NEWSLETTER APRIL 2021
We have done a few articles about surf etiquette in the past, and it is definitely a broad, complicated topic with a lot of factors and nuances to consider. Some of these issues deserved a bit more attention, and one in particular has led to a lot of problems that I’ve noticed in the lineup lately.
Surfing has become incredibly popular over the past few years, and the number of surfers in the water has increased even more during the COVID-19 pandemic. With so many people in the water, collisions and interferences on waves are becoming commonplace. But one of the best ways to ensure these don’t happen is to paddle out in the right place. I have seen tons of people trying to paddle out in the middle of the peak this year—and more often than not, they end up getting in the way of the surfer riding the wave. Instead, they should be paddling out on the shoulder or in the channel—in an area where people aren’t riding waves and they aren’t likely to get in the way.
Of course, it’s not always possible to paddle out in the channel. Sometimes we fall while riding a wave and are stuck in the middle of the lineup. Other times, we surf beach breaks that don’t have defined channels. Or we might simply get stuck in the current and swept into the lineup while paddling out. If you have done your best to paddle out in the right place but still find yourself in the way of someone who is riding the wave, the correct thing to do is make a quick decision about the best way to get out of their line, then commit to that decision. If the surfer can see that you have committed to paddling one way or the other, he can anticipate where you will be and adjust his line accordingly. But if you waffle back and forth, he won’t know where you are going to end up, and that’s a recipe for disaster. In addition, you will often have to paddle behind the surfer rather than in front of him to stay out of his way. While you may not want to do this, because it means you will get run over by the whitewater (rather than escaping to the safety of the shoulder), good etiquette says that you should prioritize getting out of the surfer’s way rather than saving yourself from taking a wave on the head.
Another issue I have seen that regularly causes trouble in the lineup is experienced surfers and locals bringing beginners out into the lineup with them. While teaching a newbie how to surf is a nice thing to do, you have to be intelligent about when and where you take them. There are certain waves that are good for beginners and others that aren’t. If you bring a beginner out to an advanced spot and they end up getting in other people’s way, you are responsible for what happened, because they don’t know better, but you do. Only bring beginners out with you if you are surfing beginner spots—and remember that their behavior in the water reflects on you, since you are their host.
Finally, if you do bring beginners out with you to crowded lineups, it is a good idea to situate them inside of the main lineup, rather than having them try to surf the peak or even the shoulder. By situating them 30 yards inside from the main peak, you can ensure that the experienced surfers will have passed by them to the left or right while riding their waves, so the beginner is free to catch the whitewater or smaller inside waves and practice standing up there. You also avoid a situation where the beginner is dropping in on the shoulder and ruining waves for the people who are taking off deeper.
Remember, the best way to keep the vibes good in the water and avoid confrontations and collisions in the lineup is to follow good etiquette and teach it to your friends. Always be considerate of the other surfers in the water, and have fun!
During my past few surf sessions, I noticed some pain in my right shoulder blade. I didn’t know what was wrong, but whenever I would paddle out it would bother me. I finally saw a chiropractor about it, and he told me I had a pinched nerve in my neck. He helped me a bit, but then I also went to an acupuncturist for additional treatment, and he was able to really explain to me how pinched nerves work, and how I can help relieve them at home.
I never really understood what a pinched nerve was. I assumed that if my shoulder hurt, then the nerve that was pinched was probably in my shoulder. But what I learned was that the majority of our nerves are in our spinal column and extending outwards from the sides of our spinal column. Think of the spinal cord as the trunk of the nerve tree, and there are branches sticking out from the sides, which extend out to different parts of our bodies. When the spinal cord and these different branches have pressure applied to them, the pain radiates or refers out to different parts of our bodies. So when my shoulder was hurting, it was actually from pressure on the nerves in my cervical spine, which is the part in my upper neck, below my skull.
