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+ SUMMER BEACH & BOARD BUYER’S GUIDE Kai Mana Henry Photo: Drew Heald


Ezekiel Lau Highline Performance Boardshorts



Whether you’re talking surf boards or drone cameras, the evolution of surf and ocean photography is similar in that it has allowed the artist to push the limit and take our breath away. Photo : Jake Marote

treat your team right

new Smoothies to-go pack walk in or order online at jambajuicehawaii.com/catering jambahawaii.com

photo by Mark mcdaniel

r e n n Ta l e i n a McD




06 Free Parking 12 Publisher’s Note 16 Rewind 22 Charity 26 #freesurfphotobattle 28 Events 34 She/He Rips 58 Aperture 68 Jake Marote 78 Board Tech 90 Environment 94 Industry Notes 98 Last Look

Kim Bergill-Gentile Photo: Karim Iliya






40 Spotlight / Francisco Porcella


Father of Invention


68 Beach & Board Buyer’s Guide




4/10/18 2:56 PM


By Mike Latronic There’s a somewhat fancy word that is tossed around in mainstream lingo and the chatter is “algorithm.” Having published this magazine going on two decades you might think I have a wordsmith’s suitcase full of complicated word definitions, but in truth – I am remiss. If you are one of several zillion humans interacting on social media then you have likely heard this word applied. Fan of Mark Zuckerberg - creator of Facebook? Then you know at least a half dozen synonyms for it as well as its meaning. As defined by the dictionary, “An algorithm is set of rules for accomplishing a task in a certain number of steps.” An example is a meal recipe, which is ultimately an algorithm for preparing a meal. For the sake of most people who read Freesurf or subscribe to our digital feeds, let’s apply the term to our footprint. There are algorithms for ding repair, swell forecasting, glassing a surfboard. How many friends do you know that have a “special method” for waxing their new surfboard? There’s an algorithm for putting on sunscreen, getting sand off

your feet and especially for putting on one of those newfangled wetsuits with the flip do-hickey and the zipper thingy. I always get stuck on the tuck. Anyway-it’s a process. Life is a process. What is your algorithm for life? While algorithms are being used by everyone’s computer’s, smart phones and applications, we as humans also employ algorithms - so know the word. Now… Here in your hand is Freesurf Magazine - a monthly surf and beach lifestyle magazine that stands as a guide to help you create your own algorithm while in pursuit of sun, fun and surf. It’s family friendly entertainment and information focused on reflecting and sharing the awesome energies of our mother ocean and enthusiasts who partake on a regular basis. And it’s a rare thing – this monthly magazine - and it’s only getting rarer. Enjoy the “analogness” of it. (Yes I made that up.) So much of today’s world is reflected in the “digital space” now but of course Freesurf has a digital footprint for your surf

and beach lifestyle fix as well - at our website and via Instagram (@ freesurfmag) and Facebook. To get the actual magazine in your touchy-feely grip there is a process- but alas no processor. Freesurf Magazine is free from batteries, free from Bluetooth, free from weak router signals and cellular data usage. Freesurf is indeed free of charge, free from overtime penalties, collect calls and taxes. The magazine just awaits its end user to explore, digest and share with friends in various places in the home, car and office. While processors may be working feverishly in the computers that were used to create Freesurf, there is no electromagnetic pulse emitted. There is however an editor at large, an editor in charge, a webmaster, an art director, bookkeeper, copy editor, distributors, contributors and of course a master group of phototologists, word smiths and more. There’s a circuit of humans who give their time and energy to bring you something you can touch and feel and as publisher I’d like to to commend these artists and craftsmen and women

for being real - and doing really good work. And this issue of Freesurf is yet again packed with countless beautiful images, stories and yarns. It’s our Summer Beach and Board Buyers guide so see what is new for your next visit to the coast. Freesurf also pays homage to the great life and work of George Downing as penned by former Surfer Mag editor Ben Marcus. With the good grace of event coordinator Lyndie Irons, our crew got an invite to hang out at the perennial Irons Bros classic on Kauai. We went to other events, did a photo contest and checked in on what the non-profit Kokua Foundation’s been up to. We profile some grom DNA in the Suitt sibs, big wave charger and semi pro dancer Francisco Porcella and more. It’s a good read. All kind of Algorithm Fuel. (Yup. Made that up too.) Time for YOU to make something happen. Perhaps this issue of Freesurf will set the tone for your next surf trip, your next surfboard design, your next bikini, beach towel or sunscreen. Whatever YOUR algorithm is, enjoy.

Kammeran Keola

P U B L I S H E R ’ S

STRIKER The “Striker” is a fuller-outlined hybrid model that allows high-performance surfing on even the smallest of days. The low balanced rocker makes this board fly on the water. A full-nose outline blends into a small bump in the tail, keeping the board up and moving in low power situations. The moderate singledouble concave ends in a slight vee running off the tail, allowing the board to easily transition from rail to rail. A must-have in every quiver. Available in squash and swallow tail designs, in 3-fin or 5-fin configurations.

Summer Surfboards

Performance Shapes by Kerry Tokoro

mojo Inspired by Josh Moniz, the “Mojo” is a high-performance hybrid design that will keep you surfing fast and dynamic, even in smaller low-power waves. The bottom rocker is relaxed with an accelerated tail kick, and the single to double concave is noticeably deep. The wide point of the outline is pushed back a bit, creating a narrower nose and a smooth tail curve with very little hip or bump. Ideal for waist to head-high waves, this board gets in and moving quickly. Unlike many hybrids, it drives vertically up the face, into the lip, and beyond. Available in squash, round and swallow tail designs.

HI-PER Kerry Tokoro’s Hyper Model is the perfect go-to board for high-performance surfing in shoulder-high and larger waves. A generous amount of continuous bottom curve makes this model loose, forgiving and responsive. The bottom features a shallow single concave with a moderate double concave, and an outline that is lean and trim with a narrower nose and tail. Designed for vertical surfing in and around the pocket, this board flows easily from rail to rail, generating speed with every turn. Available in squash, round, swallow and round-pin tail designs.


Josh Moniz, V-Land.

