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Hawaiian South Shore May Newsletter

I’m Going to Fall off This Ship!

When I finished high school, I was ready for some adventure. College just didn’t seem to be the answer, so I started looking around for other options. My dad was a master gunnery sergeant in the Marines and was very traditional. He had made it clear that I’ll be on my own when I turn 18, so when college didn’t work out and I decided to do something else, I hit the road. I headed for Reno, Nevada, where my aunt lived, and started working odd jobs. That got old pretty quick, so I ended up buying a Greyhound bus ticket to Riverside and joined the military.

My dad had always told me that the Marine Corp was more than I could handle, so if I were to join up, I should go for the Navy. Their training schools were the best, and besides, the Marines are actually a branch of the Navy, so I think that was a way for my dad to keep the family tradition going but couldn’t see me out on the front lines. So, I ended up enlisting in the Navy.

I eventually found myself in Japan, working on a Navy boat with around 500 people on board. I really enjoyed that experience! But then, sometime later, we moved to the Indian Ocean to do some training exercises. One day at around 7:30 in the evening, I was heading up the ladder to my workspace, when I suddenly felt the ship shake violently! The shaking continued for around 10 seconds, and then I heard banging and rumbling low down in the ship, below the surface of the water! Then the alarm sounded, and a voice on a loudspeaker yelled “This is not a drill. All hands-on, man your battle stations! This is not a drill!” I couldn’t believe it! I'd heard that announcement over the PA hundreds of times, but it had always been a drill. This time, someone told me that we had been hit by a bomb!

It was almost like being in a movie. The lights turned red, the alarms were ringing, and we all had to run to our stations. Mine was at the back of the ship and to get there, I had to exit to the outside of the ship. I swung open the door and looked into darkness. I had no idea which side of the ship had been hit! I slowly lowered my leg out the door, thinking I might be stepping out into oblivion. After what seemed like an eternity, my feet felt solid deck beneath them. I ran to my station, and don’t really remember much from the rest of the night! Our ship had caught fire, and we worked frantically to get things back to a stable condition.

It's funny how extreme situations like that stick out in your mind. This was one of the more pivotal moments of my young life, and yet one of the only things I can remember from the night was stepping through that door and thinking “I’m going to fall off this ship!”

Getting to Know Brett

Over the past three months, we have been getting to know Hawaiian South Shore manager, Brett Martin, a little better. This month he tells us a bit about his wild years, and how surfing helped him find a healthier lifestyle.

Q: So, Brett, you have told us in the past that you earned a degree in college. What would you normally do during spring break in college?

A: Actually, I would snowboard a lot. That was a perfect time to drive up to the mountains, which was an hour or two drive. The snow was so good!  

We would also drive out to Tahoe. My good friend worked at Heavenly in Tahoe, so he would get us free lift tickets and give us a place to stay for the weekend because he was renting a place there that was super close. We would party all night and snowboard all day. Those were the days... so much fun.

Q: I heard you grew up in a place where drugs were pretty prevalent. How did you avoid falling into that trap?

A: Yeah unfortunately, drugs were pretty common where I grew up. I wish I could say that I stayed clear from drugs, but that isn’t entirely true. I did experiments here and there, which I am definitely not proud of. Luckily, I was able to pull myself out before it was too late. I have a lot of friends who weren’t so lucky. Some have been battling drug addiction ever since, and many have been in and out of jail.

It might sound a little cliché, but school and surfing helped me avoid falling into the trap of drugs.

My English teacher said something I will never forget, and that still rings true for me today. He said: “Everyone does drugs. Your drug might be your boyfriend or girlfriend. It might be a chemical or something that you smoke. Whatever it is, it’s something that brings you happiness or at least perceived happiness. The important thing is to realize this and choose a drug that will bring you the most happiness while causing the least amount of harm to you and the people around you. You’re going to do drugs, so choose your drugs wisely.”

Everyone is in pursuit of pleasure, happiness, and fulfillment. Some choose to use some form of chemical in order to obtain this pleasure. For some, it might be that special boy or girl that brings them that happiness. That drug for me is surfing. Because surfing is my drug of choice, it has not only brought me happiness when I do it but also continuously makes my life better, as well as positively affecting people around me and society as a whole.

The best drug is the one that brings you the most happiness and contributes to the well-being of society. Find that drug and use it every day.

