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Narrow, dry, west-pointing finger of land located on the northwest tip of Oahu in Hawaii, fringed with black lava rocks and cliffs. On the biggest winter swells, Kaena will produce what appears to be ridable right-breaking 40-foot-plus waves on the southwest side of the point, and equally large but less organized left-breaking waves on the northwest side. From the late 1950s to the 1980s, Kaena Point was thought of as big-wave surfing’s... Read More
The long-celebrated father of modern surfing, from Honolulu, Hawaii; an Olympic gold medal swimmer and Hawaii’s beloved ambassador to the world through much of the first half of the 20th century. Kahanamoku was a skilled wave-rider, but his real gift to surfing was the way he presented the sport as something that could be practiced with grace, humor, and generosity. “You know,” he said in 1965, “there are so many waves... Read More
Quiet Hawaiian big-wave surfer rider from Laie, Oahu; third-place finisher in the 1963 Makaha International contest. Kaio (born: 1935) didn’t begin surfing until 1956 at age 21, on an old discarded redwood plank. “I was just out of the military,” Kaio later told surf writer Nick Carroll, “diving, fishing, drinking, and smoking. Surfing cleaned me up.” Just two years later, Kaio was riding Sunset Beach, the... Read More
Unheralded pure-blooded Hawaiian surfer from Oahu; men’s division winner in the 1962 West Coast Surfing Championships. Kalama was born (1943) in Honolulu to one of the state’s largest families—he was the youngest of nine siblings, and his grandmother is said to have given birth to 21 children. His father was a renowned bodysurfer. Kalama began surfing at age six in Waikiki, and in 1959 he moved with part of his immediate f... Read More
Loose, jiving regularfoot surfer from Waikiki, Hawaii; winner of the 1979 Sunkist Pro at Malibu, and one of the sport’s most naturally gifted riders. He was born Montgomery Ernest Thomas Kaluhiokalani (1958) in Honolulu, the son of an army serviceman, and raised on Oahu’s North Shore. At age five he moved with his two brothers and bartender mother to Waikiki; his grandmother said his black curly hair looked like buttons sewn to his... Read More
Imperishable American surf writer and editor, best known for his work with Surfer magazine in the late 1960s and early ’70s. Kampion was born (1944) and raised in Buffalo, New York, and began surfing in 1962, two years after moving with his family to Sunnyvale, California. He received a B.A. in English from California State University at Northridge in 1966, worked briefly for the Wall Street Journal, and was first publi... Read More
Revered power surfer from Haleiwa, Hawaii; world-ranked #9 in 1976, but best known for his innovative and never-duplicated approach at Sunset Beach. Kanaiaupuni was born (1945) and raised in Honolulu, the son of a supervisor for the Honolulu Rapid Transit bus system, and began surfing at age eight in Waikiki. As a teenager he was briefly featured in Bud Browne’s 1963 surf movie Gun Ho!; three years later Rick Surfboards ... Read More
Regularfoot pro surfer from Chiba, Japan; winner of the Japan Professional Surfing Association tour in 1989 and 1990; described by Surfing magazine as “the Japanese Tom Curren.” Kasuya was born (1961) and raised in Chiba, and began surfing at age 15, after becoming one of the country’s top skateboarders. In 1980 he was Japan’s second-ranked men’s division amateur surfer; the following year he move... Read More
Pro-am surfing competition held in Huntington Beach, California, from 1977 to 1998, and again from 2009 to 2011; founded and sponsored by Kanvas by Katin surf trunks; California’s premier international surfing event during its early years. “This was as creamy a crop as surfing was likely to produce anywhere in the world,” Drew Kampion said of the 1979 Katin field that included nearly every top pro of the age, “and it wa... Read More
Owner and cofounder of Kanvas by Katin surf trunks, one of the original surfwear lines; known from the 1960s to the ’80s as the “First Lady of Surfing.” As California surfer Mike Doyle later recalled, “Nancy was a little 89-pound lady who chain-smoked; very nervous and excitable, but the sweetest woman I ever met.” Nancy Alexander was born (1900) and raised in Long Beach, California, and worked as a vaudevi... Read More
Japanese surfer and boardmaker, born (1948) in Kamogawa, Chiba, about 60 miles southeast of Toyko. Kawai learned to bodysurf from his father, and saw board-surfing for the first time while watching TV. At 16 he learned to ride stand-up on a surf mat. Later that year, an American surfer visited and loanded Kawai his board—which, after having... Read More
Glowering power surfer from Honolulu, Hawaii; world-ranked #2 in 1980, remembered as the best tuberider of his generation, and often credited as inventor of the “pigdog” tuberiding stance. Kealoha was born (1958) and raised in Honolulu, the son of a pure-blooded Hawaiian carpenter father. He tried surfing for the first time at age ten at Waikiki, accompanied by his father; after wiping out on his opening wave, Kealoha swam for sho... Read More
Commanding Hawaiian surfer from Makaha, Oahu; winner of the 1960 Makaha International, and often referred to as the “Mayor of Makaha.” Keaulana was born (1935) in Honolulu, and moved with his family to Makaha, on Oahu’s west side, at age five. He learned to surf as a child at Waikiki, and made his first board by taking a machete to a blank assembled from glued-together railroad ties. Keaulana worked as a Waikiki beachb... Read More
