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Peak-shaped wave, generally short, hollow, and powerful; ridable in either direction—left or right—and often well-suited to tuberiding. Viewed front on, the A-frame wave has a symmetrical outline resembling that of an A-frame building. ... Read More
Good-natured surfer-writer-musician from Pacific Palisades, California; best known as cowriter of Warner Brothers’ 1978 surfing film Big Wednesday. Aaberg was born (1947) in Boston, Massachusetts, and moved with his family at age two to the west Los Angeles town of Pacific Palisades. By the time Denny Aaberg began surfing in 1959 as a 12- year-old, his older brother Kemp was one of California’s top surfers. Aaberg’s ... Read More
Lean, blond, smooth-surfing regularfooter from Santa Barbara, California; a Gidget-era Malibu icon and costar of filmmaker Bruce Brown’s 1958 surf movie, Slippery When Wet. Aaberg was born (1940) in Peoria, Illinois, spent his early childhood in Boston, Massachusetts, and moved with his family in 1948 to Pacific Palisades, in west Los Angeles. Eight years later he began surfing, at Malibu, first as a goofyfooter, then s... Read More
Hardcase Australian pro surfer and slab-wave addict; cofounder of the Bra Boys, a menacing boardriding club from Maroubra Beach, in south Sydney. Abberton was born (1979) the son of a heroin-using mother and an absent father, and spent much of his youth living in government housing. He began riding waves as a child with his older brothers Sunny and Jai, and by his teenage years was turning heads at the shifty, powerful waves of Maroubra and ne... Read More
Punk-flavored surfer, skateboarder, entrepreneur, and activist, from Newport, Rhode Island, often described as “the Godfather of New England surfing.” Abbruzzi was born (1951) and raised in Newport. Duke Abbruzzi, his father, was an high school All State athlete in three sports (football, basketball, baseball), a star first baseman and running back at University of Rhode Island, and played a season in the NFL. (Pat Abbruzzi, Sid... Read More
Stylish, enigmatic regularfooter from Honolulu, Hawaii; world-ranked #4 in 1977, and a central figure throughout the first decade of shortboard surfing. Abellira was born (1950) and raised in Honolulu, the son of a middleweight boxer who was shot and killed in a Chinatown pool hall. Abellira began surfing at age four in Waikiki, but didn’t get his first board until 11. He won the juniors division of the Makaha International in 1966 and 1... Read More
Determined pro surfer from Haleiwa, Hawaii; world-ranked #2 in 2000. “Abubo looks soft but surfs hard,” Surfer magazine said in 2000, noting that the Hawaiian regularfooter, then 22, was likely five or six years from her prime. Abubo was born (1978) in Connecticut, moved with her family to Hawaii, began surfing at age 10 in Waikiki, and won seven national titles as an amateur. She was the pro tour’s rookie of the yea... Read More
Although tens of thousands of recreational surfers have enrolled in colleges and universities over the decades, and coastal-area college surf teams and clubs have been around since the mid-1960s, surfing and the academy have had little effect on each other, and connections between the two are still for the most part regarded as novel, quirky, or gently amusing. Just a small number of well-known surfers have earned graduate degrees of one kind ... Read More
Designer and publisher of surpassingly elegant photo books on surf culture; based in Santa Barbara, California; best known for his work with blue chip surf photographers such as Don James and Jeff Divine. Adler was born (1950) and raised in Long Beach, the son of an aerospace engineer father and a stay-at-home mother. He learned to ride waves at age 14 in the mostly closed-out walls of nearby Seal Beach, and by the time he moved no... Read More
Surfing has been used as an advertising tool for over 100 years. The sport’s revival in Hawaii during the early 20th century was in fact greatly encouraged by Waikiki hotel owners and other regional boosters who recognized “surf-riding” as a romantic tourist-trade marketing device. Surfing was introduced to Southern California in 1907 when Waikiki surfer George Freeth, arriving on the mainland with a letter of introduction fr... Read More
Skateboard-influenced surfing maneuver where the rider launches off the wave crest into one of an ever-growing number of board- and body-torquing airborne variations, then lands back on the wave face. Aerials are performed almost exclusively in waves under six feet. Along with the tow-in method of big-wave riding, aerial surfing split off into something like to its own distinct branch of the sport during the 1990s, with aerial specialists and ... Read More
Kinetic surf-world industrialist and contest organizer; co-founder of Reef Footwear. Aguerre was born (1958) in Mar del Plata, Argentina, began surfing at age 11, immigrated to Southern California in 1984 after earning a law degree, and the following year launched Reef Brazil with younger brother Santiago. Based in San Diego, Reef soon gained international notice for a relentless advertising campaign featuring a series of back-arched, thong-bi... Read More
Graceful regularfoot surfer from Haleiwa, Hawaii; winner of the 1986 Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau contest at Waimea Bay. Clyde Aikau began surfing in 1964 at age 15, in Waikiki, and before the year was out had become the Hawaii’s juniors division champion. For years he was somewhat overshadowed by older brother Eddie, who made a spectacular debut at Waimea in 1966, and was known as the finest big-wave rider of his generation. In 1... Read More
