Wallace "Wally" Froiseth
Legendary Hot Curl Surfer
Aloha and welcome to another chapter in the LEGENDARY SURFERS collection!
This chapter on hot curl surfer Wally Froiseth is taken
from my profile on Wally that appeared in The
Surfer's Journal, Volume 6, Number 4, Winter 1997. The article
featured photographs from Wally's personal collection as reshot by Steve
Wilkings. I was extremely honored to be able to interview Wally, get to
know him and even rummage around in his basement museum. He is one of the
great surfers of the Twentieth Century.
Enjoy, spread the stoke, and
-- if you have the time -- let me know how I'm doing.
The Empty Lot Boys
Code of the Surf Drunk
The First Hot Curls
Hot Curl Resentments
South Shore Bluebirds
Tavern vs. Kahanamoku's
Woody Brown & George Downing
Big Wave Surfing Catches On
Cat Trip 1957
Hot Curl Restorations
For Young & Old
"As we grew up, we used to rent
boards from the old Tavern; 50 cents-a-day, 25 cents-a-day kind of thing."
Wally looked over the rim of his glasses at me. "And, then we finally got
some boards of our own. We were able to buy or somebody gave us some."
We sat on Wally's bed, pouring
over old photograph albums and talking story of the Hot Curl days. It was
not lost on me that I was at last interviewing one of surfing's pioneer
big wave riders. Wallace Froiseth, born December 21, 1919, is perhaps the
most well-known of the Hot Curl surfers of the 1930s and '40s. As such,
he played a vital part in the early evolution of today's big wave guns,
beginning in 1937 with the refinement of the fin-less, redwood Hot Curl
"My first board I got given to
me by a fella by the name of Allan Wilcox." Wally estimated his age somewhere
between 8 and 10 years of age. "He lived in Kahala and was a good friend
of my family's. He had a son and the son brought somebody down from the
Coast; a school buddy. One of the fellas that started the Hui
Nalu club had made two boards for he and his friend. When the boy went
back to the Coast, Allan Wilcox saw that I was really into big wave surfing.
So, he gave me that board. After that, we surfed all around Kahala, Diamond
Head, Black Point and Waikiki. Every place."
The Empty Lot Boys
Wally's family came to the Islands
in 1925. "Summertime, back in the '20s, my father would drop us off down
Waikiki and, you know, we'd be around the beach all day; surf and what
not. Then, he'd come home from work, pick us up in the evening and bring
us back to where we lived in Kahala.
"I had three brothers. One real
brother and two, you know, step brothers that were my father's from a previous
marriage. So, there were four of us boys in the family at that time."
"I don't know. I seemed to take
to it real heavy. Even my brothers -- my real brother and I, we progressed
up to Castle, but my other brothers weren't that interested in it for some
reason. They surfed all right; Queens, around that area. but, my brother
and I weren't satisfied with that. Rocky's, Cunha's -- you know -- bigger
surf like Public Baths and then Castle.
"I was surfing Castle when I
was, like, 11 years-old. I remember my brother kind of scolding me, because
I went a little faster [further sooner] than he did. He was always mad
because he was scared for my safety.
"What happened with me -- I went
out Castle to look at it. That's how I started going out there. I went
out to look at the waves and it's so big, it fascinated me. You know what
I mean? And so, then, what happened is -- I can remember it real vividly
-- I got caught on a couple of sets. Just pounded. And, then I was sitting
out there after I got my board and everything and I figured, 'Well, if
I can take the pounding, why can't I ride 'em?' So, I started riding 'em.
And I was so jazzed when I came home. My brother was all mad at me. So,
then he started coming out, too...
John Kelly, my brother and this kid Dougie Forbes -- we used to paddle
from Black Point, you know. We'd go over Kelly's house with our boards,
throw 'em in the water and paddle down [to] Waikiki -- Surf -- sometimes
paddle 'em back, sometimes just leave 'em there."
Speaking of the surfers he hung
with and their being outside both the Outrigger
Canoe Club and Hui Nalu groups of surfers, Wally recalled that, "We
were what was known as the 'Tavern Boys' or the 'Empty Lot Boys' ... You
know where the big banyon tree is in Kuhio Park? Well, that used to be
a big empty lot. Prince Kuhio's home was right next to it. We used to just
call it 'the empty lot.' That banyon tree was all jungle. The banyon tree's
hollow, so, if we didn't have time to paddle the boards back, we'd just
put our boards in there -- put our boards in the middle of that tree. Nobody'd
take 'em in those days, anyway, but, you know, you can't just leave 'em
on the beach. So, we'd get 'em in there. No problem."
Trying to keep myself from drooling
all over Wally's priceless historical photographs, I asked him who his
early surfing influences were.
Blake -- He and I were really good friends; my brother and him, especially."
Wally spoke fondly of surfing's first great innovator; inventor of the
hollow board, the skeg, sailboard and more. "In fact, he gave me one of
those -- he made 3 aluminum skegs down at the old Honolulu Ironworks down
there. He gave one to Gene Smith -- Tarzan,
they used to call him -- one to me and kept one for himself."
At this point Wally looked at
me kinda funny and then started talking about an article I had written
on Tom Blake and his development of the hollow board. Without coming down
on me, Wally wanted me to know a very important point that my writing had
"Tom Blake didn't actually make
those hollow boards down there. This guy Abel Gomes made the boards. He
was a woodworker. Tom wasn't that much of a woodworker. But, he had the
ideas, you know. He knew what he wanted.
"Abel Gomes worked for a place
they called Honolulu Sash and Door and they made all this kind of stuff.
He was an expert carpenter and woodworker. He made the boards for Tom Blake
-- of course, to Tom Blake's calculations -- maybe all of them weren't
Getting back to Blake, Wally
"And he put the first sail on
a surfboard... Somebody in Germany tried to patent that. The lawyers came
down here and they're asking me if I know anything and I told 'em, 'Yeah,
I got pictures. I'll show ya the first board with a sail on it. This guy
wasn't the first; Tom Blake was.'
"Turns out --" Wally's voice
rises when he talks of his friends. "-- look at these jet skis, man! That's
a takeoff on Tom Blake's concept of a motorized surfboard, which he predicted
would be the wave of the future. The only thing was, they just didn't have
the jet deal perfected back then."
"What about other surfers you
looked up to?" I asked him.
"Oh, ah... a guy by the name
of Ernest Enos. Like I say, we had nicknames. His was 'Snot.' Everybody
called him Snot." Wally caught my eye and added, not entirely convincingly,
"I don't know why...
