Archive for August, 2011

The World's First $1million Pro Surfing Competition

By
August 19th, 2011



The world's richest surfing event is set to take place next month, and what's surprising about it for this casual spectator is not that a surfing event purse could be in the seven figures. No, it's that it would be in New York.

quiksilver banner

The $1 million Quiksilver Pro New York, supported by vitaminwater, will be held from September 1-15. Organizers call this "the richest surfing competition to be staged anywhere in the world in the sport's 36-year professional history." It will feature the world's Top 34-ranked athletes plus two wildcards.

New York's Own Wildcard, Balaram Stack. Courtesy Mike Nelson.

New York's Own Wildcard, Balaram Stack. Courtesy Mike Nelson.

"It has been more than 20 years since an elite level professional surfing event was staged on the United States East Coast and, up until now, New York has never hosted a World Championship Tour surfing competition. The Quiksilver Pro New York is the 6th of 11 stops on the 2011 Association of Surfing Professionals World Tour and will play an important hand in deciding this year's World Champion," reads the press release.

In addition to world class surfing, the Quiksilver Pro New York will also feature a festival area by the beach that will feature action sports (Skate, Motocross, BMX), concerts, fashion, and food & beverage. The festival will be open from Saturday, September 3 to Sunday, September 11. All festival events will be free to the general public.

The Quiksilver Pro New York surf competition will take approximately four days to run to completion and will be held on the best days of surf available. The main event period will run from September 4 through 15, and will be preceded by the Quiksilver Pro New York ASP World Tour Trials, presented by UnSound Surf, supported by Vitamin Water, September 1-3.

For the surf competition, beach passes are required daily during the summer months on Long Beach, ending September 5th. Daily passes are $12 and required by those 13 years of age and older. These can be purchased on the boardwalk at National Boulevard and at other boardwalk locations. For those traveling by train, Long Island Railroad is offering discounted passes for $8 that will include beach access. Be on the lookout for the Quiksilver Pro New York Official Program in Transworld Surf 's October issue.

WILDCARD ANNOUNCEMENT:
New York's own Balaram Stack has been granted the first of two wildcards to compete against the world's top surfers in the Quiksilver Pro New York. Hailed as the most talented surfer to emerge from the New York surf scene, Balaram joined the Quiksilver Pro Team at the age of 14. He is now 19 and pairs his supremely smooth surf style with a repertoire of crowd-wowing, gravity-defying aerial antics. Balaram won the coveted New York UnSound Pro title in 2010 and is also a multiple NSSA East Coast champion.

The second and final wildcard will be determined through the Quiksilver Pro New York ASP World Tour Trials, presented by UnSound Surf, supported by Vitamin Water. This trials event will be held between September 1-3 at the National Boulevard event site.

Invited trialists:

Craig Anderson (Australia)
Masatoshi Ohno (Japan)
Garrett Parks (Australia)
Clay Marzo (Hawaii)
Fisher Heaverly (USA)
Tyler Newton (Hawaii)
Marc Lacomare (Europe)
Alain Riou (Europe)
Aritz Aranburu (Europe)
Leif Engstrom (USA, winner of the Empire State Championships, Trials of the Trials, presented by Quiksilver)
Ryan Carlson (USA)
Sam Hammer (USA)
Asher Nolan (USA)
Jeremy Johnston (USA)
Keanu Asing (Hawaii, winner of the UnSound Pro Junior)
Ian Gentile (Hawaii, vitaminwater selection)

Mistaken identity

By
August 17th, 2011



My work friend Julie thought my husband was a politican for a pretty long time. I met her when I started my job 11 months ago, and in our meet-and-greet conversation, she asked me what my husband did for a living.

Sometimes, for economy of words, I just tell people mortician. The truer answer is manager, CEO, entrepreneur, small-business owner, but the field happens to be in the death industry, so sometimes I skip a step and say mortician. It's just easier. And it usually ends that conversation.

Apparently, what Julie heard was the "-tician" part of the word, and she filled in the first part with the much more common -tician, which is politician.

I guess that's why she made some comment last November about it being a busy time of year for my husband. At the time, I thought, People don't die more during election season?, but I was busy and I didn't think further about it.

At some point in time, she figured out what he really does for a living. Every now and then, we laugh about it, like we did at lunch last week.

I went home and told Claus this story. "I've been mistaken for other things, but never a politician," he said. He was actually mistaken for a doctor just last month, while roaming the halls at a hospital to see someone, and for a lawyer, just because he had on a free t-shirt from the Bar Association.