These days, most of us spend a lot of time in front of computers and on our phones every day, and this causes us to have incorrect neck posture. Our heads start to tilt forward and down, which disrupts the correct curvature of the spine. A healthy cervical spine has a natural curve to it—around 42-46 degrees of curve—but as heads lean forward and down, this curve is interfered with, causing all sorts of problems (including pinched nerves).
In addition, the farther forward our heads lean, the more weight is put on the spine. A normal human head weighs around 12 pounds, but for every inch of unnatural movement forward that the head takes, around 10 pounds of tension are added. Imagine the average person today, who spends all day looking down at his phone and laptop, and who’s neck is bent three inches forward all day long—that’s 30 extra pounds placed on the cervical spine. No wonder we are all in so much pain all the time!
In addition to using needles on my neck, the acupuncturist also did some traction on my cervical spine, which really helped a lot. Traction is basically gentle pulling of the neck back into normal position, so that the discs between the vertebrae are not being compressed (as it turns out, it is these compressed discs that put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves).
My acupuncturist also taught me how to do self-traction on my cervical spine, so
that I could work on this issue at home, between visits. The best way is to take a towel, roll it up, and place it around the back of the neck, just below the occipital bone at the base of the skull. Grab both ends of the towel with your two hands and very gently pull upward and very slightly forward. This will cause the neck to move into correct posture—upward, with a slight amount of flexion forward. The vertebrae will separate so that they are not compressing the discs between them, and pressure will be taken off of the nerves.
If you have issues on one particular side of your neck or in one particular shoulder or arm, you can also give some very gentle tension in the other direction, pulling the neck away from the issue so that the vertebrae separates on the problematic side and relives disc pressure on the spinal cord. So if you have a pinched nerve in the left side of your neck or shoulder, you will pull gently upward and forward, and also a little bit to the right. And if you have trouble on the right side, you will pull gently upward and forward and a little bit to the left.
It is important to note that this is a very gradual, slow change we are looking to create in the neck. The imbalances in the cervical spine have taken years to develop, and won’t be fixed in five minutes. So whatever you do, don’t pull hard! This should be a very gentle, almost imperceptible pulling. It should not cause any pain, but instead should only provide slight tension and a feeling of relieve.
Of course, we also want to do away with the issues that caused this problem to begin with, which means maintaining correct posture while on a computer (getting an ergonomic setup with separate screen and keyboard helps) and spending less time on our phones, as we tend to have very bad neck posture when we are texting. Yoga is also a great way to correct postural problems and relieve imbalances.
Finally, it is very important to note that the cervical spine is incredibly sensitive and fragile, so you should definitely consult with a doctor before doing any home remedies for a pinched nerve or any other issues in your spine. Hopefully you and I will be back to healthy in no time, and we can share a surf session without any neck pain or shoulder pain!
Most of us know that littering is bad for the environment and likely to get us an expensive ticket. We don’t make a habit of throwing empty cans or paper plates out the window, and we might even spend an extra five minutes after every surf session picking up trash that others have left on the beach. But what many people don’t realize is that liter includes more than just manmade trash such as Styrofoam, aluminum, and glass. “Organic” litter such as banana peels and apple cores also mess up the environment—and yet I commonly see people throwing these out of their car windows. In fact, there was a time when I would even throw them away while riding my bike!
While it is true that organic litter does eventually break down and decompose,
it actually takes much longer than you might think. Apple cores take up to two months to biodegrade, and banana peels take up to two years! In the meantime, they make our beautiful aina a little less pleasant to look at, and also introduce invasive species into the environment, and provide unhealthy food sources to our local animals. Generally speaking, we need to treat our organic litter just as we do our manmade litter, and make sure to place it in the rubbish can, or to pack it out with us. Hawaiian South Shore team member Matt Rott does a lot of backcountry missions around the world to find new waves, and as a rule, he always packs out whatever he packs in. While a backpack full of half-eaten food can get sort of disgusting, it’s nowhere as gross as showing up to a beautiful beach or waterfall somewhere and finding banana peels and chicken bones strewn all over the place.
