Thank you for your great recall and clear details of the early days of your surfing.
With your consent, may I post your written piece on the Inter-Island web site?
The colors and the application make perfect sense.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your comments about neva go ewa. I agree with the title as I never enjoyed that area of Oahu.
Sandy Beach is another story. I grew up on Paiko Drive. Which is locate between Niu Wiki Circle and what is now Hawaii Kai. I moved there in 1954 and got my introduction to surfing on the reef in front of our house. My first waves were caught using a plywood board with a champagne cork in the nose to drain the water. It had a pin tale and no fin. We would stand on a coral head and push off to catch waves because we were too small to paddle fast enough to get into a wave. Something I did not take into consideration when I bought my first board from a neighbor. Solid ten food redwood painted job that would soak up what seemed like 100 gals. of water. I couldn't carry the board out of the water so I had to drag it up to the house at the end of a long tiring day. I finally graduated to a balsa board and surfed with a neighbor who moved in from California. He owned the balsa board and loaned it to me while he surfed a larger hollow balsa board. We were styling in the late 50's with these boards. Next came a super light weight Velsy with a fake stringer that I got from a friend. It was light weight and served me well until about 62 when I purchase my first real board from Mickey. An eight food very flat bottom board with a 3/4" center stringer and two 1/4" stringers to either side. It had a blue foam skeg with a glass bead around the outside. Fastest board I ever surfed. But I was growing and needed a longer board so I returned to Inter-Island and ordered the custom board of all time. It was 9ft. had a 3 " wide t-band with two curved 1/4" stringers. And was supposed to be shaped like the 8 footer. Because of all the wood and a little different shape than the original it did not perform like I had wished for. So back to Inter-Island for a stock 9'2" board with the standard 3/4" t-band. Ah, back to performance. I surfed the hell out of that board all over the island as I got my own wheels in '64. About that time I took on one of Brewers guns that was made for a photographer. I took this to the biggest breaks I had the courage to paddle into. Lots of fun and excitement. A few years ago John Clark in his book Beaches of Oahu named the spot Mispa after a sinking charter fishing boat that attempted a beaching where the hole in the reef is.
I primarily surfed this spot in front of our house as we were the locals who owned the place. Our interest in trying different spots caused us to venture out on flat days looking for holes in the reef that would support a good swell. As our boards became of age our surfing improved and we began to explore the various reefs from Wailupe Circle to Koko Head. We kept coming back to our local spot which is beside a deep hoe at the reef's edge. A great long right and a short left peek. The peak made for an exciting take off followed by a walk to the nose and long ride in over the reef. The spot was perfect because we all surfed with a right stance until a goofy footed kid came out and wanted to join us. In those days we all took turns sharing waves and rotated the call for a particular wave in a set. The goofy footer stayed off to the left on the shoulder riding into the deep hole in the reef. It wasn't long before Jerry Lopez mastered the peak and wanted to take off on the right of everyone and screw up the beautiful rights we had so long enjoyed. We accommodated Jerry until his skills took him to riding bigger north shore waves with others. The rest of the story on Jerry is history.
I continued to surf through the late '60s until I went off to college. I was there during the dredging and building of Hawaii Kai. When there was no surf on the sought shore we would hitch hike out to Sandy or Makapu to body surf. At that time the breaks along Sandy Beach had not been identified. We just rode the shore break or the adjacent reef to the left when it got bigger. One year a huge swell came through. Kaiser was building the treatment plant and had erected a long steel pier out into the deep water for laying a pipe for the effluent matter. The contractor had a crane which ran on railroad tracks that he left at the seaward end of the pier. The swell was so large that it broke over the crane, drove it all the way back to shore and bent up the pier. I recall Fred Hemmings was able to get out to attempt a coupe of rides and wound up having to wait all afternoon for the swell to subside so that he could get in to shore.
I returned to Honolulu after college and attempted surfing again but by that time the sport had taken off and the population of inexperienced surfers made the sport so dangerous that it took all of the fun out of it.
I have put on a good amount of weight since my earlier surfing days. Arthritis in my knees keeps me from enjoying the sport whenever I get back home. I have an eleven foot Stewart hanging in the garage and lots of fond memories of wonderful south swells and harrowing rides atop large waves with the coral heads exposing themselves as the waves would draw the water outward. One of the fondest of those memories was riding Waikiki at First break in the early '60s. On one of those days I experienced a ride from outside that terminated at Queens. I have a book with an aerial photo of all of the line ups from first break to shore. From what I am told those larger swells are very rare nowadays. Ah, what wonderful dreams those memories make. Nothing like awakening after a long ride on a big one.
Aloha my friend,
- EHUKAI reported 0-1 ft at 2:40 PM HST.Wind is NE 10-20.
- MAKAHA reported 1-3 ft at 2:40 PM HST.Wind is W 5-15.
- MAKAPUU reported 3-5 ft at 2:40 PM HST.Wind is NE 15-20.
- SANDY BEACH reported 4-6 ft at 2:40 PM HST.Wind is NE 20. SHORE BREAK
- WAIKIKI reported 3-5 ft at 2:40 PM HST.Wind is NE 10-20. CANOES
- SUNSET reported 1-2 ft at 7:00 AM HST.Wind is ENE 5-10.
- DIAMOND HEAD reported 6-8+ ft at 7:00 AM HST.Wind is E 10-15.
- Surf Forecast for OahuNOTE: Please check with local authorities regarding beach closures. Surf along north facing shores will be 3 to 5 feet today, lowering to 1 to 3 feet Friday. Surf along east facing shores will be 2 to 4 feet through Friday. Surf along south facing shores will be 2 to 4 feet today, rising to […]
- Oahu Surf HazardsNo high surf advisory or warnings.