"Another was a fellow by the
name of Ox Keaulana -- big guy. Of course, the Wili Wili brothers and,
you know, Duke and all his brothers -- they were all big on the scene;
Akong Pang, Joe Pang's uncle. Blue Makua was in our group. Steamboat Makuaha,
senior: I kind of looked up to him... those guys ruled the beach.
Blue and I and all of us kids
-- when they had that jetty going out, you know, that walkway from Moana
-- we used to -- wise kids and all -- we'd go surf in between the piles
and all that kind of stuff. Steamboat come along: "I told you kids, get
outta dere," slap us in the head. You know, he was afraid we'd get hurt,
cuz there were barnacles on the pilings. You could get hurt. Young kids,
though, would do it.
"Those guys really took care
of us. A Japanese guy, one of the few Japanese guys at that time -- probably
the only one who surfed -- was a guy by the name of Akamine. He used to
spin the solid board around, you know; 3-60. No skeg, flat bottom. It was
easy to do, but, we [young kids] couldn't do it."
"When I was real small, Akamine,
Ernest and those guys -- they'd take me out tandem, you know. They'd take
me out First Break, eh? Small, little guy -- probably before I did much
surfing of my own. I never was the kind of guy to scream and holler and
all that kind of stuff. I was too goddamned scared... they used to pick
me all the time."
"What about Dad
Center?" I asked him.
"I got beautiful pictures of
him." Wally pulled aside an older-than-the-rest photo album. "He was one
of the guys who started the Outrigger Canoe Club, you know. That was before
my time, but Dudie and the others... Dudie
Miller and those guys got the canoe clubs going. Hui Nalu was more
the local Hawaiian group. It was started to give the Outrigger some competition.
Outrigger was more the haole group..."
"Another guy, Buddy Adolphsen.
He made our team pretty famous later on for patrolling the North Shore.
We went to school together and all that kind of stuff. He went into the
police department. When he retired, he wouldn't quit patrolling the North
Shore and rescuing guys, just like he had when he was younger.
"Joe Pang was another guy who
surfed with us and there was another kid who was kind of in the group --
Henry Best... He lived down Kahala..."
of the Surf Drunk
"When did 'The Empty Lot' gang
"Well, when we were living down
Kahala. See, Fran [Heath] lived right next door
to us -- small kid time. John Kelly lived at Black Point.
"You know how kids are -- you
know every body in the neighborhood. You know where there's any
other kids around. You look for 'em... and we went to school together...
"At that time, every surfer knew
every other surfer. And, not only every other surfer, they knew every other
surfboard. They knew exactly who owned the board. There were boards with
initials and names and all kinds a crazy stuff and everybody had their
"If they didn't know you by your
birth name, they knew you by your nickname. Everybody had a nickname. A
lot of people knew somebody only by their nickname. For many, many years
-- and to this day, even -- some people never really knew that my brother
was my brother. Just thought he was my pal, because we went every place
together. He and I were kind of an odd brother thing. We liked each other
a lot. Most brothers, you know, they don't..."
Wally had earlier mentioned the
brotherhood that existed amongst the Empty Lot Boys and I asked him to
elaborate on that.
"Like I say, you knew you'd do
anything to help the guys. We were really close. It was sort of a -- it
wasn't a closed group. I mean, guys would come in, but it
was a closed group in the sense that everybody who was tight in that group
was really devoted to surfing. Surfing was practically their whole life.
"I mean, we talked about it,
slept about it, dreamt about it, ate it -- everything!
"We used to call it 'surf drunk.'
There was not that many guys who were surf drunk, but we were. Guys came
in -- some of 'em got to ride on big surf; like, Russ
Takaki, you know; good friend, even now -- see him all the time. He's
one of the guys over here --" Wally pointed to a picture taken in the '40s.
"-- he surfed Castle, too. He was one of the group. We clicked.
"In those days -- not only us,
but everybody else, too -- we had kind of a code, you know; code of ethics,
if you want to call it that. Where -- like I say, if a guy loses his board
and you're in or around -- anywhere's near it -- you'd pick it up for him.
Like, one time, I tandemed Tom Blake from Castle into the edge of the reef
at Public Baths on my solid board! "
That was one thing about the
hollow boards [which Blake rode]; they kept going! Once caught by whitewater,
it was gone!"
First Hot Curls
Like many surfers, I'd heard
of or read about the cutting down of the first Hot Curl surfboard, but
I wanted to ask Wally, himself, how it happened. I'd always thought it
had taken place in 1934. I found out, instead, that the year was 1937:
"We were surfing Brown's -- steep,
like at Sunset," Wally warmed-up in the retelling of this tale. "It hollows
out. So, you just slide tail on bigger surf. So, Kelly brought the board
in. He takes the axe, chops one side; chops the other side; tries it out.
Worked perfect, man! The next day, he was smoothing it out, so, you know,
it's nice. Then, I was so jazzed on it, I made one and Kelly made one.
Kelly's and mine were second & third; basically both made at the same
"Yours and John Kelly's were
second and third?" This was news to me. I'd always thought it was Kelly
cutting his own board down as the first Hot Curl surfboard.
"Fran's was the first cut down,"
Wally clarified. "Kelly cut his down," meaning Fran's semi-hollow Pacific
Redi-Cut Homes model. Wally mentioned he had a copy of the original letter
Dougie Forbes had written Pacific Redi-Cut Homes, ordering the board for
all of $28.
"We wanted to, you know, improve
it, eh?" Wally continued. "And, as we were growing older, we wanted to
surf on bigger and bigger waves -- you know, more challenging -- and experiment
with all kinds of boards, shapes and everything.
"Up until that time, there were
only pretty wide-tailed boards; flat and all that. So, like I say, we just
happened to be in the same area and were the type that wanted to make some
improvement -- or feel we could do something better -- you know, meet the
"Cuz, at the time... you'd catch
a wave and your board would just spin out. 'Slidin' ass,' that was the
term that everybody used.
"You couldn't get across the
wave. You'd get nailed by the white water, tumble out and lose your board
-- no leash or anything. So, a lot of times, if it was in big surf, you'd
swim all the way from Castle to shore -- over the reef and all."
"We did all kinds of experiments
with the Hot Curl. One of the experiments was this guy brought me a --
or gave me a -- balsa board. So, I thought, 'Oh, Christ! Balsa!' I knew
it was fast paddling and all the rest of it, so I made a Hot Curl board
out of it. It was a disaster! Just too much buoyancy, see. It didn't
do any good. I took it out to big Public Baths one day. God! There wasn't
enough drag to control it. You see what I mean? That's why we talk about
our 'controlled drag.' All the curves on my Hot Curl board: they had to
be very precise. A guy like Rabbit [Kekai] would
come down and he tried to shape his own Hot Curl board, see, to see what
it would do. So, Rabbit starts shaping the boards and they'd slide tail,
same way as before!
