By Jeff Johnson
I used to dread the summers on the North Shore of O’ahu, Hawai’i. Famous for its winter surf, surfers from all over the world come to see what they are made of during a certain time of year. In the summertime, the waves go away and the crowds dissipate. My friends and I dreaded the four months of flatness. We eventually realized if we remained surf-centric we would have been primed for the loony bin. So we began embracing other ways to entertain ourselves.
We got into paddleboarding, which was perfect for staying fit for the next winter season. Then we got into outrigger canoe surfing and bought a four-man for the job. This eventually led to building a six-man sailing canoe to circumnavigate the island. Then a few of us bought one-man canoes for times when no one else was around. During the summer, our beach was packed with a fleet of ocean craft, ready for any condition, waves or no waves. Eventually, we all started looking forward to the summer months. No crowds, a flat, beautiful ocean, and all sorts of ways to enjoy it.
[Above: The author has finally joined Instagram. Follow his antics at @jeffjohnson_beyondandback. #funhogging]
Winter began to have its downtimes, too. The occasional stretch of onshore wind, short interval swell, or relentless crowds would put us on the couch. When the onshore winds set in we began bouldering – rehearsing small climbing problems on the rocks above Waimea Bay. We’d bring our fins for bodysurfing and shoes and chalk bag and spend the entire afternoon down at The Bay. Our bouldering got more serious so we built a climbing wall in our garage. If it was raining, that’s where we’d be. Then we discovered “real” climbing down the coast in Mokuleia. The daily routine would consist of a surf in the morning, climbing in Mokuleia ‘til the afternoon, and if the surf wasn’t good in the evening, we’d end up at Waimea bodysurfing and bouldering.
This addiction to constant movement rolled over into our travels as well. We started to bring climbing gear on our surf trips. In Australia, we spent six weeks dividing our time between the mountains and the coast. We’d be inland at places like Mount Arapiles and hear of a swell building on the coast. We’d drive all night to Torquay and surf our brains out. As the swell petered out we’d be back in the mountains, climbing.
Around the turn of the century (I love saying that) a friend of mine gave me an old video cassette tape to watch. It was a forgotten film called Mountain of Storms. It’s a beautifully chronicled road trip taken back in 1968 with Yvon Chouinard, Doug Tompkins, Dick Dorworth and Lito Tejada-Flores. They drove a van from Ventura, California all the way to the bottom of South America (Patagonia) to climb a mountain. On the way down they surfed waves that had never been ridden, skied down live volcanoes, and got into all kinds of mishaps and misadventures. At the end of the film, on the summit of Mount Fitz Roy, they held up an orange customized flag. It read: “Viva Los Fun Hogs.” Wow, I thought, fun hogging… I didn’t know there was a name for it.
Tag your photos and videos with #funhogging on Instagram, Tumblr and Facebook. Here are some #funhogging examples from our past and present.
Jeff Johnson is the co-author of 180 South: Conquerors of the Useless. He resides in Ventura, California where he works for Patagonia as a staff photographer, writer and product tester.