Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Eddie

I know that this site is dedicated to hiking adventures, but this is something that I felt we needed to write about so that people that truly love Hawaii (which I assume is you since you're reading this page) would understand the importance and significance of the Eddie Aikau Invitational in regards to spreading a positive message about our islands and the type of people that reside here and the type of people that cherish the natural wonders that we have in abundance.

Modern technology has come to the point where we can forsake many goals and objectives, especially those that took effort and desire to accomplish and achieve. We can now look at pictures that other people took of places, and "imagine" ourselves in that spot. We can listen to podcasts, streaming audio, and MP3s for a musical fix. We manipulate artwork and pictures from online resources to "place" ourselves in a situation that, truth be told, we were not really a part of in the first place. In fact, you probably came here to read up on one of the hikes you're interested in, and, you may not even be interested in seeing some of the things we've seen. But we can transport you there in our tales.

The "Eddie" is a worldwide phenomenon. People from all over the world come to this event, and they get to taste a slice of something that really came from Hawaii, surfing. And this contest is no ordinary contest: it's a BIG wave contest that only a select few surfers are invited to, and it doesn't happen every year. The rules are so stringent, that Waimea Bay needs to have precise wave measurements and solid clear weather for it to be conducted. Over a 25 year span, the contest has only run 7 or 8 times!

The prestige gained by winning this event I would imagine takes a surfer to new heights of notoriety. In fact, I had four different people alone today ask me to identify Bruce Irons, the last winner of the Eddie. I'm pretty sure Bruce really hasn't won as many titles as say his brother Andy or Kelly Slater, but because he won it last time, many people were pulling for him and had great expectations of him. (I must say that he did pretty well in my opinion, he rushed some pretty big monsters when he was out there.)

But to be honest, the thing that impressed me the most about this whole Eddie experience was the whole thing in general. The gestures I witnessed and the "aloha" that was shown made me so proud to be HAWAIIAN! Chinese BU and myself spent two nights out at Waimea, hoping to catch a glimpse of this once in a lifetime event. Everything I saw proved to me how positive Hawaii can be and the impact we can have on people around the world. I met people from Brazil, Connecticut, Tahiti, Japan, New York, Arizona, and probably some other places as well. Each was in a different situation throughout the two day experience, and each was in a very normal human interaction. The guy from Brazil wanted water, so I gave him some. He later ended up helping a local kid get his lost slipper from over the rocks. The couple from Connecticut asked to use the tent I was under for shade for their infant, and of course I said yes. They were happy and talked story with me for a bit about the contest. The guy from Tahiti (he was wearing a Teahupoo shirt, so he may or may not be from Tahiti. He kinda looked Tahitian) needed help carrying his bike over some rocks on the path. He gave me a big shaka and "Mahalo Cuz!" The Japanese Couple wanted to go to the toilet, and one of the neighbors let them use the one in their house. The New York guy needed help with parking, introduced himself to Chinese BU, then invited us to his art show in Haleiwa later this week. And the two local guys and the guy from Arizona helped me break down my tent when I had to go.

News reports claim that there were possibly 30,000 people that went to the Eddie over the entirety of the day, and this doesn't include the previous days. The majority were Hawaii residents, but there was absolute representation from all parts of the globe. I have complete faith that Aloha was demonstrated time and time again. I'm not silly to think that it was all Pono, but I know good will was in force, from many locals, myself and Chinese BU included. And in my humble opinion, that is what truly makes the Eddie special.

You can't really appreciate the massive power of 40 foot waves from your TV or Computer screen. You need to see it, feel the sea spray, and gaze at the panorama for yourself. You can cheer for your favorite surfer from work or the comfort of your sofa, but it was a whole other thing to see the whole Bay (and I mean, EVERYONE watching the contest, at the beach, from the lookout, from the road) stand in unison to cheer for Slater when he caught that Monster wave all the way in (one of my actual favorite surfing moments today: the most decorated surfer of my generation getting huge love for his efforts. The roar from the crowd almost, ALMOST, drowned out the the roar of the surf.) And I know this: you can't experience the Aloha from everyone there unless you get involved for yourself.

I'm not condemning anyone who could not go. There are always priorities in our lives that we need get done at certain times that are non-negotiable, the most notable being work and schooling. I will never argue against those vital precepts of life. What I am advocating is that if there is even the slightest chance to get to see this event in your life, make the necessary plans that you have to to get there for yourself, if possible. Trust me, having to trade with someone at work is something I don't regret in the least. Completely worth it. Hey, we met this teacher who called in sick today!

And here comes the tie-in to our page: you have to get out there for yourself if you really want to find out what something is like. The Eddie, just like hiking, is not meant to be watched from a computer or TV. Get out and do it for yourself. Find out the true meaning of Aloha. Remember, Eddie Would Go!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


From Hawaiian BU

So forgive us for not keeping up, it's been a pretty busy time, and other things have gotten in the way of us getting out into the wilderness. But we were finally able to get ourselves going with another waterfall hike, one that we tried before but really couldn't find. Unfortunately, the weather and our previous experiences led us not to get to the end of this hike as well. Let me fill you in:

We seriously wanted to get to a waterfall we hadn't done before. Koloa fit the bill, and everything we had read led us to make that call on Sunday. However, it had rained the previous night, and we were well aware of the overcast skies and the potential for another Kaipapau experience, being that Koloa was a gulch, and a stream that you needed to cross over 20 times before getting to the waterfall. But knowing our need for the adventure, we trekked forward anyway.

Directions? Park at the beach park just past the mall in Hau'ula on your right. Walk towards PCC until you see the white mansion. Across the street, Mauka side, you should see a dirt road that leads towards the mountains. Follow it until you get to the chain link fence. Go over it and head on up. There are two signs: the first one on your left describes the trail and the different plants you can find. It also tells you to get a permit from Hawaii Reserves (something we didn't have, but will fix for next time). The next sign on your right is actually a plaque. It a tribute to Jonathan Taylor, a Scout that lost his life on the trail, because of a flash flood. He would have been 26 if he were alive today.

That gave us all the info we needed about the dangers that are possible. Not that we needed reminding, given our own previous experience. But it led us to be very cautious, so much so that we had two "sleepers" ready in case something bad happened. We use "sleepers" as people who phone for help if we don't contact them by a certain time. Good policy for all of you to follow.

In the beginning, the hike is very similar to Laie and Malaekahana. You have to gain the ridge line, making your way past dirt, Ironwoods, Strawberry guavas, and knee high grass. However, the cutoff point down to the gulch is significantly shorter to get to than the other two. The left goes up the ridge, the right goes down to the gulch. After making your way down to the valley floor, it's time to start crossing streams.

This is where we stopped and looked at the water. I must admit that it was very beautiful and tempting, but I was in no mood to have to fight another rushing wave of water, just because I wanted to get to the end and see the falls. The first river crossing was at least shin high from the previous night's downpour, and that was good enough for both of us. We both reread the Ball book, as well as Kaleo's write-up on my Blackberry, and we determined that it was better if we just enjoyed the view, and made our way back. If we were lucky, we could catch the surf meet at Sunset.

I know Chinese BU would like to do the hike again to the finish, most likely during a drier month than November. I most certainly want to see it, but I think I've grown a little more wiser in my old age. I got too much Hiking to do before I die, too many things I want to see. I know I'll get another chance.

BTW, Rock Climbing was cool. Maybe Chinese BU will post some pics from that. Peace!