It’s Sunday afternoon here in Seattle, four days into the big EOS do-or-die fundraiser, and so far so good! Almost 20K raised. Another 10K to go, and that’s going to be a lot harder, ’cause the internet buzz is fading, as internet buzz is wont to do. But I’m optimistic. Thanks you guys, for pitching in, for subscribing, for donating, and for getting the word out!
“David Nuuhiwa Walks on Water” was last week’s History of Surfing chapter. Oh what a David fanboy I was as a kid. Of course, was there an American surfer of any age, station, or sex in the ’60s and early ’70s who wasn’t a David fanboy?
For those of you who missed last year’s post on Eve Babitz’ Five Summer Stories experience, here’s her take on Nuuhiwa, it is wonderful:
About halfway through the film we were dazzled by a face so abrupt in its savagery and its vestigial traces of paradise that I figured the audience uproar was a simple reaction to the jagged beauty of the face itself. Bygone island eyes. Disheveled black hair tangled around this face and down past his shoulders like a thorn frame. Underneath the face flashed the news that this was David Nuuhiwa (New-eee-vah), but everybody in the place already knew that except me, which was why they were screaming. “David,” as he is referred to in surfing magazines and movies, because everyone knows who “David” is, was filmed as he took first place in the US Championships on a “blown-out” (rotten) day when he got one of the few decent waves. His style is to ride as though his feet were nailed down. His posture while on land recalls the diffident spare way that Manolete must have looked, or how TS Lawrence must have listened. There are some people who harbor myths and David Nuuhiwa, at the age of 22, appears to be one. Seeing him drive the streets of Huntington Beach in his weathered white Jaguar sedan with two surfboards perched smugly on top evoked no jealousy from the audience, who instead applauded and laughed at this show of perfection and affluence, though most surfers don’t have much money, because David should be rich and happy. His shrug that accompanied his only comment about the contest (“ . . . an instant replay of two years ago”) was the confused gesture of one unused to having to say words or answer questions. At the end of the contest there was David, squinting appraisingly out to sea at the sun going down before turning back to dry land as night approached.
I really want to finish the fundraiser early so I can get back to making clips. Here’s the last one I did, one day before the drive started: a video take on SURFER’s 1965 article, “Phil Edwards Picks the Top Ten Noseriders.” Which, if you watch it, brings us right back to abject David Nuuhiwa worship. I mean, for heaven’s sakes, look at the man! If a panther and a dolphin had a baby, who in turn had a baby with the baby of Nureyev and a Michael Jordan, that baby would be David Nuuhiwa.
Thanks again everybody, and see you next week.
[Nuuhiwa pic by Jeff Divine]