When standing with me, in a venue where people might know me, people often assume I married a fellow news anchor. It's funny to me that he blends in to white-collar professional atmospheres.

I've had my share of mistaken identity, too. I am not mistaken for a white-collar professional, though that's all I've ever been, too.

I've been taken for a stripper and a hooker. Awesome.

There's a hostess bar in the Lagoon Drive area. I don't remember the name or know if it even exists anymore, but one evening, there was a small explosion in the road, and a manhole cover flew into the air. I was KHNL's night reporter and was sent out to cover the story.

The nearest business was this bar, so I walked in and asked to speak to the manager. I planned to ask if anyone had seen or heard this blast.

However, because I was a female, I got the dirtiest looks from the other women working the bar. The dirtiest.

I can sort of see why they thought I was applying for a job, but on the other hand, I would have to be the preppiest exotic dancer ever, in my Banana Republic Martin Fit slacks and Classic Button Down shirt in Blooming Berry. Really??

Actually, when they realized what I was doing, they were ridiculously friendly, like the cats at the Humane Society who run up to you in the cattery in hopes you'll take them out of there. They were hugging me, touching my hair, looking at my wedding ring, all trying to talk to me at once. I felt like a Caucasian in Deng Xiaoping's China: a novelty.

The hooker story is just as random. I was reporting in Thailand on the 2006 tsunami, and we were staying in Pattaya, a city with heavy military presence. I'm Chinese. My photographer was white.

Not for sale

Not for sale

We were walking back to our hotel from a day of shooting, when the hotel's security guard stopped me to ask me in Thai for something. He thought I was local. He wouldn't let me in the hotel.

When I realized I spoke only English, we tried the hand gesture thing, but that failed. My photographer, Duncan, and I finally figured out he wanted to see our passports.

The would-be john, shooting a story

The would-be john, shooting a story

Someone in our group was nearby and came over to explain that I was mistaken for a prostitute, by virtue of racial profiling. It's common, he said, to see Asian women walking into the hotels with Caucasian men.

Let me make it clear that it was still daylight, and I was wearing khaki pants and a long sleeved REI shirt. Not exactly sexy. I'm not running around, filing my reports in stilettos and a mini skirt. Duncan had his huge Beta cam. I guess they've seen everything in Thailand. I don't really want to know.

What have you been mistaken for?

***
Also reach me via DianeAko.com

Posted in Career | 9 Comments »

RIP, Rango

By
August 15th, 2011



How do you talk to a child about death? Our 24 hour pet, Rango, died. It was a short life, but a little more full than your average chameleon's (or so I'd like to think.)

The short and beautiful life of Rango Ako

The short and beautiful life of Rango Ako

Rango was living in his hanai home at my neighbor Joann's house. She has two big Jacksons who mated and had about ten babies. All those died, too. The pet shop guy said baby Jackson Chameleons are hard to keep in captivity.

I wasn't all that vested, but apparently, Olivia was, as were Joann's kids. We were up at Joann's house when we found out, because most of the cages were empty. Olivia looked like she was going to cry when I delivered the sad news.

"What's dead?" Olivia asked.

"It's when people or pets we love are no longer with us," I said. "Nothing lasts forever. That's why you enjoy it while it's here."

The six year old neighbor chimed in, "Yeah, they're all up in the sky now." That served to confuse Olivia more.

"Did you have a funeral for him, Kira?" I asked.

"Yeah. Or maybe we threw him in the bushes. I can't remember," she answered. I can see they're really choked up about these pet lizards.

I was trying to use this as a chance to talk nicely about death and honoring the dead, but that wasn't really working out. Olivia just looked like she wanted to cry more.

I turned to my kid. "Are you OK, Honey? Do you want to talk about it? It's OK to feel sad," I said.

She said, "I'm angry." I was surprised - and more surprised when Kira said she, too, was angry for a while.

"Well, how did you get over it?" I asked Kira.

She looked at me for a brief moment and then flitted away, bored with this series of dull questions. Kira picked up a bag of macadamia nuts in their shells and a flat rock and proceeded to hammer at a nut.

Olivia was instantly distracted and forgot entirely about Rango and his brethren.

"You mourned by cracking nuts?" I chuckled.

"Yeah! Yeah!" the girls giggled, and returned their attention to the task. And I was off the hook for answering big existential questions.

