Submitted by many-rivers on Sun, 01/12/2014 - 12:33
Could those knowledgeable and experienced in these matters comment?
I read elsewhere that one person( filmmaker/ media person) was spat on by another ( reputed tough guy) at a high profile award event recently.
Maybe it is all a mountain being made out of a molehill but I'd be curious for those in the know to elaborate on what is actually behind these shenanigans.
I don't think the US based sites/mags are game to discuss these issues for fear of generating negative feedback and I would appreciate it greatly if those from Australia who are also likely to be targeted if they step out of line ( who sets these rules by the way? Da Hui? Wolfpak?) just keep away from intimating that we should all pull our heads in.
I visited Maui( and Hawaii) for the first time last year and was struggling to reconcile the fairly obvious local dispossession/poor economic advancement with the glossy tourist babble.
Are these economic issues behind some of this the anger towards outsiders or is it just a glimpse of thug life and big egos?
If I could also ask for some background on Da Hui. Is this a commercial outfit or a gang of sorts?
I mean Rabbit getting punched 25 years ago can't still be related to the same tensions or is it?
blindboy this ones for you.
The first incident you mention is Sam George being spat on by Eddie Rothman at the Surfer awards. Rothman is a North Shore enforcer of forty years standing and father to Makua and Koa Rothman. Four years ago he punched Billabong executive Graham Stapelberg in the head at the Billabong house at Pipeline. There were no repercussions for that incident. In fact, Makua Rothman is sponsored by Billabong subsidiary, RVCA.
These examples are indicative of the unique cloak and dagger-type politics of the North Shore. You hear a lot of talk but it's very hard to ascertain what is fact and what is fiction. Even harder to figure out why things happen the way they do. As for causes, much of what happens out there can be attributed to local dispossession of land mixed in with valuable surfing commodities.
As anywhere that has a history of overthrow there is a simmering resentment from the indigenuous peoples. That added with the annual migration of the surfing world to the North Shore fuels the anger, and merged with weird local politics finds expression in acts such as those mentioned above and many others that wouldn't be tolerated elsewhere.
'Da Hui' literally means 'the club' and is shortened from Hui o he'e nalu (the eternal surfing club). Most likely it was adopted from the Wakiki surfing club that Duke Kahanomoku belonged to 'Hui Nalu' (surfing club).
You mentioned Rabbit getting beaten up 35 years ago (winter of '77 from memory). After that happened a local came up to him and gave him a copy of 'Hawaii' by James Michener, which is perhaps the most telling fact about that whole incident. Hawaiians have seen their culture almost totally destroyed by white man, first by the Catholic missionaries, and then annexure by the United States. The last bastion of independence and connection to the 'way things were' is the sport of surfing. Rabbit and Kanga and other loudmouth Australians were ignorantly trying to show the Hawaiians 'how to surf' and got their comeuppance.
Not all violence on the North Shore can so easily be attributed to such grievances, there are so many other influences now that it's a messy business tracing motivations, yet undoubtedly dispossession of land and culture has been the cause of some of the violence.
The greatest irony in all this? Eddie Rothman has no native Hawaiian blood and is a teenage runaway from California with Jewish heritage.
To Quote Chandler from the movie north shore (after Rick Kanes stuff is stolen). "Those Hui had their islands stolen from them from mainlanders," or something like that.
Im no expert on the Hui Wolf pak or Hawaiian politics that happened recently yet can see they are a proud bunch and could easily be pissed off for many reasons .
Such as a photog shooting a secret spot or say even only filming a certain haole no one else.
Too many people go to Hawaii so for sure they would be angry and the economic issue of not giving back to the locals a big one for sure.
I think its rough though when some turn up to a spot in oz or Asia where ever and expect the same local rights, or tell people to go in.
Personally i have no interest in the waves in Hawaii for travel why? when there's a million other islands that get just as good if not better in the world.
Imo unless you're already a veteran or big wvae surfer and love the spots its a surf career/sponsorship move for too many.
