NORTH SHORE LIVE: Week in Review 12.02.06

Patience, people, patience. So, the start to this year's Prime Time season is the worst in at least a decade. Or maybe even of all time. "We've never had a tougher time with the conditions for the events," said {{{Vans}}} Triple Crown executive director Randy Rarick. And they haven't. Now three weeks into the contest season with no significant swell "episodes" to speak of, frothing surfers are starting to accept the bizarre oceanic behavior and make the most of what we get. They've been doing more yoga. Sharpening their golf game. Learning how to shuffle poker chips. Seeing Borat, holding volleyball tournaments and buying early Christmas gifts at Pearlridge. And maybe have one or ten extra drinks at one of the many night functions going on. As tube tour specialist said Mark Healey said, "I've been partying as hard as I'm working out. So, I guess that makes me even."

When we last left you, the entire Westside had packed all their belongings, stacked them on top of their car and headed for higher ground. "Earthquake coming tonight," Brian Keaulana and Melvin Puu told their friends, who told their friends and aunties and uncles. "9.0 - the biggest one yet. And a big tsunami right after it." After {{{911}}} fielded at least 600 calls about the predicted quake and the local stores and gas stations were drained of supplies, the night went by without so much as a rumble. Turns out they were all victims of a vicious rumor that spread like wildfire on the coconut wireless - vicious enough for authorities to "investigate" the source.

Tuesday at Backdoor/Off the Wall proved to be one of the most productive photo days we've seen. And one of the most productive and progressive surfers, Jamie O'Brien, was all over it. A couple days ago, he'd been making fun of the Aussies for pulling into 6-foot closeouts at Backdoor and Off the Wall. "Ho, do those guys even know how shallow it is right there?" he said. "Nuts, brah." But there he was on Tuesday, slipping under cavern after unmakeable cavern as the line of catwalk photographers captured his every pose. Straight up soul arches. Hand jive speed drives. You name it, he was doing it under the curtain. "We were just watching from the porch," said Reef McIntosh. "Going, that's a cover. There's a spread. And another one."

Jamie O didn't get all the waves. TJ Barron - clocking in as much "work" time as anyone on this stretch - got "the wave of the season" so far at Backdoor, a warping, two-section drainer that just kept going and going.

And then it rained. And then it went onshore. And then the Oakley guys next door started drinking at lunchtime. And then they did burnouts at midnight. And then they threw eggs at each other. Which is the same pattern for just about every pro-filled house here on the North Shore. Get it while you can, then have a good time when it's not there. Or, just go to the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau ceremony and watch the magic take place. As soon as you hear Kahu Billy Mitchell's voice, you immediately flash back to another time. You can see it in all the invitees' faces, no matter how many years they've been there. This is much more than a big-wave opening ceremony; it's a tribute to Waimea Bay and all the fallen watermen of years past. "I have leis for Eddie, Mark Foo, Jay Moriarity, Donnie Solomon and Todd Chesser," said Keoni Watson as he paddled out for the circle ceremony. The other Eddie, Eddie Vedder, paddled out as well, and summed it up this way: "When I hear the name Eddie, I think of Eddie Aikau before I think of myself."

Speaking of the other Eddie, he and Kelly Slater collaborated to put on a "secret" private Pearl Jam concert for only 250 people at Waimea Falls. The event was as good as you might imagine, with more than ${{{100}}},000 raised for land conservation on the North Shore, an open bar and a whole list of Pearl Jam favorites, from classics like "Even Flow" to the appropriately titled, "Big Wave." Slater joined in for a new track and a rendition of "Rockin in the Free World," and couldn't conceal the shock when he realized the guitar he'd been given was a gift from Eddie: a Gibson Les Paul emblazoned with a giant SL8R on it. It was the kind of night you can brag about for generations to come. "Yeah, we saw Pearl Jam play for 250 people once." Kelly, of course, gets to brag just a little bit more.

[Car Rentals provided by Tradewinds U Drive. 808-834-1465.]