CBS Evening News: Surfing Legend Shows Off New Twist On Ancient Hawiian Tradition
MALIBU, Calif., Sept. 8, 2008
(CBS) Surf-legend Laird Hamilton made a name for himself by taming some of the world’s biggest waves – he created tow-in surfing to get to previously unreachable monsters, CBS News correspondent Sandra Hughes reports.
“If you know anything about me, I’m always looking for a new way to cut an apple,” Hamilton said.
…or catch a wave. His latest twist on the ancient Hawaiian tradition is called stand-up paddle surfing, and it may seem boring by comparison – but Hamilton says it was the best way to introduce his four-year-old daughter, Reece, to the ocean.
“Standing on a board and being above the water is a very secure position to be in,” he said.
It’s taking off everywhere. But not everyone sees the point.
When actor Pierce Brosnan tried to explain his hobby to John Stewart on “The Daily Show,” he said: “Paddle surfing is like surfing except you use a paddle.”
Steward asked: “Is this ultimately to train to be a gondolier?”
But Hamilton said: “Everybody can do it!”
That sounded like a challenge – even to Hughes, who says she’s a non-surfing Midwesterner.
With Hamilton’s instruction, she found standing up was easy. She said: “Oh my gosh! This is great – I’m doing it!”
But staying up was not quite so simple.
And due to concern about a loose paddle or board – some of the stand-up boards are about 13-feet long – some beaches are drawing a line in the sand and separating surfers from stand-up paddlers.
Traditional surfers say the paddlers are stealing their waves.
“These guys are up and riding before you can even turn around and catch the wave and it’s like ‘okay, here they go again!’ It pretty much ruins the session for everyone else” said Evan Slater, of Surfing magazine.
Hamilton says the sport is just going through some growing pains.
“It’s a new sport. So people are just beginning,” he said. “If you look at what snowboarding was to skiing, it was like, it was banned at every resort when it came out because everybody who was doing it, it was dangerous because everyone was just learning.”
But learning can be the best part, Hughes said. Hanging 10 or doing a 360 is just as easy with a paddle in hand – and sometimes more fun.