Photo: Heff/Freesurf

Mojo Model by Kerry Tokoro: 5’11” X 18.63” X 2.3” Ala Moana Center

Street Level, Mauka




Publisher Mike Latronic



B I K I N I S , C LOT H E S & A CC E S S O R I E S

Managing Editor / Photo Editor Tony Heff Art Director John Weaver Multimedia Director Tyler Rock Ambassador-at-Large Chris Latronic


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Kai Mana Henry Photo: Drew Heald

Copy Editor Mara Pyzel West Coast Distribution Kurt Steinmetz East Coast Distribution Eastern Surf Supply Hawaii Distribution Jason Clifford Staff Photographers Tony Heff, Chris Latronic, Mike Latronic, Tyler Rock, Keoki Saguibo Free Thinkers Kyveli Diener, Daniel Ikaika Ito, Ben Marcus, Kahi Pacarro, Shannon Reporting Interns Shannon Cavarocchi, Alexandra Kahn, Aukai Ng ,

Contributing Photographers

Erik Aeder, Kirk Lee Aeder, Eric Baeseman (outbluffum.com), Brent Bielmann, Brian Bielmann, Ryan “Chachi” Craig, Dayanidhi Das, Jeff Divine, Dooma, Rick Doyle, Isaac Frazer, Pete Frieden, Dane Grady, Bryce Johnson, Ha’a Keaulana, Ehitu Keeling, Laserwolf, Bruno Lemos, Mana, Jake Marote, Ryan Miller, Zak Noyle, Shawn Pila, Nick Ricca, Jim Russi, Daniel Russo, Jason Shibata, Spencer Suitt, Tai Vandyke, Jimmy Wilson Business Coordinator Cora Sanchez Operations and Marketing Assistant Jason Clifford

FREESURF MAGAZINE is distributed at all Jamba Juice locations, most fine surf shops and select specialty stores throughout Hawai‘i. Ask for it by name at your local surf shop! Subscribe at freesurfmagazine.com

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Other than “Free Postage” letters, we do not accept unsolicited editorial submissions without first establishing contact with the editor. FreeSurf, Manulele Inc. and its associates is not responsible for lost, stolen or damaged submissions or their return.

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D WSL / Rolland


Oahu’s Leila Riccobuano earned the first pro event win

of her career when she took the top spot in the Papara Pro Junior in Tahiti on March 12. Riccobuano’s victory was in a stacked all-Hawaiian final against Kauai’s Gabriela Bryan and Keala Tomoda-Bannert, as well as the North Shore of Oahu’s Luana Coelho Silva. Hawaiian showings were strong on the men’s side as well, where French surfer Kauli Vaast narrowly beat Hawaiian powerhouses Wyatt McHale from Oahu and Sage Tutterow from Kauai, as well Californian Noah Hill, who resides on Maui.

Gabriela Bryan of Kauai scored her first perfect 10 and

first Qualifying Series victory with a win at the Papara Pro QS 1,000 on March 15. Clapping back after taking second to Leila Riccobuano in the junior event days earlier, 15-year-old Bryan went next-level in the Tahitian QS contest, securing the top spot on both the Junior and QS rankings for the Hawai`i /Tahiti Nui region with the coupling of her Tahitian results and her victory at the Sunset Pro Junior in January. Her first perfect 10 was earned the previous day in the quarterfinals when she seamlessly strung together a combination of abovethe-lip power surfing maneuvers. In a nod to the prowess of Kauaian women’s surfing, her final heat was against ultimate runner-up Keala Tomoda-Bannert. “It was my goal coming over here to win the QS, and of course the Pro Junior, but I’m so stoked to win my first ever QS and it was super cool to win it here in Tahiti,” said Bryan. “Keala and I have had a lot of heats together and we’re constantly back and forth. She’s a great friend and we surf all the time together, so it was really cool to surf a final with her.” “On Kauai, there’re so many gnarly waves that you just have to go out of your comfort zone and just give it your best, all while being safe,” she continued. “It definitely helps [being from Kauai] because you are always going to have to push the limits.”

“Oh my goodness! I’ve never won a Menehune or anything until today and I am so excited and so happy,” said Riccobuano. “It took hard work, and I didn’t have the best first or second heat, but I kind of pulled it together. It was so stressful! I was so happy it was an all-Hawa`i final because they’re all my friends and we hang out all the time and it was really fun.”

Maui surf stars supported

20 16

the youth-driven gun control movement #NeverAgain on March 24 with the “Concert for Our Lives” at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center. Athletes like Kai Lenny, Matt Meola, Paige Alms, and Albee Layer all donated signed gear for the event, coordinated by Shep Gordon with abundant help from Nancy Meola, mother of aerial legend Matt and songbird Lily. The packed event featured performances by Jack Johnson, Willie Nelson, Lily Meola, Stephen Tyler, Kris Kristofferson, Mick Fleetwood, and more.

The concert was held on the same day as the nationwide March for Our Lives protest, an event that grew from

WSL / Thomas

Riccobuano’s victory this year over close friend and Tahiti housemate Bryan was a perfect response to last year’s Papara results, when the Kauai surfer won, relegating the O`ahu upstart to second place.

the passionate and powerful responses from high school students that survived the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland, Florida that left 17 people dead. “These students are so inspiring, and we wanted to stand by them and support them,” Matt Meola told Stab Magazine. “Hawai`i actually has some of the best gun control laws in the country. We’re hoping that people can see that as an example.”





