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Waikiki Surf Club

Ian Lind continues to post photographs from his father's photographic collection. It is a great collection of historic images. Please go to John Lind's Waikiki Surf Club Collection





[ The following is from the LEGENDARY SURFERS Chapter "Post World War II," a section on The Waikiki Surf Club, 1947 ]

No two ways about it, World War II had interrupted the lives of most everyone in the "civilized" world and, in the case of surfing, put a lot of things on hold. Following the war, however, there was resurgent interest in and some changes in how surfing was organized in its traditional early 20th Century capitol, Waikiki.

By the end of 1946, the two main original Waikiki surf clubs had changed considerably. The native Hui Nalu had limited its activities mostly to outrigger canoe racing. The haole-influenced Outrigger Canoe Club had become more of an exclusive prestige-type establishment, "with a wide range of social and athletic interests." So, in 1947, the Waikiki Surf Club was formed for the same reasons that the other two had originally been put together. "Its purpose," wrote surfing historian Ben Finney, "was to promote surfing as well as other Hawaiian water sports. It provided board lockers and clothes changing facilities near the beach, for anyone who could pay the small initiation fee and monthly dues."

It was obvious that the Waikiki Surf Club filled a void, when, under the leadership of John Lind, it enrolled 600 members in three months -- some of whom were California surfers that were just starting to come over to the Islands. "We had [island local] members like George Downing, Wally Froiseth, Russ Takaki," recalled relocated California surfer Walter Hoffman. "The Outrigger was down the beach, at $200 per month -- a rich guy's club, very exclusive, you had to be voted in. Our club was for the regular guys who surfed, so it was a great place to meet everybody -- where all the transplant Californians hung out."

"The club was downstairs in the basement of this house... and consisted of some lockers, showers and a place to leave your board." A local guy named Taka was club attendant around the time Walt Hoffman and Ted Crane first came over in 1948.

The Waikiki Surf Club was followed by other newer clubs and the ongoing health of the older ones, but much of the post-war growth of surfing at Waikiki was, undoubtedly, due to the existence of the Waikiki Surf Club. The club did more than just provide a place for surfers to hang and keep their gear close to the beach. The club also initiated and sponsored several surfing and watermen events that stimulated public interest and fostered competition. Among these were: the Diamond Head Surfboard Championships, the Molokai-Oahu Outrigger Canoe Race, the Makapu Bodysurfing Championships, and what was to become famous as not only the first big wave surfing contest, but the first truly international surf contest: the International Surfing Championships at Makaha.

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