The only exception to this rule is if you are eating local fruit that you harvest from the jungle or forest during an outing. One of the best things about hiking in the mountains on Oahu is coming across strawberry guavas or lilikoi vines and enjoying a free, healthy, tasty treat! In this case, because the plants are native to the area, and because the fruits are going to fall to the forest floor and become part of the soil anyway, it is justifiable to enjoy your fruit snack and then discard it in the forest—preferably away from the trail. But if you carried food in with you—even fruit that doesn’t come in a wrapper—then the responsible thing is to carry the pits and peels back out with you and deposit it in the nearest trash can.
Let’s all chip in and do our best to keep Hawaii beautiful and clean!
When and why did you initially get into surfing?
When I was around 10 years old , my Dad taught me how to surf started at Sherwood forest, Makapuu, Kewalos where my Dad would take me out straight outs then points.
Did you have a time period you laid off from surfing?
If so, when and why did you start back up?
Yes, mainly since my daughter was born. I would surf every day, then it became less but I didn't mind at all because I wanted to spend every moment with her raising her with my wife. I always made time for the surf when I could, more so especially when my daughter wanted to learn how to surf, now we go together at Kewalos or marineland.
What is your favorite thing about surfing?
Meeting people in the line up talking stories helping beginners, number one thing is surfing with my Daughter.
Where is your favorite place to eat after surfing?
Zippys and rainbows
What is your favorite item on the menu?
fried chicken and mix plate
What other hobbies do you have besides surfing?
Free diving for Tako and fish
What type of work do you do?
I worked Newspaper company for 26 years. now I work BWS groundskeeper.
Tell us about the board you recently purchased from us.
What model and size is it, and how do you like its performance?
HI-4. 5 fin 9'3 longboard rides awesome like shortboard, and super light
Do you have any additional comments?
Yes , I like to thank David for his awesome Aloha vibe in the shop as well the Braddahs in there very knowledgeable Bret ,Hide. Mahalos
Easier to “wrap your head around” the Flat Earth than you’d think...
So the concept of the earth being flat, was one of mankind’s very first “fake news “ stories. This Akila Aipa 2+1 is in fact very real!
My first session, out at Diamond Head on small but clean South East swell revealed the board’s “fun factor” right out of the gates! I happened to snag one of the larger waves upon entering the lineup and paddling into it was a such as breeze it was a shocker! The team at H.S. (David) convinced me to go up in volume by a liter and it just so happens that my standard shorty is 5’6.” That extra liter and a half made it way easier paddling, and in no way affected my ability to put the board on rail.
The biggest surprise was the hold coming off an “extended bottom turn” which allowed me to project into the the lip a tail drifting snap, to which my surf buddy replied, “Wow! That board’s loose! What is that?” I simply said, “It’s the the Flat Earth by Akila Aipa and Firewire. Thank you!” Several waves later, post session, I can honestly say the board is one the most intriguing and fun board’s I’ve ridden in quite some time. The drive & speed that the comes with “twin + 1 configuration,” along with tight maneuverability off the tail area makes it easy to understand how this might be your “go-to-board” this summer.
“Two thumbs up...Double shakas...” Get one, you won’t regret it!!
I’m 5’8” weigh 185 lbs , Love this Board! So fast and responsive...
Every time I use it it blows my mind when I try a new maneuver and then pull it off??? Catches waves so easy is a dream when flying down the line.. Waiting for another opertunity to try somthing New!
I’m not a ripper by any means... But having this board under my feet gives me confidence and Excitement of Being One!..
Aloha and Mahalo.
Picked up my Flat Earth in a 5’7. I’m 5’10 and 165lbs, the board feels really nice to paddle and great under my feet. The LFT construction has become one of my favorites so far.
This board is great for smaller summer surf but can still perform when the waves pick up. I’ve taken this board out in overhead surf and it doesn’t miss a beat.
Overall: GREAT BOARD, fun and loose!
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