Bodysurfing, Boogies, and Tragedy
The 15th annual Ko Olina World Championship of Women’s Bodyboarding coincided with the who-knows-what-annual North Shore Lifeguard Association Bodysurfing Classic on April 8th, 2004 at Pipeline on Oahu’s North Shore. Three-to-five foot conditions greeted the competitors and spectators alike on a beautiful day at the worlds’ most famous break. Winning the women’s event was Miku Nakamura of Japan. Congratulations Miku! Not only does she rip, but let me tell you this: All girls should bodyboard—the results are impressive. This event is a spectator’s dream in more ways than one…. For more information and results go to www.bodyboard.org.[IMAGE 1]
The bodysurf event, organized by lifeguard Rick Williams, was a spur-of-the-moment kind of deal yet attended by some of Hawaii’s finest gut-sliders. In first place was the Vanilla Gorilla, aka Steve Kapela, of Point Panic. Steve is the sergeant-at-arms of the newly formed Hawaii State Bodysurfing Association and is a bear of a man—so much so that he had to wear his jersey on his head. TransWorld Surf employees Wyatt Tillotson and Justin Cote finished 3rd and 4th respectively. Bodysurfing rules. Check out www.body-surfer.com for more bodysurf news and a future link to the Hawaii State Bodysurf Association. Pipe standout and Rusty team rider Kalani Chapman finished dead last—better stick to the board brah![IMAGE 2]
On a much sadder note, a female Japanese bodyboarder hit her head badly on the reef at Pipe on April 6th, in eight-to—ten-foot conditions while practicing for the aforementioned contest. The swell kicked up really hard in the afternoon and as any Pipe regular will tell you—that’s a dangerous time to be out there. She was airlifted off the north shore to Queen’s Hospital, where she remains as of today. The good news is that, according to lifeguards, she is recovering well and should be okay. [IMAGE 3]
This is scary. On Sunday April 4th, 22 year-old Courtney Marcher disappeared after telling her friends she was returning to the shore during a session at Velzyland at 8:30 a.m. Today, a group of fishermen found her board and gave it to the police. Apparently, Marcher is prone to seizures and may have drowned. While police don’t suspect foul play, if anyone knows anything, they are urged to call Crimestoppers at (808) 955-8300.
A shark killed a well-known Maui surfer at Kahana Beach on the west side of Maui on Wednesday April 7th. 57 year-old Willis McInnis died after bleeding to death on the beach after being bitten by what is assumed to be a large tiger shark. This is the first shark attack related death in over a decade in Hawaii. TransWorld Surf sends our deepest condolences to friends and family of the victim. Rest in peace bruddah.—Justin Cote