Today's winner of the Reef Hawaiian Pro, Haleiwa, talks life-dreams and the day his dad nearly throttled him to death!
Who doesn’t love a tragedy with a happy ending? Two men from the famous class of ’88 gone for all money, both left on the sidewalk of broken dreams, suddenly amplified by the spectre of ignominy.
Julian Wilson, the world-title apparent gasping for breath on the World Tour; Dusty Payne swishing around in the most unimpressive 97th spot on the Qualifying Series, 50 places below Argentina’s Santiago Muniz, even more behind Australia’s Stu Kennedy.
But, here, today, in a final that also included Jeremy Flores and Adam Melling, Julian hit two nines, Dusty, two nines and a bit. Such defiant displays of power! “Some of the most incredible surfing I’ve seen,” said Taj Burrow. “Dusty Payne you are weapon!”
Dusty is now 24th on the QS though is unlikely to qualify; Julian is fifth and will.
Now let’s prise open the reluctant tonsils of Mr Dusty Payne, from Maui.
BeachGrit: What’s the biggest mental hurdle you’ve had to overcome?
Dusty: Competing. You don’t feel good when you lose. I get really bummed out and disappointed and down on myself. I get about a thousand voices in my head talking to me. Stuff like, “I’m such such a kook.” I get real negative. So I’m working on turning those negatives around and being positive on the whole thing. But it’s not easy. It’s harder than going and training physically. You have to constantly work on it. Not every event is going to be perfect for you.
Have you ever truly believed you were about to die?
Yeah, I’ve had a few of those. When I was younger, maybe 17, when I was just getting into towing with my Dad, we were out one day and he let me go into a wave. And when he came back to pick me up the rope went around me and then a wave came. My Dad had to leave and he went around the other side and the rope did a full circle around me. Underwater, I felt the rope tighten against my neck. My Dad was taking off on the ski and the rope tightened all the way, choking me. I was thinking, “Oh my goodness, this is the end” as it pulled harder and harder. All of a sudden, the handle hit me in the head right before I blacked out. I really thought that was it. My neck was bleeding, I had no air, I thought I was going to die. Afterwards people looked at me funny for a bit. They thought the rope burn on my neck was a suicide attempt.
What do you dream about?
Beating Kelly Slater. That’s my dream. I thought I’d had him so many times, I’ve come so close, but then he just bumps me. I thought I had him one time at the US Open and he did a huge backside air and got a 9.8. That would’ve been a good one to win. Damn it Kelly! I just want one!
What about real-life, childhood dreams?
I always wanted to be in the air force here in the US, an air force pilot and fly those fighter jets. My dad was a pilot for Aloha airlines, my Uncle was in the navy and I totally looked up my Dad and my Uncle. Later, I got terrified of flying. I still hate it.
Ultimate sense of happiness?
Sitting on the couch on Sunday watching football.
When you lie in bed, late at night into dark, what do you think about?
That I wish I was playing in the NFL. That’s my ultimate dream. I always think about it.
What’s your biggest fear?
Flying is my biggest fear, for sure. I remember this one flight on the way to California when I was younger and we hit turbulence and I was, like, what…is…going…on? Ever since then I’ve been scared of flying. Turbulence is the worst thing in the world. But I’ve come to peace with it. If a plane goes down it’s God’s way of saying it’s my time. But it’d be a bummer to die in a plane crash. I’ve always thought of bringing a parachute on an airplane. Like, it starts going down and I open the door and say, “Peace! I’m out!”
Do you think about fate?
I know you can control your own fate but there are things that are just out of your hands. There are certain things you can’t control.
What do you like about your body?
My teeth are straight.
What do you dislike about your body?
I wish my knee was better.
Have you ever felt love?
Yeah, my parents love me. I’ve never had a girlfriend or nothing. I dunno why. I haven’t found the right one.
What’s the worst insult you’ve ever received?
Being told my hair is reddish-blond from you.
What one person do you hate most in the world?
Osama Bin Laden. Hitler.
Have you ever felt truly hated by someone?
I’m sure there is. But I don’t know ’em. To them I say, I’m sorry! Whatever it is I’ve done!