Heaps of waves shit on Sunset and pipe.
"Stay wide and go deep" John John.
has any journo ever asked eddie rothman about his non Hawaiian birth status.
Think Chas Smith brings it up in his latest book 'Welcome to the North Shore', and Lewis Samuels made much light of it, but don't think it's a topic any journalist would raise whilst in strike range.
I can't throw a great deal of light on this. I arrived just after Rabbit got beaten up and was holed up in the Kuilima (Turtle Bay) for a day or so until it was sorted out at some sort of meeting. I always had the impression that there was more to it than just arrogance and bad behaviour in the surf, and I have heard a few stories that I won't repeat as they are hearsay. I never had the slightest problem myself and found that the vast majority of Hawaiians were actually friendly in the water. I think many felt that the violence reflected very badly on them and wanted to reassert the aloha spirit.
One aspect that no-one has mentioned here are links between the North Shore surfing community and organised crime. They clearly existed when I was there and I assume they still do. Hence the tolerance of thuggish behaviour.
Thanks for the answers.
I had read somewhere that the irony of the transplant being the angry local seemed lost on that individual.
So does the presence of this criminal element explain the very opaque explanation around the recent high profile drug related death? Are they supplying the north shore ?
Are they like the gangs in western Sydney or is this a smaller scale enterprise? I certainly wouldn't advise any reporter to start asking some of the dudes out around Lakemba and Punchbowl about their business but is this comparing apples and oranges?
And it is a strange aspect of the pro surfing fraternity that they tolerate this behaviour. Is this a sort of sympathy for the locals based on white man's guilt or are they too sacred to do anything about it?
It is a conundrum they will need to deal with if the sponsors are going to be from outside the surf clothing industry.Can you imagine an executive from ESPN being assaulted and saying thanks for the welcome?
many-rivers wrote: And it is a strange aspect of the pro surfing fraternity that they tolerate this behaviour. Is this a sort of sympathy for the locals based on white man's guilt or are they too sacred to do anything about it? It is a conundrum they will need to deal with if the sponsors are going to be from outside the surf clothing industry.Can you imagine an executive from ESPN being assaulted and saying thanks for the welcome?
The main problem is the most important and prestiguous contest in the world - the Pipe Masters - is held there during the prime swell season. And that the Hawaiian contests in general - which attract surfers from the world over - are also held then.
For those events to happen the broader surfing community must tolerate and cater to the whims of the locals. There's a history of disruption when the locals haven't got their way.
I've spent a bit of time over the years on Ohau and spent alot of time on the North Shore. My parents used to lease a unit for six months of the year for about 12 years an my father competed in all the rough water swims, so I got to know quite few Hawaiian families through them and the swimming and they are the mellowest people, generally I don't think they could be bothered giving a fuck they just share. That's why the place was taken over so easily .
Having said that I have found the North Shore to be the sleaziest place I have ever been in the world, it has changed a bit now due to the price of real estate. Basically everybody wants to surf and work would get in the way of that, so drugs and crime is the solution, I met a few crew that fell into the point break category. Rob a bank then spend a winter surfing on the N.S. "fuck yeah, give me a mask and a gun".
I worked in Waikiki for a very well known Mal rider(world champion) Glassing boards, that was an eye opener. I had beers every night with the beachboys after they had packed up they came to the factory , it was their bar/club, there is an evil underbelly along that strip of beach. One night I stayed late and the boss told me he wanted me to stay on for the summer and they would get me a mal and they would take me too the secret spots, but finished with the line, "but fuck with me I'll put you 6 ft. under". Next day I politely told them I was leaving, they payed me ,beat me up and warned me to keep my mouth shut. I don't think many of these guys were real Hawaiian.
Hawaii is not alone, there is a drug culture imbedded in the DNA of surfing, it is at the base of some of the biggest names.
Groundswell I have to tell you, there is nothing like getting barreled at inside Sunset.
