Star-Bulletin Features

Friday, November 30, 2001

Finish up a workout on the waves by making a splash on the dance
floor at the Triple Crown of Surfing party.

Surfing party draws a crowd

By Shawn 'Speedy' Lopes

I waited all year for the Triple Crown, and then I mess up," groans Garrett Lee, shaking his head. "I'll get in, though. I just gotta be patient."

No, Lee was not among the field of world-class entrants in this year's Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Series. He and his group of eight made the trek from Pearl City to the Turtle Bay Resort with their sights set on a no-less-exclusive event: the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Party. Fortunately for Lee, the shindig, like the surf meet itself, is actually a series of events.

Drop the ball one week, and you can still come back the next. "We're leaving early next time," Lee vows.

Through the glass doors of the resort's Bay View Lounge, a line of several hundred gazed longingly at the party they were missing.

The Triple Crown Surf Party

Where: Turtle Bay Resort
When: 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. tomorrow
Admission: $5 over 21, $10 under
Call: 203-3650

Inside, local rockers Pacific Lite were plugged into the North Shore vibe, delving into the catalogs of Sublime, Jack Johnson and Bob Marley to rally a well-lubricated crowd onto the dance floor.

Hawaiian reggae ensemble Ooklah the Moc, which no doubt enticed a number of patrons to make the journey up north, followed with a crucial set of their own. Meanwhile, DJ Equal manned the decks, expanding his repertoire for the night and forgoing the usual rugged, skull-bouncing underground beats in favor of a more popular melange of g-funk classics and dance-floor hip-hop.

By 10 p.m. the party had grown immeasurably. Fearing the elevated bar area would not be able to hold the weight of the flourishing mob, security took control of the sound system to implore those with green wristbands to retreat from the common areas and head for the V.I.P. lounge.

Former Radio Free Hawaii deejay Dave O'Day, emceeing from the Bay View Lounge gazebo, cranked the music -- and the party -- up a notch by passing the mic to Chief Ragga Jamin Wong. Wong, whose vocal skills have increased tenfold since his days with Ho'aikane, rendered every recorded moment with the seminal Jawaiian ensemble obsolete with an astounding freestyle toasting exhibition.

By 10:30 or so, the door people, well aware of the lounge's maximum capacity, allowed patrons in only as others exited the party. Outside, packs of tanned weekend wave warriors passed the time with their buds, sharing smokes and a few laughs while restless young women in Levi's 518s and Frankie B. jeans milled about the lobby, parading the tops of their pelvises as they strolled by. They chatted, pretending not to notice the admiring eyes of the hundreds of Johnny-come-latelys waiting to get in.

"A lot of times you'll get the crowds, but when they line up outside until 1 in the morning and we're telling them they can't come in, that's disheartening," says Turk Cazimero, activities coordinator for this year's Triple Crown parties. "I wish I could let them all in at once, but the place is already packed. I can't."

Cazimero, the comical co-host of cable TV's "Night on the Rocks," runs the whole show. "I'm basically the guy that makes sure everything goes as planned," he said. "I have to see that the band is hooked up and the deejays are in tune with what we're trying to do. I also have to oversee the fashion show and prize giveaways and make sure the people watching the door keep things cool."

In addition, it is Cazimero's responsibility to see that sponsors see some type of return on promotional dollars spent on these parties. "It's pretty much what I expected," he said, speaking of the impressive turnout. "We sold out of Hinano and Bacardi.

"The sponsors are definitely getting the most for their buck. (Patrons) not only buy their product, they go away talking about these events, and that's what we set out to do."

His advice for those who wish to attend this weekend's festivities is simple: "Just come early."

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