RANDY RARICK: Travelling and Shaping, a Lifetime of Surfing Part 2
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 26 March, 2013 : - - After the 2012 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing finished with Joel Parkinson taking out the 2012 ASP World Champion title over Kelly Slater and Kauaian Sebastian Zeitz taking out the 2012 Triple Crown title, Surfersvillage chatted in a Q&A format with Randy. Mr. Rarick walks us through some of his more hairy travelling adventures, recalls the epic Winter of 1969 and talks more about organized surfing. Here’s what transpired;
Randy Rarick on Travelling:
SV: You were one of the first global travelers, logging sessions in more than 60 different countries - where would you like to return to?
At a very young age, I set out from Hawaii to see the world. Hawaii is the perfect home base and of course a great place to come home to. But, I tell people you have to leave Hawaii, to appreciate Hawaii. There are such different cultures out there, and so many different types of waves compared to Hawaii, so it's great to experience them all!
I have traveled to over 140 different countries and surfed in nearly 70 of them now. I personally like Africa the best, due to the difference in cultural norms and the variety of waves. Plus there is such a variety of coast line from North Africa to South Africa and everywhere in between. There are still some pockets of very cool places in Africa that I'd go back to.
SV: Did you ever have any moments of "I'm not going to make it out of this"?
Ironically, it's not so much the surf that has been the hurdle or the hindrance, but rather the aspect of getting there. I was once traveling by Land Rover across the Namib desert in Southern Angola when we broke an axle half-shaft. It took us two days in a desert storm to finally get it fixed and limp out of there and for a time, I thought I'd be buried and lost in the desert.
"We broke an axle half-shaft...
I thought I'd be buried and lost
in the (Namib) desert."
Another time, when I was traveling thru Europe, I was in Paris when a South American dictator visited the city and near the University area I innocently got caught between a group of student protestors and the police riot squad and got caught up in a melee with tear gas and beatings and total anarchy and I didn't have anything to do with it, but almost got arrested, shot with rubber bullets and branded a terrorist.
SV: Where haven't you been that you'd like to visit?
There are a number of islands that I know have surf, but you can only get to them by boat, so that takes time and money. On land based options, I have yet to get to Somalia, which for obvious security reasons hasn't been the best place to consider, but I did get good waves on the border between there and Kenya, so figured there must be some decent spots up the coast. There are a variety of other spots that I intend to get to over the next few years, while I still have good health and the means to surf them.
On Organized Surfing
SV: You started the IPS with Fred Hemmings which the ASP took over, what is your take on the current state of the ASP and what direction does surfing need to take in order to grow?
The new private equity group, ZoSea has purchased the ASP. They will take it from a not-for-profit service organization, to a privatized entity that will not only make money for their investment, but grow the sport of professional surfing. You won't really see any major changes until 2014, but by then, they will have their media package in place and I'm sure they will lift the profile of professional surfing.
"I think the current model of pro
surfing could not be sustained"
Just as back in 1983 when the old IPS was superseded by the ASP, Fred Hemmings and I had taken surfing as far as we could and it was a natural transition for the ASP to step in and take it to the next level. I think, despite their short comings, the ASP has done a good job with the support of the brands.
But, just like in '83, there is always a time for a change and I think the current model of professional surfing could not be sustained by the brands and it was ripe for a change over.
If ZoSea focuses on building the creditability of pro surfing and bringing new players to the table in the form of sponsorship and media exposure, I think the future looks bright for pro surfing. Oh sure, there will be the nay-sayers who poo-poo the growing professionalism and commercialization of the sport, but that is what you need to make it grow.
It won't hurt those that still just want to be recreational surfers or think the "soul" of the sport is being sold out. The "art" of riding a wave, as opposed to the "sport" of competing in waves, will still be the same!
On Surfing's History:
SV: Being in the Islands for the legendary Winter of 1969, what did you see that year that has stuck with you all these years?
I was there to witness the swell of '69, which is still the biggest surf ever recorded. I saw Greg Noll ride his monster wave at Makaha Point and I watched waves at Kaena Point that had to be between 75 and 100'.
To this day, we have had some giant swells, but nothing at all compares to the swell of '69. Granted, guys now have ridden bigger waves, with tow-ins at Jaws and Cortez Banks and other outer reef waves.
But, compared to what had come before it, the rides at Makaha were history making at the time and to see waves breaking two miles out at Waimea, or homes washed across Kam Hwy at Ke-Iki or boats washed ashore at Haleiwa. It was a sight I don't know that I will witness again in my lifetime.
"(we saw) waves breaking
two miles out at Waimea"
SV: How about equipment, what design characteristics for the guns of that era hold true for today?
It's intriguing to see the interest once again in paddle-in big wave surfing, as opposed to tow-in. What held true back in the equipment of the 60's applies still today: you need enough paddle power to get into the waves early enough to make the wave!
While materials are better and there have been applications on both three and four fin boards, the essence is still the same: make the drop, turn and run! Guys are getting deeper than ever and the increases in ability are making for some incredible surfing and with the likes of inflation vests and jet ski assist, at least it's a lot safer now than it was when you soloed it back in the day.
Stay tuned for part three, A Talk With Randy Rarick
Triple Crown officials in 2012 (L to R): Announcer: Nuno Jonet, Site Builder: Skil Johnson, Owner and Director
of the Triple Crown: Randy Rarick, Judge: Jack Shipley, and Contest Director: Bernie Baker.
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Source: Surfersvillage/Randy Rarick/Bear Surfboards
Author: Bryan Dickerson © Surfersvillage
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