"He'd come over my house... 'Hey,
Wallace, how the hell... Your boards don't slide tail, how come mine does?'
"'Lemme look at your board.'
So, I look at it and he had the V sharp. He had a sharp V. So, when he
used it, the water would just break off, see. You had to have it just enough
rounded so the water would flow and it would drag just a certain amount
-- calculated drag.
"The very V tail had that. And
a little bit up, it had almost a crown, complete round. Our theory was:
every angle that you had, you're supposed to release some of the drag and
yet have enough drag to keep you from sliding tail.
"We got to that point after some
refinements. Mine, I shaped it the first time -- Kelly's and mine -- and
Fran's first, too. Kelly's and mine were so successful, that was kind of
the pattern for all the rest of 'em. We never altered that much after that."
I asked him about the boards
in the cellar.
"I used to walk from Tusitala
Street all the way down the beach," Wally responded, "surf 8 hours and
carry it back -- my solid redwood board, downstairs, which weighs 68 pounds...
"That one there --" Wally referred
to the slot board with the V up on the deck; one of two that had really
caught Fran Heath's and my attention the day before. "-- we made the tail
thick and kinda sharp edgy for speed and, you know, with the slot and the
fin. And then we started making the tails thinner, cuz, then you could
sink it better. The thickness didn't prove to be too good... we started
to eliminate the Hot Curl round edges -- you know, the calculated drag
-- with use of the fin."
I asked him about the other one
that Fran and I had been particularly intrigued by.
"Solid koa board," Wally declared.
"We researched the boards at the Bishop Museum... We wanted to know the
background. We were really interested. And so, when I found out, gee, they
had olo boards made out of koa and things like that, I wanted to make a
board out of koa and see how practical it would be, because I know koa
was so heavy and that sort of thing.
"So, I made that board, but I
made it in the Hot Curl shape, see. So, I figured, is this an advancement?
Does it help, or hinder or what?
"But, I gotta admit. I used that
solid koa board about three times and I used it out in good sized surf
at Castle and what they call First Break Elks Club -- you know, outside
of Old Man's... I used it three times and I don't see how those -- well,
the wide tail would probably help for buoyancy, you know; like the old
boards were. So, that would probably help. But, once you set it, it's so
heavy and so solid, you can set it in only one direction and then you gotta
live with it. You gotta catch the wave at an angle to begin with, otherwise
you'd never get around -- you know, depending on where you catch it. That's
your course. Of course, you'd rather catch it when it's pretty well hanging,
otherwise it's just a swell. But, it worked good! There's no problem with
it, except you just set a course and go from Castle right to Public Baths
-- no problem. I mean, the glide was fantastic. It was a whole different
"Like, they [the olo riders
of yore] wanted to just stand up and -- like we always kid about -- 'take
the Duke Kahanamoku Stance'
-- you know, hands out, striking a pose."
"I mean, that's where we started,
too, you know. Then, we got into more maneuvering because the VT did
allow you to maneuver better, because you could sink the
tail down and turn.
"We used to go for a '2-second
curl.' In other words, whether it breaks or not, you have at least 2 seconds
of taking off. We called it '2 seconds,' but the longer the better. If
a guy gets nailed... it was kind of an indication the guy had the nerve
to catch the wave that steep and that big."
"What was the focus of the Hot
Curl?" I asked Wally, trying not to sound neither too general nor too stupid.
"Was it speed, maneuverability, holding an edge, what?"
"Because you got a better angle,
you probably got better speed," Wally replied. "If you go straight off,
you can only go as fast as the wave is going. But, if you get an angle,
you can go faster than the wave. You know what I mean? Understand
--" Wally gestured a surfer riding the short vertical side of a triangle
laying on it's second longest side. "-- if you're going from here to here,
the wave is coming into shore and you can only go so fast. Say the wave
is going 10 miles-an-hour. But, if you go here to here --" Now he
gestured a diagonal direction along the hypotenuse. "-- you're going three
times the distance. You must be going three times as fast -- triangulation.
"So, the Hot Curls gave us more
speed. We could hold on a greater angle.
"As for maneuverability, not
too much more than the redwood planks; a little bit more. The tail was
narrower. We could sink it more and it was definitely better for
taking off on a steeper wave, because once you take off, your stern could
sink a little bit -- a lot better than the wide-tailed boards. With a big
stern, you'd pearl dive a lot. So, that part was a big improvement.
"Of course, the bigger the wave,
you know, you gotta start at a better angle. Twelve--fifteen feet, you
gotta catch it at a little bit of an angle. You can't catch it straight
off. You can, now, cuz the boards are a lot different; shorter. But, most
of the boards averaged about 11-feet at that time; solid or semi-hollow...
"A lot of guys -- like Whitey
Harrison -- when they came down and saw what our boards could do at
Castle -- him and Pete Peterson cut their tails
down -- right there on goddamn Waikiki Beach! They cut their tails down.
Of course, when they went back to the Coast, they took their boards with
"Didn't really catch on the Coast,
though. I don't know why..."
I mentioned to Wally that I'd
read that there had been some trouble between the Waikiki surfers in the
Outrigger Canoe Club and the new Hot Curl crowd.
"All the kids from the Outrigger
used to tell all the girls our age, 'Don't fool around with those guys
down at the Tavern. They're bums and they're, you know, not at your same
level.'" Wally got slightly hot, recalling this. "That was the whole scene
while I grew up.
"Even wahines, later on,
when I was maybe out of high school -- senior or something like that --
wahines used to come and tell me, 'Hey, you're a nice guy! You're all right.'
I'd say, 'What do you mean?'
"'These guys were telling me
you guys were all this and that and you'd do this or that' and all kind
"We were a... I don't think you
could say lower club, but, we were, like, The Empty Lot Boys. Then there
was The Tavern People, then Hui Nalu and then Outrigger. So, I guess
the further down the beach, you got lower!
"As we got more into surfing,
you know, we got better and got friends with The Tavern People. I never
graduated from the Tavern area. That's Queen Beach area, now. I was always
there because all my friends were there. I grew up there. Everybody there
was just a tight group. The only times you might mix with guys from Hui
Nalu and some of the guys from the Outrigger, was night-time.
