The North Shore Week In Review

On the bulletin board at Foodland there are dozens of bad photocopies offering rooms for rent. The rates are not cheap, and the little tags that the rental owners have cut out on the bottoms are fluttering in the wind, untouched. Young surfers, transients and European travelers swarm around, staring blankly or scratching their dreads or tapping their lips with their index fingers and mumbling. In the past, owners wouldn't even finish pinning up their ads before some well-timed tourist told them they'd take it.

Up Kam Highway, the surf industry is breathing with a faint wheeze. {{{Luxury}}} homes that were once team houses sit empty as their past residents find the floors and couches of their buddies who are lucky enough to have a place to stay. Everyone, it seems, is weathering the budget-cut winter storm. But on the Couch Tour, the blitz is on. From Marlon Lipke to Timmy Reyes to Kalani Chapman, the doors have been open and so far, there haven't been any emergency camping sessions over in tent city on the East Side. Maybe if couches were advertised on the bulletin board, folks around here would have some takers. But for now, the secret is all ours and we tour on, documenting winter on the North Shore one couch at a time.

Here are the highlights from Week Two:

IT'S THE ECOMOMY, MAN: Besides the lack of tourists showing up to grab shacks of the liquid kind, the people who are here have discovered the scooter. The first few days just seemed like a coincidence, but when we witnessed a twenty-deep gang of scooterers, we knew it was true: the North Shore is starting to resemble Kuta Beach on a Monday afternoon. And, oh yeah, don't forget to take a second mortgage out on your house if you plan on doing any grocery shopping at Foodland, where a half gallon of milk and a box of cereal will run you well past 10 bucks...Makes buying those triple vente mochas over at Starbucks not seem so bad after all.

BEST DAY: To do what? Sit in the house and watch movies? Most of the week was comboed with bad winds, heavy rains and average swell. On Thursday, the clouds parted and the Reef Hawaiian Pro finished the Women's event in fun conditions. But Saturday, in the final rounds of the Men's side of the event, Haleiwa turned into a minefield of barrels and the boys did some damage. Just ask Men's champ Michel Bourez: "Everybody was getting barreled; I was screaming my head off. It was so sick. That's what I call a good contest." Us too.

DRAMA OF THE WEEK: While Carissa became the youngest Triple Crown event winner in history, Coco Ho stole the spotlight with her last minute burn-to-air on Layne Beachley -- effectively shutting down her chances to take the lead. "It's disappointing that someone so talented and supported can stoop to such levels and destroy everything she has spent the last 17 years creating," Beachley later said in an interview with SURFING Magazine. Think she's pissed?

PARTIES: There may not be that much money in the bank, but that ain't stoppin' the boys from having a good time. While the Bud Light white trash party raged at Turtle Bay on Saturday night, Dustin Barca and the crew celebrated Barca's 'CT berth. Fellow Hawaiian Kekoa Bacalso has also joined Barca on the '09 Dream Tour after stop one of the Triple Crown. So, yeah, the lineups on Sunday morning were nice and thin.

WEIRDEST CONTEST: The O'Neill Girls' Challenge went off without a hitch on Friday at Pupukea. Or maybe it did -- no one's really sure. What ensued, though, was hours of the World's best female surfers taking over Pup's on trampoline rafts, blow-up kayaks, SUPs and sponges. It was entertaining...especially for the creepy guys that posted up on the sand to watch.

ICE HEADS: Yep, judging from the busted locks on my rental car, they're still here working hard. Gotta love it.

Keep it here at for daily updates and casualties of the Couch Tour.