Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Don Oakey Leaves Us

From Jane at the California Surf Museum, via Joe Tabler: 

 "We lost a huge pioneer in San Diego surfing history - Don Okey - the other day. He was one of the first to surf WindanSea, the designer/architect of the shack, head chef of the magnificent luaus there, made foam boards in '51 for Ed Cudahy, patented a board-shaping machine in '65 and produced hundreds of boards with it, was a life-long cohort of Woody Brown's, was an inventor, entrepeneur and raconteur extraordinaire. And a damn good surfer..." Don Oakey was also one of the Slough Riders that rode with Legendary Surfer Dempsey Holder and others at Imperial Beach. To read about Don and the Tijuana Slough Riders, go to: Dempsey, Don Oakey and the Rest of the Sloughs Crew

The Enforcer Pulls Out

As many of you know by now, Ray Kunze -- "The Malibu Enforcer" -- passed on early this month.

Here's an email from Tom Morey to Kemp Aaberg after Kemp told him about Ray's passing:

"Good God, how bitchin'! What a classic way to go!! No one could write a better script than that!. He and Misto George were always, to each other, the main thing in surfing.

"I'm taking ever more hits in this 70th year, as death, like the mean o puddy tat, is cweepen up on all of us. Ray was like 72 or 73 !

"What is the next breaking section going to bring?

"It's one thing to be fighting through the soup, trying to get back around the white water until, you're fully functional in the green again. But eventually you know you're already too far down the line for there to ever be a decent green water opportunity.

"Picture this. You and I are surfing Malibu. Dora's out there, Kuntz, Misto, Cleary, Franny, Bobby Patterson, Munoz and Dewey. There we are out at the point or scattered along inside riding little sections, catching wave after wave and loving life. Just a dozen of us with all of Malibu to ourselves, the surf pumpin' 4-8'.

"You catch a great one at the flag pole line up, climb, arch, drop, crank big cutbacks, and nose ride. Tubesteak, and Bags, even Fisher on the beach playing chess with Hugo, they all stop, look up and take notice.

"But then, as you come into that long shore break where the wave is ever faster breaking yet junky, the lack of shape no longer supports any of your best moves. Instead, it has you pinned to the board, in a stupid crouch. You kick you ass that again you've allowed yourself to get lulled into that last 30 yards where it's too sloppy to nose ride, too shallow to cut back.

"So you pull out!

"Butch does an El Drinko pull out. Bobby has a heart attack in the middle of a big deal. Dewey's does his own brand of exit. Hasley, drives into a tree. Ray, picks up the phone, calls Misto and then drops dead! Whatever, kick out, standing island... the soul does SOMETHING so that it's OUT, and paddling back toward the Primal Point for more bitchin' waves!"


(Courtesy of Tom Morey and thanks to Bob Feigel for another coconut telegraph)

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


Gary Lynch sent this out to some of us, today. Email from John Elwell. I just gotta share it:

I pulled into the Von's market this afternoon before going to the beach. I heard...John, John,...Hey Elwell! I looked over and saw an old man with two weeks of whiskers on his face about 6 foot two smiling with grocery bags in his hands. It's me, Kimo! I'm, Kimo! He rushed over thrusted a strong handshake and gave me a big Aloha hug. Geez...how the hell did you recognize after so many years? (over 40 years ago!) I never forget a face! It turned out that his daughter is living at the Coronado Cays. I told him come and see me any time he is town. I also told him I enjoyed his book. I also said I would send him a picture of him with Keck and Severson at Yokahama that was in TSJ. He is such a good story teller and has a great sense of humor. He could have been a well paid stand up comedian with his great pidgin. He had us rolling in the sand with laughter. I reminisced about a glorious late afternoon sunset we body surfed inside at Makaha with the beach all to ourselves. He said, "No more like that." I told him that Keck told me that I missed him at the reunion. Curren came very late and Kimo was going to leave but Joe Curren pleaded for him to wait. Pat showed finally. Kimo and Henry Priest were some of the finest locals we surfed with in the islands. In fact there were few good locals then that could handle the North Shore. Before we parted he said, "I respect you John, because you are older. We respect our elders." He's 65. I respect him as a real Hawaiian friend during those glory days. We fisted knuckles smiling, and parted. He made my day. JE

Thursday, June 03, 2004


Larry Capune has passed on.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Capune family and
those who knew Larry, one of the greatest paddle boarders
of all time and certainly the greatest of the long distance

Here's the Goggle Search of all things Capune:

Google Search: "larry capune"

Monday, March 22, 2004

Pororoca, Brazil

Far From the Ocean, Surfers Ride Brazil's Endless Wave
March 22, 2004

Ricardo Tatuí, right, a championship surfer, and fellow surfers traveled along the Capim River in São Domingos do Capim, Brazil, keeping watch for signs of the long-lasting, powerful wave known as the pororoca.