"The Tavern was a gathering spot.
At night, guys would drink. Us young kids, though, we didn't drink much.
We'd just hang around. Guys would play music. We'd go follow them around
at night. You know, like how they used to do in the old days. They'd take
their instruments and walk down the street. If you'd hear a party, why,
you'd go outside and play music and people would come out and everybody
would be drinking and having a good time. That's the way it was done..."
"You think the guys at Outrigger
were making those comments about you guys out of jealousy?"
"I always thought so, because
we were progressing. We were doing things those other guys couldn't do!
We were the only guys that came out to bigger surf! You know, the word
gets around in school. We're talking about, 'Hey, surfing Castle, big Public's
and Cunha's, First Break...' The rest of the kids, you know, they didn't
go out there. Very few went out in bigger surf. The bigger surf you go,
the less guys go.
"So, without you doing anything,
somebody's talkin' about you; you're getting a reputation -- deserved or
not! That kind of thing. You don't have to blow your own horn; somebody
else is gonna blow it louder'n you can!"
"Tell me about those big days
in the '30s..."
"A couple of times, they had
Honolulu Harbor closed," Wally almost laughed. "We used to surf in front
of Sand Island, too, you know. We were the only guys who surfed that area.
I don't know. The only guys we knew. But, with our Hot Curl boards, we
could do a lot more -- more challenge and we'd go lookin' for it.
"There were days when Honolulu
Harbor was total white water across; wave after wave. Waikiki -- John Kelly
and I were out one day. The biggest day I've ever seen Waikiki. We were
out. We went out about 5 o'clock in the morning. It was real -- you know,
not quite light. The night before, we just talked all about this big storm
comin' and all kinda stuff. So, we got together. He and I went out and
got out there... After we got out Castle -- I mean, big Castle -- waves
just got bigger and bigger... We were lucky to get out. Every wave broke
around Diamond Head as far as we could see to the harbor. Whew! Lot bigger
than these --" Wally referred to the picture Blake had given him of a big
day offshore from Waikiki. "He and I, we didn't catch for about two hours!
We just sat there; never picked up a wave, eh? We just -- 'Wow!' You know;
awed by the size.
"I gotta tell ya this story --
Kelly comes up to me. 'Wallace,' he said, 'let's make a pact.'
"'Let's make a pact and shake
hands on it. The next wave comes -- no matter what it is, we're gonna take
it.' I said, 'Oh, no!'
"I was scared enough as it was.
But, knowing Kelly... I know if he goes inside and I don't do this, he's
gonna say I was chicken. He'll tell everybody. So, I can't have
that! So, I said, 'OK.' He and I shook hands; next wave came, we started
"Kelly's board hit a chop and
he didn't get down. But, my board -- oh! Well, it was probably the smallest
wave of the day, you know what I mean? I just went down, proned out and
just -- God! The white water about like as big as this room; can't even
breathe, sometimes, the white water was so massive. You just can't breathe.
You try'n keep your head up. So, I proned out and, by-and-by, it picked
up again and going through Publics, I had it good -- I mean, I had it great!
At Cunha's, I had to cut off, because, I mean -- I could go on to
shore. I could have made it all the way in, like everybody says Duke
did, but who wants to go in there? I'd never get out again! And I was worried
"So, then I cut off when the
whole thing broke and I stayed over there about an hour -- just trying
to paddle out. A big one would come and I'd get knocked in again and I
kept doing that. Finally, I got out and I saw Kelly. And then we both lost
our boards and that was about it. I don't know of any wave he caught --
neither one of us -- outside of that one."
"I hear Waikiki got pretty big
two summers ago..."
"Yeah, one day. It wasn't that
nice and warm, though; a little too windy... Nothing compared to the big
swells in the '30s. I mean, I've seen it plenty times better'n that."
[Brown] told me they used to break bigger back then..."
"Yeah. I have a log --" Wally
went over and found a small spiral board note pad in his bureau. "-- this
is 1936... this is '39. This is the one I want to show you... This is the
surf: Waikiki, '39. The first day, I was working -- I'd just gotten out
of high school and I was working downtown." Wally stopped abruptly and
placed the log book down. "I'll tell you the whole story...
"At work, they told me, in January
['39], 'Take your vacation. You got a month's vacation.' So, I says, 'OK,
I'm going to take it in May.' I figure, the surf in this area starts
"But, just as it happens, the
month of May... all these dates, here... The first week of vacation: nothin'.
I thought, 'Oh, God, I took the wrong --' You know, you can't calculate
and know when surf's gonna come up that far in advance. Then, on the 17th,
the waves got large. I mean, large. And then they got BIG and then
they got huge and they got MONSTROUS! And, then it dropped down
to huge, then it got big, then large and large and then big, then large,
then big, then huge! It's all one continuous storm! I haven't seen
anything like that before or since."
Wally described his log book
rating scale: "M is monstrous, like August 25th of 1935... July 1928 and
'29..." The scale went down from there; to huge, big, large and good.
"What about Fran
Heath?" I asked him.
"Great surfer; great surfer,"
Wally replied nodding his head. "I used to admire his style. He had a neat
way of -- I don't know, there was just something about him; the way he
surfed. He was one of those guys who wanted maximum speed across the wave
and -- try and make it as far as you could.
"At that time, the concept was
a little different, you know. We wouldn't do all these maneuvers that they
do, today... That wasn't being done... The guy that did that kind of surfing
[cut backs, etc.], if any, was my brother. We had a name for it... I forget
what it was... It slowly developed into hot dogging. My brother Gene could
stand way back and fool around like that more than any of the rest of 'em.
"But, most of the time, Fran
and all the rest of us -- we wanted to get across.
"Fran -- he kind of -- it was
like he was part of the board, you know. I always admired that. When you
saw him on a wave or were with him on a wave -- in back of him or whatever
-- he just seemed to be part of that board; so much a part of it, it was
just like one thing.
"I don't know, but unconsciously
I probably tried to emulate him. You know, when you admire someone doing
something -- you want to improve however you can -- so, you know, I'm not
afraid to learn from somebody else.
"He was just -- smooth. You know,
like the way you catch the wave and stand up and everything. It was just
like fluid motion. Beautiful."
"You see, in the old days, part
of the enjoyment with us was watching other people surf. Like, at Castle.
After you catch a wave and you're paddling back out and see somebody catch
a wave and come across, we used to just sit up and just enjoy him enjoying
that wave or making it, getting caught or whatever it was.
