Lakey’s Lines: Shark visits ISA lineup

Conner Coffin's second-round heat didn't go as smoothly as he would have liked, sending him to the repercharge rounds. At least he didn't see a shark in the lineup like USA teammate Evan Thompson. (ISA PHOTO)


Yesterday the heats started with the guys 18-and-under and guys 16-and-under. All the Americans won their heats. Conner and Parker Coffin did great!!! Today we entered the second day of heats and the girls were supposed to surf as well. We woke up to stormy skies, lots of wind and big surf. They wont put the girls out in it if it is too big or dangerous?!

That’s always debatable because everyone has a different opinion.

Friday was a stormy day in Piha, New Zealand, the location for the 2010 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship. (ISA Photo)

For example, the guys were surfing their heats today. My teammate Evan Thompson was the last USA surfer to surf his heat. He was out in the water and had caught 2 waves. He was in 3rd I believe, but all he needed was a 4-point-something  to advance to 1st. We’re thinking, no problem….but all of a sudden Evan starts paddling really fast towards us at the shore. We thought he broke his board, so I ran down to water’s edge with a new board for him.

He was coming in though, because he saw a shark!

He actually thought it had attacked one of the contestants in his heat, because he saw the guy’s board, but the guy was missing. It’s just that the waves were so big, you couldn’t see anything clearly. Well his other teammate, Evan Geiselman, said ‘get the @%#$# back out there.’ So Evan Thompson did!!


He ended up paddling all the way back and and believe me it’s far!!! He won the heat. The story was he saw a 10 ft shark feeding on fish. All four surfers in the heat saw it to confirm what he said. In a competition, if you see a shark you are allowed to paddle in and try and stop the heat officially. Who knows though?!  As they let the next heat go out after all that.

Anyway, everyone was OK, no one got eaten!We went to the lifeguard stand afterward and they said there are lots of sharks here in Piha, but there is so much marine life they don’t need to eat us! That’s comforting, considering I’ll probably be paddling out tomorrow or the next day.

Conner Coffin surfed today for the guys 18 and under division. He surfed really well, but unfortunately there was a confusing matter. You cannot hear the announcer when you’re surfing because it is so far out in the ocean. He thought the heat had started according to his watch and calculations, so he rode a beginning beautiful wave. Well once you ride a wave it puts you so far inside, the paddle out takes about 10 minutes. He had started too soon and therefore was at a disadvantage because he was no longer out in the lineup. He caught 2 or 3 nice waves with some beautiful carves, Conner style, but again misjudged the timing and came in early only to find the heat wasn’t over and he had to paddle back out. He did not advance because he was not in the top 2, so now he goes to the backdraw or what they call reparcharge heat, the losers bracket.

Conner can still win the whole contest, he just has to make it into the top 2 in every heat he surfs and has to surf twice as many heats.  He did this 2 years ago in France and made it all the way to the semifinals. Sometimes these things can work to your advantage if you let them.

The two USA surfers that advanced were Evan Geiselman and Evan Thompson. Andrew Doheny also surfed well, but got third by a pinch. He is in the repercharge as well.

There are so many factors in this sport! The judging, the waves, the weather, the competitors, the sharks, the luck of the draw!!! It”s all good at the end of the day, another amazing life experience.

If we can grow and learn each day, nothing is a loss.

It feels like El Nino has found us all wherever we may be right now. We’ve heard all about California and the weird stuff going on as well. Stay tuned in, stay safe, stay happy and remember one thing…we’re not in control!