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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Short Surf Stories by Manny Aloha

Aloha y'all,
Its been way too long since I've written in this blog. I've left Hawaii momentarily to have my eight year old son Hayden, and 1 year old son Cruz get to know there grandparents back on the east coast. I currently live in a beautiful apartment above my father and amazing step mother in Clifton, New Jersey. It's 10:13pm and I am just getting to creative time.

I've started a skateboard company called Roll Skateboards and technically I should be working on the website, but instead I am risking juggling too many projects by writing. There's so much I want to accomplish, but so little time.  One of the things I've always wanted to do is write a book called Short Skateboard Stories and another called Short Surf Stories. On top of that I'm always thinking about the next art show of paintings. And there's more, but I'll save my breath for the doing. So here I go risking taking on too much, by writing my first Short Surf Story, which I have to do now so I don't forget the memories.

I have many surf memories, but some are more magical than others, while others brand into my brain scaring me for life.

Surf Story #1: Rockaway, NYC November 2005
It was a Tuesday morning at Rockaway Beach. My friend Colin and I wanted to catch one more surf session together before I left for Hawaii. Days of messy surf and gusty winds kept most inside, but we went anyway for a Dawn Patrol.

Woke at 5am in a warehouse space on Spencer St Brooklyn
Called Colin at 5:15
Hopped on a subway at 5:30.
Met Colin at 6
Drove to Rockaway and arrive at 6:45am.
Waves are totally blown out.
You'd be lucky if you could make it into the water without having your board blow away.

When most would turn around and go straight home to catch a few more z's before work, Colin says, "Let's go back to the bungalow, watch a movie, and come back and hope the winds shift and die down. I got Office Space or Forrest Gump."

All I could think was, Rad! What an awesome friend! It feels so good not to rush.

We get to the bungalow, and plug in the space heater. I find a surf video called Glass Love and ask if we could watch it instead.  Colin say's, "Sure". I hadn't seen it yet and was stoked, but remained silent because it  was early and cold. The outside patio furniture was blowing around, knocking into each other making noise. The movie, if you haven't seen it, has a peaceful vibe and focuses on respecting life and surfing's long tradition and spiritual aspects. It put us both in a magical state.

As the movie is coming to an end, I hear birds chirping. So I say to Colin, "Did you hear that? I think that means the wind died down. Birds don't chirp when they're about to blow out of their nest."

Colin replies, "I think you might be right. Let's go check it out."

He takes the bike and I ride the flex deck skateboard. We get to the beach and within the mess of waves, there were 3-4 foot sets coming through- perfect waves under cover dressed up as un-surfable nonsense.

Colin and I saw right through it. With x-ray vision we looked at each other, smiled and said, "Let's hit that!"

We cruise back to the bungalow, suit up, wax the boards, and walk to the beach. There is still not a  surfer in the water or on the sand which is unusual for Rockaway. We paddle straight out through what looked like choppy waves. The ocean was in on our good time disguising the surf conditions as "Junk" and sending all the picky surfers home. We had the beach all to ourselves, from the first wave to the last- catching close to over twenty waves each in two hours. A few waves we rode halfway to the sand, while the rest we rode all the way in from the top of the line up to the sand.

The waves were diverse and had all around personality- not your perfect pealers. You had to connect the dots, but all the dots were there to connect.

I never forget Colin's last wave from the top of the line up all the way in as he dismounted with a small leap onto the sand. I was so stoked I did the same. I still remember that session twelve years and over 1,000 surf sessions later.

More stories to come.
• The first time I surfed M$%LEE POINT.
• The Boneyard at M$%LEEZ
• My first shack at Rockaway
• My best deepest shack at Bowls
• Losing my board at Left Overs and almost floating out to sea.
• When the hold Island was a windy rain storm, and it was a Sunny perfect day at Makaha with Luke.
• The First Time I Surfed The Banzai Pipeline
• The Right to Left at Suicides
• Magazine Material at Diamond Head
• The day I forgot my board shorts at Publics
• The day there was a big tear in my board shorts right at my crotch at Queens
• The time I surfed with Gerry Lopez.
• JUST WAIT! at Ricebowls.
• Surfing Doubles on a Big Black Wave with Ethan
• The East Side Ghost Dude who did the board shuffle on a long board on the gnarliest wave.
• The Day I saw the Crouching Lion.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Atlantic Romantic

I had so much fun at my old home break catching waves with my son Hayden.
Hayden suited up fast and beat me to the ocean. 
I kept an eye on him while I suited up, and noticed him paddling out farther than I expected where the waves were waist high. I started to get worried, but I wanted to see how he handled. I knew the current was taking him out. A wave bigger than he's ever caught had his name on it, so he says. He caught it and rode it all the way to the sand. I was surprised how well he handled. I ran to him and gave him a high five and a hug. I was so prouder than ever. We paddled out for more.