"A lot of things like... people
surfing together, there, in those days -- somebody lose his board, you'd
always go and tow it out to him and, you know, there was always companionship,
camaraderie or whatever you want to call it. It was just great...
Blake, sitting outside, waiting for a set, talking all kinds -- all
these ideas... He and I used to see who could come up with the craziest
idea. He used to say, put a big raft over there, have everybody just sit
around and drink coffee or whatever, have a guy watching and then when
a big set comes, everybody throw their board in the water and go catch
"There's another guy. Rick Steere.
He was from the Outrigger. But... he was of the haole group,
but he wasn't, really -- he was different. When I first met him, we were
sitting out Castle, you know. It was big. My brother and maybe Oscar
were out there and also John... And so, I see this guy. He was puttin'
his head down, coming from first break, solid redwood board; just doggin'
it [paddling hard]. And he paddled over and he got into the goddamn lineup.
But, he was maybe 200 feet outside of us. And then this big set came...
That was a real Bluebird. He picked up this wave and I'm telling you...
that thing; easy 20-foot.
"And so, I told those guys, 'Who
the hell is this guy? Where'd he come from?' I'd never seen him
before, you know. So then, what happened was, he got caught, naturally.
He was outside of us before he got caught.
"So, when the white water got
to us, we went down. When I came up, I was looking around. 'Where's that
guy?' We were looking out to sea. Then, he came up inside of us. Inside
of us. Hoses Christ! So... we all swam for our boards; got separated and
I guess he went back and I didn't see him anymore -- that day, anyway.
"So, I went down -- I wanted
to know who this guy was. He was fabulous! So, I went down Outrigger and
finally saw him and asked one of the guys, 'Hey, who's that guy?'
"'Rick Steere.' He was a great
surfer; talk about guts..."
"Lorrin Thurston was around then,
too, wasn't he?" I asked. "He's credited somewhere with having the first
"He and somebody else imported..."
Wally replied. "I can't say who was the first guy, but, he had a balsa
board and there was a guy -- a real rich guy came from the Coast -- and
he had heard about this stuff. So, he had ordered one; ordered this balsa
from Peru and they shipped it down and one of the beach boys over Waikiki
made him a balsa board out of it.
"I don't know... I couldn't say
which came first. The first one I was associated with was the rich guy
who had this balsa board made, shaped by the beach boys; my area. When
the guy left and went back to the Coast, you know, he gave it to the beach
"So, I got to try it out. Boy,
what a difference! Oh, the balsa board was fast!
"My only problem with
it, at that time, was the wide tail, see. But, the buoyancy, paddling speed
and all that kind of stuff -- hold you up out of the water so much
better than the solid redwood boards, you know. No comparison. And, catching
the waves -- so easy! Catch 'em a little further out and all that kind
"But, sliding, you could only
get a certain angle and that was it. You go any more and it'd slide out,
cuz it neither had the V nor a skeg."
I remembered what Wally had said
about the balsa Hot Curl he made, later on, and how even the VT didn't
"Oh," Wally continued, "another
guy we used to surf with -- Oscar Teller...
He wasn't in the Hot Curl group. He was a Waikiki surfer, a good surfer;
surfed Castle all the time. He and Gene Smith were really tight buddies.
He and I were close, too, because he and I surfed more together than most
"Gene Smith was with us early
on; went between all the islands [paddling]. Last one, he got picked-up
because there was no place to land, but he made it! I used to keep his
boards at my house, because he had no place to store them."
I asked him about Tarzan being
the first haole beach boy.
Smith, in order to make money and get a business, he was down by the
Royal Hawaiian. He joined that group there -- Sally Hale and all those
guys. They took tourists out in canoes; more the tourist deal, where with
us it was strictly local guys... Gene Smith later disappeared.
Zahn told me he walked into the desert and never saw him again.
Zahn really helped him out. A couple of times."
"In the lifestyle you guys lived,
were there other aspects of Hawaiian culture you incorporated?"
"Canoeing," Wally answered without
a pause. "We were all heavily into canoeing; most all of us... Then, there
was a group that only liked paddling -- canoe paddling. We had some surfboard
races in the mid-'30s, before the war.
"I was always angered... The
Kahanamoku group and Outrigger group had this big deal; whoever wins the
surfing contest -- they had teams. Duke and
his brothers all had a team and we had our scavenger group down here. But,
you know, we were surfin' 8-9 hours a day and we were in top shape and
we'd catch any thing in the water, you know what I mean? Frank Kennedy
was with us. He, my brother, Gene Smith and myself made up a team, see.
And we wiped 'em out. We came first in almost every event.
"Why I say I get angry, cuz the
deal was, the team that wins is supposed to get a free trip to Australia
-- go over there and surf and all that kind of stuff. They thought they
had it all sewn up, see. The Kahanamoku brothers were the big boys on the
beach. Well, they were older guys that we looked up to, but, you know,
we were feeling our oats -- 18, 19, then. 'They gotta show us they can
beat us!' That kind of thing.
"So, when we won, of course,
we never got the trip..."
I asked Wally about his first
memories of Duke.
"To be honest with you," Wally
said, "he and I were great guys surfing together..." But, I got the impression
that elsewhere was sometimes a different story. "In other words, he was
one of the few guys'd come out to Castle, you know, from the Outrigger
side. There was not that many who did. So, we had a lot of experiences
together. I even dinged his big long board one time; put a big ding in
it. He apologized to me, because I was on the inside of him. He was on
the outside. With his big board, he couldn't swing it fast enough. I had
to get out of the curl, so, I ran right into his board. He and I had to
"Besides that, we started racing
with canoes. I was very upset with him, initially, cuz we had this race
where -- we were young kids and ignorant, see -- he... put his canoe so
that his ama touched our canoe and wouldn't let our paddlers on that side
paddle, so he just barely beat us and not in a fair manner.
"I was swearing -- a young kid
-- 'Hey, goddamn Duke, who the hell do you think you are?!' Eric tells
me, 'Don't talk like that. You know who that is, that's Duke!'
"'I don't give a fuck who
he is! He can't do this to me!'
"So, he's standing up there,
receiving the prize, and I'm yelling and everybody's going, 'Who's that
"'He's from the Tavern.' So,
that probably helped to get the reputation of Tavern guys being bad.
"Later on, when Woody and I and
the rest made that trip across in the catamaran , he sent me a note
wishing me the best..."
"Fran Heath was one of the best
surfers around, during all that time," Wally declared. "We used to go hunting
for surf -- the same group -- John, my brother, Dougie Forbes and a couple
of other guys. And Fran was one of the guys.
