I can only imagine what foreigners must think when they first arrive to the fabled North Shore of O’ahu. Having to travel thousands of miles across open ocean, I wonder what it must feel like, for the first time, to touch down on one of the world’s most isolated land masses. I also wonder what it must be like when these visitors realize that not only is it one of the most isolated, but one of the most densely populated places on Earth. I would assume that after a few ultra-crowded sessions, one would begin to ask the question: “Who the heck is even from here?”
It seems perfectly safe to assume that the tattooed, 250-pound dark elderly individuals are definitely a local. But what happens when you find yourself peering deep into the belly of a terrifying backdoor slab and looking back across the foam ball is an unassuming blue-eyed, redheaded, 20-something who has affectionately earned the name Mikey Red?
Born and raised in the small Hawaiian town of Kalapana, Michael Quinn O’Shaughnessy is one of Hawaii’s most talented sons. His dedication to heavy surf has taken him across the islands and into the powerful waters of Teahupo’o, Peahi, Pupukea, Paumalu, and Waimea. Crediting much of his ocean-knowledge to his mentors Kealii Mamala, Ikaika Kalama, Solomon Ortiz and older brother Dallas, Mikey’s heroic efforts in waves of consequence are nothing short of inspiring. When asked where his place is in the Hawaiian lineup, he quickly responds “in the tube.” Belonging to the next generation of humble warriors, his commitment to big waves is only matched by his love for community. A true ambassador of aloha, @mikey_redd, my friends, is as local as they come.