Signing off
The Atlantic Romantic
-Manny Aloha 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Morning Thoughts

It's 6:50 am and my mind is on, body tired.
I'm at my mothers where I grew up, painting exterior of the house.

I remember there used to be a small forest just past my backyard where there are now homes.
Actually where the homes are used to be a 3-4 acre field where horses used to be roam. There was a stable at one end. Beyond the "Horse Farm" (what I used to call it) there was the small forest, maybe 30-40 acres in total, where my brother and neighborhood friends used to explore.

We didn't follow any hiking paths, we walked straight through it to get to the other side, or followed small streams walking in the middle of them with our waterproofed footwear (2 plastic bags on each foot over your socks then your boot). We played in the swamp literally. We Mud Bogged one day and road are bikes in the swamp until were practically swimming wrestling in mud. When it was dry We built jumps, where the older kids tore paths with there dirt motor cycles. We raced sticks in a stream.
We did whatever we wanted in our little suburban sanctuary where Native Americans once roamed.

We skateboarded in the street, made forts in small wooded areas, played hide and go seek (which we called "Man Hunt") at night within a boundary of about 10 homes- about 10 acres. I learned to be un-noticeable in a shadow or in a bush 2 ft away from you.

What is the point of all this rant, I'm having memories of play, and I'm also just doing my morning exercise of thinking and writng to develop my thoughts, to practice my freedom of speech.

There is so little time to even complete a thought or chase curiosity when there is rent and bills to be paid and money to be made to pay for it all.
Thinking and writing are an essential exercise to developing thoughts, to getting free.

So here I am taking it one step at a time.
We're used to reading awesome moments.
Like Manny Aloha's Awesome Life in Hawaii.

I'm busy at the moment getting to where I want to be,
but somehow embracing the misery, and finding the beauty in it.
Singing off.

Surf, Skate, Create.
-Manny Aloha


Lets just begin the conversation.
First off, lets define Sport and define Art.
Below is a what I found with a quick Google search.

Let me repeat what I find relevant:
Sport- an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.
Art- 1. The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in visual form such as painting, sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.
2. The various branches of creative activity such as painting, music, literature, and dance.

Using the two definitions above, I would have to say that surfing and skateboarding are both Sports and Art. When we look at the completion aspect of skateboarding: when skateboarders compete against each other for entertainment, Yes skateboarding is a sport.

When we look at the skateboarding outside of the competition- when one skateboards for the sake of skateboarding, then it becomes art. Skateboarding is also a form of transportation,  a form of exercise.

Fortunately or unfortunately, everyone loves to be entertained, and sports can often be far more entertaining than art. Why? Because its exiting to watch a game where theres a winner and a loser. There's drama and people love drama.

People love to watch people win or lose. There's only two variables to experience. Theres a simplicity   here and simplicity is comforting.

With Art on the other hand, there are often way too many variables. When there is no competition and someone creates art for no reason other than to make whatever it is they desire; when there is no winner or loser, or points to quantify. Art becomes difficult to quantify. How can you put value in something unquantifiable?

What is more valuable? Sports or Art? Well Sports are a form of entertainment while Art can more of a spiritual act of expression. I would gamble that more people would choose Sports over Art because sports are easier to judge, easier to quantify.

I've entered contests before, but I'll tell you there's way more to surfing and skating than the sport.
The Art of Surfing and Skateboarding is multidimensional, which is why I beyond love the activities.

I 'll save the multidimensional qualities for another series of posts.

I hope these words make some sense.
Please reply with thoughts to create a conversation. Since my life is bombarded with work and responsibilities and little time for my mind to wonder and develop, conversations could be the spark to set us free.

