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Monday, November 21, 2011
Dog days in Hawaii

By Jon Coen and Daniel Ikaika Ito
ESPN Action Sports

If you tuned in to the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa last Wednesday morning you would have seen a dog chasing a stick.

Not the kind of conditions you expect for the start of the Hawaiian season.

It was some kind of little terrier; not exactly a lap-yapper, but one of those supercharged little guys. His owner was mostly out of the frame, tossing the stick into the hopelessly flat water at Alii Beach Park as the web crew prepared for the Morning Show. While director Marty Thomas gazed in the direction of the Aleutian Islands, Lucky, Snoopy, Kekoa, ... whatever the little 'llio's name is, charged fearlessly through the shorebreak and retrieved that stick time after time. To those watching from around the world or on the proverbial "Rock," this dog has been the highlight of Triple Crown action, this far.

The waiting period for the Reef Hawaiian Pro started November 12. Today is day number 10 and the event has yet to start. The final day to run is Wednesday.

"In the 29-year history of running the Vans Triple Crown, we've never gone this far without running one competitive day," said Randy Rarick. As longtime Executive Director of the Series, Rarick has seen a whole lot of Hawaiian events.

"But we knew it was possible, given it's a La Nina year. We saw a similar pattern last year, but this year La Nina is more strengthened. This is precisely why we have a 12-day window. Without it, the event would not have been able to start."

That's not to say that nothing has been happening on the North Shore. A Colorado man paddled out at Sunset last Wednesday and was determined missing after his board washed into the beach. He has not yet been found.

While Haleiwa is flat, there have been a few peaks elsewhere. As you might expect, the Brazilians have been all over the freesurf sessions. Flynn Novak landed one of his patented backflips at Rocky's. And the Reef crew teamed up with the North Shore Community Land Trust to keep the country country at the "Night of Aloha."

Time is running out for the Haleiwa event. There is a new northwest swell that's supposed to arrive Monday morning and bump up to the shoulder-high range through Wednesday. That means the event will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. straight through every day, in order to finish on time. Hopefully this morning's swell shows up on time.

No matter how flat it is, there's no where quite like this rock in the middle of the Pacific.

In other Triple Crown news, Joel Parkinson will not be competing for a fourth Vans Triple Crown title. He has decided to sit out Haleiwa and possibly Sunset. Of course, he will be back for the Billabong Pipeline Masters, but the Cooly kid who has owned this series in recent years, is out. He had this to say on his website:

"I just plan to relax a little more in Hawaii this year, and for a couple of weeks anyway just focus on my freesurfing, my family and friends. I'm planning on taking my family across to Kauai to spend some time with Lyndie (Irons) and Andy Jr. Of all the Hawaiian seasons I've done, I've never gone and been able to hang out to much on the other islands and with my friends over there for any long period of time, and I'm really looking forward to a week or two over on Kauai then coming back to Oahu and just freesurfing to focus on Pipe."

There is a new north/northwest swell on the horizon for the Vans World Cup at Sunset Beach, which starts on Thursday (Thanksgiving.) Keep in mind, this is not a major Pacific swell event and last year the Sunset action was split between Kamieland and Val's Reef. But right now, all eyes are on Alii Beach Park to see if this event can be salvaged. Slow start this year, but in the end, the Triple Crown rarely disappoints.