D WSL / Masurel



“This win is very special, especially to have it here at Pipeline,” said Bryan. “The waves were firing this morning and they’re still firing now, just a little bit smaller but it’s still pumping. It’s really fun and I’m just super happy to get a win here. Everyone was charging, the girls were just going for it. It’s amazing; the level is just through the roof. I’ve never seen it like this.”


use while I was in England and I just decided to come Honolua Blomfield [to Portugal] last minute. continued her domination in My first heat was my first the women’s longboarding surf here and I’m glad it all world with a win at the worked out.” Caparica Primavera Surf Fest in Portugal on March Days after her Portugal 29. Blomfield’s tight victory victory, Blomfield received over France’s Justine yet another honor: she Dupont in windy conditions announced via Instagram at Praia do Paraiso was that she was invited by Surf actually an unplanned, last Relik to compete in two minute decision for her. events for their Modern + Classic Longboard “In these events, you go World Tour at two of the against the girls that are on best breaks in Southern the world tour so it’s really California. Blomfield will good practice,” Blomfield be surfing in contests said. “I came to England at Malibu’s First Point with my boyfriend who’s June 15th and again on from there and realized September 9th at Lower there was a contest on. Ben Trestles in San Clemente. Skinner gave me a board to Chala

he final WSL Hawai`i/ Tahiti Nui events of the 2017-18 winter season, the Pipe Pro Junior and the Wahine Pipe Pro, saw outstanding surfing from the island’s finest up-and-comers, including a third victory of the year for Gabriela Bryan. Capitalizing on her victory at the Sunset Pro Junior, her runner-up finish at the Papara Pro Junior, and her victory at the Papara Pro QS 1,000, Kauai’s Bryan solidified her grip on the region’s top ranking position with this victory over Moana Jones, Savanna Stone, and Leila Riccobuano at the QS 1,000 event on April 1.

Reigning World Champion

In a scary and unfortunate moment in the women’s quarter finals, competitor Keala Tomoda-Bannert hit her head on the reef during a wipeout and had to be transported to a nearby hospital. She was unable to claim her semifinal spot due to the injury. Tomoda-Bannert is now home resting and we wish her a speedy recovery. In the men’s JQS 1,000 event, Oahu’s North Shore native Makana Pang defeated former event champion Barron Mamiya and Kauaian “Long Grom” Kainehe Hunt, who earned a perfect 10

the previous day, as did semifinalist from Maui, Eli Hanneman. “The win feels unreal. I surf here every day; it’s the only spot I surf if it’s over four feet,” Pang continued. “I’m always out here with all of my friends and it just feels amazing to finally win a contest. I’m inspired mainly by all my friends. And my dad, my mom, and my coach Kid Peligro, who I train Ginastica with, have all helped me get here. It feels great.”

our oceans annually.


PARLEY FOR OUR FUTURE By Kyveli Diener The World Surf League already voices ecological concerns with their P.U.R.E. initiative last year, their partnership with Hydroflask, and such efforts as converting all their jerseys to an eco-fabric made from recycled plastic. But for the Snapper Rocks and Bells Beach contests, the WSL and long-time event partner Corona linked up with ecological innovators at Parley for an educational effort wrapped up in a sleek, memorable presentation that included a twin fin expression session on ecoboards. For over a year, Parley has been running an initiative called A.I.R., which stands for “AVOID INTERCEPT - REDESIGN.” It asks individuals to avoid using singleuse plastics, intercept garbage whenever they see it, and support companies that redesign their products to incorporate recycled plastics or avoid the use of plastic all together.

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Inside a dome set up at the Corona bar at both the Gold Coast and Southern Victoria CT stops, signs offered information, firstly about the effects of plastic on coastlines nationwide. Every year, 16 grocery pages full of plastic go into the sea for ever one meter of coastline — this totals a staggering 8 million metric tons of plastic entering

Corona, Parley, and WSL drove that point home by hanging 16 shopping bags full of plastic from the ceiling of the dome, and the collection of garbage formed a ball roughly five feet tall, wide, and deep…and that’s for every one meter (about 3 feet) of coastline. Another panel offered information on the A.I.R. initiative, while the next discussed Corona and Parley’s pledge to clean up 100 islands worldwide by 2020 (they’ve already kicked off on a good chunk of that effort with cleanups in Australia, Italy, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and one completed recently in the Maldives). On display between those two panels was a stylish swallow-tail fish with glassed-in twin fins made from recycled plastic collected at the Maldives cleanup and specialized eco-board blanks. During an entertaining Highline expression session at Bells Beach mirroring the one performed at J-Bay last year, Matt Wilkinson, Jordy Smith, Johanne Defay, and Silvana Lima all rode boards made from up-cycled plastic for a fan-voted-victory that ultimately went to Smith. At the final info board of the dome, visitors would choose from four pledge boards — to give up plastic bags, straws, coffee cups, or water bottles — and take a photo to share on their socials. Which pledge would you make? Try giving up one or more commonly used plastic items from Corona x Parley’s initiative and remember to always Take Three for the Sea!




Kokua Hawaii Foundation By Mara Pyzel

Was your reusable bottle one of the 14,000 refilled at the Jack Johnson

2017 Vans Triple Crown’s water stations? Or maybe your kids took home their competitors’ prizes from the past few Menehune contests in a Plastic Free Hawaii tote or t-shirt bag. Did you have a post-surf chow down on food a compostable container? These and other movements towards greening the surf industry are the results of a forward-thinking collaboration with surf contest organizers and the Kokua Hawaii Foundation, a locally based 501(c)3 nonprofit aimed to encourage small changes towards sustainability, generating great results. Founded in 2003 by surfer, singer, (and Kahuku High alum) Jack Johnson and his wife Kim, the Kokua Hawaii Foundation’s Plastic Free Hawaii program is one of the three initiatives pioneered by this environmentally minded organization. In recent years, Kokua Hawaii Foundation (KHF) has partnered with Triple Crown and Menehune contest coordinators, but the nonprofit’s reach is broader than that. KHF’s presence is statewide in the form of beach cleanups, recycling programs, a plastic free awareness campaign, and garden and nutrition education programs. KHF is on a mission “To provide students with experiences that will enhance their appreciation for and understanding of their environment so they will be lifelong stewards of the earth.” In addition to the zero waste movement at North Shore surf contests, KHF’s Plastic Free Hawaii program encourages the use of reusable goods. By bringing your own bags on that next shopping trip, packing your lunch in reusable to-go wear, bringing your own water bottle and stainless steel straw, single-use waste can be reduced dramatically. The Plastic Free Hawaii program supports this movement through community outreach as well as implementing an education program in various elementary schools island wide. KHF often generously gives away reusable starter utensil sets, straws, bags and the like at community events, farmers markets, and schools across the state. KHF’s presence in local schools is also seen via their AINA In Schools nutrition and garden education program. This hands-on program is now implemented in 12 schools statewide, teaching students from kindergarten through 6th grade about the value of growing and sourcing your own food. Students are able to have many farm-to-fork experiences, planting seeds, tending garden, harvesting, and preparing a meal that is local, organic, and student-




