Liddell, Mark


Friendly, fast-talking Hawaiian regularfooter from Honolulu who, along with best pal Montgomery "Buttons" Kaluhiokalani, all but defined Hawaiian hotdog surfing in the mid-1970s. Liddell was born (1960) in Hollywood, California, raised in Honolulu, and began surfing at Waikiki in 1968. His nimble, spidery style of riding was a perfect match for the fast-cornering sting surfboard, introduced by Honolulu surfer-shaper Ben Aipa in 1974.

Liddell and Honolulu neighbor Kaluhiokalani began surfing together in 1975, and were featured on the cover of Surfer magazine the following year, casually posed on the harbor rocks near Kaisers, a favorite Waikiki haunt. Neither Liddell nor Kaluhiokalani had much luck on the world pro tour, but they dominated the popular Waikiki breaks for more than five years, set a new small-wave performance standard—both mastered a looping 360-degree turn 15 years before Kelly Slater and his New School peers made the move famous—and in general seemed to be having a better time than anybody in the sport.

Liddell began shaping surfboards in 1984, was soon hired by Wave Riding Vehicles and Blue Hawaii, and in 1990 opened his own shop, Island Energy Surfboards. He appeared in more than a half-dozen surf movies and videos, including Playgrounds in Paradise (1976) and Many Classic Moments (1978).