"I can remember times we went
out to Mokapu before they even had the Marine Corps Air Station, you know.
It used to be private land, see. Big surf, Mokapu.
"We used to take my '36 Ford,
put all the boards in and go around the island -- check surf. Because,
winter time, you know, no surf here.
"The '36 Ford
Phaeton -- that was a classic, boy! I used to drag with guys like Plueger.
We'd smoke 'em! Guys would come back and smoke us. We had a lot of fun
racing until the cops would catch us; you know, night time. Guys used to
bet around town, go to a couple of kids that had really hot cars. I never
bet, but they used to bet, you know, we'd meet at some service station,
"Tell me about going out to Makaha
for the first time," I asked.
"We discovered -- at least for
us -- Makaha. We were diving there with Dougie Forbes and my brother and
all the rest of us. Spearfishing. And all of a sudden, the swell began
to rise and it got bigger and bigger and bigger and inside of an hour,
I mean, Christ, it was 15-feet! We were diving and nearly got nailed. We
were kinda greedy, cuz we just hit a school of [fish]. Nobody wanted to
leave, but lucky we got out. The waves were just smashing.
"We had a friend, when they were
making the control towers up there at Nanakuli and he let us know when
the surf was up... That was a guy by the name of Franklin Finlayson. His
father was the contractor for the building of those towers, see... and
he was stationed way up on the ridge up there... He'd give us a call. I
mean, winter time. We were all in high school at that time.
"Sometimes we'd go out there
in the extreme of the winter storms. The rain would be so bad, you know,
there weren't any paved roads. You had to go through stream beds and things
like that to get to Makaha. Sometimes you couldn't actually get there and
we'd have to surf [as far as we could take the cars]..."
"When was it that you guys started
to go out to Makaha?" I asked him.
"Oh, about '38, I guess; around
there -- '37, something like that. It might have been '36, too, cuz...
'36-'37. Middle '30s. Right after we developed the Hot Curl.
"Kelly lost his board there,
see. Kelly lost his board on one huge day. It was something else.
"That was before I had the '36
Ford. I had a '27 Chevrolet. We put the boards in. Kelly and I were riding
and we'd gone out there and we saw these waves at Barbers Point -- just
huge, you know? So, we sit on the back of the seat... sit on that. I was
steering with my feet. Kelly and I are yelling -- we were so stoked! --
and we ran off the road; you know, not paying attention. Blew a tire. Another
fella was following us; a feller who lived right near Kelly. We patched
the tire and got going again and did the same damn thing -- we were so
excited at the waves! I had no more spare, then. So, then we had to pack
the boards -- put all the boards in his car -- and went out to Makaha,
then. We went surfing. And, of course, I guess the waves were too big for
our boards, you know. Kelly lost his. Fifteen--eighteen feet, maybe twenty.
I don't know. Hard to tell. But, they were big, very big.
"See, with those boards -- the
thing about the Hot Curl board -- by that time, we liked to ride high on
the wave and as the thing steepens and you're higher here --" Wally gestured
with hands. "-- we used to drop through the air, 6 or 8 feet. And, if you
hang onto your board and don't fall off, you're lucky enough and may make
it across the bowl.
"Especially Makaha; Sunset, the
same thing. You just drop through the air, you know, 4, 5, 6 feet sometimes,
because we tried to get across -- slide. And our boards weren't that fast
in those days. We didn't have sharp edges. We had our 'calculated drag,'
you know, so the flow of the water would drag just enough to keep your
tail from spinning, see. Actually, when you have any drag, it's going to
slow your forward speed down...
"Everybody used to be mad at
us in Waikiki, cuz, you know, we'd pass them! Even Duke!
We'd pass behind him, you know! And even Tom
Blake, for awhile. I mean, the hollow board was all right, but then
you put the fin on and it's OK..."
Here, Wally returned to the subject
of Tom Blake's first three aluminum skegs, one of which he had been given.
"I never did like the fin, at
that time. That's why I just put it [Blake's skeg] away. I never did use
it. Gene Smith used the fin. He put it on his board. And, Tom Blake
had it on his board. When Tom had given that one to me, he said:
"'Try it, Wallace.'
But, my objection to it was I
thought I'd run over somebody in a crowd or something and hurt somebody.
So, I was scared of it.
"I never did use it, until
later on, when I realized, 'Well, it's good, it does help' and you
can maneuver a lot more; a lot faster..."
"How did things progress, at
Makaha?" I asked.
"What happened with going Makaha
in those early days, is that we'd talk about Makaha, you know. 'Gosh!'
We'd try to get other guys to go, cuz nobody went. We were the only guys
who went. There was nobody else that went. It was barren, anyway. It's
like the North Shore...
"So, we'd lose the guys; in two
ways. One way, we'd take 'em out there, brag about it and everything. We'd
go out there and there's nothing. Flat. 'Ah! You guys are bullshittin'!'
You know, so then we come back. And then, the second way, we'd take them
out there and it's so goddamn big, they'd be scared shitless! So, they
wouldn't go surfing. They'd just sit on the beach. So, we'd lose 'em...
"The only guy of the group down
here at Waikiki that'd have out was Duke. He came out a few times... He
went out there cuz the word spread from our gang; our group. Otherwise,
I don't think he would have ever gone. But, the word was around and that
was the thing to do if you liked big surf.
"But... I saw him about a dozen
times out there. I can remember three definite times. It wasn't huge, but
it was pretty good size. No question, he could surf."
"I always laugh at the vision
of Duke surfing from Castle to shore, though. You know, that big story
[of Duke's longest ride]. Impossible to make it without riding white water
and, to us, riding white water is, you know -- it's no challenge...
"In those days, I was there
[Castle]. I ran away from school so many times and I got kicked out of
school [a number of times]. My old man would drop me off at the top of
the hill. I'd look out there at the ocean. I had a way of judging it. If
the white water was as high as the top of the trees, there was good surf;
below the top of the trees or you're barely able to see it -- forget it.
I'd go to school.
"The only thing that saved me
from a half-assed education was when I transferred up to boarding school
at Iolani. I boarded. I had to stay in. My mother was so happy to see me
go there, they [my father & mother] paid..."
The first ones to ride rarely
get the credit. We forget that the North
Shore of O`ahu was being ridden in the '30s and '40s and almost certainly
hundreds of years before then. While those who latger rode it in the late
'40s and early '50s get the notoriety for having been "the first," it was
really the Hot Curl guys who were the first ones in the Modern Era to actively
pursue big waves all over O`ahu -- including the North Shore. I asked Wally
when it was first ridden, to his knowledge.
