It is with great anticipation that the following interview is presented here. Some riders you get ripples of…. You hear they’ve been underground, tearing waves to shreds for years, but you can’t find much about them. Then you hear they’ve been scooped up by some watchful sponsors and are nearer access, you wait to see them in the ‘usual’ media, but again, disappointment….
Then you find them.
Nacoma has not only given us info about himself, but especially about the culture of the Hawaiian peoples and some very personal insights into his life and those special to him – his family and the South Siders Crew – and the precious land grew up on which feeds him with its ‘mana’ everyday.
Please welcome Nacoma Herrington:Doc: Hey Nacoma, You’re from the district of Ka'u on the Big Island, the Southernmost Island of the state of Hawaii. Can you tell us a little about this land of volcanoes and treacherous ocean currents?
NH: Sure, here's some info.(not too much I hope.) Ka'u is the largest district (land area) in all of the Hawaiian Islands (bigger than O'ahu). The Hawaiian name for our island is Hawai'i just like the state name. Within it contains the largest active volcano in the world, Mauna Loa (Long Mountain). It also has the most active volcano in the world, Kilauea where the Hawaiian goddess "Pele" resides. We also have the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline - something rare in Hawai'i. And many locals are fighting to keep it that way, including Kapu Ka'u - a preservation group that has done many great things for Ka'u - not enough could be said about them.
Waters here are usually very windy and extremely rough most of the year but we do get offshore winds in the morning due to Mauna Loa and the cool breezes that blow down it. The famous current at South Point is called Hala'ea, after a greedy chief that got carried away by it. The Hala'ea current of the most strongest and fastest currents in all Hawai'i that would take you to Japan one speed! Back in the 70's a huge frigate ship was lost at sea near South Point! Only local fishermen with vast knowledge of the area dare to fish these trecherous but bountiful waters.
Ka'u is a very rural, everybody knows everybody kind of place. The people here are very tough and most don't live a easy life. Many survive on top ramen noodles, wild pig smokemeat, seafood from the ocean and produced grown from the land. Basically a very substainable, simple and rugged lifestyle. I loved growing up there even though my family had some rough economic times. In my hometown Na'alehu, there was only two haole(white) families in the whole town so elementary and jr.high days was pretty brutal. But after enough fights and scraps I earned respect just like every local haole in Hawai'i must do so then by high school I had no troubles. Actually, guys I fought became good friends, funny how life is?!
I grew up bodyboarding a super sick, heavy beachbreak/outer reef break. It's the only sandbar on the entire southeast side of the island. There was only a handful of hardcore spongers/surfers in Ka'u so all the line-ups had a mellow vibe. Most of the rest of my spare time was spent hunting pigs and goats, spear/pole fishing, picking opihi/a'ama crab, playing basketball and ummm oh yea, partying like there was no tomorrow.
Ka'u is a place with great mana or power, with people who love the aina(land) and don't want to see it overdeveloped, abused or misused in any way! " Take care of da aina and da aina will take care of you." Doc: what mix of Prone and DK are you riding?
NH: I'd estimate something like 70-80% dropknee, 20%- 30% proneDoc: What boards are you running in your current quiver and what are your current faves?
NH: All Cartels : custom 43 DK template, custom 43 bat-tail, Paul Roach DK and LTD, FVT, and a 43.5 custom DK shape. Both Roaches, the FVT and the custom 43.5 DK Doc: What dimensions and core compositions are you finding hot for your riding at the moment?
NH: 43.5 single stringer for more flex with polypro coresDoc: And how about accessories – leash, fins and wetsuits?
NH: Nuisance leashes, Bluncut Fins, and I have never worn a wetsuit in my life.Doc: D.O.B height and weight?
March 30, 1977 6'2 175 poundsDoc: What can you tell us about the waves in your land?
NH: a lot of deep,deep water to super shallow, super close to land spots and many breaks that take long, strenuous hikes.Doc: Fave breaks – local and elsewhere (no secret spots of course, just your known faves)?
Kawa, Windmills, Tombstones, NH: Da Zone, Backdoor, Kolekole, Honoli'i when it's firing, Pohue Bay and many secret breaks I can't say.Doc: What would be the biggest wave you’ve taken on?
NH: 12 foot Hawaiian at a reef pass like spot on the North Shore of Kauai. The waves went from 4-6 feet to 12-15 foot in a hour - something I have never experienced on the Big Island before. It was pretty mental.Doc: And what’s the toughest wave to ride you’ve hit up?
NH: A secret spot on the southside that is super thich and heavy and breaks right along a dry, pinnicle filled, razor sharp dry shelf. If you eat it in the wrong place, basically your dead. Luckily I haven't yet.Doc: What’s it like riding with your brothers Spirit and Cody and how do your riding styles/techniques vary?
NH: Good fun! I always have someone to ride with and they keep me on my toes. It's just really special to surf with your brothers too, catching a epic session with just the three of us out is the best thing in the world.
We all pretty much mainly DK, but we all got love for prone too. Spirit mainly likes throwing tail and fat frontside snaps, Codes is all about giant frontside and backside snaps/gouges, and me, I try to be a well rounded DK'er. I say all our styles are different.Doc: Who are the crew you hang with in the water – and any chance you have a spare photo of the “South Sidahhz” ?
NH: My brothers Cody and Spirit, the Blanco brothers, Godfrey Leopoldino, Robin and Kai McGuire, Koa Morris, Lams Kekoa, Shon Santangelo, Kaui Kaupu, Sero Deleo, Kai Matsu, Tuney Hashimoto, Preston Kekoa, Sham Freitas, Doug Sodetani, Bronson Atkins, Boogie Smith, Isaac Ikeda and anyone from Ka'u ..... yea, i can send it to ya.Doc: Speaking of crews, would you mind telling us about your Wife Sharyn and fab littlies Noah and Pua’ena?
