Fearsome Hawaiian goofyfooter, ace Pipeline rider, and an early proponent of the lay-forward tube stance. Foster was born (1962) in Honolulu, raised in Waialua, and began surfing at age 14. Five years later he was one of the top tuberiders at Pipeline, and at Backdoor his compressed, square-shouldered, lay-forward body positioning allowed him to ride nearly as deep inside the tube backside as he did frontside.
"Carvin' Marvin" turned pro in 1980 and was the world tour's rookie of the year; in 1983 he was runner-up in the Pro Class Trials and placed third in the Duke Kahanamoku Classic, both held at Oahu's Sunset Beach; he also won the 1984 Peru International.
The heavily tattooed Hawaiian then joined the local underworld, and in 1993 was convicted on a weapons charge and sentenced to 18 months in prison. In one of the surf world's strangest ads, beachwear giant Quiksilver bought space in Surfer and Surfing magazines to print a handwritten "message from Marvin Foster, Halawa State Prison," with the former pro telling young surfers that "prison's too crowded for newcomers [and] it ain't easy to do time." Foster was released in 1994, broke parole the following year, and was put on a statewide "10 MOST WANTED" poster before he was caught and sent back to prison for an additional six months.
Foster became a respected tow-surfer in his later years, but he also had drug problems, and in 2010 he hung himself. Foster was 49 years old.
Foster appeared in about 10 surf movies and videos, including Ocean Fever (1983), The Performers (1984), Wave Warriors (1985), and Shock Waves (1987).