I don't know if I agree with drugs being part of our DNA crustt, I think it is more of a cross over between the young male surfing population and the fact that illegal drug use is highest in that demographic. So yes, there has always been drug use around in surfing culture but I don't think it is intrinsic to it. In fact it is something we should collectively work against. I am no wowser and would prefer to see drugs legalised but, legal or illegal, we need to condemn drug abuse and that means professional surfers taking their position as role models seriously, surf media avoiding the tacit acceptance of abuse and the corporations taking more responsibility for the behaviour of those they sponsor. And this goes all the way down the chain to the clubs and the corporations they get involved with and the behaviour they tolerate in their members.
So a further question on the drugs in sport angle - is the ASP drug testing these days? If so do they release any information about number of tests done ?
I never said drugs were good, I wish I never came into contact with them or anyone involved.
But years ago there were more surfers taking drugs than not and pro surfers were probably worse than most, read Jeff Hakmans book. He was not the only one doing what he was doing on the tour, no sponsors no prizemoney, how do think they afforded to travel.
So stunet any ideas why the altercation occurred at the poll award ceremony?
How does a guy with his history of violence get an invite to these occasions ?
The cloak and dagger you refer to is very odd and i'm guessing there is more to do with criminal activity than a political statement in their conflict.
But who knows ? It looks like a cone of silence descends as people just shut up and put up with this weirdness.
Where is Blasphemy Rottmouth when you need it/him/her?
Nah, not too sure why it happened MR. I read about it in the US surf media but no explanation was ventured. Sam George had accepted an award for the project he'd been working on about Eddie Aikau - a disagreement on the outcome? Pure speculation of course...
I don't know that Brewser Rottmouth had any more ability to seek truth than journalists on the ground. From what I saw, and from what I personally experienced, he threw too many wayward shots to be taken seriously. Seemed more hellbent on ruining the reputation of anyone and everyone in the surf industry than asking hard questions. I do miss his tirades though, he brought some colour and humour.
We need to get a group together and go over there and take the north shore back for the haoles. We just need to find a tough Neanderthal type, well he doesn't need to be that tough, just needs to be able to talk himself up how tough he his and someone who is not too smart that we can fool into thinking that he can take on the black shorts...
WORDY SAID IT, SO BAD LUCK!!
Uplift, keen to come to the north shore next season? Don't worry, no one expects you to do any surfing..
is perry dane part of the da hui ?
Brief read outlining the Molokai economy.Interesting choice to repel outside investment.
How to balance out these competing interests?
crusst, by the time the pro tour kicked off there was both prize money and sponsorship. Before that there were a few ways of generating the income. The most popular was to be a shaper designer. Consider as a brief list; Lopez, Abelleira, Lynch, Fitzgerald, Anderson, Young and Farrelly. There were plenty of others. Another way was to work on some other job in the off season. Mark Warren funded at least one trip by working as a brickie's labourer. Then, of course, you could rely on your parents to wholly or partially fund your career. Mark Richards and Shaun Thompson being examples. To suggest that drug dealing was a common way of funding a competitive career is simply wrong. There were a few examples but in my experience they were mainly on the fringes.
Why don't you just do it yourself, see themyourself groges, what are you scared of? A coupla snorts, away you go. With your track record here, wouldn't bother though. Come and see me whenever you like, I'll help you out, what are you scared of? Back yourself. Easy. Or just snort and blabber from your hide out, under the shit.
I remember an article where a couple of big names from your list actually described how they would hollow out stringers in mals and bring hash back from Morocco to fund travel blindboy.
Plus, Abelleira was busted and locked up for dealing.
Missionnaires & dispossession, of course white Americans had plenty of experience at both by the time they got to the islands, just ask the American Indian nations.
name that article shirtlift.......I wish to read it.
No, I'm dealing with you in person.
If they were mals uplift that puts it well before the pro era and unless you have a reference for the story it is only hearsay and so counts for nothing.
Don't stop uppity from re-telling stories he has heard fifth hand. I love his posts. He'd have nothing to say if he can't make up bullshit.