grown. Supplemental hands-on

recycling - from electronics to clothing

lessons arm students with the decision

to scrap metal to cardboard. So save

making tools needed to become

up your items for the next Aloha

a healthier and more sustainable

Aina Recycling Drive (AARD) in your



If you’re a Jack Johnson music fan,

Through the Kokua Hawaii

you know that three is the magic

Foundation, Johnson shares his

number. True to his word, Johnson’s

encouraging message towards

foundation began with a school-

change. “I always find that’s the role

based program, aptly named the

I’m most comfortable with - starting

3R’s, promoting reducing, reusing,

with kids and showing them the

and recycling. By teaching students


about which items are recyclable (In Hawaii, look for numbers 1 or 2 on

You, too, can contribute to Johnson’s

packaging), how to properly recycle

momentum. All of KHF’s programs

(clean that food off your containers,

are supported by a wonderful hui of

folks!), and even equipping classrooms

community volunteers. These parents,

with collection bins to provide easy

grandparents, teachers, students,

classroom recycling. KHF’s 3R’s

farmers, chefs, and surfers make all

program also partners with schools,

the programs possible. If you are

Goodwill Hawaii, T&N Recycling,

interested in volunteering or learning

and others to host recycling drives

more about the nonprofit and its

around the island, providing a pop-

programs, please visit their website at

up collection center for all types of













#freesurfphotobattle You’ve seen this kind of contest before. Submit photos, hashtag and follow us etc., etc… We’re not reinventing the wheel here at Freesurf, but we are giving away a set of wheels from Aluminati on our Instagram! It was a win-win for us and the surf-shot shutterbugs, a.k.a. our loyal following of talented surf photographers. All we asked was that you follow us on Facebook and Instagram [@freesurfmag] and hashtag #freesurfphotobattle on your favorite surf shots. The staff and interns here at Freesurf chose a winner to take home a beautiful skateboard from our friends at Aluminati. The hardest part of the whole deal might be that the winner won’t be able to decide whether to hang this exquisite board on the wall or ride it. The deck is styled with art by Drew Brophy and will look just as cool on the wall as it will under the winner’s feet. It wasn’t an easy pick to decide on a winner with the multitude of great photos submitted. There were plenty of epic shots of Pipe, Peahi, big airs, scenic lineups, and a couple mental fisheye shots. But in the end, this action-packed shot of Kai Mana Henry by Drew Heald won out. The photographer’s placement in the water was perfect and his commitment and composure to nail this difficult shot were

Surfer unknown Photo: Austin Moore

apparent. It’s far from easy to stand your ground when you see a surfer like Kai Mana Henry powering off the bottom and ready to unleash 200+ pounds of fury on a helpless breaking lip, but it all came together for Drew, and we’re pretty frothed on what he was able to capture this day at Backdoor. That’s why we made it our cover and winner of the #freesurfphotobattle. To give a shout-out to the other talented photographers who participated in the giveaway, here are our five favorites that are also featured throughout this issue. Mahalo to all of those who participated and keep on the look out for more contest giveaways.

Clay Marzo Photo: Dave Gomez

Photo: Kammeran Keola

Connor Kennedy Photo: Jeff Bautista



Featured on the Left: Sandals from our Repair • Reuse • Recycle department finding their way onto the feet of orphan children in Tanzania, South Africa via Small Steps for Compassion. SSC is a unique loving home that provides a supportive family to orphan children in the community around them by reinventing the way of taking care of parentless children. Learn more at smallstepsforcompassion.org


17th Annual Irons Brother’s Pine Trees Classic

Tanner Bromberg






Marina Miller

By Tanner Bromberg

Axel Irons


my name is Tanner, I’m the Grom-in-Chief of Grom It Surf Magazine. I was lucky enough to be part of the 17th Annual Irons Brother’s Classic. Grom It was one of the sponsors and I entered the contest too. The event was so fun, What a great community! The contest was absolutely awesome and it was my first time at this amazing event, I was stoked that I won my first 2 heats and that I came 2nd in the finals! It was also my 10th birthday so I couldn't believe my luck!

Honestly, in my opinion, and from what I've heard, I think that Andy really pieced the community together. He showed all the kids how to surf, and how to just be kids! I love that Lyndie and Bruce Irons and the whole Irons family and the community have kept his legacy going by doing the Irons Brother’s Pine Trees Classic every year. Because of the storm and rain the ocean was very rough, but all the kids pretended like it was nothing and battled the waves all day! As I was getting out of the water of my final heat it started to drizzle, then there was a torrential down pour, but it didn't bother the kids, they all were playing in the mud, sand and just taking showers in the rain.


KA -1 5S -H 2




The prizes were unforgettable, from super cool sunglasses to frisbees, hats to water bottles and Grom it magazine was even in there. There were also wonderful back packs that are very useful...so cool, and the trophies are beautiful, and have so much detail. They even had a big barbecue set up and gave out really good food to all the keiki competitors.



At the end of the day we all gathered under the big tent, all the kids were going nuts! screaming, talking, whispering. “I wonder who's gonna win.” everyone was thinking, Then Bruce started to talk and everything went into sudden silence. Bruce thanked all the sponsors, Billabong, RVCA, Tamba, and the rest. He also thanked his brother Andy for bringing the community together for all these years and making Hanalei one of the most special places on the earth. The rain continued to fall as all the winners and competitors ran out of the tent to play in the mud and scream and laugh and show off their new trophies, and I as I walked to the car with my Mom, Dad and Tutu, I thought to myself, I cant wait for next year !!! The “keiki push”, a local favorite.


Lyndie and Axel Irons


Groms galore


The keiki push in was so much fun to watch. There were aunties, uncles, moms, dads, friends and even tutus in the water helping the competitors catch some great waves. There were over 100 kids competing in the Keiki Push in, i had never seen that many kids surfing at one time before!


