The Best Of The Best

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Glenn Stout, series editor of The Best American Sports Writing has posted the table of contents for this year's edition on his website. The book, edited by J.R. Moehringer, won't be out for a few months, but I want to take this moment to celebrate Moehringer's selections.

And for a little taste, dig the story "Eddie is Gone," by Nicole Pasulka:

When I was working in Honolulu, a trolley ride down Ward Avenue between the Ala Moana Shopping Center and another nearby shopping mall, Ward Centers, offered views of the ocean and a sprawling tent city of homeless people (until they were evicted later that year). To distract riders from the encampments, tourist companies offered flowery narratives of Hawaiian royalty, folklore, and legend, generously sprinkled with innuendo about sexy hula girls and tropical beverages.

Winter is big-wave season on Oahu’s North Shore—on the radio, on the bus, in bars and restaurants, everyone was talking about “the Eddie,” a surf competition named after big-wave surfing icon Eddie Aikau, which only takes place when the waves at Waimea Bay are consistently breaking at over twenty feet. After I’d spent a deadening series of days composing pro-imperialist schlock for tour buses, Aikau’s story captured my imagination. His life seemed to epitomize the tension between Hawaii’s often-violent struggle against cultural interlopers and the popular image of a lush paradise for western recreation and consumption. Neither tour guide nor separatist, Eddie embodied the oppositional forces of tourism and resistance. Through his friendships, his surfing, and his ill-fated voyage across the ocean in a canoe, Eddie attempted to reconcile Hawaii’s cultural heritage with the aftermath of colonial destruction on the islands.