Mike Waltze: “You’re in my spot.”
Me: “What?” I looked around the bluff at Ho’okipa, where you could once park anywhere. There were open spots everywhere. I wouldn’t even call them spots.
“My parking spot.”
Not exactly how I wrote it in my book, but I’m too lazy to look up the excerpt. I hadn’t spoken to Mike since the making of Wind Legends some 12 years ago. He called asking for some footage for his movie, “An Excellent Life.” I said sure, and by the way, is it okay if I portray you as a bad ass, because, you know, you were.
Mike and I had actually played demolition derby with our Maui Cruisers, fully ramming each other head on in the parking lot. Then we’d go out and make some killer photos together. It was a weird chemistry.
So when I described a scene I had written about him in the first draft, where Pete Cabrinha and I were standing on the bluff and he pulled up…
“You’re in my spot,” Mike blurted out.
“That’s it! That’s great!” I said. “Can I use it?”
“Sure. Can I use your footage?”
“Sure. Can I put you on the cover of the book?”
When I talked to Jesus Cort Superstar (see blog post below), who I’d also not spoken to in ages… Cort began the conversation with those very words… “You’re in my spot.” He thought that line was great, but I immediately attributed it to the genius of Waltze.
Cort and Mike are best friends. They go everywhere together. They even went skiing to Georgia or Poland or both – probably the only open resorts. Hmmm, I wonder if they’ll ever make it back? Anyway, my point is, they are good friends, and I reminded Mike that we were not. He wanted my film for free. It was a safe time to point that out.
Cort coined Waltze with one of his Yogi Larned sayings about the size of fight in the dog. I was certainly the bigger size of the dog in that fight, but it was never really a fight, and I was more laying on your back for a belly scratch Golden Retriever than lock jaw Pit. I always had great respect for Mike. He was, after all, the King of Ho’okipa. Yet, even though we were next door neighbors and had mutual friends like Gary Eversole, Fred Haywood and Scotty O’Connor, we still kept our distance.
The first time Mike and I rubbed raw elbows was through journalism. I’d written an article in Sailboarder called “The Diamond Head Dilemma.” There was even more friction going on down there between the windsurfers and surfers than Mike and I. Richard Whyte had just gotten in a fight. Surfers were yelling at us as we zoomed by. I came up with a bunch of novel ways to defend oneself. Razor blades on the end of your boom, passive aggressive stuff like that. I ended the list with, “Move to Maui. I did.”
When I opened up the next issue of Sailboarder, there was a shocking letter to the editor from Mike. It basically stated that I was running from something. Then he blamed everyone coming to Maui on me. I reminded Mike about it, and the fact that the first photos published of Maui were of Matt and Ye. He said he couldn’t remember writing the letter and with all the Maui Wowee in the air, why not believe him? Regardless, I would actually like to have taken some of the blame from my photographs, but not the article. And if I was running from something, at least for once I ran in the right direction.
If I had a beach bungalow on Maui, Mike and I would be good friends today. We’d be kicking back, clinking glass and talking story about the glory days. I’m certain of that.