Q: Wow, that’s a pretty heavy perspective! There are obviously drug problems both here in Hawaii and on the Mainland. But what are some of the most obvious differences to you between living in California and living here in Hawaii?

A:Clear, blue, warm water and bright, colorful plants. And there are always waves somewhere on the island!

Also, the food for sure. I don't think there are any 7 Eleven's in California that sell musubi or manapua.

It also seems that people are more health conscious here. A lot more people are active and want to live healthy. Also, people in Hawaii seem more environmentally conscious as well.

Best of all, the ocean water is so clear, and you can surf all year long without having to worry about getting sick from the water after it rains.

Because of that, I think that people are more in tune with nature. We also have way more holidays in Hawaii! More people seem to be pursuing what they love to do, versus being in a job that they really don’t like, and that makes them a lot of money.

There also seems to be more art. There are murals on walls all over the place!

And finally, there are lots of people riding scooters and motorcycles with no helmets, and people pile into the backs of their pickup trucks and drive around. This is illegal in California, but very normal here. I love it!

Member of the Month

This month’s Member of the Month is our VIP member, Kyle Lee. He comes into the shop full of positive energy you all can feel, it’s contagious and we love it!

In the past few months, he’s picked up a few Thunderbolt Technology boards. He’s given us several video reviews that we’ve posted on Social media. It’s awesome because after seeing the reviews, others picked up the board and are stoked because of Kyle’s review.

When and why did you initially get into surfing?

As far as I can remember, 1965-1970, my dad took me fishing with him almost daily. He taught me to whip for Moi, and I became as good as my dad.  I could not fish for more than 2 or 3 hours at a time, so I started to go into the water whenever I had enough fishing. I did not know then that I was learning something that would get me through 60+ years of my life. I was attracted to the feeling of the ocean, surfing at Bellows with two of my friends while my dad fished. That led to daily desires to get to, Kaiko’s and Diamond Head, or body surfing at Sandy’s or Makapu, or the North Shore, Ehukai and Pipeline. To put in one sentence, I was guided by a higher power to feel the best feeling I have ever experienced; Surfing Nature, Energy, Life’s stresses all released and pure stoke in the end. Wanting more and more and growing to accept less, with more quality.

Did you have a time period you laid off from surfing?

If so, when and why did you start back up?

Yes, somewhere around 1980, I was about to get arrested for the lifestyle I was choosing, I was a product of Vietnam and Woodstock. I moved to Fairfield, CA. and ended up joining the Air Force in 1984. At the most, I stopped surfing for 4 years during that period.

What is your favorite thing about surfing?

The feeling of being absorbed by nature, 4-6’ + anywhere it is firing. I caught the best Tennis courts in the past 45 years, this past October.  All about enjoying the energy. And after surfing, having a few beers to relax and dull the physical pain acquired by surfing 6-8 hours.  I’m so blessed, thank you.

Where is your favorite place to eat after surfing? What is your favorite item on the menu?

Things change all the time, but right now, I ask my girlfriend, Helene Phillips, the First Female to retire for Ocean Safety Lifeguards, with 31+ years of service. Sushi at Yanagi’s or Kabuki’s in Waimalu. If I’m closer to the Counter at Kahala Mall, we’ll go there, where I build my own Hamburger salad, with option of bison or Mahi.  If I’m on the North shore, it’s Haleiwa Joe’s for their Tenderloin Steak salad.   Rock and Roll Sushi used to be my alternate go to. No matter where you end up, food taste so good after surfing.  

What other hobbies do you have besides surfing?

I enjoy Diving, Free diving, Scuba diving with HFD Rescue for 18 + years, spearing fish for the Boy’s at the station to supplement our meals. And HFD Rescue personnel are really good at this.  Snorkeling with Helene looking for seashells anywhere I can find them. I can send you the video of all 20 years shell collecting.  And fishing, which I plan to pursue more often when I cannot physically surf. I also enjoy running and working out to keep in shape.

What type of work do you do?

Right now, I am currently working at Bellows AFS in Waimanalo as a Head Lifeguard. I retired from the Honolulu Fire Department in 2017 after 32 years of service. I spent my last 18 years there working on Rescue 2.

Tell us about the board(s) you recently purchased from us.

What model and size are it, and how do you like its performance?  