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Stone and Skai Suitt By Kyveli Diener Photos Spencer Suitt

If you’re wondering who the next brother and sister duo will be, look no further than 10-year-old Stone Suitt and his little sister Skai, age 8. These North Shore groms have been riding waves since the age of two and are already sweeping contests, drawing the attention of sponsors like Patagonia, and developing individual styles at a level most adults hope to achieve someday — and they’re both still in the early grades of Sunset Elementary. Stone and Skai are both driven, soft-spoken, and extremely polite, due in part to their Japanese schooling and upbringing under dad Spencer and mom Hiromi, both notable rippers at the North Shore’s most radical spots. But there are differences between them: Skai hates to miss school and is always the first to class, whereas Stone was stoked their dad let them skip to go across the street and watch John John clinch his second world title in December. Skai is fiercely independent and remembers every detail of every event ever, while Stone needs to be reminded of most things. “Basically, she takes after her mom and he’s more like me,” their dad Spencer said with a laugh.

Differences are also beginning to emerge in their surfing styles. Stone is a tried and true old-school power surfer, loving nothing more than laying into a gouging grab-rail carve and wants to get a barrel like Seabass’ 10-point ride at Margaret River last year. Skai, true to her name, is hungry to take to the air and improve her progressive surfing, inspired by the aerials she sees Carissa Moore throwing at Kewalo’s. (The unique spelling of her name is an ode to the sea with the inclusion of “kai.”) With such nature-based names, it’s only fitting that both Stone and Skai love the environment and are very concerned with the amount of trash people leave on their beloved beaches. Using a sand-sifter built by the dad and their own hands, the kids can be seen doing impromptu beach cleanups after most surf sessions, a habit which landed them their most recent sponsor, Organic Amazon Açai To-Go (who join Patagonia, FCD surfboards, Dakine, and Vertra Sunscreen in supporting the siblings).

“Just look at the trash can: it’s right there, put your trash in there,” Stone said in a stern message to litter bugs. “Yeah, and turtles think plastic bags are jellyfish and they eat them!” Skai added. Both kids have won Menehune contests and Town & Country grom comps, and in early April Skai joined her brother as a winner of the Rell Sunn contest in Makaha. While they occasionally keep the surfboards they win at such events — like the sweet 4’2 Akila Aipa fish Stone won at Rell Sunn last year which both kids love to ride — they’re way more likely to give the swag away as gifts to friends and family. Stone just started competing in NSSA contests this year and will begin the HASA series in Haleiwa in mid-April, and Skai is looking forward to competing in HASA events in two years time.


But for now, the Suitt kids are enjoying the dreamy North Shore childhood of school, surfing, connecting with their community, and learning to jam on ukulele. Stone has been playing for about a year and Skai just got her first uke for Christmas and, like in the waves, watches her brother closely to learn how to do it right (and Stone’s always stoked to teach things to Skai, both in and out of the water). Currently, the classic rock-loving kids can play mean versions of “Paint It Black” by the Rolling Stones, “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple, and Ozzy Ozbourne’s “Crazy Train.” With a strong family and community behind them and clear, focused minds, the Suitt siblings are groms that can inspire surfers in their rapidly progressing abilities on the board and in their sustainable practices on land. The North Shore is only the beginning for these two: they’re regular visitors to California and love ripping Trestles and Rincon. And watch out, Kelly Slater: Skai has her heart set and surfing your wave pool.

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FIVE SUITT-ABLE QUESTIONS FOR STONE & SKAI: What grade are you in and what’s your favorite subject? Skai: I’m in second grade and Stone is in fourth. Stone: My favorite subject is Math. Skai: Me too. I know my multiplication tables in Japanese. Who’s your favorite surfer? Stone: John John Florence because he makes his surfing look super easy and he can do everything. Skai: Coco Ho because she surfs really smooth and is always nice to me when I see her. Do either of you hope to surf big waves someday? Stone: How big is big? I like watching guys surf big waves at Jaws and places like that, but up to six feet is good for me. Skai: I like small performance waves since I’m only four feet tall. What are your goals as a surfer? Stone: I want to make it to the WCT one day and win a few Championships. Skai: Just to share the stoke of surfing. I want to help encourage more young girls to surf. What would you be if you weren’t a surfer? Stone: I would like to work for a company like Patagonia and do good things for the environment. Skai: If I wasn’t a pro surfer, I want to be…me.


On February 28, 2017 Francisco Porcella towed into a monster of a wave at Nazare, Portugal. This “bomb heard ‘round the word” earned him the Tag Heuer XXL Biggest Wave Award at the 2017 WSL Big Wave Awards. Photo: Pedro Miranda


Fr ancisco Porcell a By Shannon Reporting Living life on the edge is his calling. 31-year-old Big Wave Tour competitor Francisco Porcella, raised on Maui and born in Italy, is a unique breed of professional athlete and top model. In 2017, he won the XXL Biggest Wave Award after towing into a mammoth Nazaré bomb. Italy went wild with pride, and suddenly doors opened left and right in a mainstream media frenzy. First, it was television interviews and modeling gigs, lingerie advertisements, followed by an appearance on Dancing with the Stars. That’s right. You can watch Francisco work the dance floor in between surfing the most dangerous waves around the globe. He likes to think of it as balance and coordination training…





Surely, modeling lingerie -- no matter how steamy -- is still tamer than his day job. I’ve witnessed Francisco face several near-death experiences in Portugal, which he seems to brush off his shoulders like it ‘ain’t no thang.’ During one of the biggest days of surf I’ve ever filmed, I watched anxiously as Franny’s jet ski slammed up against the cliff below the Nazaré lighthouse, white soapy foam spraying high above, drenching the photographers documenting the horrific scene. Relentless current pushed the jet ski through a tiny passageway where a cave formed centuries ago in the rock face at Praia do Norte. This was the last place you would ever want to see your jet ski. The surge of every XXL swell ends up in this prehistoric cave due to unprecedented tide swings. The walls of the cliff are lined with stories of shipwrecks, colored with the rising tide and opaque ice creamy foam, the waves carving Nazaré’s dark tales into its walls, frightening stories of watermen brave enough to leave the shore their grandfathers had warned them about. Curiosity, courage and confidence are fundamental when surfing these waters. “Conditions were pretty clean that day, so I got a couple paddle waves in the morning. Then my tow partner and I swapped; Axi Munian was going for one but didn’t catch it. Then the next one was right on top of him. I tried to go pick him up, but we were just too close to the wave and risking too much. The lip pounded him so hard that he blew his ear drum; he didn’t know up from down. I had to keep a close eye on him, and then as I was looking back making sure he was alright,

