Kelly Slater Becomes A Hero As Monster Waves Hit Hawaii

It’s winter in Hawaii and the surfers are loving it. During the winter, Hawaii experiences enormous waves that head towards the north shore of Hawaii. This year’s winter sent over 40-foot waves for surfers to ride. Surfers from all over decided to head over to Waimea Bay to catch these gargantuan waves. Surfers such as Tom Dosland, Clark Kittle, Kelly Slater were around the festivities of surfers attempting to surf.

During all the surfing action, an Australian tourist Sarah White and her baby after a rogue wave swept them all the way to the street. Luckily the 43-year-old surfer Kelly Slater was denied action to surf happened to be around the area and was able to rescue Sarah White and her baby. Although, White sustained some cuts and bruises she and her baby made it out the water safe and secure.

Later that day, the husband of the two victims wrote on his Instagram saying, “So thankful the surf gods denied @kellyslater today cos [sic] for whatever reason he was right there to save my wife and kid who were swept across the road by a freak wave today”.

Kelly Slater just happened to be in the right area at the right time. Slater did mention, he was happy that he was able to save the mother and baby, but the lifeguards were not too far from the scene to contribute to the situation.

Lifeguard’s understand how risky it is for surfers during the winter time because of the intensive waves. One of the lifeguards of Waimea Bay mentioned surfers know how dangerous it is to go surfing with waves that high, but they still do it. Hawaii News Now reported, by the end of the day, the waves at Waimea Bay had grown so tall that lifeguards had to ride jet skis to help at minimum 25 surfers who weren’t able to paddle back to the beach themselves.

Being a surfer is about taking the risk, which means catching the biggest wave even though it’s not the safest thing to do. Surfing in the Winter, is the best time to catch waves taller than the typical waves you would surf in the summer.

Below, you can watch footage of the surfers catching the waves out at Waimea Bay.

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Surfing with your Heart: Deafblind Attorney Dares to Ride the Waves

“I can’t do that” is something you should never say.

Just look at Haben Girma, a deaf-blind American who graduated from Harvard Law in 2013. Today, she works as an attorney in California at Disability Rights Advocates, a non-profit group dedicated to protecting the civil rights of individuals with disabilities. Oh, and did we mention she surfs ? Girma is a true testament of the human spirit, rising well beyond the means she was afforded early in life.

Haben Girma with President Obama. Photo courtesy of http://www.chambers-associate.com/
Haben Girma with President Obama. Photo courtesy of http://www.chambers-associate.com/

Born in California, Haben Girma is the daughter of an Eritrean refugee who was forced to flee her home of Eritrea in the 1980’s. Growing up, she was fortunate to have great accessibility to technology that helped her communicate, and learn just as well as many of her classmates. Although she credits the use of these technologies to much of her success today, her true success lies in her tenacious spirit.

With the help of Maui surf academy, she dared herself to ride the waves in Encita, California according to the Washington Post. Being deaf and blind, she usually communicates through a device that converts braille into sounds. Since she isn’t able to bring the device into the water, she communicates purely through physical cues with her instructor. Regarding her surfing experience she says: “Success comes about through lots of failure, and i’m not afraid to fall, i’m not afraid to get in the water, try something new and look silly for a little bit because in the end we’re going to learn something and develop skills in the process.” Despite her astounding barriers, she was able to surf the Californian waves with resolution and grace.

Haben is passionate about improving accessibility to communication technology to people with disabilities. As a lawyer she fights to make sure people with disabilities have a proper education. She stresses the importance of adequate funding, well-qualified teachers, and state-run deafblind projects. For her advocacy, she was named a Champion of Change by the White House, meeting and even hugging President Obama.

In an interview with Reuters: “One of the biggest barriers facing people with disabilities are negative attitudes. People assuming that people who are blind can’t do something, or people who uses a wheelchair can’t do something; but anything is possible.” says Haben Girma. Everyone in their life faces moments of adversity that just seem too difficult to overcome. When you feel this way, make sure to think of Haben Girma. She faces adversity with grace, aptitude, and inner strength.

If you liked this article, check out my blog for more surf news and inspiring stories. Thanks for reading !

Legendary Surfer Larry Gordon Passes Away

2016 started off on a heavy note for the surf world, as Larry Gordon passed away in his San Diego home at 76 years old. Founder of the company, Gordon & Smith Surfboards and Skateboards, Larry helped shape modern day surfing with his customized foam surfboards. As a surfer himself, he knew what other surfers would be looking for and what they liked.

