Sunday, 16 November 2008

The Olo is now in Hawaii

Some of you may remember that during April and May this year some surfers in Dunedin took part in a special Hikoi that was travelling the length of New Zealand. A 13ft hollow core wooden surfboard crafted by Roy Stewart.

Before the board left for its journey around New Zealand, it was earmarked for the Pipeline challenge In Hawaii. This came about due to claims made by Roy on an overseas surfing message board, Roy said "1) My claim is that I have a longboard design which would do exceptionally well at pipeline. 2) Bill Barnfield's claim on Swaylock's that it will be impossible for any of my boards to ride pipeline, and that I'm an irresponsible fraudster for suggesting that they can.." Donations were taken from all over the world for its freight to Hawaii so the board could "live up to his claims".

The fundraising fell short last year, so the concept was seeded for the board to travel NZ amongst members of the message board "to test for themselves" the claims Roy made about his design, and the boards performance. .. the Olo Hikoi was born. I documented this on another blog at
** update - I am now blogging the Hawaii journey!

While in Dunedin the board was ridden by many locals including Jimi, Jono, Hayley, Homer, Jay, Caity, Beano and even me.

(above, Jay) There was a bit of hype around the world amoungst the naysayers about Shayne Baxter riding the board, with talk of him taking it out at Papatowai. This was to be the NZ version of testing it in 'as close to' Pipeline-like conditions by a more than competent big wave surfer. Shayne was enthuseastic at first, and did ride the board at St Clair straight after the South Islands comp finished. He rode it skillfully and pushed it hard, as well as getting 5 over the nose ( which Roy said it wasn't designed to do),

but unfortunately, he did not show any further interest in surfing it at Papas after his experience at Clair. The board continued its journey back up the South Island, and back to Roys dwelling near Hastings.

I think that more than a few people just got sick of Roy's adamance over the boards performance.. as the debate had been going on for many years. Just recently his bluff was called, and the full cost of airfreight was offered by one individual for its trip to Hawaii. The 13footer left from Auckland airport and arrived in Hawaii on the 12th of November.. a whole year to the day since the NZ Hikoi was birthed.
After a hiccup at customs, the board was released into the custody of Randy Rarick.
A few surfers have taken the board out at South Shore in soft waist to head high surf, But so far no official photos or reports. Just that they admired the craftsmanship.
It was tentaviely arranged for the board to be ridden during a 20 minute gap in heats during the pipe final, and to be on display at all three triple crown events. It was sighted on display the first day, but hasnt been seen since. I contacted Garett McNamara and asked if he was up for a challenge, he replied he was interested to take a look, and would contact Randy. Rumours now are that he is "in the batters box" to ride the Olo at Pipe. Time and fate will end the story soon.. a number of scenarios may be fulfilled..
  • The board has actually disappeared.. perhaps due to realised threats by chainsaw yeilding locals.. and becomes a nest of tables in some shack somewhere.
  • It does get ridden at Pumping Pipe, and gets splintered on its first wave.
  • It is sucessful at Pipe, but kills some poor guy in its path while he paddles out.
Someone said "If someone does ride it in big Pipe though, does it really mean anything? People get barreled there on McDonald's trays."
Some say its too much to ask to have someone risk their life to test it at pipe just to prove a claim. Roy says hes not asking anyone to, but the board is in Hawaii to be ridden as it was available to be ridden throughout NZ.
(Pic below - Roy 'corrected' the original Greg Noll picture himself)

I am eager to see how the Journey continues to unfold.. and how the personality of Roy Stewart handles the outcome. If you're interested to waste about an hour of your life, that you will never get back again, click through to the (so far) 18 page thread on the Surfer mag message board click here * warning, some R18 content* . This is just the current thread of the multitudes of threads on many message boards around the world about this "Olo Pipeline challenge".



phoam surf blog Copyright © 2008 Black Brown Art Template by Ipiet's Blogger Template