"... maybe '38; basically the
same time," as the first Hot Curls. "I was still in high school. "This
is the way it happened with us: A guy named Whitey
-- he and Gene
Smith went out to Haleiwa one day. This was, like, around '37 or '38,
whatever it was. They went out to Hale`iwa. It was a big day. And they
both almost drowned.
"So, Gene Smith was telling us
about this. 'Oh, Christ! You ought to see these waves!'
"Me and my gang, we hear that
-- 'Hey, let's go!' So, the next weekend we go out there, you know, but
Hale`iwa wasn't that good, but Sunset
Beach was good, so we just went Sunset.
"At that time, there wasn't a
name or anything. We just saw a good surf and went out. It was just when
we started to have our Hot Curl boards."
"Who started going out to the
"Well, like I say, Whitey
Harrison, Gene Smith... Whitey came
over to the islands two or three times. He came in the early '30s. We were
surfing Castle -- '31, '32, somethin' around there. I mean, he was
a good surfer.
"My brother and I, Dougie Forbes...
Fran, of course, Kelly -- there were really only a couple of guys who went
North Shore after Whitey and Gene. It was just too much for the other guys...
" Even with the discovery of
the North Shore, most of the Hot Curl guys preferred Makaha when the winter
swells rolled in. I asked Wally about this, too.
"That's the thing about Waimea
Bay," Wally said, referring to the kind of wave it was. "I never really
liked it, cuz it's just a big drop. Nothing. No challenge to me.
A challenge is, like, Makaha. We'd go out the Point and not only have the
guts to take the wave when it's at its peak -- you ride across that wall
and when you get to the bowl, the bowl is sometimes bigger than the Point!
And, you're going into the bowl from the end. You're going into
the bowl, not coming out of the bowl!
"Ricky Grigg [who came out in
1958] was all North Shore. 'Aw, Wallace! What the hell you guys stay at
"So, one day he came over Makaha,
at the Point. It was big. We was all, from the Point, just getting nailed;
making only 1 out of 10, you know. 'Goddamn! Now, I understand,' he said,
later on. 'This goddamn wave's a challenge!' The North Shore, the takeoff
is a great thing..."
Brown & George Downing
I mentioned to Wally that Woody
Brown had told me that when he came over in 1940, "you guys befriended
"Yeah, because he was into surfing.
Anybody who was that interested in surfing, you know, we'd take 'em in;
help 'em out -- that thing about helping each other. We were so enthused
about the surf. We liked it so much, we just wanted everyone else to enjoy
"We used to sit on the beach,
weekends, when there was just moderate surf; ask anybody on the beach;
take 'em tandem. Everybody. Any girl... We weren't trying to make
out or anything, we just wanted them to enjoy it. 'Hey, wanna go out tandem?'
Some would, some wouldn't.
"Fact is, that's how I met my
wife -- my present wife [Alice, a.k.a. Moku]. This guy Oscar had her out
surfing and I had some other wahine out, too.
"So, I was out and saw her with
my buddy Oscar, eh? And I said, 'Hey, let's tandem and change partners.'
You know, I took a shine to her. 'OK.' So, we changed partners. I asked
her for a date... When we first met was probably -- that tandem thing happened
probably mid-'40s. She was pretty young. At the time, she was really too
young. As time went on, I saw her on and off and later married her."
"Woody's one of the guys who
really worked at changing the boards," Wally told me. "I always
credit him for increasing the speed of the boards, you know; to the point
where we started to back off. They were just going too goddamn fast..."
"When did George Downing get
"Well, I was married to his aunt.
I was living down Waikiki. So, one Summer, his aunt asked me, 'Hey, ah,
what about if my nephew comes down and stays with us for the Summer?'"
"When was this?" I asked.
"The war was on. I got caught
at Johnson Island, when the war started, then I came back and we got married;
'42-'43, around there. And Georgie was about -- I don't know -- 11-12 years
old, whatever it was.
"So, he stayed that Summer, but
he never left! What happened is, I eventually got divorced from, you know,
his aunt. But, he stayed with me all the time. I put him through school,
you know, cuz his father and mother kinda had problems. So, he stayed with
me and I tried to keep him so he'd graduate. I was willing to put him through
college, but he never did want to go. In fact, it was a hell of a time
just keeping him in high school.
"So, he just stayed with me and
he really wanted to surf. I told him, at that time, 'If you really want
to surf, that's good. But, you got to be sincere. You gotta do it with
your heart and soul, eh? Otherwise, I don't want to bother. I don't want
to just teach you one year and next year you go and do something else.'
I told him I didn't have time for that, eh? I wanted to surf too much,
myself! Anyway, he stuck with it and eventually he got better than me!"
Wave Surfing Catches On
Switching the pattern that had
developed over the previous 30 years or so of Mainland surfers coming to
Hawai`i -- Wally, George Downing and Russ Takaki took a surf safari to
the mainland in 1949, where, as Wally put it, "We made kind of a sensation
with our boards."
I asked him what the outcome
of that trip was. He mentioned he had gotten to see Doc
Ball and that they stirred up a lot of interest in California surfers
to go Hawaiian.
"Yeah, well, see, after we made
this trip to the Coast, guys started comin' down, little by little; send
pictures back and go back with stories of their own. At one point, I got
a letter from [Pete] Peterson. He writes me, telling
me, 'Hey, Wallace, this guy here says you guys are out surfing Barber's
Point in 60-foot waves -- that right?'
"Well, this one guy -- what happens,
see -- he came down to the Tavern, there. We're all sitting down in my
little junk car. We're talking about, 'Oh, tomorrow, we're going out. North
Shore's supposed to be big...' Makaha, too, might be big.
"So, he says, 'Hey --'
"You know -- he's a neat guy,
now, but at that time -- he said he's 'the best up the Coast' and all that
kind of stuff.
"'Good, I'd like to see.' Maybe
we could learn something from this guy.
"'When you guys going?'
"'We're going tomorrow. You wanna
go? Be down here 6 o'clock in the morning and we take you out.'
"So, we did. Next day, we took
him out. We're going to Makaha, but we look at Barber's Point. So
beautiful, so glassy and the waves were just so beautiful. 'Hey,
let's check this out!'
"So, Woody Brown, Georgie, me
and a couple of Hawaiian kids who were kinda small at that time... we go
out there. We go by the lighthouse; paddle out. After we got out, we paddled
way down to get the biggest peak. But, they started to get bigger and bigger
and bigger. By and by, we kept getting moved back closer to where we were
when we started. It was beautiful! Just glassy, just so perfect.