I once read this article about these " semi-pro" surfers who used to rob banks to fund their surf trips around they world. Full on adrenalin junkies. Into sky diving and stuff too.
uppity, roger ellers blacks charger..... ring any bells ?
Chapter 5 is interesting.
No. where are you? Come and visit.
Believe it or not a lot of stuff happened before the internet. For instance, my friend did help Tom Carrol, Meninga, Waugh, Cash etc, and one of the mags did a speil on him. He had lots of news clippings. But I wouldn't know how, or where to find it, or them. Carrol probably would though. But, then, that was in the midst of his infamous era.
Sorry uplift I downloaded the app but the text was illegible. Quote if you like. My point was that crustt's comment unfairly tarred them all with the same brush, when in my first hand experience it was only ever a small minority.
Too much to quote, on that topic blindboy. Matt Warshaw's History of surfing. Chapter 5. But history and truth are two things agreed. No indigenous Australian's were massacred around here, according to history. I know personally people in the Gland discovery era, and the truth is a lot of stuff isn't like the glorified history. I remember meeting Don Johnson, Bruce Hansel, some surfers alliance shaper named Joe, Dave Cantrell, Marvin Foster years and years ago, and surfing with them for months. Well, Johnson anyway. The others hardly surfed. He was an awesome guy. Cantrell was historically portrayed as some 'heavy'... hilarious. They were all terrified of Foster though, except that Joe guy who was a classic and ran amuck unfazed by anything or anyone. I really wanted to see Hansel surf, but he never came out of his room despite their constant goading. Didn't surf. It was a shock to me later to read all about them. Nothing like reality.
You are right blindboy, not all of them were like that, but they were pretty colorful times and the prize money was bugger all so to survive there was a lot of scamming going on, if not drugs , diamonds or whatever. I was told first hand how some of them funded travel in the early days of the tour, some of it legal most of it not. What I say can easily be shot down because I am not naming anyone and I wont. I think if you gather statistics on professional sportman who got busted for dealing/importing drugs over the last 30 years ,surfing would be at the top of the list.
My reference to pointbreak was that there are heaps of surfers that would risk jail to be able to fund an extended surf trip.
Yep and through the ideas some of those guys might think of in that "illegal" underworld they might come up with ideas, legal ideas of products to cater for the now "legal" or medically legal laws of many countries.
Seems to have happened with a lot of cali surfers
Or just plain save enough for a normal trade business such as our local ex drug dealer.
Too many though go downhill, overdose,die, kill people and get to gangster.
As for inside sunset Crustt you obviously have a love for that wave and Hawaii. I dont mean to offend, or others here like Blind boy or Stu Net who have spent a lot of time there, though these two waves are more enticing to me with longer perfect conditions without the shut downs.Or crowds or hundreds of future world champs getting greedy :)
Also prefer the local wave here shark island on a good day to what i have seen of sunset any day.
But Island has its 50 or so too greedy heroes with 1 month experience too i guess.
My local surf shop (boards not clothes) long-time owner once said to me that there was no real money to made in the industry; that came from drugs or real estate and the ones with the real estate funded it from drugs. Wouldn't really know if there was any truth in that; any views/comments?
No names but have also have heard stories on what went down in Hawaii 1st hand from some-one who lived and shaped on there in the 1970s. Hard drugs, easy money and surfing, that's the way he tells it.
No offense groundswell, I would surf all those waves pictured happily, These days I would not bother surfing Sunset at all have not for 15 years, not up to it anymore. If your going to Hawaii looking for waves under 10ft your wasting your money, the beauty of it is the amount of quality waves above that size.
Floyd from what i have seen and heard it is drugs and real estate,
I think Uplift has hit the nail on the head with his comment that the "official" history of things is often not like the reality.
I have posted the same questions I posted here over at The Inertia - they have reported the night when the salivary assault occurred twice but they just won't seem to dig any deeper. No response at all.
Maybe they need to think about whether being a bit more investigative will inflame some easily bruised egos?
