The Pick Up: Are You A Lion Or A Kitten?
Sunny Garcia explains the two types of surfers on the North Shore.
We should clarify.
When we say "The North Shore of Oahu in December is still the most important stop in the surfing world" we're aware that, competitively speaking, this could be untrue in two years' time. However outside of the competitive sphere, it's hard to imagine that Hawaii could ever lose its relevance to the sport. The history of the place, and the waves it produces winter after winter, have cemented the North Shore as a must-surf destination for any true professional.
As Sunny remarks, one's performance in Hawaii can validate or expose a surfer. The best will embrace Hawaii's power and roar through their turns like a lion. Those who lack the necessary skills and/or gonads will fall victim to the waves' intimidation and appear timid and weak, like a kitten. Watching the Vans World Cup yesterday, I think Sunny was right in his calculation that most people are kittens. Holding on for dear life is the best most of us can do at 6-8 foot lumpy, bumpy Sunset.
But when somebody harnesses the North Shore's power and redirects it into their own maneuvers, there's hardly a better thing in surf. Much like he showed at Margaret River this year, John John's ability to sink his rail in raw, open-ocean surf is unparalleled. Other impressive performances of late have come from Dane Reynolds, Jamie O'Brien, Michel Bourez and of course Sunny himself. You can tell when someone is toying with the wave, and when the wave is toying with someone. For these four guys and a handful of others, Hawaii is just a bigger, better version of their local beach break. Nobody's scared of their local beach break.
Welcome back to "The Pick Up" a Vans x Stab joint!
Footage courtesy of Eric Sterman, Eric Knutson and Mini Blanchard. Images courtesy of Laserwolf.