Vans – Hawaiian Odyssey

Photos by Andrew Peters

Ever turned down a paid vacation to Hawaii? For a hot second, I nearly did.

It was extremely last minute. And it looked like the dates were going to overlap with a trip I’d booked to visit my family in Sydney, Australia.

I was out skating with Elijah Berle a couple days before everyone was set to go to Hawaii, and he was talking about how sick it was going to be. I was like. ‘Oh. I actually got asked if I could go to that but I said nah ’cause the dates were too hectic.’ He quickly gave me a reality check. ‘Are you serious dude, all your best mates on vacation? It’s going to be fucking sick.’ I realised my mistake and quickly hit back the good people at Monster Children and Vans to see if they could work around my dates. Luckily, they still hadn’t found a replacement and, provided I could jump on a red-eye flight after the Duct Tape event, I’d make it back to Los Angeles in time to repack, develop some film, and get back on a plane the motherland, Australia that day. The brief for my trip was very loose: Go to Hawaii and see what happens. ‘Do you need me to cover the events? MC: ‘Um, kinda, but just do whatever you want.’

This is the Vans team’s time to relax. They aren’t obliged to do any extra interviews or events; it’s like a nice pat on the back from Vans for having an awesome year. I’m good mates with most of the skate team from my time skating in LA, and Chima is my oldest friend. We met when we were eight years old. However, I don’t know if any of this works in my favour. I can get a little more access to them, but it’s also a lot easier for them to tell me to get fucked if they don’t particularly feel like doing something. Still, I managed to find a couple of moments where I could point a camera at them and hopefully make sending me to Hawaii worth everyone’s while.

I arrived in Hawaii on the day of the skate event, and by the time I got to the skatepark, Rowan and Elijah had already hung up their boots for the day. I managed to get them back there the next day to add to my batch of photos. The demo was still heating up, with Pedro Delfino charging around the park at full speed, barely avoiding collisions with a bunch of under-twelves dropping in on him. He was followed by locals Malakai Montes and Evan Mock, who helped ramp up the crowd.

Cardiel was on the decks, TNT was screeching around, pizza was in abundance, and, to top it all off, Hosoi came in to close out the demo in the pool. Basically, it was a damn good skate event. The locals were stoked and all smiles.

You’re pretty much stuck at the resort once you get there. It’s a little out of town, so once you’ve had a couple of beers around the pool in the afternoon, there’s no way to get out. I’m new to the annual Hawaii mission, but supposedly they’ve been hitting ‘the stoop’ every year. It’s just a log seat next to the water; basically, a place to bring a case of beer and avoid the resort’s ‘Surfer’ bar.

It really was groundhog day at ‘the stoop’, with each night blending into the next. There was one evening in particular when we had the biggest crew down there. Elijah was jumping into shrubs that looked like they would impale you and the hotel manager kicked us out of ‘the stoop’ and told us to finish our debauchery down at the beach. Jamie Hart is one of the big dawgs on the skate side of things at Vans, and everyone loves to see the bigwigs fire it up. Elijah was on the beach wrestling Vans team manager (and pro skater), Matt Bennet. Elijah is a big fuckin dude (I’d hate to get thrown around by him), but Matt somehow came away with Elijah’s beer at the end, so you can be the judge of who won that one. Next up for the wrestling match was Jamie Hart. To be honest, after Elijah’s first performance, I thought Jamie was making a terrible drunken decision and Elijah was about to break the boss’s back. But I obviously know nothing, ’cause Jamie’s old man strength came through with a vengeance and Elijah was upside down and pinned pretty quick. I was impressed and relieved.

I don’t know what else to say. We got real drunk every night and a lot of laughs were had. Music was provided by DJ extraordinaires, Chima Ferguson and Rowan Zorilla.

The Duct Tape event celebrates the art of shaping surfboards. Vans got four of their pro surfers–Mikey February, Dane Reynolds, Wade Goodall, and Karina Rozunko–to shape two boards each and all the guests were able to try them out on some friendly Honolulu waves.

I decided it was a good idea to get a waterproof disposable and become a surf photographer for the day. Turns out I haven’t used my upper body in a couple of years and paddling out on Wade’s blow up Surf Matt felt like some kind of boot camp physical challenge. I took some blurry photos, finished the roll and slowly, very slowly, made my way back to shore to make my red-eye flight back to LA.

Thanks for having me Vans! Hoping these blurry photos will get me an invite next year.

Sign up for the Monster Children Newsletter