***
Also reach me via DianeAko.com

Duke's Oceanfest

By
August 12th, 2011



A week long celebration in honor of Duke Kahanamoku is set to take place at the end of this month, from August 21-28, in Waikiki. "A full week of saltwater-infused festivities and events, OceanFest honors legendary Hawaiian waterman Duke Kahanamoku and celebrates the sports he excelled at and dearly loved. All of the events are a benefit for the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku scholarship fund for future generations of ocean athletes," reads the press release.

Photo by Bernie Baker

Photo by Bernie Baker

The 10th annual Duke's OceanFest will commence with the opening Ho'omana ceremony and Hawaii Waterman's Hall of Fame induction at Hilton Hawaiian Village on August 21, 5pm.

August 24 commemorates Duke's birthday (his 121st!) and will be welcomed in with a 6:45am sunrise service at the Duke Kahanamoku bronze statue, Kuhio Beach. The larger lei-draping ceremony will take place at the statue at 5pm and is open to all visitors.

Five days of exciting beach and ocean sporting events will commence Wednesday, August 24, and culminate on Sunday, August 28.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Sunday, August 21
Opening Ho'omana ceremony and Hawaii Waterman's Hall of Fame induction at Hilton Hawaiian Village on August 21, 5pm. Purchase tickets.

Wednesday, August 24:
AccesSurf competition for challenged athletes.
ITSA tandem surfing competition.
Kicker Audio presents Toes on the Nose Rabbit Kekai Professional Longboard Contest - Register here.

Thursday, August 25:
Bears Wave Tandem Surfing Exhibition.
Kicker Audio presents Toes on the Nose Rabbit Kekai Professional Longboard Contest.

Friday, August 26:
Go Pro presents C4 Waterman SurfSUP race & SUP SurfOff - Register here.
Hawaiian Airlines Duke Legends Surf Classic.
Duke's Waikiki Beachboy Tribute at Duke's Waikiki.

Saturday, August 27:
Duke's Waikiki Ocean Mile Swim - Register here.
Hawaiian Airlines Duke's Legends Surf Classic.
Outrigger Canoe Wave Surfing Exhibition.
Kona Longboard Lager Invitational Beach Volleyball Tournament.
Maui Jim presents 2011 Hawaii Paddleboard Championship - Duke Race - Register here.
Hawaiian 105KINE Great Hawaiian Luau at the Waikiki Aquarium, 6pm, doors open at 5:30pm - Tickets $60 from honoluluboxoffice.com starting 8/8/11

Sunday, August 28:
Outrigger Hotels Surfboard Water Polo Tournament at the Kapahulu Breakwall
Kalaha Waterman's Challenge at Fort DeRussy Beach - Register here
Duke's OceanFest was established as a benefit for the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation. The Mission of the foundation is to financially support the development of individuals and organizations who perpetuate the spirit and legacy of Duke Kahanamoku.

Duke's OceanFest is held each summer in Waikiki in honor of Hawaiian Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, who is fondly remembered today as an exemplary human being and the greatest waterman who ever lived. Among his many accomplishments, Kahanamoku was an Olympic gold medal swimmer; a surfer; an esteemed canoe steersman; a Hollywood actor; and the Sheriff of Honolulu. A powerful 'one-man visitor's bureau', Duke graciously welcomed waves of visitors to the Hawaiian Islands in his time and was regarded as a symbol of all that is good in Hawaii.

Say what?

By
August 10th, 2011



It's funny to me that Olivia will try to repeat things I say, but sometimes gets it wrong.

Auntie Val gave her a gift certificate for her birthday to get tinsels put in her hair. I finally took her down and had a variety of colors knotted in: rainbow, pink, green, purple. She is a walking Christmas tree. Though, she keeps referring to it as "utensils," which cracks me up.

The other night we chose to take Olivia to jujitsu practice. We didn't have a babysitter and I've been missing too many practices, so I suggested we just try and take her.

The reason why we like keeping her at a set bedtime (8 p.m.) is that we don't want her to be tired and cranky the next day. However, it's summer, and there's no school. I thought, Let's take a chance. Maybe she'll just sit on the side and color or something.

I was so wrong. She was a little tired, and that makes her clingy. The entire time, she tried to hang onto my leg or foot. I couldn't warm up. I couldn't do the kata. It was like having an anchor on my ankle.

Finally, I gave up. "You're a little Klingon," I teased.

Naturally, I don't expect a four year old to get a Star Trek reference. What she said back to me was, "I'm your Crayon?"

Yes, she's my Crayon- she beautifully colors my life.

***
Also reach me via DianeAko.com

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