Dancing with the Dragon
Most of the songs began life while I was surfing out in Hanalei Bay, on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. In Hanalei, you develop a relationship with the ocean. If you're a surfer who lives here, and you spend time in the ocean every day, you become one with it. You meet Spinner Dolphins, Green Sea Turtles, Hawaiian Monk Seals. You see the ocean in all it's moods. It can be peaceful or wild. Make you sigh with contentment, or shrink in fear. Make you laugh or cry. Some days, paddling out is just relaxing fun. Other days, it means facing your worst fears and overcoming them. Surfers named the spot where an underwater cave channels the swells into breaking waves: The Dragon. When the swells are small, you can play with The Dragon, even dance with her. But when the swells get bigger, the dance gets serious. Hanalei might be The Land Called Honalee, in the song "Puff The Magic Dragon". But this dragon isn't Puff. She has teeth - and she bites! She can take you down for an underwater spin in the jagged reef - or snatch your board, and leave you out there, alone. I was paddling out one day when the thought occurred to me: We humans call the oceans by names that we gave them: Atlantic, Pacific, Baltic, Indian - or Gulf of Mexico. But the dolphins, humpbacks, and all the other creatures who live in those oceans don't care what we call them. To them, there's only one Ocean. All the "oceans" of the world are joined. They go where they want, regardless. Look at a map, or better yet, a globe, and it's obvious. That also means that what we humans do to any part of it affects it all - whether that's creating a sea of plastic in tne middle of the "Pacific" or a disastrous oil well blowout in the "Gulf of Mexico". However, this CD isn't about the damage we have already done to the Ocean. Before you really feel you have to save something, you have to learn to love it. The ten songs on this CD speak about how I learned to love the ocean. I hope you'll learn to love it, too. "Another Day In Hanalei: Morning" is about waking up on Kauai, hearing the roosters and other birds, watching the sun rise, and paddling down the river and out to the Bay. "One Ocean" is about the realization that all the oceans are joined. "Dancing On Liquid Glass"is about days when there's no wind, and the swells are smooth and glossy. When you can lock the rail of your board into the wave face and just keep going, playing with the wave's energy. "Take The Whole Wave" is about Life as well as surfing. It came from something my friend and teacher, Hawaiian big-wave surfer Titus Kinimaka, said to me one day when we were out together: "I want you to take all of the wave. See how far you can take it". And that's a lesson for life, too. If you make up your mind to do anything, then go all the way. "Fear" is about those days when the swell is big. Looking out from the shore, you can see it's going to be a challenge just paddling out. And once you're out there, you know the waves will have unbelievable power - the power to squash you like a bug. The Dragon is a scary place to be on those days. The reef is shaped like the top of a stylized heart, and channels the swell into two waves which meet in an underwater cave. When the waves meet, they jack up almost instantly into a breaking face. Taking off means launching yourself over a 12-foot drop, making a fast turn and staying ahead of the breaking white water. You have to sit inside to be in the right place. Trouble is, if a bigger set of waves comes through while you're there, the wave will will jack up ever higher and break both right and left of you into two crests that meet rapidly in the center. When that happens, there's no escape. You know you're going to eat it, probably from each wave in the set in turn. You can't fight it; you have to focus on surviving The "Baptism Of The Dragon". For me, that first baptism was a three-wave set. I could see it coming. The first wave broke over my head and took me down. My leash was trying to pull my knee joint apart as the wave took control of my board - then I felt the Velcro pull apart, and my board was gone. I was tumbled like clothes in a washer. Eventually, I could see by the light which way was up, and popped my head above the surface just in time to snatch a quick breath, before the next wave took me down again. That wave took me for another spin. It also took my paddle. Once again, up, snatch a breath, then Wave 3 took me for a third spin. By the time they let me go, those three waves had tumbled me from one side of the whole surfbreak to the other - 200-300 yards, almost all of it underwater. When you're surfing in conditions like that, you're going to get hurt once in a while. Black & Blues was written during an enforced four weeks out of the water. I was caught inside by a big wave which threw my board at me. It hit me in the ribs - probably cracked one - and that was it for a month; icepacks and Advil... Catch The Wave is about "going for it", in Life as in Surfing. Sheltering Place is a love song, for both Hanalei and my wife, Tanya. Another Day In Hanalei: Evening is about paddling back home, tired but happy, after a good session. Put on a set of good headphones, close your eyes and spend Another Day In Hanalei with me. It's almost as good as a vacation!