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Moses Aipa + Incase
NORTH SHORE LIFEGAURD
PROFESSIONAL BIG WAVE SURFER


Interview: Race Skelton
Image: Lancifer Visual


When the North Shore hits that next level in surf size and most Professional surfers are packing it in, Dave Wassel is grabbing his next level equipment. A notorious big wave charger, the Kailua native has called the North Shore home for the better part of the decade. He now resides in the notorious Volcom/Gerry’s house in front of Pipeline.

He earns a living as a professional surfer and a North Shore Lifeguard, Dave spends the majority of his time in or around the water along the Seven Mile Miracle. Anytime Pipeline is doing its thing, Dave is usually on it. That’s just one of the benefits of living (and working) right in front of the most famous wave in the world.

As for big wave resumés, Dave’s got it– Billabong XXL 2006 Monster Paddle Nominee for an estimated 60+ foot wave at Mavericks and a recent addition to the alternate list for The Quiksilver Eddie Aikau Big Wave Contest. Upon first impression, Dave’s laid back demeanor and wise-cracking attitude may trick you into thinking he’s not focused or serious, but if you’re ever in trouble on the North Shore, he’s one of the guys you want in the water or in the tower watching out for you. The ever adventurer, Contrast caught up with Dave about hunting wild animals, community living and the life threatening risks of the North Shore.


Contrast: As a North Shore Lifeguard, what is the craziest thing you’ve ever seen?
Dave Wassel: There’s always a few gory memories that pop up when I get asked that question. The guy on the moped that was struck by an SUV, someone scalped by another surfboard, or that blank, ashy, gray look of someone who has just drowned. They’re all bad, but nothing is worse than an incident involving a child.

Ok. Maybe we should have saved that question for last. Being that you are a pro surfer and a lifeguard, are there times where you’re out surfing and a situation will arise where your water safety instincts take over?
I don’t think there is a lifeguard instinct. Here on the North Shore people look out for one another. It's obvious when someone is in a situation that may be too much for their ability. Someone is always there; lifeguard, surfer or resident, to point out the dangers and a safe way to get back in. It’s a reassuring community to live in.

Speaking of the community, you live oceanfront, work on the beach, and surf professionally on the North Shore. Do you ever get sick of this place?
I never get sick ­of my home. Volcom bought two houses on the beach at Pipeline, so you can go to one house and party or go next door and get some sleep. It’s a good balance for me.

Lifeguards are pretty much the FDNY of the North Shore. Do you guys ever get groupie love up in the tower? Or, at least some MILFs bringing over baked goods?
It’s a beautiful coast of beach. There are girls everywhere. [Laughs]

Back in January when Nathan Fletcher broke his leg at Pipeline, you jumped in wearing your street clothes to help pull him in. Are you always working? Even when say, sitting on your back porch just watching the surf?
It seems that we never get a day off. There was that incident with Nathan and then at dinner two nights ago some guy drops and has a seizure. Instead of calling 911 the waiter turns and yells out my name. Of course, you have the responsibility of doing what’s right.

You’re an avid fisherman and we know you recently got into hunting wild pigs. What was your biggest kill?
A 190-pound boar with 3 ½ inch tusks shot with a bow and arrow, 596-pound Blue Marlin caught with rod and reel and a 50-pound Ono shot with free dive spear gun.





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