Lucas, Jimmy


Regularfoot surfer from Kauai; a standout among the first wave of Hawaiian shortboarders in the late 1960s, known as the Hawaiian Impala for his graceful style. "Jimmy has to be seen to be believed," photographer Dave Darling said of Lucas in 1968. "Always in complete control, with fantastic timing, his surfing is on the same level as that of Billy Hamilton and Barry Kanaiupuni."

Lucas was born (1949) and raised in Honolulu, and began surfing as a schoolboy on a homemade board built by his mother. He was 17 when he competed in the 1966 World Surfing Championships, held in San Diego, California; by the turn of the decade he was described by some as the most naturally talented surfer in the world.

Lucas used the open-knee stance popular with Hawaiian surfers of the period, linked his turns together beautifully, and was fearless at places like Haleiwa and Sunset Beach on the North Shore of Oahu. He continued to enter surf contests in his late teens and early 20s—finishing runner-up to Jeff Hakman in the 1973 Hang Ten American Pro—but otherwise was almost completely removed from the commercial surf scene. "You never hear of Jimmy Lucas," East Coast surfer Bruce Valluzzi said in 1971, "because he's not where they're taking pictures, and he's not endorsing anybody's surfboard."

Lucas appeared in a small number of surf movies, including The Natural Art (1969) and Super Session (1975).