SAO DOMINGOS DO CAPIM, Brazil, March 21 — The ocean is nearly 200 miles away, so this is hardly the kind of place where surfers would be expected to congregate. Yet they flock here every March around the full moon and the equinox to chase a dangerous and elusive prey: the Amazon's endless wave, known as a pororoca.

A monthly occurrence, a pororoca develops when the strengthened Atlantic Ocean tide advances into the river basin, creating a giant swell that flows upstream for several hundred miles at speeds of 20 miles an hour or more. The phenomenon is most pronounced in March and April because water levels are near their highest, and the waves, which appear every 12 hours for several days, are the most tricky.

Responding to nature's challenge, surfers have been gathering here since 1999 for the Brazilian National Pororoca Surfing Championship. The tournament, which this year concludes Tuesday, was the idea of a 35-year-old surfer, Noelio Sobrinho. He is so obsessed with developing the new sport that he has the word pororoca tattooed on his left arm, he said, "so that it can be close to my heart."

At first, "nobody believed me when I said that I had figured out how to surf the pororoca," he said. "They wanted proof, so I had to organize this championship to show that others could do it, too."

Near the mouth of the Amazon, a pororoca can be as high as 12 feet. Surfers in competition prefer a wave of about half that size, because it increases their chances for a long, blissful ride.

"Surfing a pororoca is an entirely different sensation from surfing in the ocean," said Ricardo Tatuí from the Rio de Janeiro area, who won the competition in 1999 and 2001 and finished second last year. "The waves can be smaller, but they are also more treacherous, and you also have to learn to make adjustments to the curves in the river."

On an ocean beach, surfers have countless opportunities but can expect to ride a wave for less than a minute. The record with a pororoca is 34 minutes and 10 seconds, set last year by Adilton Mariano, 20, who lives near São Paulo, more than 2,000 miles south of here.

"It really requires a lot of physical preparation and resistance," he said. "The first time I did it, my legs hurt so much afterward that I could hardly walk for a couple of days. But then I learned to relax."

In the language of the Tupi Indians, "pororoca" means "mighty noise," and a classic Amazon surge is just that. Long before the pororoca can be seen, it can be heard, first as a distant rumble and eventually as a thunderous roar.

In addition, there are what might best be called natural hazards. Surfers need to watch for alligators, piranhas, snakes and leopards, as well as tree trunks and other debris stirred up by the force of the wave.

Surfers must also demonstrate maneuvers that are "radical and fluid" to win points, said Mauro Cunha, a judge in the competition.

First, surfers must find the pororoca. The contestants board motorboats or water scooters, which race madly up and down the Capim and Guamá Rivers, looking for telltale signs that a pororoca is coming — an area of calm water, caused by the tug of war between currents, or frightened birds in flight.

This has been an unusually wet rainy season in the Amazon. That lifted surfers' hopes for giant swells. But on Saturday, the first day of this year's tournament, the pororoca failed to appear at each of the four sites where the competition is held.

Old-timers, however, say the strength of the pororoca has diminished in recent years. They attribute the decline to deforestation in this region, once rich with Brazil nut trees but now dominated by pastures.

"The river seems shallower than it used to be" because of runoff from deforested land, said Francelino Carvalho, a 62-year-old carpenter and an area resident. "The deeper the water, the stronger the pororoca."

The pororoca surf competition has become such a popular tourist attraction that there is now a sanctioned "pororoca surf national circuit" that includes competitions in the neighboring states of Amapá and Maranhão in April.

For this town of 17,000 people, the tournament has been a way to make itself known. This year's competition also has a Miss Pororoca beauty pageant, concerts and dances, a food festival and a new paved highway, inaugurated by the state governor at the competition's opening ceremony.

"This is going to revolutionize radical sports," Mr. Sobrinho predicted enthusiastically. "Where else in the world can you go surfing with alligators as an audience?"

Original article with picture and map

Wednesday, February 25, 2004


Theo Radic's put together a fine page on Santa Barbara Chumash history at: Syukhtun 

At the end, there is also a well developed list of links to information about other California tribes.