Surfer’s reputation on fire after hot ride

Few noticed in April when Hawaiian pro surfer C.J. Kanuha paddled within a few yards of volcanic lava flowing into the ocean on the big island’s southeastern coast.

But after photos of his exploit were published in Outside magazine, Kanuha’s daring ride garnered a lot more attention.

"You could hear it crackling and exploding," Kanuha, 24, told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

He stood on his surfboard and used a long paddle to get close to the lava pouring from the Kilauea volcano, one of the world’s most active. Kanuha then went ashore and said a prayer to the volcano goddess Pele.

Ultimately, though, "I would not recommend" anyone copy his adventure, he said. And county civil defense director Quince Mento called Kanuha’s feat "really not smart."

• HELLO KITTY FOR SMITTY — Ah, the trappings of big league baseball: fame, fortune and, for one New York Met, a pink "Hello Kitty" backpack.

As a young Mets reliever, Joe Smith has been subjected to the team’s initiation rite of carrying the backpack — a favorite of school girls everywhere — to the bullpen each day.

Mets closer Billy Wagner presented him with the bag, the Web site Gothamist.com reported, and he proclaimed to Smith: "It’s not Hello Kitty, it’s Hello Smitty."

• WEAK AT THE KNEES — If you think the world is changing too fast, consider the Frinton Golf Club on the English coast northeast of London.

The club ended its 113-year-old rule that members were required to wear knee-length socks with shorts, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported. In other words, men will show their legs on the links for the first time in more than a century.

The old rule didn’t sit well with some of the younger players joining Frinton, but the bare-leg decision also left the club’s 600 members divided.

"Not everybody’s happy," club professional Nick Sams said. "It’s a very traditional club."

• CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? — The Boston Globe asked readers to submit faux captions for that recent photograph that showed a grinning Manny Ramirez making a cell-phone call inside the Green Monster outfield wall during a Boston Red Sox pitching change.

One reader, drawing the New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez into the fun, suggested this caption: "So Madonna, huh?"

• LONESOME DOVE FOR DALE — One might think Dale Earnhardt Jr. gets enough of stock-car racing at the track. Not so.

NASCAR’s most popular driver also spends part of his free time playing racing video games online and even helps test new versions of some games.

Earnhardt also disclosed that he’s hooked on watching the "Lonesome Dove" television series that first aired in the mid-1990s, Yahoo! Sports reported.

"I’m a real fan of the show, you know?" he said. "The episodes just became available on iTunes, and I’ve downloaded all of them."

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