WaPo Style Section Surfs Into New Year Declaring Obama Gnarly as Ever

Since when does Jeff Spicoli write for the Washington Post?

Filing his January 2 Style section front-pager, "Hawaii's Still Waters Run Deep for the President-elect," staffer Philip Rucker made clear all he needs in life are some cool waves and a tasty Obama buzz:

HONOLULU -- In his two weeks in Hawaii, Barack Obama has oozed island cool: the black shades and khaki shorts, the breezy sandaled saunter that suggested he had not a care in the world. Who said anything about the presidency?

He strolled shirtless near the beach, enjoyed a shave ice and a local seaweed-wrapped delicacy called Spam musubi. One day, the president-elect flashed the friendly "shaka" sign, shaking his pinky and thumb in a local surfing gesture.

But for the BlackBerry clipped to his left hip, Obama appeared to be channeling the aloha spirit of his native Hawaii. Far more than a greeting, Hawaiians' aloha -- which has many meanings -- often connotes a certain laid-back live-and-let-live attitude. Translated literally, it means the breath of life. But aloha is also sometimes interpreted as an acronym for five words meaning kindness (akahai), unity (lokahi), agreeability (olu'olu), humility (ha'aha'a) and patience (ahonui).

Friends here say the country's first island-born president-elect has long carried more than a touch of the aloha spirit in his temperament. During the campaign, many admirers questioned whether Obama was too passive in his battles against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. John McCain.

"Oh, gnarly. 1/20!" Rucker added, referring jubilantly to the president-elect's inauguration day.

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