Jamilias Blessed Day at the Bay
On Nov 26,2002 the biggest swell of the year hit Hawaiis Northshore. As I checked the Bay that morning I realized that as perfect as it somehow seemed to look, it was a whole level higher than I had ever surfed it or seen any other girl surf it(on a surfboard) in my whole 15 years here. The reality was that there were 25(50 ft face) foot sets with buoy readings as high as 24.3ft 20sec. Readings this high had the potential to produce close out sets up to 27 1/2 ft anytime within 6-12 hours.
It was about around noon that Lifeguard Sue Stewart called informing me that some chick had paddled out and she was paddling for some big ones. That chick is know as "the lone Santa Cruz surfer girl," Jamilia Star. When Jamilia came down that morning she did not even have a board to ride the Bay. After asking around to borrow one she was blessed with a 96 gun which was left behind by an old friend from Santa Cruz named Jay Morarity, who was one of the first people to encourage her to ride big waves and has since passed on. Spirited with the significance of the board, Jamilia approached the Bay with determination. At first, after watching some of the guys get annihilated out there, my goal was just to make it out to the line up she said, but Jamilia managed to stroke into a wave in the first set that came through and then caught 7 more waves that day. She rode her last wave all the way in through the shorebreak, and as she ran up the beach people were cheering, most of which she believed to be women.
Most men however, commenced Jamilia for her efforts that day as well. Even guys like Clark Abbey (Waimea local) said "she got some waves, she was charging that day" and pondered " I think she must be in really good shape because I saw her take a couple spills and she came up laughing" Jamilia reconciled that while she did have a couple wipeouts, most of these spills were merely the onshore chop blowing her off the back of the wave and that she had gotten more worked at V-Land a few days prior.
Ian, another Waimea surfer and friend of Jamilias laughed as he told me, she kept saying she was only catching the small ones that day, but what were the small ones he says, 20 ft?
While she does not consider herself a big wave rider(?), Jamilia has also surfed extreme Sunset, Pipe and recently fulfilled her life long dream to ride Mavericks. She prepares herself for big waves with prayer, doing yoga, running, swimming, skating ramps, martial arts, cliff jumping, breakdancing, holding her breath and even inhaling salt water.
I have had a few chances to surf with Jamilia since shes been coming to Hawaii for the last few years and I can say on days when most of us might be complaining that its small or junk, Jamilia surfs every session big or small, like its her first day learning to surf and she comments "because I am still learning to surf." I guess this explains why the main thing that frustrates her about surfing is people judging it. She says, Surfing is fun, we should stop judging whats bad or good and just enjoy the blessing.
You can read more about Jamilia and her Santa Cruz surf team by visiting bigwhitewater.com
.....................(If you look on the Surf Life for Women subscription cards, this is a picture of Jamilia surfing Waimea exactly 1 year ago on the exact same day.)