They were so big, that we were taking off on different ends -- long peaks
-- and you're just passing each other in opposite directions.
"And this guy, he never caught
one wave! He just sat there! Couldn't believe it!
"So, he's the guy who talked
to Peterson. They were big, but 60-foot? Nowhere's close."
Wally said the waves of mainland
surfers coming over were welcomed warmly, but that some of the new breed
"lacked aloha," meaning that the kind of brotherhood the Hot Curl
and Waikiki guys had shared together was not automatically adopted by the
visitors. Wally gave me an example of food. Where he and the Tavern People
would share whatever food they had with anyone, that wasn't the case with
some of the Coast Haoles who came after '48.
Wally continued to be a force
in surfing throughout the '50s, as he and the other Hot Curlers continued
their love affair with Makaha and sometimes the North Shore. During this
period, also, Wally spent much of his time organizing the annual Makaha
surf contest, which became one of the most successful contests in the world.
In my questions to him, I gave the era short breadth, however, because
I wanted to get to that 1957 catamaran voyage Woody had told me a little
It was a Hawai`i-to-California
trip they made in a catamaran Woody had designed and was the main builder
of. The voyage was meant to qualify the craft in the TransPac. The Trans
Pacific Yacht Race was a 2,225 mile sailing race from Long Beach to Honolulu.
"Boy, we were coming down some
swells, I'm tellin' ya!" Wally got animated, like Woody had two years previously,
when I'd last talked with him. "Oh, jeez. One time, a goddamn wave broke.
I was steering and Woody and I were on the same watch, eh? The damn wave
broke in the back; slammed me and Woody right inside the cabin, filled
the whole cabin with water!"
I asked him about an argument
Woody had with the Cat owner.
"That was going up the Coast.
The owner wanted to eat breakfast and we said 'No,' because -- I was on
watch and showed Woody that the damn pressure was dropping. You could see
the damn needle dropping! We knew we were in for a hell of a blow.
So, we tried to get everything down. But, he wanted to eat breakfast and
he tried to insist on it. He almost burned himself. So, he got pissed-off
at Woody." So pissed, he wouldn't let Woody skipper the catamaran back
to Hawai`i in the TransPac race."
By 1960, Wally Froiseth had long
since become one of the most respected surfers in the world. In a "who's
who," written by Otto Patterson and published that year, Wally was described
as having "always been more intimate with the young islanders of all races
than with the more pretentious surfers. He is a modest and sincere man
but we know of no one in the Waikiki area who has been so greatly admired
by natives and haoles alike, over such a long period of years."
Here it was many years later
-- 1996 -- and it was getting late in the afternoon. Wally and Alice had
a meeting of the Polynesian
Voyaging Society (PVS) to attend. Did I mention that Wally is one of
the guys that helped revive Polynesian canoe voyaging, much in the same
way as Duke Kahanamoku and others revived
surfing at the beginning of this century? Open ocean voyaging in traditional
double-hulled canoes had been a near extinct act. Now, thanks to Wally's
work and the work of many involved in the PVS over the past twenty years,
open ocean canoeing is alive and well. More importantly, open ocean voyaging
has stirred-up Polynesian pride in their recognition as the world's greatest
of navigating peoples.
My time with Wally was running
short, so I had to gloss over the 1960s, '70's and '80s and get to present
"We were talking about Fran
and his board..." I prompted.
"He met my brother in town one
day," Wally said, beginning the story of the restoration of the first Hot
Curl surfboard, "and called me up. 'Hey, Wallace, remember my surfboard?'
"'Yeah!' I told him. 'I'd sure
like to see it.'
"We hadn't seen each other in
a long time. 'Yeah, I'd sure like to see it, cuz I have fond memories
of you surfing that damn thing.'" Wally looked at me, explaining, "It being
the original thing -- all like that.
"So, I went over his house. He
showed me the board. Aw, I was horrified. The thing was just termite-eaten,
cracked -- all those white stringers chewed-up. So, I asked him, 'What
happened?' Turns out, he left it with his boy on the North Shore and he
didn't take care of it. Fran went out to see it one day, saw what a mess
it was, and got angry with his boy; brought the thing back to his house.
But, you know, it's shot; never surf again with it.
"'I tell you what -- lemme take
the board --' I fool around with wood and everything. '-- let me take the
board and I'll try'n fix it up. It'll take some time, but I'll try'n fix
it up. It won't cost you anything, cuz I got wood and all that stuff already.'
He let me take it.
"I was all anxious. I wanted
to put it back in top shape, you know, cuz, hey, I got a lot of aloha for
the board, eh? And, it is significant.
"So, I brought it home and worked
on it and it kind of inspired me to refinish my solid redwood board, you
know. So, then I call him up, 'It's finished! Come pick it up or I'll bring
it out.' He said, 'No, just leave it there for awhile.' He was moving from
his house to an apartment and had no place to put it.
"So, I tell him, 'OK, I'll leave
it here, but with the understanding that anytime you want it, you just
come pick it up.' You know, I got room downstairs on the racks. He talked
it over with his wife and his wife said, 'Why don't you just give it to
Wallace?' I told him, 'Naw, naw.' I tell him, 'I'll accept it, but, if
anything ever happens or if I get an offer from someone to buy it or something
like that, I'll let you know and you make the decision. It's your board.'
So, I feel like it's kinda his and mine."
Before we broke camp -- so to
speak -- I asked Wally, "What advice would you give beginning surfers?"
"I'd say," he said after some
thought, "in the first place, that they would have to really love surfing,
and not only really love surfing, but they would have to put their whole
heart and soul in it. You know, just eat it, sleep it; like some of these
kids in the professional thing. They do it; some of them for money,
sure, but they enjoy it, you know. You gotta enjoy it with your
whole heart and soul and if you do, you're bound to get good at it. Nothing
can stop you if you really want to do it -- and enjoy it."
"What about us older surfers?"
"Enjoy it as much as you can;
to the fullest you possibly can.
"I feel this way: I feel that
any body that tries surfing will enjoy it. It doesn't make any difference
if you're a world champion or whether you're a weekend surfer. Some guys
make fun of these guys that go around with the boards and get in the water
once a week -- that's OK! They're enjoying it! They're enjoying it as much
as they want or as much as they can.
"And, if a guy is serious and
wants to be a champion, he's got to go all out. He's got to put more into
it. It's like any thing. You can do most anything if you really want to."
Other Sources Used In This Chapter:
TOM BLAKE: The Journey of A Pioneer Waterman
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