Big Wave Food
The Paumalu Diet . . . in a blender
Listen rather, my brothers, to the voice of the healthy body: a more honest and purer voice is this. More honestly and purely does the healthy body talk, being complete and four-square: and it talks of the sense of the earth.
- Nietzsche (Thus Spoke Zarathustra I.3)
Owl Chapman always spoke of “big wave food” as if it were some sort of magical sacrament. In a nutshell (pun intended), he meant that food should be as simple, pure and wholesome as the classic, single-fin pintails he shapes (more on that to come). As a young, aspiring big wave rider in my early 20s who had the fortune (or misfortune as it were) of living close to this venerable, although rather notorious and totally enigmatic surfer-shaper, I hung on most every word of insight and counsel Chapman had to offer — suspecting that he might impart some germ of wisdom that could afford an advantage in the deep blue water on the outer reefs of Paumalu, Kaunala and Waimea Bays. As often as not, his advice proved, if not altogether edifying, at least useful in leading me toward what I was striving for then — and now.
Proper food and nourishment conduce to strength, health, vitality, resilience and stamina.
Any successful endurance athlete knows this essential truth of life; and if one wants to catch and ride the proverbial “big blue wave” that Chapman cryptically alluded to in terms of the Holy Grail, then one must eat right and well regularly, which is not always an easy chore. Over the years I learned to eat both efficiently and effectively such that both worked within my Spartan finances and protracted wave riding program on Oahu’s legendary North Shore. The “big wave diet” that I have developed over the past two and a half decades of continuous Hawaiian surfing has served me well into my 50s. Here follows a sampling of my nutritional regime, which we can refer to with solemn informality as the Pau- malu Diet.
In short, this diet is based on fruits, nuts, seeds and green plants — lots of them mixed together in a smoothie, supplemented by some extra-good organic products like bee pollen, spirulina powder, maca-powder and plant-based protein powders. Just about every morning, an hour or so before I hit the water (and/or immediately thereafter), I throw a couple of handfuls of frozen mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, etc.), along with some papaya and mango from the backyard, and some fresh local pineapple into my blender. I’ll add a freshly chopped apple and ginger, a banana, as well as some fresh kale from my raised garden bed, along with a lime or two from the tree outside the window where I’m typing these words.
To this melange, I will add a scoop of the plant-based (mostly pea) protein (which provides approximately 15-25 grams of complete, synergistic, alkaline-forming protein blend). I will also throw in a heaping teaspoon of bee pollen and flax seed; in addition to a teaspoon of spirulina and beet powder; another teaspoon of maca (power!); yet another teaspoon of mushroom extract; a small handful of almonds and pumpkin seeds; a dash of chia seeds; and a squirt of MCT oil and apple cider vinegar (probiotics galore). Adjust juice (I like a splash of cranberry, lemon, & carrot) to regulate thickness. The potion is ready to mix — Presto! No panic, it’s organic!
I’ll admit that the final product looks a little daunting: deep purplish green sludge (alternative name could be: Yoda swamp mud); kind of chunky with all the seeds and nuts (fiber!); but it sure tastes good — sweet and sour. It’s filling and satisfying, too, and is most readily digested and metabolized. After one of these bombs, I’m full yet light and totally energized for the rest of the day. Rarely do I even eat anything solid all day. There’s really no need, either, from a nutritional standpoint — I’ve got everything I need absorbed and assimilated, as the Hawaiians say: “Ready for go!”
In the evening, it’s more “big wave food.” Meat and vegetables, very little “empty” carbs (i.e., light on the pasta, rice, or bread); just a slab of lean meat (steak, fish, chicken, pork, whatever is around), usually grilled outside, and some fresh greens from the garden-bed out back: arugula, kale, spicy-mix, horse radish, onions, lettuce, etc. Once a week or so I’ll indulge a spaghetti night (the girls in my life like it), yet, for the most part, it’s simple meats and greens for dinner.
At the beginning of the day, however, the foundation for my way of life — the so-called Paumalu Diet — is the pure power, down-home, honest and wholesome “big- wave” smoothie. It hasn’t failed me yet — nor will it fail you. Hana Hou!
Huelo Hale, Paumalu 2021