Some of the comments on the two posts at The Inertia about the Award night are straight out abuse of the Rothman family and it hardly looks reasonable to allow such comments when there is no attempt at explaining the situation.
Why then do I want an explanation?
I guess it all boils down to legitimacy.
If there is no truth , no honesty and no transparency in the surfing business they all become a bunch of closeted, surfing clothes models. NOT sportspeople.
If there are substance abuse enablers among them and they are protected from exposure by the industry media their capacity to claim any credibility as a sport will be difficult.The surf media are complicit in allowing this to continue.
The same issues arose when I saw the way development had impacted on Maui.
It feels impolite to mention this when you are there - sitting on a californian's multimillion dollar verandah while a local cleans the garden. The average wage of locals is so small they will never own large sections of the real estate of their home land. Jobs tend to be menial and relatively unskilled and the explanations offered by those who have benefitted are all straight out of Racism 101 - they are happy being laid back and playing music , they have no ambition, they just want to take it easy.
Ever heard those before?
So if the response to this is criminality I'd like to read why, if there are political issues in Hawaii I'd like to read the surfer's perspective as it would seem the development of tourism has been assisted by the attraction of the surf.
If as blindboy states it is a minority of the sport who are wayward well then why does the industry kowtow to them? Or is the case that they are not so much a minority but the reality of life on the north shore is as crustt states conducted in one of the the sleaziest places on the planet?
Many-rivers my comment was that it was a small minority of the pros who funded their travel by drug dealing. This is not to deny that surf culture has always been largely tolerant of drug use and that it has been common at all levels of the sport. So it is not so much a matter of the industry kow towing as much as they are the industry. How can you condemn drug use amongst your sponsored surfers when your executives are at it too? Traditional surf media have been absolutely dependent on the corporations and so have had no motivation to address these issues. It's all very sad and most of us could tell stories of the tragic impact it has had but, that said, it has never been too hard to just go surfing, use moderately if you have to and avoid all the crap.
groundswell, that right is beautiful you lucky bastard. :)
Floyd there is alot of truth in what you mate has told you, an example was a well known surfing identity that was buying up all the land around FOOdland.
I'm the scab you keep picking off and is there again the next day.
many-rivers this link does not directly address the issues you identified in Hawaii but, remembering that it is part of the USA, it has a certain relevance.http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/12/is-the-united-states-a-r...
Again thanks for the replies and links.
Strange self contained little sport we are part of then I guess......
I'm not unaware of the perils of hefty drug use - I'm old enough to have seen the whole spectrum of outcomes.
And sure surfing has it's share of users but I'd not put in the category of a recreation that heavy users can get by in- then again recent history could be interpreted to run counter to this.
You know meeting people who are on their third day without sleep - they just don't ever talk about getting out early for the dawn patrol.
Blindboy - I get the point about your comment being about a section of the pros only but am enlightened to read that you think the drug use culture permeates the surf businesses.
The flow on from this is the lack of reporting independence in the surf media.
They really are just mags full of photos then. The copy just filler suitable for a read while on the toilet.
The comps then are really just expensive promotional events and the interviews with surfers talking about their supreme competitive drives are just so much baloney- who cares who wins in this odd environment?
Is the target market still mainly sub 18 year olds spending their parents money?
Good luck to Zosea then.
On a completely unrelated matter does anyone know if the Hainan competition is going to be held this year? Should be strating in 2 days I think?
fitzroy-21 wrote: groundswell, that right is beautiful you lucky bastard. :)
No offense taken Crusst, respect your dedication and history of Hawaii. I do prefer waves less than 10 -12 ft these days too. Mostly enjoy 3-6 foot waves , depending on the spot and health.
Hawaii would be a great place,personally just to check it out not so much surf.. i heard someone saying if you wear shoes on the north shore you are over dressed :)
been watching this post for a couple of days and MR I can see that you genuinely have an interest in what is the real story in Hawaii....
A lot has been said and claimed but the truth is that all surf cultures have had enforcers ,drugs etc....Hawaii is just so in the limelight that if someone farts in the wrong way ...the rumours and innuendo begin...
