She is 62 and has early morning only one thing in mind: The search for the best wave in Waikiki Beach. Jeannie Chesser surfing for nearly 50 years, was U.S. champion - and lost her son in a fatal ride to the sea.
The white tuft is noticeable when the surfers in the Ala Moana Bowl, a surf spot east of Waikiki Beach, is watching. While tanned and muscular mid-teen agers are busy, leave a good impression on their board, is a petite lady with white short hair snaps always the best waves. She surfs very well and - unusual for her age - still with a short board.
When Jeannie Chesser comes shortly after 8 clock out of the water, it gives her - the best waves they surf only two hours earlier. The 62-year-old is one of the oldest women's surfing in Hawaii and still win easily competitions. But for Jeannie surfing is not just a sport, it keeps them alive. When she tells her story, one begins to understand why.
The island of Oahu is the surfing mecca, even for the wave-drenched Hawaiian. At no coast so great and exciting clash at the North Shore waves like no other beach offers such good opportunities to enter into the sport as Waikiki Beach. But on the hunt for the perfect wave, it has become full, the notes and Jeannie. They surf for 20 years in the bowl and can at times recall where they had the waves to themselves. Yet she does not think about quitting. "I would rather die on my board," she says.
"Surfing made me addicted"
When Jeannie surfs, she only sees the crystal clear water, the rocks, Diamond Head and the surrounding sandy beaches. The beautiful skyline of Honolulu is not really something added. A similar view must be the beginning of the 20th Duke Kahanamoku Century have offered. He is considered the father of modern surfing and surfing the waves also present in Honolulu. After the sport was frowned upon in 1823 by the missionaries as immoral and forbidden, discovered Kahanamoku surfing again. Today's cast in bronze chains adorned with Hawaiian flowers on Waikiki Beach. Surf Hawaii experienced an absolute boom in the fifties. Almost ten years later, the craze, the American mainland - and Jeannie was immediately hooked. At that time she still lived in Miami and began surfing at age 14 with a friend - originally just to impress, to the nice surfer guys, she says, grinning. But her first love was not a teenager surfing, but the sea. "The water is my element. I quickly realized that surfing for me was not just a sport, but made me addicted," says Jeannie. After the death of her husband's 22-year-old moved with her young son Todd therefore to Hawaii, where life and surfing is one. Here on the Polynesian island archipelago, people meet after work in the waves, we chatted about the day's plans, life. In the early hours of relevant web pages are crawled, to find the best breakers in the area. Experiences a local exceptionally hectic, you can be sure that there are close to good waves. It seems like the day after the waves in Hawaii judge.
Deadly Ride on the North Shore
Quite a few Hawaiians have turned their passion into a profession. As a professional surfer can now earn money, and many a person is of little trim on it, to become a professional. When Jeannie's son Todd was different. His mother sits in her little dimly lit living room when she talks about him. The walls are papered with own paintings, the paintings show only a theme: perfect waves. Jeannie lives of her art, she also painted surfboards. The shelves are full of trophies and lots of photos. They portray the surfer and her son. Todd was surfing with his mother as a child, but favored a career as a BMX rider. Later he returned to the surfboard and was one of the best big-wave surfers in Hawaii. The large waves, known as Big Waves, can only be found on the North Shore of Oahu. Tear in the winter months here for up to twelve feet high breakers on shore. To experience the ride of their lives, the courageous professionals here can pull of jet skis in the water. Then there is no turning back - force of nature and man meet. On the long sandy beach Sunset Beach every year in November, the Triple Crown Surfing event will be held. When the waves are highest, come here only the best at the best, Todd was one of them. "I've always been satisfied with smaller waves, but Todd was fascinated by the waves on the North Shore," says Jeannie. "And he died in 1997 while surfing on the North Shore," she adds. Her expression changed, and suddenly you see her in her 62 years.
Once in your life
The death of her only son is characterized Jeannie, but she throws herself into the waves every morning again. It is their way of dealing with the grief. Nowhere feels more connected with Jeannie Todd as surfing. Herself seriously ill with cancer, they paddled a few days after the life-saving surgery again in the Ala Moana Bowl. "I could still surf, but only on my board to be in the water may have cured me," says Jeannie.
Just months after she had survived the chemotherapy, Jeannie was again successful in competitions. She won her first in 1965 in Florida, 1992, she became a U.S. Champion. Just this June, she won the Roxy Wahine Classic Contest, one of the biggest contests in Honolulu. But Jeannie sees these events not as a source of money or competition, for them there is only one way to spend with the family of surfers a nice day.
That surfing for strength and quality of life provides doubted anyone in Hawaii. Hardly a car passes without one or more boards on the roof, even the bikes are transported on a device to Hawaii specifically to surfboards. On the street greets you with a hang-loose sign, and the scenery is generally relaxed. Who lives in Hawaii, seems to have arrived, arrived at a truly beautiful place on earth and arrived in their own lives.
Including Jeannie. Although the fate shook it hard sometimes, she radiates contentment. Only when the weather is bad and they can not hope for waves, Jeannie is insufferable in his own words. Surfing is your gateway to happiness.