NH: They are the best thing that ever happened to me and without them there would be no me. Helped me get my life on the right track and made me realize what life is about- 'ohana. My wife Sharyn is Hawaiian, Portuguese, Puerto Rican and Cherokee Indian. She loves the ocean very much and before her grandpa passed away, they practically lived there. Her grandpa was a master throw-net maker, and the ocean was his home. My son who's 5 and daughter who's 1 also love the water. Noah is going to be the next Mike Stewart is what I always say. Pua'ena is my little princess. I wouldn't know what I would do without them, I always feel blessed that they are in my life.Doc: ‘Ohana is such an important way to live for Hawaiians, there will be some Aussie crew here that are unfamiliar with the word ‘ohana. Not a term that lends itself to fixed definition, would you mind writing a little of what Hawaiian ‘ohana is?
NH: 'Ohana means family . It is something that is very important, and very strong in Hawai'i. The sense of togetherness, that you are not alone....you will always have your 'ohana in your corner no matter what. And it's not limited to immediate family, it includes extended family, friends and neighbors/community groups. This is what makes the 'ohanas so strong. And this all comes together with Aloha, or love(one of the meanings) which many folks have. That's why Hawai'i is like no other place because the people have aloha for one another and would take the shirt off their back for you. Doc: What’s the maddest roadtrip you’ve been on and what made it crazy?
NH: Driving down this ultra long lava road trying to score sick surf at 3 in the morning. Got two flat tires/mished it back up to get spares.....got down to the spot only for it to be too big - 10 - 15 feet blowing spits but then exploding onto an island.Doc: Best boat trip?
NH: never been on oneDoc: Who are some of your fave photogs?
Deslyn Andrade-Castaneda, Maurice Aubuchon, Danny Black, Ryan Beppu, JT Grey, Manny Vargas, Ross McbrideDoc: Board history – any chance you can remember and name the boards you have had under you over time? Fave ride ever of all of them?
NH: Mach 7-SS, BZ Ben Severson T-10 Channel, BZ Max, Mike Stewart Mach 7-7, Mike Stewart Turbo 3, Kauai Classic Dynacor,Wave Rebel Kainoa McGee, Wave Rebel Jackie Buder,Toobs Paul Roach, BZ Grodzen, Toobs DKB, Cartel Raffi Myer, Custom X Fred Booth, Morey Spencer Skipper, Cartel Robbie Gall, Kainoa McGee Industry, Manta Paul Roach, Ballistic Hutaff, T&C Hutaff, Custom X Quest 1, Vector V3
Have to be the Kauai Classic and the Kainoa Industry - two sickest boards ever. The Kauai classic was ultra-light and had no core but was so sick, and the Kainoa was the magicest stock board I ever rode. I also remeber the Raffi being super sick for DK.Doc: Riders who have influenced you?
My parents(both surf), Mike Stewart, Kainoa McGee, Paul Roach, Keith Sasaki, Steve "Bullet" McKenzie, Fred Booth, Kavan Okamura, Rollins Wood, Kyle Maligro, also Jeremy Simpson, Kai Matsu, Wesley and Danny Pua and Bruce Lee all from the Ka'u old school.Doc: Scariest moment on the boog?
NH: It was at a spot on the west side of the island that gets really heavy on good northwest swells. I was getting pitted and spit out all day until one wave I got too confident and relaxed and got axed on the head by a THICK lip right before pulling in. Well there's a 6 foot wide by 15 foot deep perfectly shaped hole in the bottom of the reef we call the "toilet bowl." I got shot right into the toilet and got swished around for at least 30-45 seconds. The bad part was that I got no chance to take a breath before going under so I was hurting! Finally it stopped and I had to swim out of the hole and to the surface which was about 25 feet all together. I almost drowned that day, that was scary.Doc: What do you love most about the BB culture?
NH: Not too much egos and the pure stoke we get from doing something we truly love. Also the simplicity of it, we do it because it's so fun - plain and simple!Doc: What do you reckon BB needs most at the moment?
NH: I'm 100% on Kainoa's side on this, DK, prone and stand-up bodyboarders need to all come together and unite! No groveling and proneing just to advance at contests! Also more guys like Mo Aubuchon, Danny Black and Ryan Beppu out there putting in work to support bodyboarding!Doc: Who would you like to give a shout-out to?
NH: The Holy Father up above, all is possible through him, my 'ohana and new friends the DK 4 Life braddahs who invited my bros and me to the North Shore. Was unreal. Hopefully again this winter! Doc: And finally who are your sponsors?
NH: I actually have been underground my whole life until about 2 years ago when I got a myspace(which I was always against in the past - lol.) From there, God let good things happen.
My sponsors are: Cartel http://cartelboardco.com/
DK or Die http://www.dkordie.com/index.htm
Sticky Bumps http://www.stickybumps.com/
Born&Raised[Hawaii] clothing. http://bornandraisedclothing.com/Thanks so much for your time Nacoma
1. The South Sidahz Photographer: Deslyn Andrade- Castaneda
2. Rider: Nacoma Herrington Photographer: Deslyn Andrade- Castaneda
3. Rider: Nacoma Herrington Photographer: Deslyn Andrade- Castaneda
4. Rider: Nacoma Herrington Photographer: Deslyn Andrade- Castaneda
5. Rider: Nacoma Herrington Photographer: Deslyn Andrade- Castaneda
6. Rider: Nacoma Herrington Photographer: Deslyn Andrade- Castaneda