2005 North Shore Week In Review: 12-05-05 to 12-11-05

It's hard to believe we're rounding the final stretch on this year's prime time North Shore season. Has it really gone by that fast? I guess time is the last thing on your mind when you're dodging cleanups by day and guzzling Silver Bullets by night.

Just your ordinary morning crowd on the North Shore
WHO ARRIVED: Chris Malloy whipped in with Laird and crew on Maui. A whole host of legends for the {{{Vans}}} 35th Anniversary Pipe Masters party at Turtle Bay, including old dudes Jeff Crawford, Mark Richards, Joey Buran and his two kids, Jeff Crawford, Simon Anderson, Robbie Paige, fruit mogul Larry Blair and modified Hawaiian kickout inventor, Shaun Tomson. It takes a special breed of surfer to win a contest at Pipe, and that post-victory shine never fades, but just don't expect them to pull off any repeat performances in their current state. "I had to paddle out there just to check it out," said 1984 master Buran. "But as soon as an 8-footer almost landed on my head, I was like, 'OK, I've seen enough.'" [laughs]

WHO LEFT: We assume most of those above Pipe Masters already headed back to their lives beyond the glory. Then again, it's not a bad excuse to stay an extra week and watch the modern gladiators out there. Other official departures: our favorite California kid, Alex Gray, who never recovered from that nasty flu and, upon assessment of his buckled and broken quiver, decided to call it a season. And Sunset burglar Jarrad "Clouse" Howse, who pulled one of the craziest heists ever at the O'Neill World Cup by beating Sunny Garcia and Pancho Sullivan in the quarterfinals and qualifying for the WCT. "Gotta leave on a good note," said Clouse. "Plus, I want to surprise me girl."

Aussie Jarred Howse – wide-eyed for the 2006 WCT
SUPER SESSIONS: This week was about windows of opportunity. Gone were the all-day, light-and-variable dream sessisons; back were the hour or two of perfection somewhere from Haleiwa to Turtle Bay - or beyond. On Monday, as Sunset washed through and effectively shut down the O'Neill World Cup, guys like Taylor Knox headed straight to Haleiwa and scored big, scary muscle-man rights. Over on Maui, Dan and Keith Malloy had "a blast" with Laird and his maritime men and - don't write off the day yet - Sunset about an hour and a half before dark got clean and mean for a lucky six or so surfers, including Dave Rastovich and Mike Todd. "It's just magical out here," said Rasta, who needs to star in the next series of Harry Potter movies. The magic continued for Rasta a couple of days later when, as a fresh west swell started to sprout, he, Parko and Bede Durbidge found their own, private Right-a-ho somewhere east of Sunset. Parko especially made the session super, with a half-dozen one-motions from takeoff, to tube, to spit out in channel. Damn, if only it were as easy as he makes it look. Pipe got serious again later that afternoon, with Slater bagging the prize pit of the evening. "That's what I like to call the witching hour," says Tamayo Perry, who continues to watch from the sidelines with his axe-wound to the head. "It's when the barrels are all lizard green, and it's just tempting you like the Sirens, 'Come back out for one more...'" Speaking of witching hours, at the exact same time, Pat O'Connell, Yadin Nicol, Brett Simpson and the Hurley crew were down at Keiki shorebreak, pulling into orifice-filling sandcrunchers just feet from the beach. "All my training at Gravels paid off," said loyal photo subject O'Connell. Friday's swell was solid as promised, and Kalani Chapman proved untouchable in the Rip Curl Code STL trials at Pipe. Meanwhile, Mick Fanning and a cell-block of Aussies took advantage of all-time Haleiwa while Nate Fletcher, riding at 9'4" bat-tail quad, paddled out to wind-whipped Phantoms and stuck a half-dozen 12-footers. Looks like he's ready for the left at the Maverick's Surf Contest.

NIGHTLIFE: It started with the Vans 35th Pipe Masters Anniversary party, a raucous affair that saw 21 of 23 former masters take the stage and is nearly impossible to capture in words. A few hazy details: Shaun Tomson claiming "The '70s weren't all about peace, love and brotherhood. Believe me." Derek Ho calling Tom Carroll a "little nugget," Mark Occhilupo having trouble keeping his pants on, Kong referring to himself in the third person and then refusing to give up the mic, Bruce Irons dropping F-bombs and then his brother scolding him on stage, saying, "Dude! Mom's gonna be so pissed!" Bruce responding, saying, "She can't hear us!" And Andy replying: "Oh, she'll find out. It's probably on the Internet or something."

That same night, Bruce, Andy and a whole crew of Malik's friends did some graveyard hours ditchdigging to prepare for the kalua pig for Joyeux's services at Ehukai the next day. Kahu Billy Mitchell said a blessing, while family friend Kahea Hart, Malik's brother, Teiva and sister Thilan sharing their thoughts and memories of their fallen brother. Everyone then paddled out past Ehukai and formed a {{{300}}}-person circle and welcomed the shower of plumerias released from a helicopter hovering overhead. "Malik was obsessed with helicopters," said his brother, Teiva. "He wanted to be a pilot." The Tahitian group Tevai Ura Nui provided the music while Malik's friends and family dug into the kalua pig feast, and Jack Johnson nightcapped the perfect send-off with an impromptu jam.

Saying Goodbye to Malik

Later Wednesday, the end-of-the-year ASP surfers meeting was – by most accounts – hilarious. This is the night where surfers take the mic and plead their case to their peers, asking for one of the three designated injury wildcards for the following year. They also negotiate with the Hawaiian Pro Surfers union, headed by Liam McNamara. A couple of surprise applications for the wildcards, including Tom Curren and Sunny Garcia. But in the end, the tribe had spoken, and Chris Ward, Mick Lowe and Troy Brooks get the nod. If Troy Brooks, who's currently ranked 24th on the WCT qualifies anyway, then Toby Martin, who was having the best year of his career before herniating a disk while surfing in La Jolla, is in. At one point in the deliberations, Garcia gave a heated speech backing up ASP surfers rep Jake Paterson. Someone was filming the whole exchange, and when Damien Hobgood asked him to stop, things really got ugly. Oh, boys, can't you just all get along?

Which hasn't been a problem at the {{{Fox}}} Team House, the small-village size compound at Backyards. Chris Drummy's running a tight ship over at Fox, with a solid, hard-working squad, team video guy and photographer, a personal trainer/surfer in Sean Hayes and even a team chef, MC Rennie. They recently celebrated the completion of yet another Fox Turtle Bay Classic, with 16-year-old power-hacker Chas Chidester taking home a C note and a wooden turtle. "I was just there to get Kalani's autograph," joked Chas.

And finally, perhaps it's appropriate we close with the annual Rip Curl Pipe Masters/lifeguard party at Waimea Falls. Every year, Rip Curl auctions off items and takes donations, passing on the proceeds to the North Shore lifeguards. According to Rip Curl's Dylan Slater, they exceeded their goals and raised more cash than ever.

Considering the events of this North Shore season, we couldn't think of a better cause.

Timmy Reyes scores a Backdoor gem