SRL / Alamy

“Italy is a different side of my life. I’m liking it here in Rome. ‘Dancing with the Stars’ is a new opportunity, bringing me more into the Italian world and the fans there. Dancing is a totally different sport. I’ve always wanted to learn, but never had the chance. It’s a good addition. My dancer is amazing, and I’ve met some really great people… I’m also a testimonial for Lingerie Challenge by Intimissimi Uomo. That’s another job that allows me to do videos and create content throughout the year. I’ve been doing a bit of modeling and magazine work. It’s easy in the sense that I can fit it in whenever I’m not chasing swells. It’s fun, and totally different.”

Francisco Porcella and his dance partner Anastasia Kuzmina perform on the Italian TV show 'Ballando Con Le Stelle' (Dancing With The Stars)

a sideways wave came through and took us by surprise. The ski flipped and we got bucked off. I remember making sure I had my eyes on Axi. Afterwards, the ski went into the cave. Once he got picked up, I got sucked into the cave behind the ski.” During the attempted rescue mission, Francisco’s ski got pushed into the infamous cave, and his body followed it’s trajectory - he got thrown up into the rocks and sucked into the mystic death pit with two inches of water to work with. Axi and Franny, now both in one of the most dangerous places to be during a Nazaré swell, would have to figure out how to turn the jet ski around and drive it out before the next set hit them, potentially shattering them and the ski into pieces… Thankfully, they survived to tell the story.

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Mark Middleton


Italian born and Maui raised, Porcella is a mainstay at Peahi, constantly pushing the limits of big wave paddle surfing.

“I was trying to save the jet ski, but the current was pounding me. I had to let go because I couldn’t turn it around. We returned twenty minutes after and the ski was parked perfectly in the sand inside the cave. We turning it around, pushed it, and Axi jumped on, putting in just two inches of water. He tried to start it, and seconds before a wave came that was going to wash him back into the cave, the ski started and then, BOOM! We got out of there. That was a team effort; we saved the ski and everybody was ok.” That season, Francisco also tow-surfed waves of historic size. I had no doubt that the Big Wave Awards’ win was going to launch his career, but I didn’t anticipate the amount of exposure he would come to have across Europe. Given the rarity of being an Italian big wave surfer, opportunity called. This winter, Francisco was even invited to the Alps for a production during the best snow season in decades, yet another perk of being a professional extreme sportsman. “I love all extreme sports, especially snowboarding big powder… experiencing raw nature. I feel like riding backcountry is similar to surfing big waves. You get those exhilarating experiences in the mountains. I also love skydiving, and soon I will be wingsuiting. It’s a really fun sport. I enjoy all the different atmospheres in this world, living life to the max, living on the edge and experiencing the world.


Not at work? Keep Up the good work.

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Alex Poenaru-Philp


All smiles, all the time. The perpetually positive 31 year old has a lot to be stoked about.

From the deep blue of the ocean, to the mountains, and flying up above them… It’s great to enjoy all the beauty that this world has to offer.” Traveling the world for big waves is exhilarating, for sure, but nothing beats coming home to Hawai’i. Especially when Pe’ahi is just down the street. After spending weeks in cold water in waves like Mavericks and Nazaré, Francisco loves returning home to the islands. “We are really fortunate to live on the Hawaiian Islands and call it home. The more you travel, the more you realize what a special place it is in this world. The vibes here make me love coming back. Having a special place like Pe’ahi here just down the road is a trip. Sometimes I don’t believe it... It’s a dream come true to surf these waves and feel the Mana. I love that raw power of Mother Nature. Being able to surf all kinds of waves in Maui and around Hawai’i… I feel really blessed.” See more from Francisco Porcella on Instagram: @franciscoporcella



T h e b i k i n i c o m p a n y, a l l a b o u t l o v e . Yo u g e t w h a t y o u g i v e in life. Be a part of our movement at seeker Of Sunshine. F r o m l i t t l e g i r l s s u i t s , t o w o m e n’ s s u i t s , a n d s o m u c h more in store! A swim line dedicated to giving back, Summer 2018. @seekerofsunshine


Father of Invention Downing DNA From Hot Curls to Now By Ben Marcus

George Downing photographed on colloidal plates , February 2015. Photo Bernard Testemale

There is no Ancestry.com or 23andme.com for surfboards and that’s a shame, because it would be cool and informative to scrape a sample of foam, stringer and lamination and send it to a surfboard genetics lab - which would do some hocus pocus and return results on the heritage of that board - the design DNA. Surfboard DNA testing doesn’t exist - The Shaper’s Tree created by George Orbelian and Kendall Nishimine is closest to it - but it’s a safe bet that whether you’re riding a hipster-mod hull or a thoroughly modern thruster or a big wave gun or even a tow board, more than likely there is some George Downing DNA in whatever is under your feet. Hot curls, vee bottoms, fin boxes, fiberglass and resin, ultra-fast big-wave guns: Necessity was the mother of surfboard evolution for George Downing and friends - a Happy Few born in the right place at the right time with the right skills and with all that surf from Makapuu to Makaha, waiting to be explored, probed, ridden deeper, faster, steeper. They needed good boards, and George was hands on - from the 1940s and well into the 21st Century - a longer Arc of Relevance than even Dick Brewer.