I purchased 2 HI Carbon Diamond Drives a few months ago, a 9’2” and a 9’1”. Helene and I liked both of these boards. I have not tried the 9’1” which she is very happy with. Both boards are fast and responsive. After liking these boards so much, I purchased 2 Ben Skinner Carbon boards.  Both 9’1”, the Blender for myself and the Smoothie for Helene. They both are as good as the diamond drives, and better in bigger waves.  I then purchased a HIHP 9’1” Carbon rounded square, which I’m using regularly now. It is also an excellent board.  After riding my first Tolhurst, I started selling my other boards so I could get more Tolhurst. All of these boards would be mine, but Helene absolutely enjoys surfing hers. They are not cheap, but they are Performers.  I ordered a 9’1” Carbon HI4, and that will probably be the bomb also, lyk. PS, I set them all up with HI thruster fins.

Do you have any additional comments?

Thank You Albert Dove, Gerry Lopez, Ben Aipa, Reno Abillira, Mitsu, and especially Barry Kanaiaupuni for all the boards I have enjoyed and will continue to ride. Thank Jeannie Chesser for the airbrush jobs. Thank you Ezra, Derrick, Kapono for recommending Tolhurst.  These boards won’t make you a better surfer, but I think you will Enjoy the Ride!!!

Banks Journal: Beach-Based Style for an Active Generation

Here at Hawaiian South Shore, we love a good niche brand—and we know you do too! While the big-name brands paved the way for the modern surf industry, boutique brands are the wave of the future, and one of our current favorites is Banks Journal. You may be wondering what Banks Journal is all about—is it a magazine? A place to invest your money? Actually, it’s sort of both—but mostly, it’s a surf- and beach-inspired clothing label that understands the importance of blending style with function.

Banks Journal draws its name from the sandbanks of Australia, where it was started—and, of course, from the journal that the brand publishes, capturing the essence of the surf lifestyle. Sandbanks are always changing—just like styles—and Banks Journal strives to document those changes through a combination of artistic photography, writing, and fashion.

The brainchild of Tim Cochran and Rama McCabe (who grew up in Byron Bay, Australia) and Masa Shibahara and Motoo Noda (from Tokyo), Banks Journal has been committed to sustainability since day one. The fabrics used in making the clothing use organic cotton, while the inks used in the screen printing process are PVC- and phthalate-free. Re-purposed soda bottles are turned into a polyester thread to be used in woven products, and the same process is used to create the brand’s board short line.

With such an artistic, socially aware focus, it’s only natural that the brand would attract forward-thinking athletes. The Banks Journal collective includes avant-garde individuals as Jared Mell, Dane Peterson, Brendon Gibbens, Kahana Kalama and Tom Morat. Together with Cochran, McCable, Shibahara and Noda, these personalities combine to create a brand that appeals to the earthy, artistic side in each of us—all packaged in an ocean-focused manner that resonates with our insatiable love for surf.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the Banks Journal line, stop into the store and see what we have in stock. With spring already here and summer quickly approaching, it’s time to move into the future.

Mastering Your Breath and Ocean Rescue with Ricardo Taveira

Most of us know who Guy Hagi is—the news weather and surf report guy who is wrong half the time, but who we love anyway because he’s one of our wave-riding tribe. In fact, if you paddle out in Town during a south swell, you just might bump into Guy in the water! He’s an avid surfer, and recently did a story on another avid surfer here on Oahu—one who has taken big wave riding and preparation to the next level.

Ricardo Taveira is a Brazilian big wave surfer who has made the North Shore of Oahu his home. He runs Hawaii Eco Divers, a scuba and snorkel outfit that takes people out for underwater adventures here on Oahu. But Ricardo is equally an adept rider on the ocean’s surface, and is a standout surfer whenever Waimea Bay jumps into the XXL range. In fact, he even flew over to California in early April for his first session at Maverick’s, where he ended up scoring some bombs!

Part of the reason Ricardo is so comfortable in big waves is that he is incredibly well prepared for emergency rescues—and for the hold downs that happen numerous times per session when the waves get large. And for the past few years, he has shared his experience and preparation with the public through an apnea and big wave preparedness class.

Many of Hawaii’s best big wave surfers and watermen/women have taken this class, as he has groups in California, Brazil, Chile, and elsewhere. In fact, Ricardo has even trained the staff at the World Surf League! Pro surfers and lifeguards also take the class regularly (with lifeguards getting to do the course for free). But the course isn’t just for pros, or even aspiring big wave surfers. Everyone can benefit from the course, as it provides confidence in the water and competence when it comes to water rescue skills, first aid, and CPR.

