For those of you living outside of Hawaii, the search for Alec Cooke was called off. Both the Coast Guard and Honolulu Fire Department helicopter crews unsuccessfully searched 8,930-square ocean miles for him. A friend found Alec’s surfboard but Alec himself is now considered lost to the sea.
A memorial paddle out service–“Keep The Ocean Blue”–is planned for January 30, 2016 at Waimea Bay, the spot at which he was last seen on October 27. Final details are pending but funds for the service are currently being solicited here. I see that some classmates have already donated. I encourage your generosity if you feel so moved.
Since his loss much has been written about Alec a.k.a. “Ace Cool” and his adventuresome spirit. Most articles detail his riding “the biggest wave” on January 5,1985 at Outside Pipeline. Others mention his exploits as the showboating “Evel Knievel of big wave surfing.” Such were his adventures that he earned a place in The Encyclopedia of Surfing alongside surfing legends such as Duke Kahanamoku, Fred Hemmings, and Peter Cole.
Alec used his water fame to highlight ocean pollution traveling 160 miles in 70 hours over 10 days while swimming around Oahu in 2008.
When out of the water Alec still maintained his ocean connection by giving radio surf reports, writing surfing columns for the North Shore News, and operating his store, the Country Surf Shop.
Alec is reported to have been born in Boston (in 1956 as were most of us) and raised on both Kauai and Oahu.
What has not been described about Alec is what we know. He joined us at Punahou in the fourth grade as a member of Mrs. Leong’s class. (Do you remember him then Keith, Meredith, Jeff, Brendan, and Frank?) He was with us for ten years and I am sure many of you have memories to share about Alec and his “small kid” days. Did you surf with him? Were his future exploits something that you foresaw?
As usual, I would like to share Punahou74’s impressions of a departed classmate. Please share your memories by commenting below or email them to me here. I will compile what is received and report back to you via a future post. Thank you in advance for the gift of your remembrances.