Today marks one year since the surfing world lost Andy Irons. Alone in a hotel room 300 miles from any salt water, I submit to you that most surfers would rather be drowned in salt water by the waves that we love than to die hundreds of miles away from it. No one deserves to die in Dallas, let alone the reigning, living Hawaiian King A.I.
Closer to home and the heart of some Grand Strand surfers is the memory of another life gone too soon. Patrick McNeese would celebrate another birthday on November 3. Patrick left us in 2009 at seventeen years old. His surfing had so much potential before he was old enough to drive to the beach. Many of us could recognize his dad, Ricky watching his son surf and know that there were waves to be had. Patrick’s smile and stoke were always such a welcome reprieve from the, generally quiet and intrusive group of surfers populating many lineups. Always happy and hungry for more and better surf, Patrick would rarely turn down a chance for waves. This is the heart of surfer and the catalyst behind the search.
Now defined corporately by Rip Curl International, The Search began from the idea that surfers will dig, claw and race for any information leading to great waves. It’s the heart of our addiction. It’s that quiet voice in our heads leading us away from the pack towards some semi-secret-source of knowledge and the chance that better waves abound just down the beach. Rip Curl has taken that to a global level. Each year the world’s best surfers come to a carefully chosen locale where the opportunity to surf perfect waves exists. In past years The Search has found amazing waves in Chile, Bali, Seychelles Islands, and recently in Puerto Rico. This year they found sharky cold water in Northern California where a good swell has begun to fill in on the first two days of the contest waiting period.
Rip Curl also brought along two Grand Strand surfers searching for a Gromsearch North American Title. Cam Richards and Luke Gordon will compete in between contest heats of the top professionals in the Under 16 and Under 14 divisions of the Gromsearch contest. Rip Curl will let the men have the best of the swell, but between now and November 12 the groms will get some good waves in San Fran.
R.I.P. A.I. and PWM; Good luck Cam and Luke; Go KE11Y!