Larry Gordon - photo courtesy of http://www.kelpfire.com
Larry Gordon – photo courtesy of http://www.kelpfire.com

When he was three years old, Gordon moved with his family from Illinois to California. It was soon after their move that he got his first taste of surfing and the local culture. As he grew up, he spent most of his time between the water and the local skatepark – intermingling with surfers, both young and old. He would continue to visit these spots as he got older, learning what people were looking for, and often giving hometown boys their first taste of sponsorship.

In the mid 1950’s, Larry met fellow surfer, Floyd Smith. They forged a close friendship over the years, often surfing together at the local beaches in San Diego. In 1959 Larry attended San Diego State University where he was a chemistry student. In between classes, he and Smith started making surfboards out of Smith’s garage. This was the origins of their company – Gordon & Smith.

Gordon & Smith, known as G&S, were one of the first companies to bring foam boards to their home town. They knew the trends that surfers were looking for, and Gordon began to experiment with different foam materials at Gordon Plastics, his father’s factory. Success soon followed, and allowed Floyd expanding the business overseas in 1965 to Australia. For the several years that he lived there, Floyd flourished the business even more, gaining a new world wide loyalty amongst international surfers.  He brought back different designs ideas and innovations when he moved back to the States.

Smith ended up selling his share in the business in the early 1970’s to pursue other interests, but still makes wooden boards in his garage to this day.

Gordon didn’t run away from a challenge though, even after the shortboard revolution of the late 1960’s pushed the G&S longboard out of fashion. This didn’t stop him from growing the business over the years. He continued to get top surfers to try out his designs and gained valuable feedback on how to improve his products. A variety of great surfers got their start into professional surfing by being apart of the G&S sponsored team. Many of them worked for the company as well, including Skip Frye – a San Diego surfing legend.

Larry led a group of surfers, who met every Saturday, until his body would no longer allow him to surf. He fought a battle against his body in order to continue the sport he loved. Surfing was his greatest escape, and he wasn’t going to let his ability to surf go easily. When he no longer could stand on the board, Gordon surfed on his knees instead.

Gordon is survived by his wife, Grace Gordon, his children, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. His daughter Debbie Gordon and son Eric have taken over G&S and will continue to run the company with the same values their father created. Larry Gordon is a true legend in the San Diego surf community and will be greatly missed.

The Perfect Man Made Wave is Finally Here

There is one thing that every surfer is constantly seeking and has never able to find – the perfect man made wave. Many wave parks in the past have only been able to offer a standing wave – a wave that is created from a sheet of water that is pumped into a pool and over a barrier, which will create a continuous breaking wave. As a result of this, the wave will always stay in place but does not provide the same conditions that true waves create. It doesn’t move and there are no wave faces to ride. As a result of these differences, most surfers can improve their balance and learn to maneuver the board, but it offers no real challenge.

Surfers say the Holy Grail of waves is one that recreates the physics of an ocean wave – one that can move over the pool, rise up and break towards the left or the right. As a result of these physics, surfers can catch it, move with its motions or even perform aerial turns by launching themselves off the lip of the wave. It didn’t seem that it was possible to recreate something that was created by Mother Nature.

That was until this past Friday. Legendary surfer Kelly Slater and a team of engineers managed to make a wave pool that recreated the waves off the coast of Rincon, Puerto Rico – a popular surfing spot that are known to have head-high swells. World Surf League’s Chris Mauro has been quoted saying, “This changes everything”.

The team, alongside Slater, worked on this wave pool for just under ten years. They finished the project earlier in December, but decided to wait on the announcement of the pool until the 2015 world title holder had been decided.  Afterwards Slater, an eleven-time world champion, made it public via his Instagram account.

Slater wrote the following about the wave pool on his Instagram; “This is something I dreamt about as a kid. Through rigorous science and technology, we’ve been able to design and build what some said was impossible, and many very understandably never thought would actually happen. I’m proud to say we took our time to get it right, and the first fully-working prototype of the wave now exists (a huge personal thank you to everyone in our lab and on our team for seeing this through!).”

The creation of this wave pool brings so many new and exciting things in the future. For the first time, surfers will be able to practice with a wave that mimics Mother Nature. It will also provide a safe and stable learning environment for those who may not be comfortable in the ocean just yet.

View the video, which has gained over a quarter of a million views already, below: