In Hawaii, the undisputed surfing capital of the world, there's always a wave to ride. The daring challenge winter's awesome North Shore; others seek summer's South Shore curls, and beginners check out Waikiki. Surfers gaze seaward, scrutinizing favorite breaks with such names as Sandy's, Off-the-Wall, Gums, Back Door, Drainpipe, Banyans, Infinities and Pine Trees.
For many, surfing is their raison d'etre . Their search for the perfect wave becomes an ongoing obsession--this growing group that demands a surfing contest each weekend in Hawaii. In 1988, more than five dozen contests will take place, including amateur interscholastic events, team competition among high schools and between retail shops, pro-am meets and professional extravaganzas featuring the world's best surfers.
Buses and vans circle the island, making regular stops at contest sites where bone-white mainlanders disembark to buy souvenir posters, and bikini-clad vacationers seek out noted surfers to have them autograph beach towels and T-shirts. Tour maps and brochures list the famous beaches.
The governing body of the professional surfing circuit, the Assn. of Surfing Professionals, schedules four ASP-rated events in Hawaii each year. The "Gotcha Pro" at Sandy Beach on Oahu's South Shore (June 8-12), and on the North Shore the "Hard Rock Cafe World Cup of Surfin' " (Nov. 22-Dec. 1), the "Billabong Pro" (Dec. 2-11) and the "Maui Pipeline Masters" (Dec. 12-22), which has become the world's longest-running professional surf meet.