Bodysurfing Pipeline

2017 Pipeline Bodysurfing Contest

On March 28, 2017 Pipeline was taken over by some of the best bodysurfers on the planet for the North Shore Lifeguard Association’s annual bodysurfing contest. The NSLA carried on the 40+ year tradition of holding a Pipeline bodysurfing contest for the original surfing tribe. Due to the late-season holding period, the surf isn’t always classic pipe conditions, but this year contestants took advantage of a beautiful day and overhead swell. Mike Stewart was able to take down another title in the talented field. Three very talented photographers provided us with a comprehensive gallery of stoke. Please contact them for prints and enjoy.

Gallery by Mike Chlala @chlala_shoots

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Gallery by Brian Yee @808maukatomakai

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Gallery by Jeff Kawelo @unko_shots

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Analog Bodysurf: Mackenzie Yoshida

In the second installment of our series about film photography, we feature Mackenzie Yoshida (@WheelTurner) from Oahu, Hawaii.

Camera: Nikonos V Film: Lomochrome Turquoise

Mackenzie says: I used to shoot a bunch of film but got into digital about 10 years ago. I realized digital gear was only getting better and more expensive by the year. I couldn’t keep up!

When I jumped back to film I was able to go for cameras I knew have been around, shoot well and are tried and true. I also love the look and color film can capture. I’m constantly shooting different film and getting different results from each one with zero edits. Its a great feeling!

Surf film photography is my favorite because you  wait the whole wave for one shot. It teaches you a lot about the ocean and wave riding.

As far as developing on my own, it’s been years since I have. But i have friends working at our local lab, Rainbow Photo and love to support them.

Rider: Steve Kapela Camera: Nikonos V Film: Superia X-TRA 400.
Camera: Nikonos V Film: HP5 400
Camera: Nikonos V Film: Kodak MAX 400
Camera: Nikonos III Film: Superia X-TRA 400
Camera: Canon EOS620 Film: Superia X-TRA 400
Rider: Erik Sato Camera: Nikonos V Film: HP5 400.
Camera: Canon EOS620 Film: HP5
Camera: Nikonos V Film: Superia X-TRA 400
Rider: Kealii Punley Camera: Canon A1 Film: Kodak MAX 400
Rider Sean Enoka Camera: Canon A1 Film: Superia X-TRA 400
Camera: Canon A1 Film: Kodak MAX 400

Sandy Pages: Soul Surfer Johnny

Soul Surfer Johnny
by Bill Missett

“He rolled over onto his back as he took off under the lip, and instead of going over the falls, he gracefully slid diagonally down the barreling face of a six-footer. It was instantly glorious…” Johnny had successfully bodysurfed his first wave at “Puerto Tranquilo” and he was thrilled.

“Soul Surfer Johnny” by Bill Missett is the tale of a troubled kid from the streets of Boston, relocated to Hermosa Beach with his mother. A high school senior named Ron befriends Johnny and shows him how to bodyboard. He is soon initiated into a prankster gang of local surfers called the Tyronys. One of the Tyronys named Smokesurf, shows Johnny the ways of bodysurfing and he is instantly hooked. Ron also introduces Johnny to meditation and his life starts to turn around for the better.

Johnny saves up enough money to join the Tyronys on their summer surf trip to the famed beachbreaks of “Puerto Tranquilo” Mexico. They spend a month in Mexico bodysurfing, partying and experiencing many unique characters including Señora Maria, the owner of their daily breakfast cafe, Marcos, one of multiple town drunks with a tragic past, Beach Girl, a catatonic girl whose husband drowned while surfing on their honeymoon 2 years before, Glue Boy, who ran through town everyday looking in dumpsters, numerous stray dogs and a hammerhead shark named Bruno that controlled the lineup at the Point.

Ron and Johnny begin joining a regular meditation group on the beach. There they are given books to help them achieve new levels of spiritual awakening. The Tyronys complete their successful mission to Mexico and prepare to return home to Southern California. The night before departing, Ron and Johnny’s cabana is broken into and most of their belongings are stolen. Without identification, they struggle to make their way back to the US-Mexico border and rejoice when they finally make it home.

Here, the book takes a sharp turn.  Johnny’s devout-Catholic mother finds the spirituality book and reads it. She recognized the positive changes to Johnny and she felt immediately connected to these new ideas.  She begins to question her faith and goes to question a local priest.  Her new mindfulness brought back a very dark memory from her past. She recognized the priest as the man who raped her 17 years before. That man is also Johnny’s father.

Soul Surfer Johnny is an interesting semi-autobiographical, coming of age, adventure story. Although, there are numerous timeline issues. At one point we’re in the “Gidget” era (1960’s) then we have Foo and Bradshaw (1990’s) showing up to charge giant Puerto Tranquilo. The waveriding is well-written and obviously from the pen of an experienced bodysurfer.


In memory of Bill Missett (1939-2016)
Bill was born in New York, grew up in Virginia, did a stint in the Navy then began a long career as a newspaperman. In 1968, he settled in Oceanside, CA and began publishing the Oceanside Blade-Tribune with his brother Tom. The Blade-Tribune became known for its unrelenting drive to make Oceanside a better place.  Bill helped organize the inaugural World Bodysurfing Championships at the Oceanside Pier.  He then moved to Puerto Escondido to bodysurf, write and explore spirituality. 

Tripping Fins: South Florida v2

As I’ve said previously, working in South Florida for much of the winter is ok. The weather is great, my employers are very good to me and the Atlantic Ocean is warm enough for skins (I chuckle at the locals in full suits…the water is 70° at its coldest!) However, winter is my favorite time of year in San Diego with consistent NW swells pounding the whole coast, while Florida can be ankle high for weeks at a time.

Yes, I missed some epic California swells this winter.  But I consider myself lucky because I scored numerous fun sessions in South Florida. From chest high and glassy to classic, overhead windswells with whipping onshore wind.

The level of surfing talent in the Jupiter area is very impressive. A pack of locals, old and young, ripped into the lumpy sets, connected fast sections and packed the inside slabs.

I woke up at 5 every morning with a hint of swell and drove the 45 minutes to Juno Pier. I found it larger than surrounding areas and a local guy later informed me that it is frequently larger here because there’s less shelf outside thwarting the energy of short period swells.  Many swells are combo: short groundswell from the North and even shorter local windswell. The inside sandbars are in good shape so the result is neon peaks and wedges.

There are never other bodysurfers around so there are some strange looks from the locals on the main peak as I lurked around on the inside. But after tube hunting a few sections, the skeptical looks turned to approving head nods.

Confused by the sunrise.

For years, I’ve seen most sunrises and sunsets in San Diego. It took a couple days to get used to the sun’s position in Florida. At dawn one morning, with the sun low on the brilliant horizon, my internal clock said, “The sun is setting, time to find some dinner.” It took me a second to realize that I had coffee in my hand and it was time to swim the sunrise.

After a solid swim one evening, I went on the Pier to photograph the action as the sun set. There I met longtime local surfer/photographer Bargain Bob Baggett.  He was excitedly shooting the local crew as they ripped the windswell to shreds. Bargain Bob is a super friendly and knowledgeable guy. He knew every surfer in the water and happily shared his local info, acquired from 20+ years in the Jupiter area. Turns out he even snapped a photo of me hunting for an inside barrel.

Photo: Bargain Bob Baggett