When I was 7 years old my dad shaped my first skimboard for me. He went down to the hardware store and bought a piece of plywood, resin and fiberglass, red and blue paint, and three letters: a D, A, and T. For a week we worked on my skimboard in our backyard. Dad cut the plywood into an octagon shape, painted one side red and the other blue, and put my “D.A.T.” initials on the deck of the board.
He took me almost everyday after work & taught me how to skimboard at “Waikuli Beach Park” in Lahaina. He’d throw it and I’d run after it, most times with a load of sand swinging between my legs in my one piece suit. I’d drag my hand & spin in 360’s down the long stretch of beach. I’d run laps and laps until the sunset behind the island of Lanai.
Thirty years later, I’m still entering skimboard contests. Unbelievably my body is still holding up for this sport. In my opinion, skimboarding is the hardest water sport out there. It seems easy until you jump on the board and fall on your butt, like you just stepped on a banana peel.
Last weekend, at Makena Beach, my old childhood stomping grounds with that whomping shorebreak, we had the biggest showing of competitors at the 2nd annual Maui Mele contest. Growing up, I was one of the few girl skimboarders, and had to compete against the boys. Thirty years later, we had 2 heats of girls, 8 of us total!! To top that off, I just taught my friend Stephanie Tolle how to skimboard in April and she competed with us in June, with only about 8 sessions behind her belt. Stephanie has unbelievable natural talent. One of my old school skimmin’ girlfriends, Lanakila Kelliher, won the competition, showing the upcoming generation of women skimboarders how it’s done – slashing the lip with power and grace. She’s amazing!
Me on the other hand, I didn’t do so hot. I had a terrible first heat, despite boasting big airs during my warm up. But I had so much fun supporting the women, who are chargin’ Makena’s big shorebreak with courage and technique. I was truly impressed with the level of female skimboarding, and how far it’s come since those days in the early 80s, skimboarding on my dad’s plywood skimboard. You go girls! Keep chargin’ hard!
Here’s some photos from the day!
Dustin’s airtime at Makena Beach
Stephanie smackin’ the lip at her first contest
Our contest photographer & brilliant artist friend Hunter (he designed that gorgeous tattoo)
Our group photo
The women chargin’ their final heat