Drawling but dynamic goofyfoot surfer and surfboard manufacturer from Cocoa Beach, Florida; aerial pioneer in the late ’70s and early ’80s, and winner of the 1992 ASP East circuit. Kechele was born (1962) and raised in Cocoa Beach, began surfing at age eight, and as a teenager earned a spot near the top of the pecking order at Sebastian Inlet, Florida’s best and most crowded break. He won the 1981 Stubbies Trials at the Inlet... Read More
Enduring, low-key photographer from Del Mar, California; best known for his work in Hawaii and California during the early- and mid-1960s, but a producer of high-quality surf images for decades to follow. Keck was born (1937) and raised in Coronado, a beachfront suburb of San Diego. He learned to bodysurf at age 11, and ride a board at age 14. Keck later worked as a San Diego County lifeguard. While attending Hawaii’s Brigham ... Read More
Energetic regularfooter from Waikiki, Hawaii; often recalled as the best high-performance surfer of the 1930s and ’40s; winner of the Makaha International in 1955; a senior surfing icon in the ’90s and ’00s. “Rabbit is the living link,” as Longboard magazine put it in 1998, “to surfing’s entire modern history.” Kekai was born (1920) and raised in Waikiki, began surfing at age five... Read More
Lively and resourceful surfer-activist from Hawaii; inventor of the hot curl surfboard in 1937. Kelly was born (1919) in San Francisco, the son of artists, moved with his family to Honolulu at age four, and began surfing at six on his mother’s discarded ironing board. Kelly got his first real surfboard at nine, a seven-foot redwood plank shaped by David Kahanamoku, Duke’s brother. It was Kelly’s idea in the summer of 1... Read More
Scary-beautiful blonde goofyfooter from Hanalei, Kauai; world-ranked #4 in 2002, with an untouchable reputation as the sport’s most fearless female tuberider; described by Rolling Stone magazine as “Hawaii’s big-wave amazon.” Kennelly was born (1978) in Hanalei, raised in a geodesic dome made by her two surfing parents, and got her first board at age five. She was a force as an amateur competitor; in the... Read More
Australian surfboard manufacturer from Sydney’s Manly Beach; founder of Keyo Surfboards, and an unheralded leader of the late-’60s shortboard revolution. Denny Keogh was born (1937) in Dulwich Hill, Sydney, raised in Manly, began surfing at age eight. As a teenager he worked summers as a Manly Beach lifeguard, then wintered in the Australian Outback where he worked as a wool classer. A hobbyist shaper for two or three years... Read More
Shockingly handsome pro surfer from Hawaii; world-ranked #6 in 1978, and one of the original tow surfers of the early ’90s. Kerbox was born (1956) in Indianapolis, Indiana, and was nine years old when he moved with his family to Kailua, on the east side of Oahu; he began surfing the following year. Kerbox won two big pro contests, the 1978 World Cup at Sunset Beach and the 1980 Surfabout in Sydney; the latter earned him $12,000 and a ne... Read More
Friendly, high-flying pro surfer from Tweed Heads, New South Wales, Australia; world-ranked #8 in 2011 and 2012; called “maybe the best air guy in the world,” in 2010 by Kelly Slater. Kerr was born (1984) and raised in Tweed Heads, the only boy in a family of five older sisters. His father, a surfboard sander, taught Kerr to surf at age nine, just two years before dying of a heart attack while sailboarding. The young regularfoot took refug... Read More
Braking maneuver in which the surfer shifts his weight to the rear foot and momentarily lifts the nose of the board. Shortboarders occasionally use the kick-stall to slow down for a tube section, but in general it’s a longboard maneuver, performed in small- to medium-size waves, often as a way to set up a noseride. Surfers in Waikiki may have been doing an early version of the kick-stall as far back as the 1920s, but it’s ge... Read More
Bushy-haired back-to-the-future filmmaker, writer, and musician, from North Coast, New South Wales, best known for his soulful 1996 film Litmus. Kidman was described by the Surfer’s Journal as “our equivalent of a roving medieval ascetic, spreading his high-consciousness idealism to the four corners of the surfing world.” Born (1970) in the Australian capital city of Canberra, the son of an economist ... Read More
Aquatic Hawaii-born cameraman from Kailua, Oahu; Surfing magazine staff photographer through the 1980s and early ’90s; best known for his tight-angle action water photography. King was born (1960) in Honolulu, raised in Kailua, and began surfing in 1969 in Waikiki. He took his first water shots at age 14, swimming into the lineup at Pipeline with a waterproof Kodak Instamatic—the equivalent, as Surfing magazine later ... Read More
Imposing Hawaiian surfer from Kalapaki, Kauai; a Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau competitor from 1986-2009; regarded since the mid-’70s as the guardsman and figurehead of Kauai surfing. “People might think that I’m some kind of heavy,” Kinimaka told Surfer magazine in 1986, “but I’m just holding heritage, holding roots.” Kinimaka was born (1955) and raised on Kauai, the 13th of 16... Read More
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