SLIDING ASS: 1934 Born in 1930, Downing was a child when Pete Peterson had a balsa board on the beach at Waikiki as early as 1932 - but that board was ahead of its time. Most surfboards in the 1930s were made of Hawaiian hardwoods like wili wili or koa, or mainland imports like redwood, cedar, pine and even maple. George was four years old when John Kelly and Fran Heath got tired of sliding ass, took an axe, gave their boards lots of whacks

and created the hot curl. No more sliding ass and straight off Adolf. Now they could turn and race all those hot little curls along the South Shore.

According to Pennybacker in The Honolulu Advertiser:

According to the DowningHawaii. com website: It was Kelly and Heath who had discovered the revolutionary hot curl design by suddenly and impulsively narrowing the aft of one of their wide-tailed redwood planks with a hatchet!” When Kelly and Heath chopped the tail into a drawn-in shape and slightly vee’d the bottom, it suddenly caused the board to hold to the wave on an angle. This allowed them to traverse while staying in the green, rather than riding soup towards the beach, which profoundly changed surfing. That clan of

Hot curls, vee bottoms, fin boxes, fiberglass and resin, ultra-fast big-wave guns: Necessity was the mother of surfboard evolution for George Downing and friends. surfers, of whom George was then the young hot-rod member, adapted that theory to their 1011’ craft and began exploring big waves around the island—waves that had previously been thought un-rideable..

FIRST STEPS: 1939 Downing started surfing when he was nine, in 1939, at Waikiki under the wings and watchful eye of the Kahanamokus, Kealohas, Guerreros, Chick Daniels, “Steamboat” Keawemahi and two dozen swarthy Hawaiian men

George was five years old when Tom Blake first put a rudder/skeg/fin on a surfboard, in 1935

passing on the secrets of the sea to mainland malahini and kama’aina kids.

OCEAN OHANA: 1940 Downing’s parents got divorced when George was 10 and like a lot of well-known surfers from busted homes - Miki Dora, Layne Beachley, Lisa Andersen, Kelly Slater - George looked to the ocean for home and ohana. He fell in with the Waikiki beach boys during their Golden Age out of the Roaring 30s and into the 1940s: “My father basically grew up on Waikiki Beach,” Keone Downing was quoted by Jackie Young in Hawaii Business Magazine. When he was only 10, my grandparents got separated and divorced. Rather than go back to the Mainland, my father ran away and got taken in by the Waikiki beach boys. He was kolohe (rascal) and street-smart. Sometimes the Gods just get it right, and they positioned a young, lean, akamai, crafty, surfstoked, Anglo/Hawaiian George Downing in exactly the right time and place to smooth the surfboard from the 19th Century into the 20th.

WAIKIKI BEACHKID: 1941 At 11 years old, Downing had a dream job as a Waikiki Beachboy.

At age 11, Downing became a beach boy at Waikiki, where he eventually ran beach concessions. He attended Washington Intermediate and, for a time, McKinley High School, but his education came through constant observation of the ocean and asking questions. Keone Downing said: ‘He learned economics and how to read people from the tourists coming at that time, because beach boys’ survival depended on tips.’ Back then, in the first half of the 20th Century, before the EPA or environmental concern, when Waikiki was still unregulated and feral enough to allow surfboards to be carved out right there, on the sand. “On the beach there were concessions and a lot of local activity,” Downing said in Hot Curl by Craig Stecyk in The Surfer’s Journal. “They had this one area where they kept the drawknives, saws, and all the tools necessary to carve a board.” On the beach at Waikiki is where George began his apprenticeship, carving surfboards that would allow him to carve the surf of the South Shore, from Kewalo Basin to Black Point - and in the winter, beyond.

LIFE DURING WARTIME: 1941 - 1944 A teenager to young adult in Waikiki, on either side of World War II - oh lucky man. Probably making good money on the beach, doing what he loved: Surfing, paddling, canoeing, taking cute girls surfing and enjoying a Hawaiian Islands that was profoundly changed by the flow of people coming through during the war, but an Oahu that thrived after the war, as many of those service people stuck around, and others came back as

George Downing with his hands on history, checking out all the boards he never discarded, going back decades. Photo: John Bilderback.

often as they could, to Waikiki, to bring friends and family and put them under the wing of that Downing boy.

FIRST BOARD: JUNE OF 1941 According to Mindy Pennybacker in The Honolulu Star Advertiser Downing earned his first surfboard with sweat equity: Downing began surfing at age 9 on a solid redwood plank at Waikiki. A paper boy, he bought his first surfboard from a homeowner along his route for $5 [2018 $88.52], agreeing to pay installments of 10 cents a week. “He made it to $4.80,” said [Gerry] Lopez, “and he still has that board.” Paraphrasing George from The Boards in My Life: A Time Line from The Surfer’s Journal: The $4.80 redwood plank was George’s first personal board. This was after the invasion of Pearl Harbor, in December of 1941. George helped his cousin with a paper route that had to end by 7:00 PM, because military curfew started at 8:00 PM - on an island justifiably fearful that it was riddled with spies and the Japanese Navy would be showing up over the horizon any day. Downing first saw that redwood plank while making a delivery to a house and spying it in a garage. He dreamed about that board, that night: “...my thoughts and dreams were about the board. I rode wave after wave until I fell asleep. The next day it was difficult for me to do anything. I was obsessed with the board.”

A DOLLAR $3.80 Downing was thinking about stealing the board until he met the owner, who talked about his younger years as a surfer in Waikiki. Downing visited a few more times until he got up the courage to ask to buy the board.

