Keale Chung Photo: Keoki

Cover Story / Keale Chung

Throughout the morning hours on the biggest day of the swell, hopes were high and so was the crowd on catching the wave of the day. Their have been a handful of great rides but nothing out of the ordinary you would expect to be mind boggling. Yes, it was big and making it out of a barrel was one of the biggest feats hands down.

Keale Chung Photo: Tyler Newton

As the day went on the swell got about three feet bigger (12-15ft on the sets) than then the morning and somewhat wildly. Lots of water moving in and out, cleanup sets every 30 minutes, from shore looked like crumbly beast of a wave, and no one wanted to do anything with it. From the boat where I was shooting, it was very doable but still looked like a monster that was meant to eat surfers. For Keale Chung, it was opportunity to capitalize on the minimal crowds and steady flow of big waves. He paddled out with Kauai native Jesse Johnson to trade off on the sets. Being from Kauai, they have the experience surfing this type of wave. It was the best performance I seen from the whole swell with a bunch of waves caught and ridden not only to survive but to get a barrel of a lifetime. On this wave, Keale took a unusual approach but you could see he had it like he’s done it a thousand times before. The wave was so hollow that stalling with your hands would lead to getting sucked over the falls in the lip so the line he took was a small bottom turn to hooking his nose to the beach under the roof of the barrel. He pulled it off with style and not to mention the huge cavern he got only to make it out at the end. The two guys taking notes in the channel watching Keale’s wave was Jesse and and a traveling Peruvian surfer who watched the two get spit out during the lunch hours only to try to get a few himself. It was one of the heaviest moments throughout the swell. Keale later paid some dues by getting a good ole Indonesian tattoo on his face while trying to navigate the dry reef to get to shore. Was it worth it Keale? Im pretty darn sure it was.


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