RIDING HIGH ON HAWAII'S SURF
On the balmy west side of the Hawaiian island of Oahu, the land changes little with the shifting seasons, but always this time of year the water brings sure signs of coming winter. Great ocean swells born of distant storms compress against the shoals and topple toward the beach of Makaha. On weekends in late autumn the big waves of Makaha are studded with board riders competing in Hawaii's annual surfing championships. The competition, in essence, tests the surfer's ability to pick good waves and ride them with proper form. Quite often the issue confronting the rider on a wave is more basic: how to stay above water. One second ago, 17-year-old Keala Stibbard, the comely competitor above, was racing cleanly 15 miles an hour along the shoulder of a fringing wave. Now, in the shallows, suddenly the whole flank of the wave has turned an angry white. As the dumping wave rockets her out into thin air, there is little that Keala can do except make a last brave show of form. In a split second her high ride will end and Keala will be merely a dark head bobbing in swirling white water.
For some high riders on the mainland, turn the page.
UPS AND DOWNS ON THE MAINLAND
In Denver the adventurous fellows at right, Francis Shields and Peter Pellegrino, had high hopes of breaking the 61½-hour world record for balloon flight. Ignoring 21° cold, they inflated a government surplus balloon on an ice-covered parking lot, and loaded instruments, food and 480 pounds of sand into the dangling basket.
Their flight, sponsored by a Denver sports car dealer, nearly ended immediately when they rose 200 yards, got caught in a down draft and almost crashed on a sports car. Bailing out ballast, the veteran balloonists rose again, drifting south. Two boys shot the gasbag with rifles, and mountains forced it up to 11,000 feet in bitter cold. But the end didn't come until late afternoon when even the jettisoning of equipment failed to halt a descent 23 miles southeast of Colorado Springs. The frustrated flyers dropped a towrope which cut power lines to several farms before ranchers below could catch it, ending the record try. Time of flight: a modest 6 hours 18 minutes. Distance: 80 miles. They plan to try again.
In Phoenix adventure is just a jump away; a parachute jump, that is. Every day this year at least one member of the Sky-Hi Pioneers has floated down in the desert air, demonstrating the club's conviction that Phoenix weather is always pleasant enough for a plunge.
Among those bailing out on Jump Day 330 was Gary Davis, in his 24th jump this year. Rushing to meet him after his wind-blown landing (above) were Betty Ann Ruppert, Sky-Hi's most avid nonjumping fan, and Charles Merritt, who founded the club last December. Betty Ann's interest is more than academic, for she hopes to make her first jump this month, and her 13-year-old son wants to try soon, too. They'll both learn what the club's 70 members well know: that falling is fine but the thrill is in the landing. One chutist came down on a rattlesnake, another landed during a baby tornado and two sprained their ankles in gopher holes. Mishaps notwithstanding, Sky-Hi members keep tumbling from the Phoenix sky, hoping they won't miss a day in 1959.
ROBERT B. GOODMAN