Manny Aloha

photo by Ethan Lau 
at a sacred skate sanctuary on an island in the pacific

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Diary of a Surfer, Skater, Artist.

Aloha Folks,
Its been 2 years and 3 months since my last post on December 15, 2015.
So much has happened since then.
Where to begin?
First off, This blog is a form of expression,
and is needed for me to write out and see what it is that I have been doing,
with myself, with my, wife, and now two kids, and with the world.
Through writing I can see my mind and give my thoughts form.

Why do I feel the need to share it with the world?
Well Why does a Star Shine?
It just does.

When I was 17 years old I filled a few sketchbooks of drawing and thoughts,
I stumbled upon the idea of being a prophet.
Below is the definition.
Laugh  all you want. Who the heck am I to try and claim such a task?
For whatever reason, this is what I felt like.

Am I the smartest person? For sure not.
But I don't care. I will write and throw my thoughts there because that is my freedom.
My freedom of speech, that I care to live and cherish. I care to have my own thoughts, and writing brings thoughts to life.

So I will go to my next post which creates the conversation of   
Surfing and Skateboarding- Are they sports or Art forms?

Signing off.
-Manny Aloha

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Memory of Magic

Its a good to survive and it's even better to experience the magic and beauty of life. Last night I stepped out of my daily routine to visit the home of my friend and role model, Ethan Lau.
During our conversations, he said these words,
"Life can end at any moment, and all that is left is the memories of magic"
His home is a living museum. A home of a Contemporary Cosmic Individual Connected.
Below is a photo essay of his home.
A studio on hill exposed to wind and stars

Water Containers
Notes and Inspirational Forms
Ethan Lau
A new lense
  Plants including sweet potato and papaya

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Surfed Out, Art time

Aloha friends and family,
Last month was practically non-stop waves on the south shore of Oahu.
I surfed so much I got my first ear infection that I am still recovering from.
October is apparently the month with the highest count of shark attacks.
So maybe staying out of the water to heal my ear is a blessing.

On Oahu alone there was 2 shark attacks in October, one at "Left Overs", the other at Lani Kai.
Left Overs is one of my favorite spots. I've caught waves there 5 times the length of my old home break of Rockaway Queens, going probably 3 times as fast on waves twice the average size.

I'm not sure if I'll surf Left Overs this winter. If you're already surfing it,  you're one brave human.

What else... My last day of surf was two Saturdays ago at my home break. It was glassy with head high perfect peeling conditions. Maneuvers seemed effortless- floaters, lip cracks, drop ins with ease.
I surfed it with my friend Chrisitian. One of his sons is in kindergarten and goes to the same school as my son.

Its funny how some days you can be "on it" surfing like a champion, while other times surf like a donkey. It's rare, but three weeks ago I surfed like true donkey. I went over the falls twice sitting on my board falling face first, fumbled on drop ins, dropped in between a girl on a longboard in front of me and a dude behind me, and dropped in on a dad of a kid who is in the same kindergarten class as my kid. I got one good wave of redemption, but eventually I realized I was the super kook that day and paddled myself in before I caused any damage to a beautiful session.

Thats all to report for now.
Working on a mural for the kindergarten walls where my son goes to school.
I'll keep you posted.
Singing off.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Some Secrets to Skateboarding

One of the great secrets to skateboarding is to have a few up your sleeve. To surprise your fellow skateboarder, to surprise yourself with your secret line or trick, is one of the great joys of every skate session (or art show for that matter) - to do things unseen, to do things with utter grace or trick of the eye.

For example: Can someone tell me what the hell Mike Kepper (riding for Shut Skates in 1989) is doing here? Ollie or Wallride to Layback? Only he and a few may know. But I'll tell you what. Its a mystery to me- A graceful cement assault perfectly captured. Form that couldn't be more dope. Mike Kepper, if you're out there reading this, I must tell you brother, you are one of my favorites. Your skating is burnt into my memory more than most.
Mean Kill Style.

Skateboarding or art is like Magic. What would a Magician be if he/she told you how they did their tricks before they did them.  A magician would not be, without the show.

One of my personal skateboard secrets lies in the acronym PYOS.

The photo used in this Fall's Issue of Stay Wild Magazine. 
Photo by Jianca Lazarus