ON A ROLL: Grant Baker, at Maui, is a prime candidate for the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards.
ON A ROLL: Grant Baker, at Maui, is a prime candidate for the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards. Richard Hallman

Aloha bra: Forget big waves, I’m on tour

I'M IN Hawaii, holidaying with my better half, who's never been here before. Sounds tough but, wow, it's been 21 years since my last trip to the islands. Aloha Bra and Mahalo, Hello and Thank you but there's no way I'll be trying to break into the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards - like Richard Hallman of South Africa, or the fearless big wave candidate Grant "Twiggy" Baker, pictured, captured on a massive Maui beauty at Jaws (Peahi).

We'll be more like the occidental tourists where the sun sets in the west, taking in the sights of Waikiki and the North Shore of Oahu and then outer island hopping to Kauai. Known as the Garden Island, Hanalei Bay is where the late three-time world champion Andy Irons was born. It's also famous in the movie 'The Descendants' with George Clooney.

No doubt I'll slip into some late-season waves along the way. April is the end of winter and almost the start of summer where, if you are lucky, you can score waves on the southside in town and northside out in the country.

The Sport of the Kings was how Captain James Cook described surfing when he witnessed the amazing lifestyle only fit for the kings in those pre-colonial times.

The Hawaiians thought Cook was the Great White God and worshipped him momentarily until the myth was dispelled on Cook's second ill-fated voyage when a lethal spear proved the Englishman was indeed mortal.

The next wave of boat people was the dreaded missionaries who almost put a stop to surfing, calling it sacrilegious. They outlawed entering the water and punished anyone who dared to do so.

The invasion of the Haoles (white people) and the western world followed. They were mostly Americans, intent on taking over, pushing the locals aside and trying to bury their customs and culture.

By the turn of the 20th century, surfing resurfaced at Waikiki, thanks to local beach boys and an era of modernism which replaced the once-strict religious constraints of Hawaiian life. Emerging from the new renaissance was Duke Kahanamoku, an Hawaiian legend with the traditional aloha spirit that he not only shared on the beach and waves but extended to the pool. He won gold at the 1912 and 1914 Olympics and became famous in Hollywood movies with his good friend Johnny Weissmuller, better known as Tarzan.

The Duke turned up in Australia in 1914, to give the first big introduction to surfing at Freshwater, Sydney.

Hawaii and the Duke put surfing on the map and the sport would not be the same without their influence.

While surfing is a relatively new sport in Australia, compared to mainstream, it is now in its fourth generational span and it's wonderful to see our sport coming of age, with many events celebrating milestones this year.

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