Early Dispatches From the North Shore Oakley House; Triple Crown Season Begins
The Great Surfer Migration happens every year. Each winter, the flights are booked, beds and couches reserved, and board quivers prepared. Beginning in early November, masses of surfers and team managers, industry personalities and bikini-wearing hanger-ons arrive to Honolulu International Airport ready for whatever the Seven Mile Miracle along the North Shore of Oahu may present.
And the circus, as some call it, has officially arrived. The houses are packed and the collective energy level is on the brink of spilling over as the early days of the Triple Crown tick by. It’s that time of year when dreamers are allowed to dream, careers remain in flux and new stories are about to unfold. A lot will happen in the coming days and weeks. For now, everyone waits.
“We started off the season pumping. There were a lot of waves and good weather. Since the circus has showed up, it’s been pretty small; I think some high pressures systems have been sitting right above us. But I think it’s about to turn around,” says Rico Jimenez, who runs the Oakley House, which is situated in front of Off the Wall, and a wax comb’s throw from Backdoor and Pipeline.
Among the stories still in development are the potential qualifications for the ASP World Tour of Sebastian “Seabass” Zietz and Nate Yeomans. Both are sitting just outside the bubble, needing a big result in Hawaii to make the cut. Adam Melling and Jadson Andre find themselves on the low end of the Tour rankings and will both need big results at Pipeline to secure their spot for 2013.
Seasbass is known to be a high-energy, ready-for-anything type of guy, and if he is feeling any pressure to perform, he hasn’t been showing it in the downtime between his heats. He’s been training, playing football on the sand in front of the house, watching some TV and occasionally taking a trip into town; just keeping busy, which can be hard to do on the North Shore.
“I’m just kind of doing what I did all year, just taking it heat by heat, not getting too far ahead of myself,” Seabass says. “I haven’t been really thinking about what place I need to get or points or anything, I’m just trying to rip and do it for Kauai.”
In the first event of the season, the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa, Seabass has qualified through to the quarterfinals, along with Oakley teammate Kolohe Andino. Tom Whitaker, Jadson Andre and Perth Standlick are currently waiting for competition to resume once the waves pick up for their opportunity to join the pair in the final 16 of the event.
Despite the lay days from competition, life at the Oakley House has remained active and focused on the work still to be done.
“After four or five years [of running the house], everybody knows what to do to and how to play their part to keep the house nice and clean and tidy,” Rico explains. “All the boys get along; everyone is having a good time. Flat days we’re all training and staying fit and just living the dream here along the Seven Mile Miracle.”
Dustin Barca has become the de facto trainer for the Oakley crew, leading circuit workouts on the grass or calling off sprints in the driveway.
“On the off days we’re having the boys do some training, just to get them ready for contests and the season, make sure they’re strong and fit,” Barca says. “Otherwise, everyone is psyching out front of the house at Off the Wall; everybody has just been pushing each other and surfing really good.”
With so much still to happen and so many swells still to come, it’s far too early to come to any conclusions. Fun will be had, memories will be made – that’s for certain.
And the Oakley House will remain tidy. Stay tuned.