into town so I could focus more on my surfing,” he offers, bringing things
into focus. “I mean it’s okay to have a few cocktails at the end of a good
day of surfing, but at times it was getting out of hand. I wanted to move in
a different direction and build my name, so I moved into town. And although
I have to drive an hour to get there, Pipeline is my passion.”

After scrapping his way through a pack consisting of the world’s best
surfers < in combination with the fraternal order of Pipeline locals and
regulars < at the recent WQS event, Paulson found himself with an invite to
the ASP season-ending Pipe Masters in December.

“They changed the format this year,” he explains. “For like the last 30
years they used to have trials for all the Pipe specialists. You’d have all
40 great Hawaiian Pipe surfers fighting for four spots. But this year a deal
was struck with ASP where 16 wildcards will be available for the Pipe
Masters. That means 16 Hawaiians are guaranteed a place in the Pipe Masters.

“I felt really good,” Paulson continued. “In fact I thought I would go even
farther. But I was happy with making it to the quarter finals and with how I
surfed. But the most important thing is that I’m locked-in to the Pipe
Masters next winter. From here on in, no partying. I’m going to train, run,
eat and live Pipeline.”

Randall Paulson is living the dream. A dream he has no designs on waking up
from. Just ask him. “When I was a kid, I’d see Derek and Michael Ho out
there and they inspired me. There’s a pecking order at Pipe. I worked hard
for 10 to 15 years to get my spot and I’m not giving it away. I figure I
still have 10 years left out there and I’m not stopping. This is all from
the heart and I love where I’m at in life.”