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Surf Skiing on Hawaii’s Big Waves

Posted in News by Kendall Card - 12.24.2009

The progression of sport has never ceased to amaze me. Sometimes “progression” seems like a kinder way of saying “suicidal” when you catch your first glimpse of a new sport, while other pursuits elicit mind blowing ideas that truly push the envelope of what people can do with their bodies and interacting with nature. Remember the first time you saw this?

Yea, sky diving lead to base jumping which led to flying suits and the results blow the mind!

So the idea of surf skiing shouldn’t be that far fetched. Water skiing has been around for what seems like centuries and has given birth to wake boarding, wake skating, wake surfing which influenced kite boarding that morphed into kite skiing and kite boarding on snow. Or was it wind surfing which gave birth to kite boarding on water which….you get my point. The boundaries of one sport have become so thin that inspiration for new progression in sport isn’t as vertical as it used to be but is extremely lateral in nature. Which brings me back to ski surfing.

Mike Douglas and Cody Townsend teamed up with their sponsor Salomon to experiment and build a ski that would be able to surf the big waves of Hawaii. While they tested a number of boot designs it turned out in order to have the safest setup that would also give performance was to have a ski boot and binding system. Imagine the consequences of going over the falls with skis on your feet that wouldn’t come off? Certain death. But they pulled it off and a couple of weeks ago set out to prove that skiing the big waves of Maui is just another step in progression. The fact that they did it with style is a bonus as well as a testament to these guys.

This is the result of their work – Surf Skiing in Hawaii

What about Poles?

While it seems somewhat natural for a skier to have poles, as I watched the video it seemed so unatural for the guy to have poles. Then again, what about the paddle surfing guys who have a paddle? Not so strange eh?

Mike Douglas chimes in:

We brought poles with us because both Cody and I think that skiing without poles is just weird. Honestly… what are you supposed to do with your hands? Anyway, if you go back and watch the vid you’ll see, that aside from the big day, we were dealing with heavy chop out there. Despite my best attempt at tying the poles to the sled, they were gone in about 20 minutes. By now, I’m sure they’ve been found by a beachcomber on the north shore. I never did get to try them. In glassy conditions, poles probably would’ve worked until we got slammed by a big one. It’s hard enough to find the skis in a foot of foam, let alone poles.

Will surf skiing become the next method of sliding on water? Perhaps for some, most likely not for most. They set out to prove it could be done and pulled it off with style so my hats off to them. What I think looks like it’s got legs is water ski kiting – finally an answer for kite skiers on snow that feel obliged to kite board in the summer due to lack of a skiing option.

Bottom line is the evidence is here that it can be done and that progression of sport is still very much alive, especially for skiers.



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  1. Davis Miller

    I like this place! I love the idea and wish there was a place like this in Astoria, Queens. I am a surfer and found a “real surfer bar” in Point Break NYC. I am kinda jealous ;0PIts filled with surfers, people who like surfers, people who like the beach and people who don’t want to live close to town. I really like this place. You know what they have these real Proctor and Channel One surfboards on the wall. It’s nice for coming any day of the week and eating a late brunch. The food was outstanding. The brunch and sides were prefect and tasty. It is a perfect “escape” from city living. It is probably one of the only places where you can get a nice frozen pina colada or margarita. The service was on hit. They came up and checked on us so many times and made sure everything was up to par. It gets very active and the bartenders keep everybody having a good time. The bartender was very accommodating. He was nice enough to make a drink, that wasn’t on the menu, for me :0) Did I mention the bartenders are nice eye candy. It was amazing to see their “das boot” which is shaped like a boot filled with beer. Don’t get me wrong, I am not drunk…it’s an actual boot shaped beer container ready to be emptied. Try it ..You will love it!! Oh. How can I forget, they even have a wheel o’ shots where you just have to spin it and have to drink whatever shot it lands on!! Now call that bar creativity at its best!!! And when I spill a tray full of shots on myself, the bartender so kindly remakes them for me? Good music, too, and the decor helped us weather an otherwise overcast and rainy day. You know that old song “Brandy”? It goes, “Brandy, you’re a fine girl, what a good wife you would be. But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea.” I believe Brandy works here. No reason, I just do. And that song happens to be a guilty pleasure of mine, so that’s a plus in my book. You can simply waltz over to this colorful and warm establishment, enjoy some drinks with friends, and walk home. The bar is right at the center, so you can walk to either side for drinks, and the bartenders are friendly and at your service. There is a variety of seating, good music, and friendly neighborhood people to make your time more enjoyable. Not pretentious, very cozy, I think Point Break is a fabulous place to spend some time with friends.

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