Iconic big-wave rider from Honolulu, Hawaii; winner of the 1977 Duke Kahanamoku Classic surf contest, just three months before dying in a boating accident; regarded as the greatest Waimea surfer of his time, and namesake to the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau big-wave surf contest. “He had the ultimate Hawaiian style,” next-generation big-wave charger Darrick Doerner said in 1990. “Take off and drop in, big bottom turn, d... Read More
Innovative surfer-boardmaker-coach from Honolulu, Hawaii; a top competitor in the 1960s and early ’70s, and creator of the swallowtail and sting surfboard designs. Aipa was born (1942) in Honolulu, the son of a sugar plantation worker, and didn’t begin riding waves until his early 20s, after an ankle injury ended his semipro football career. He trained for surfing with the single-mindedness he’d developed as a linebacker, not... Read More
Controlled maneuver where rider and surfboard briefly lift off the water while dropping into a steep or concave wave face. The air-drop is usually done right after the surfer gets to his feet and begins riding. For decades, surfers sometimes mistakenly went airborne on takeoff, almost always resulting in a wipeout. Not until the late ’80s was it discovered that by shifting the weight to the back foot while remaining centered and l... Read More
Surfboard-coloring method using water-soluble acrylic paints sprayed in a mist through a handheld, air-pressurized nozzle. Airbrushing—also known as airspraying—is usually done directly onto the board’s foam core, prior to fiberglassing; it can also be applied in between the sanding coat of resin and the gloss coat. Airbrush designs range from clean and simple to wildly extravagant; the process adds between $35 and $200 to the board&... Read More
Specialized surfing event, popular in the 1990s and ’00s, where competitors are judged solely on aerial maneuvers; conceived and developed in 1996 by Surfing magazine senior editor Skip Snead, with help from aerialist Shawn “Barney” Barron of Santa Cruz. Surfing aerials—first attempted in the late ’70s, then given a boost in popularity in the early ’90s by Christian Fletcher and Kelly Slater, am... Read More
Long, fast, left-breaking wave in Honolulu, Hawaii, located next to the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor; “the agony and the ecstasy of the South Shore,” as described by Surfing magazine; a high-performance haven for local surfers, nearly as famous for its mashing crowds as for its tubing Bowl section. While Ala Moana breaks from two to 10 feet and is ridable almost daily from midspring to midfall, it rarely gets over eight fee... Read More
A thin, round-nosed, square-tailed surfboard, used by commoners and royalty alike in pre-20th-century Hawaii, and updated over 100 years later as an offshoot of surfing’s retro movement. The original alaia was generally made of koa wood (sometimes breadfruit or wiliwili), and was the most suitable type of board for riding the steep, fast-breaking waves common to the Islands. Of the 13 premodern boards housed in Honolulu’s Bi... Read More
The surf world’s relationship to alcohol isn’t much different from that of other sporting or recreational cultures. For a small percentage of surfers, drinking is addictive, hazardous, and occasionally deadly, but for a huge majority it’s a safe and enjoyable part of their après-surf lives. “We thought that our last pints were being pulled at 11:30,” American surf nomad Kevin Naughton wrote in a 1978 Surfer... Read More
Fearsome Hawaiian big-wave surfer and founder of the Wolfpak, a loosely-organized vigilante surf group, from Hanalei, Kauai; best known as a merciless enforcer to surfers who visit the North Shore of Oahu and take waves out of turn; called the “Toughest Fucking Man in Surfing” by Stab magazine. Alexander was born (1969) on Oahu, to a blond-haired, blue-eyed mother from Detroit and an absent Hawaiian father. He was t... Read More
Casual short-sleeve print shirt, originally made in Hawaii; a colorful fashion item that over the decades bounced all over the fashion spectrum, from casually elegant, to tacky and garish, to highly collectible. Native Hawaiians for years had been hand-painting island motifs onto the drab tapa-bark palaka shirts favored by Chinese immigrant workers, when, in 1931, Honolulu tailor Ellery Chun began putting the same brightly colo... Read More
Ocean-sports industrialist from Orange County, California; founder of Hobie Surfboards in 1954 and the Hobie Cat sailboat company in 1967. “Perhaps more than anyone else,” surf journalist Drew Kampion wrote in 1988, “including Gidget, Dora, Frankie and Annette, even the Duke, Hobie Alter has been responsible for the growth and development of surfing.” Alter was born on Halloween, 1933, in Ontario, California, the... Read More
Efficient surfing organizer from San Juan, Puerto Rico; president of the International Surfing Association (ISA) from 1988 to 1990. Alvarez was born (1957) in Miami, Florida, moved with his family to San Juan in 1965, and began surfing two years later. He competed for Puerto Rico in the 1978 World Championships in South Africa. In Australia for the 1982 Championships he lobbied the ISA on behalf of Puerto Rico for the rights to host the 1988 C... Read More
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