Yesterday was a beautiful day in California. It was calm. Sunny. The waves were 3-foot. Football was on and mama was cooking chicken all across the land. But if you were a surf fan — like an online surf-watching Instagram-hound type of surf fan — yesterday was fucking stressful and emotional.
The morning was high-octane. Greg Long channeled the adrenaline of a thousand men and packed a 200-foot (estimate) closeout on live broadcast. It was a monumental wave, moment and done by a captain of preparation and lunacy. My coffee gave me the jitters. Coupled with watching what was happening in Maui, I nearly passed out. This was all lumped on top of an impending Issue 13 deadline and, like, 4 pre-bed IPA’s. It was anything but easy like Sunday morning.
I had a surf midday and something kept me anxious — of all the places to be stressed: glassy 2-foot beachbreak wasn’t the place but I couldn’t help it. Something was off. I’m not lying that I could feel it. I hoped everything was going smooth at Peahí — which it was, aside from Billy Kemper’s Jet Ski wipeout turtle roll.(And a big congratulations to Billy for winning the event — that wasn’t a contest, that was so much more than that, and I hope you had a few too many with your family and friends. Those were incredible feats and performance by dudes who you couldn’t respect more. Hard to make it competitive when it’s life or death, literally.
So once I exited the water at my local beachbreak, I quickly saw that it was a true anxiety. Our friend and everyone’s favorite golden boy Evan Geiselman had been worked at big Pipe — nearly drowned and saved miraculously by South African bodyboard charger and now lifesaving angel Andre Botha. Gets welling up just thinking about the video. He performed CPR while swimming Evan in and dug him from the bottom by his leash while huge sets continued to pound him. Evan has since been upgraded from critical to stable condition at Queens hospital in Oahu and should make a full recovery. But we leave with another reminder to always look out for each other. Pipeline is scary and there is no other way to put it. It does not fuck around. And Evan, we’ve always known you charged, and you’ve done it again, we’re very happy you’re OK and we love you. Don’t know what else to say.
But after all the drama and excitement of the day, the night wrapped with what is supposed to be “surfing’s biggest night” or something. It’s called The Surfer Poll Awards and it happens at Turtle Bay Hotel on Oahu. Maybe you’ve heard of it. We were actually nominated for some movies but our invitations must have been lost in the mail — but let’s just be honest: View From the Blue Moon is Star Wars and deservedly got it’s dude, taking out most honors. And if if you watched the webcast of the Poll (and I tried) the night was just exhausted. I’m sure there were some life celebrations happening at the bar, but the show was goofy. Plain and simple. By the time it came on, it just seemed like we’d run out of steam. All adrenaline and excitement and drama had already been tapped. The first few awards were given to people not in attendance. And then it was time for bed. But the recap says John John cleaned house, grabbing the number one spot from the thousand time winner Kelly Slater, movie of the year, maneuver of the year etc. But above all that, I’m mostly happy to report that everyone is alive and well and we can all surf together today. —Travis