Letters for Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Dear Kauai Surfers…

Yesterday a friend and I had a lovely visit to Waiohai beach to lay on the sand and soak up the sun. A foil rider was out at “left-lefts” frantically foil riding every small swell and ripple by pumping the board like a maniac.

As an avid surfer, I wondered if I would also like to try this new sport one day… When the foil rider exited the surf, I was amazed out just how far the metal wing blade at the end of the post was from the board. 3 feet maybe?

Regardless of actual length, I wondered just how he would not hit areas of the reef while riding. Anyway, a few minutes after he left the water a terrified mature turtle crawled up on the beach in the middle of the newly arrived tourists with his shell busted apart by something sharp… the poor creature was terrified and seemed to have crawled up to seek help or maybe even die. I was about to call humane society or someone but then it went back into the water.

My first thought was… “looks like a prop from a boat hit her”…. but could it have been the sharp blade from a fast moving foil board? Nobody knows… but it does make one wonder how that fast moving underwater metal knife-like blade could NOT do damage to turtles.

Have we sportsmen who love to surf thought this one through?

Steve Farrell, Poipu

The poetry of voting

Today I go out to vote, to pull levers, switches, triggers, punch tabs

To write in names

People I feel can represent

Me, the birds, the water, the air, my song, my new grandbaby.

Persons I can trust

To place life giving first

The children, the mothers, the fathers, their dogs and cats.

Trees I vote for green leaves filtering sunshine

Vegetables out of deep loam I vote for

Built in centuries of buffalo dung roto-tilled by

Thundering hoofs memories of blood of freedom

Tea parties, flags on hills, men who cared

I vote history that gives beauty to the future

I vote families all shapes sizes colors genders ages

Wilderness my voice sings my vote the wind

Work I vote together my vote for peace I vote

Sustainability I each from our best each to our neediest

I vote love

With my heart head soul

For men’s grief revealed

For women’s pain and all our liberation

For real learning human being skills

I vote

Listening friends pleas

Listening ancestors fleeing

Ancestors yearning dreams

Parents be happy that is all

We want I vote we did this for you

Hard it was

Globally and locally

Not in fear

Gross national pork corn barrel dow jones

Index slipping rates of interesting product

For no oil on the downy wings of the web

Of life for life for breath for song for art

With a prayer for peace

Today I go out to vote.

Steve Backinoff, Kapaa

  1. Anna Nimatee October 28, 2020 12:25 am Reply

    Mahalo, Steve Backinoff of Kapa’a
    Yearning for do no harm…. lovely read
    “Of life for life for breath for song for art
    With a prayer for peace
    Today I go out to vote.”

  2. nobody October 28, 2020 7:26 am Reply

    Ever wonder what killed all those chickens along the highway? Or the little piggies? Could it of been a surfer driving around looking for some surf and sun. Maybe we haven’t thought through driving either?

  3. Susan Campbell October 28, 2020 7:47 am Reply

    What a beautiful poem, Steve!

  4. Makani B. Howard October 28, 2020 7:55 am Reply

    Yes, Steve, those foils are weapons.

    They are dangerous for people in the water, and now as we see, the honu. They should only be used when out further in the water past the lineup. I have witnessed too many close calls, and one day someone is going to be hurt badly. Let’s hope it is not a small child. We need to act now, before it’s too late!

    1. Jim October 28, 2020 8:30 pm Reply

      Yes. Foils are dangerous. Let’s pass legislation to require they have to follow strict guidelines such as a protective covering on the part that can potentially cause harm. Only allowed at certain tier level beaches, let’s also get the community involved to report foilers now following proper distancing from other water sports as well as marine life.

      1. another surfer October 29, 2020 8:44 pm Reply

        Foilers are dangerous if going through other surfers. From what i’ve seen this is very rare and the rule of the jungle is shutting them down and out of popular surf breaks. For the most part they tend to go to areas that no others use. I find them amazing to watch. What an amazing sport and athletes.

  5. Fellow Foiler October 28, 2020 3:31 pm Reply

    Aloha Steve,

    After reading your letter, it seems like pure speculation that a “foiler” hit a turtle.

    Did you see it happen? If not, did you do your due diligence and ask bystanders if they may have seen something? Did you ask the lifeguard? How about the person foiling? If you did feel that the turtle was hurt, did you notify a lifeguard? Call DLNR? Or did you walk away and decide to send a letter to the editor as if that can help save the turtle.

    Just so you are aware, a boat motor prop vs. a foil will be a dramatically different impact to a turtle’s shell. A foil’s wing is made of carbon fiber and not metal. If a foiler hit reef or a turtle, or any object, they would automatically fall and know they hit something. A foiler is actually riding above the water giving the foiler a better perspective and view of where they are going and what is coming up.

    Clearly you are under informed & uneducated regarding the logistics of foiling.

    You are also not giving turtles credit, they are very smart and intelligent animals. It would be extremely rare to hit a turtle. A turtle relies on its shell to save their lives when being attacked; with that being said, their shell is very hard and durable. And also, if the turtle was dying in the water, shouldn’t you let the lifeguards know so they can notify kids and other beach goers as there could be bigger prey coming to feed on the turtle? But I guess you needed to get home to write this article.

    The ocean is meant to be enjoyed by everyone. It is each person’s responsibility to do their due diligence on practicing proper ocean safety. Locals know the ocean can also be unpredictable and dangerous at anytime. As far as little kids, parents should know their child’s ability and if the child can or should not be in a surf line up as they can be a danger to others as well.

    The people who know the least seem to want to make changes and laws to something they do not know anything about. Please educate yourself and contact the correct people that could have assisted and helped the turtle if it truly needed it; before jumping to conclusions.

    Unko Jess

    1. another surfer October 29, 2020 6:48 pm Reply

      Yea, it seems like this white lie had good intentions, just not reality.

    2. MisterM November 1, 2020 12:49 pm Reply

      The notion an extremely tough/relatively sharp foil couldn’t hurt a turtle is absurd. Maybe it didn’t happen, and somehow a turtle with a single vertical gash climbing out of the same surf is pure coincidence, but it’s far from impossible. What I find more disturbing is the immediate condescending tone and attempt to deflect and attack the author. Almost seems right out of a certain failing orange politician’s playbook, eh?

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