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My List of Influential Surfers

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All this surf talk on PT has made me think of the surfers that most influenced the sport:

1. Duke Kananamoku- HI...He popularized the ancient Hawaiian sport.

2. Rabbit Kekai-HI-USA...He is one of the innovators of modern surfing; was a beach boy at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and I was lucky to surf with him in Hawaii and later in Costa Rica.

3. Micky Dora "Da Cat"- USA...famous for making surfing a rebel lifestyle.

4. Gerry Lopez-HI-USA...Great surfer and founder of short board LIghtening Bolt brand.

5. Mark Richards-Aus... 4 World titles, rode Lighhtening Bolt surfboards

6. Simon Anderson-Aus...Invented the 3-fin "thruster" which is the industry standard today.

7. Jeff Clark-USA...Rode Mavericks ALONE for 15 years before the big wave community discovered this monster wave.

8. Laird Hamilton-HI-USA...the ultimate waterman; invented tow-in surfing to ride Jaws (Peahi-Maui); popularized stand-up paddle surfing. I saw a video of him in 10'+ Malibu surf shoot the pier twice.

9. Kellly Slater- USA... Everything has been said; Florida boy who is 11 time World Champion and his company has built the best artificial wave in the world in California and has plans to build another in south Florida.

10. Name your own... I'm sure I overlooked a few.

 

 

 

 

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I'm old school - and getting older. :) So let me throw in a few heavy weights from way back when.

Phil Edwards - brought style to surfing, the king of smooth, something lost on the short boards today.

David Nuuhiwa - the best nose rider ever, something also lost on today's short boards.

Butch Van Artsdalen - often seen around my home town - a local legend. One of, if not the first, to actually surf and rip at Pipeline - previously thought impossible.

Nat Young - probably the guy who put Aussies on the map as serious and supreme surfers.

And you can't forget the first big wave pioneers - Greg Noll, Ricky Grigg, Fred Hemmings, to name a few.

And maybe the most recognizable and iconic surf photo ever. Greg Noll at Pipeline, taken by John Severson - Not known for his surfing, but he founded Surfer Magazine in 1962 - surfing's first surf mag that quickly became the heartbeat of surfing - and still going strong.

 

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Nat Young, Lopez, Noll, BK, Mickey da Cat, Joel Tudor to name a couple.

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I forgot one guy - especially if this is about the "most influential" surfers.

Larry Bertlemann, (also a mold breaking skateboarder), ignited imaginations everywhere about what really could be done on the newly introduced short boards.

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Joyce Hoffman, early pioneer, Margo Oberg, early professional female surfer, Rell Sun, legendary for her graceful form and short life of aloha, Lisa Andersen, ripped it up while raising kids, Layne Beachley, "the Beast," fearless big wave surfer.  Many more worthy names, but these come to mind. I ran into Layne Beachley in the Honolulu airport and very uncharacteristically approached her to say how much I admired her athleticism and devotion to serious training. My daughter was about 12 at the time and idolized her. She was very friendly and didn't mind a quick chat. Nice lady. The others I only knew from the pages of surf magazines and the rare surf movie that showed in the high school auditorium.

 

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One more special mention, Bethany Hamilton, my choice for Most Inspirational. Lose your arm to a shark bite, but continue to surf competitively? Not many people have that kind of resolve.

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9 hours ago, Kim said:

Joyce Hoffman, early pioneer, Margo Oberg, early professional female surfer, Rell Sun, legendary for her graceful form and short life of aloha, Lisa Andersen, ripped it up while raising kids, Layne Beachley, "the Beast," fearless big wave surfer.  Many more worthy names, but these come to mind. I ran into Layne Beachley in the Honolulu airport and very uncharacteristically approached her to say how much I admired her athleticism and devotion to serious training. My daughter was about 12 at the time and idolized her. She was very friendly and didn't mind a quick chat. Nice lady. The others I only knew from the pages of surf magazines and the rare surf movie that showed in the high school auditorium.

 

Kim, one of my first memories is laying on the floor, watching the Beatles first Ed Sullivan appearance at the Hoffman house. Grew up with the many Hoffmans that were around, along with Hobie Alter and his kids. 

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8 hours ago, Gonzer said:

Kim, one of my first memories is laying on the floor, watching the Beatles first Ed Sullivan appearance at the Hoffman house. Grew up with the many Hoffmans that were around, along with Hobie Alter and his kids. 

It was magical, and I bet you didn't even know it then. :)

 

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2 hours ago, Kim said:

It was magical, and I bet you didn't even know it then. :)

 

You are SO correct on that. Imagine my surprise when I later found out there was a dude name of Corky Carroll watching with us. "Corky who" said this (almost) 6 year old?

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Sean Collins.  Clearly not for his surfing, but for his influence on surfing through creating the modern day surf forecasts.  Prior to Sean's development of Surfline, you either went to the beach to "check it", listened to the marine weather forecasts on a weather radio, or by the 1980's could look at a faxed copy posted at surf shops of a "surf report".  Whether you use the product he pioneered, Surfline, or not, daily surfers know his influence by the size of the crowd at their regular breaks.  So for better or worse, he has had an out sized influence on surfing in this day and age.  

I didn't even mention how the modern surf reports he has pioneered have influenced "surgical strikes" for surf trips timed to coincide with a swell.  Today it is difficult to travel and get "lucky" and score epic uncrowded waves, as everyone in the world has access to information to help them arrive on the days most likely to have the best conditions.  It's only when the conditions misbehave that you can get lucky.  So depending on your perspective, thanks Sean... RIP.

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On 3/9/2018, 8:48:01, Kim said:

Joyce Hoffman, early pioneer, Margo Oberg, early professional female surfer, Rell Sun, legendary for her graceful form and short life of aloha, Lisa Andersen, ripped it up while raising kids, Layne Beachley, "the Beast," fearless big wave surfer.  Many more worthy names, but these come to mind. I ran into Layne Beachley in the Honolulu airport and very uncharacteristically approached her to say how much I admired her athleticism and devotion to serious training. My daughter was about 12 at the time and idolized her. She was very friendly and didn't mind a quick chat. Nice lady. The others I only knew from the pages of surf magazines and the rare surf movie that showed in the high school auditorium.

 

Lisa Anderson was always a favorite of mine. Keeping with the female surfers, but on the lighter side, Kate Bosworth killed it in the movie Blue Crush...she was in the finals of Pipe with Layne Beachley.


 

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