The course also helps you learn to control your breathing, which is great both in the water and out. It even assists in stress relief for those who have lots of work- and life-related stress built up! But perhaps, most noticeable is how the course teaches you to hold your breath. Most people assume they can’t hold their breath for more than 30 seconds or a minute, but most people who take the class end up holding their breaths for more than three minutes, and some as long as five minutes! Local surfer, Roger Seibel, recently turned 58, but he isn’t close to hanging up his board shorts. Last year, he took Ricardo’s class, ended up holding his breath for over four minutes, and developed the confidence to start exploring bigger waves. This season, he paddled XL days on the outer reefs and at Waimea Bay, and can be seen out at Sunset anytime it’s cranking.

As an added bonus to the class, anyone who has done the course with Ricardo is welcomed to join future training for free, as many times as they want. And since this is something that Ricardo is passionate about, there end up being a lot of training on Oahu every year!

We will be hosting one of Ricardo’s courses here at Hawaiian South Shore on June 22 and 23. If you are interested in checking out the course, follow this link:

News, Reviews & Trends

Getting reviews helps us know how we’re doing and also let other HSS members like you check out the reviews on boards they’re interested in.  Below are some reviews via email and handwritten letters. If you submitted a review, Thank you very much, I know so many of us are busy with our daily things to do so, it means a lot when we received them. If you want to submit a review, email us

The JS is known for high-performance boards; if you’ve talked to anyone that’s ridden a JS, most people will say it’s one of the best boards they’ve ever ridden. The Black Box 3 is a small wave board, perfect for small to head high waves in gutless surf. It wide like a round nose board but still has a high-performance outline with a pulled in nose. So, if you’re looking to get a high-performance board that paddles like a round nose board, this is the one. It’s super friendly compared to other performance boards and it just glides through flat sections of the wave.

The JS is known for high-performance boards; if you’ve talked to anyone that’s ridden a JS, most people will say it’s one of the best boards they’ve ever ridden. The Black Box 3 is a small wave board, perfect for small to head high waves in gutless surf. It wide like a round nose board but still has a high-performance outline with a pulled in nose. So, if you’re looking to get a high-performance board that paddles like a round nose board, this is the one. It’s super friendly compared to other performance boards and it just glides through flat sections of the wave.

Libtech Review

We are the exclusive Hawaii Dealers for Libtech. From the first time they released the Lost X Lib collaboration, we knew that they are going to do well. Matt Biolos of Lost surfboards has been making stubby performance boards for well over 26 years before all other manufacturers started making these performance hybrid board. Matt knew that average surfers should be riding these types of board. It’s been about 10 years or so most are making boards like this, so Matt was way ahead of the times. Having them in the libtech construction makes it the perfect combination of fun surfing with tough technology that is environmentally friendly. From the planet based resign all the way down to the 100% waterproof core, these board surf, float and flex like a regular fiberglass board. They can handle windy choppy days and just glide through the chop.

Thanks heaps you guys. I live the boat and what it stands for “Eco-friendly.”  Non-petroleum based bio-plastics, no toxic cleaners, no sanding, no waste, off the grid warehouse.  Not to mention, the board surf great! Taken it up to the North Shore on several occasions and she goes, let’s find out how she handles Puerto Escondido for 3 months.

The New JS Black Baron is something that I have and it’s actually one of the first twin fin boards I really like. I’ve surfed it in some pretty decent overhead waves and some small wave waist high waves. The board first of all catches waves really easy; it’s super fast and loose in small waves. But seems to tighten up in better waves. It’s been tested and refined for the past 6 years. JS recently released a video of their team riders riding it in sloppy waist high waves to some well overhead barreling waves. The board comes in Futures and FCSII. The futures the EN is recommended, and for FCSII, the Power Twins are recommended. A friend of mine is using it with the AL Merrick 2+1 side fins and he’s been stoked on it.

Libtech only makes boards that prove hot sellers with Lost and then they decide to cooperate on a model. The NEW Model they just released is the Puddle Jumper HP. YEP, that super popular and fun to ride Puddle Fish is now available in the HP model. It’s slimmed down to be a little more performance. Since the nose is pulled in, you don’t have to choke up on the board like you have to on a larger round nose board. The swing weight is way better, so you can move the board round a lot easier. If you like the puddle jumper, then you’ll love this slimmer version. Or if you want a puddle Jumper but the one with a little less bulky looking nose, then it’s your time to pull the trigger that’s fast becoming a best seller.