Hawaii is a lot safer now than 20 years ago,the drug culture has been pushed back to such a small minority,which means a lot af Gansta shit is just rumour,and unsubstantiated odd incidents...
As for the History of surfing by MW....there has been a lot of the drug culture left out....and the so called dealing in those days was mearly a means to an end to get to a surf destination.....not tobecome multi millionaires....
As for the surf on the Nth Shore...there is no place like Hawaii because of the distances the swells have to travel and swell comes out of such deep water.....what we call 8 - 10'....sunset will test ya gonads and your waterman skills on such a consistent basis.....like nowhere on the planet...
Hawaii has all the social problems of any culture.....but Australia is still the worst by a long way in the way we treat our indigenous people.....Hawaii actually really looks after their kids....
Hawaii should be on any surfers bucket list......its actually a nice place now to visit......if ya show respect ya usually get it!!
I agree with Brutus about Oahu, and particularly the North Shore being mellower these days, although unlike Brutus, I go there out of season and you won't see me on the webcast bro'ing down at the Volcom house. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't get past the door Nazi.
I have only two points to make about the foregoing:
1. Early tour surfers travelling to events on the proceeds of crime. Well duh! In the period leading up to the establishment of the IPS in 1976 it was common, if not the norm, and documented to some degree in my book, Mr Sunset, in 1996. As Blindboy has noted, after the tour became official, most of the serious dope dealers had already fallen away, and those that remained, like the late Ricky Rasmussen, were peripheral players only.
2. The events of November 1976 on the North Shore have been documented so often I find it astounding that some correspondents don't know the story. Briefly, Rabbit copped a beating and everyone went and hid out at the security enclave of the Kuilima condos. A peace meeting was convened, largely through contact between the Aikau family and Paul Neilsen. This is documented in the December 1976 issue of Tracks. The Aikaus got Mark Richards to come and sit up front while they explained that he was an Aussie who showed some respeck, whereas others in the audience were not. MR looked like a startled rabbit (no pun intended). It was a good meeting, and relations improved almost immediately. Regardless of his ethnic origins, Eddie Rothman was not there because his incarnation as a Hawaiian elder had not yet been invented.
I've been told a few first hand tales by an old family friend - he played an integral part before and after the short board revolution so he's getting on in years these days. You fellas who have been around a while, especially east coasters have probably met him, or at least know his name.
He started going to Ohau and Maui in the 60's before boards got the chop, and part of his funding was smuggling dope in hollowed out mals. No big plans to get rich quick, just a plan to surf all day and party all night without the worry of finding the next dollar to get by.
Also, not the Hawaii scene but have any of you seen the Sea of Darkness from 2008? The story of Martin Daly's and Dave Burnett's days in Bali during the 1970s. I have tried to find a copy but it seems to have been pulled from circulation.
I'd rather be poor and produce nothing than be an arsehole and conquer the world - Alby Falzon
What time do you like the best? The time on the kitchen wall, or the time it takes to smoke a cigarette? - Sidewinder
So in summation I guess the analysis is that the awards night imbroglio was a molehill, another odd little incident.
As such it remains unusual that no one wants to explain what happened.........though I understand now that the US media won't go there.
Is the respect that is being mentioned on this thread a sort of cultural item like the BIg Man status that exists in PNG? Some have it ( inherited ?) and being a hierarchical society they are deferred to in every situation?
Has this traditional family based arrangement been superseded in modern times in Hawaii and other characters have now placed themselves at the top of the hierarchy?
For anyone interested parts of Maui are great - Hana in particular. The total experience though was discomforting.....western parts of the island with it's carpet of golf courses and hotels is a sort of expensive white person's resort heaven.
Makawau is one town a little more real if that is the way to describe a town with about 40 art galleries and Pa'ia is their version of a sort of cross between Bangalow and Nimbin.
If I do go back I am going to Molokai. Misanthropy just gets much more comfortable as you age!
L'enfer c'est les autres.