New water safety gear unveiled at surf workshopUPDATED 7:42 PM HST Nov 19, 2013Video Transcript
They're talking safety tonight after the disappearance of surfer Kirk Passmore ... KITV4's Andrew Pereira joins us now with MORE in tonight's TOP story. Paula, Yunji... big wave surging is inherently dangerous. Those who have been doing it for decades are trying to pass on their knowledge. Big waves and safety. It may sound like a contradiction, but those who charge the North Shore say there are ways to minimize the risk. BRIAN KEAULANA: "WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT DANGER, IT'S REALLY ABOUT KNOWLEDGE THAT YOU HAVE BECAUSE WHAT DECREASES DANGER IS KNOWLEDGE." And if you're looking for big wave smarts, former Makaha lifeguard Brian Keaulana has plenty. On Tuesday he shared that knowledge with over 50 big wave riders who gathered for a private workshop at Turtle Bay Resort. BRIAN KEAULANA: "EH, WE ALL SURF GREAT, BUT SURVIVING IS WHAT WE GOT TO FOCUS ON." That focus is now painfully clear after the death of 32- year-old Kirk Passmore last week in 20-foot surf. Although wave riding is the ultimate expression of individualism, experts say big wave surfing should be no different than football. BRIAN KEAULANA: "IN BIG WAVE SURFING IT'S REALLY ABOUT THE TEAM THAT YOU SURF WITH, ALL THE INDIVIDUALS YOU SURF WITH. YOU SURROUND YOURSELF WITH KNOWLEDGABLE, PROFESSIONAL PEOPLE THAT ARE OUT IN AN OCEAN ENVIRONMENT." KOHL CHRISTENSEN: "CREATE A WORST-CASE SCENARIO, AND THEN WALK THE TEAM OR WALK THE GROUP THROUGH THAT SCENARIO BEFORE YOU ACTUALLY GO OUT." The big wave workshop also covered the latest technological advancements, like inflatable vests that quickly fill with CO2 cartridges. "VEST INFLATES" When Passmore paddled out to outside Alligator Rock, he WAS with a group of friends, but was not wearing an inflatable vest. Some believe Passmore may have survived this massive wipeout had he been better prepared. KOHL CHRISTENSEN: "IF HE WAS WEARING A VEST, MAYBE THAT WOULD HAVE HELPED HIM, MAYBE NOT. BUT, THAT'S ONE OF THOSE THINGS WE'RE TALKING ABOUT, MITIGATING THE RISK." BRIAN KEAULANA: "REALLY, WHEN YOU OUT IN THAT KIND OF ENVIRONMENT THERE REALLY IS NOT ONE LIFEGUARD OUT THERE, YOU KNOW UNLESS YOU HIRE THEM? THERE REALLY IS NOTHING THAT EXISTS OUT THERE UNTIL YOU CREATE THOSE SAFETY MECHANISMS." But should inflatable vests be available to every wave rider. While Patagonia only offers them to experienced big wave surfers, Billabong's V1 will soon be available to the public. SHANE DORIAN: "EVERYONE SAYS, 'OH, WE DON'T WANT KOOKS TO HAVE THESE THINGS BECAUSE THEN IT'LL ENABLE THEM TO PADDLE OUT AT THE OUTTER REEFS WHEN THEY SHOULDN'T BE OUT THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE.' BUT, I DON'T THINK THERE'S ANY SOLUTION TO THAT TO BE HONEST." Keaulana says the use of an inflatable vest goes to the heart of risk management, which is to know your limits. From 1993 to 2012 ... 16 surfers and body boarders have died on Oahu's North Shore. The big wave workshop is held every year in memory of Sion Milosky, who died in 2011 while surfing Mavericks.