Ashley Thornton: Shreddin' in Hawaii

Words by Ashley Thornton on her shared vacation to Hawaii with friends and family.

Each Spring Legendary Surfer, Yogi, and Snowsurfer (snowboarder) Gerry Lopez Holds the Big Wave Challenge a freestyle snowboard event at our home mountain, Mt.Bachelor in Oregon. It consists of big hips, quarterpipes, banked turns, spines and is always different each year. This year’s different feature was a big cat track gap into a small transition then straight into a large bowled out quarterpipe. It is judged the same way a big wave surf contest is judged. There are two panels of judges one for each zone. The two zones have multiple features in them and each one of the features is named after a famous surf break. The judges are looking for control, speed and power.But here is how Gerry puts it “The judging format actually begins from the moment you begin your run. Surfing, like snowboarding, is a freestyle art form, an expression of your creative and athletic skills as expressed across the canvas of a liquid or frozen wave. Everything you do will be scored, every turn you make going into the feature will count towards your score.” In the end, the winners of the Wahine (Women’s) and the Kane (Men’s) Divisions are stoked out harder than imaginable! This year my boyfriend, Forrest, and I both claimed the win. Both winners have the opportunity for two trips to Hawaii. One of the prizes is to stay in the world famous Volcom pipeline house on Oahu’s Northshore. The second trip is to go watch the Billabong Pipeline Masters in December! We also received a custom made surfboard from the legend Gerry himself, along with beautiful glass blown trophies and a ton of swag.

As the winners we had the entire Volcom beachfront house to fill with our choice of friends and family. Forrest brought 4 generations on his side. His Grandma, Mom, Daughter and a good friend. I brought my Mom and my good friends Janessa and Marissa along with me. Janessa and Marissa are also both fellow Big Wave Challenge competitors! While we were there, we saw and met many more family members that live on the islands. Little did we know how many we had haha. They all had such beautiful souls and were a great motivation in the ocean for all us Mountain Haole’s.

We all had a wonderful time swimming, snorkeling, beach combing, boogie boarding, skateboarding, belly and back flopping into the shore break, duck diving, doing handstands and front handsprings on the beach, some even attempted to surf, drinking coconuts that grow out front, eating amazing fish tacos and poke, visiting fruit stands and farmers markets, watching our beautiful family’s children perform Hawaiian dances and play ukulele for us out on our front patio. We also just spent time relaxing and soaking in the sun!

There were so many special moments on this trip. I will just name few:

- Getting to be with the love of my life in the tropics
- Sharing the Hawaii experience with my friends and family for their first time
- Watching Forrest’s grandma Anita’s face after a huge wave hit her (and it was
pure joy!), also seeing her and my mom snorkel. I haven’t seen my mom that
stoked in a very long time. She was so giggly and ecstatic
- Getting to see Guinevere (Forrest’s daughter) having a blast in Hawaii for her first
time was incredible.
- Boogie boarding at castles with Janessa, we were killin it lol.
- Playing on the beach break with Guinevere, Janessa and Marissa.
- Going to Psychic Migration’s Surf Premier presented by Volcom in Honolulu with
my homies.
- Oh, and doing front handsprings for the first time in over a decade.

All in all we had the time of our life’s and had a perfect vacation.

I want to thank Volcom for their generous accommodation of a beautiful house, Gerry Lopez for making this all possible, and big thanks to Mt. Bachelor for making this an annual event!

February 08, 2016 — Jenna Kuklinski