The owner said yes, the price was $5, but George couldn’t take it until the board was paid in full. George paid it off a dime at a time until the total got to $4.80: When I knew I was close to paying off the full amount, I asked him how much I had paid

This was life during wartime. Waikiki was on edge (See: From Here to Eternity) and George coulda got shot as he remembered in The Surfer’s Journal:

Everyone had to be off the streets by 8 p.m., especially minors. In June 1942, I was 12. In those days, there was no Magic Island and no channel where Ala Moana Bowls exists today. The outlet for boats ran parallel to Ala Moana Park down to the channel at Kewalo Basin. That was my paddle route. Outside of Kewalo Downing in 1954, after winning the Basin, I turned toward Diamond Diamond Head Surf Board Paddling Championship for the fourth straight year. Head. There were no lights, so I navigated by the surf breaks up and he answered, $4.80. Then he to Waikiki. told me he was curious why I had not stolen the board, knowing I was a lightweight, skinny kid it was in the garage. I told him that always looked malnourished, I had seriously thought about but I managed to make it. I was stealing it, but after talking to so stoked to reach the surf at him and hearing his stories, I Canoes and experience the believed this would bring me bad first wave on my new board. I experiences, especially surfing had a difficult time in the dark in Waikiki where he grew up and and I held on when I wiped out, where I was about to start. He realizing that I could lose the put his arm around me, walked board in the dark. I knew there me into the garage and asked were guards and barbed wire me to help him remove the on the beach. I started to think board from the junk that covered about what I would tell them and it. It was the first time I had seen to worry about them thinking the entire board with the dust I was an enemy spy making a wiped off. He told me the board landing. I figured my only out was mine. I did not have to pay was to yell for help and get the him the balance owed. At that guards’ attention so as not to moment, my faith in mankind be shot. I yelled at the top of was uplifted like never before. I my voice and sure enough a learned how people use kindness guard with a rifle in hand came and understanding to teach a rushing over. He asked who I younger person the value of was and what I was doing there. being honest to yourself and I told him I was surfing out by others. This act of kindness came Diamond Head, got caught in along at the right time in my life. the current, and had paddled for hours to make the beach. I The board weighed 70 pounds asked if he would help carry my and George probably didn’t. board up to the beach because George and his cousin managed I was exhausted. He told me he to slide the board down the rocks could not put his gun down. I into the Ala Wai Canal and then asked if he could lift one end and George started paddling, under I would take the other, which we cover of the night, breaking the did. He helped me get my board military curfew and wondering to the Kuhio Beach banyan tree. how he would paddle the board We stopped there and he told all the way to Waikiki. me I must get home before the

MP patrol came by or I would be arrested for curfew. I said I would, then, when he walked away, I dragged the board farther under the banyan tree and decided to sleep right there, between the crevasses in the trunk. (It was twice as big as it is now.) I covered myself with leaves and fell asleep. The next morning, I decided to give one of the Kuhio surfers the right to use the board as long as he let the gang know that this was my board. We made the deal that he could use it any time, and if he was out when I came to the beach, I would swim out to use it and he would swim in. Black Dan was his nickname, one of the best at Queens.

“ I learned how people use kindness and understanding to teach a younger person the value of being honest to yourself and others. ”

The banyan tree was where the boards were stored. Black Dan made sure the board had a place in the tree. He was well respected by the Kuhio gang and no one gave me any problems. The board was stolen after about a year. A couple of years later, I found it at the beach at the Natatorium, Kaimana Beach, painted. I have kept it in my possession ever since, for 61 years. I was told it was built in 1910 and ridden by the gentleman I purchased it from. I never did get his name and was devastated when it was stolen. For some reason, I felt that eventually I would get it back, and I did.

Three generations of Downings, Keone, George, and Kaohi. Photo Bernard Testemale.

PEPE: 1944 George’s second board was just as beloved. George took a turnof-the-century plank and shaped it into a modern hot curl - and named it Pepe, because this board was his baby.

new craft into existence he collected the shavings in a pair of burlap potato sacks, which he occasionally slept on.

From The History of Surfing: Downing was 14 when Froiseth helped him remake an old redwood plank into a sleek hot curl he named “Pepe.” Shaping the board was a slow, laborintensive project, undertaken in Froiseth’s garage with a drawknife and a hand plane, and as Downing whittled his 52

The Waikiki Tavern 1890 - 1962, where the Duke statue is now.

Paraphrasing George from The Boards in My Life: A Time Line from The Surfer’s Journal, Pepe evolved from the second redwood board in George’s quiver - a gift from Uncle Brownie, an elder

friend who was part of the crew at the Waikiki Tavern.

George remembered in The Surfer’s Journal:

George hung out under the kamani nut tree making music with Kui Lee, Mango Kalahiki, Moroni Medeiros, Uncle Brownie and dem, but while George’s fingers were on the ukulele strings, his mind was fretting about the ocean and his feet were itching to be on a board.

I held the plank for a moment while he closed the locker, then he walked over to where the gang was waiting for him to resume the lesson. He called me to come next to his side, and then he said words of kindness that I will never forget. In a clear voice for all to hear he said to me, ‘Keoki, you have a difficult time learning music, which we all know you love. Your mind and thoughts are in the ocean even when you sit with us and attempt to concentrate on the keys of the uke. This has caused the rest of

Arriving late for a music session, Uncle Brownie took George to the surfboard lockers and showed him two boards: Uncle Brownie’s personal board, and an old plank, circa 1912.

the guys to be held back from more advanced chords. So, I’ve decided to give you this board— which I have had since 1912—for you to have and to shape into the new ‘hot curl’ design that you and Uncle Wally (Froiseth) have been working on.’ This particular board had been the object of desire for every surfer who knew that Uncle Brownie kept it in the locker. He never used it, wanting one day to reshape it to be like the one he used. When he announced the gift, it caught the gang by surprise. One of them later told me that the gift was only a joke. I stood there being handed the board not knowing what to say. He then told me to take the board and become a champion and make us all proud. He then restarted the music lesson as I stood there. He stopped, looked at me, and said, ‘Go surf. You need to practice like we do.’ George Downing essentially “hot-rodded” that plank: Took something from 1912 and transmogrified the old and busted into the new hotness: a thoroughly modern hot curl. Downing used Wally Froiseth’s Super Castle as a model - speedy rails and a deep vee bottom that allowed turning and maneuvering and wouldn’t “slide ass.” Downing - like many other Hawaiians - fell in love with the look and grain of redwood, and slowly carved that plank into “Pepe.” Downing rode the board from Makapu’u to Malibu and found that Pepe was a survivor. The board survived a trip into a gnarly lava cave at Makapu’u, and Pepe was the board Downing took to California in 1948 and was riding at Malibu when he pukaed the nose on the Malibu Pier - and led to his introduction to modern plastics fiberglass and resin.

PLASTICS, GEORGE: 1948 In the John Larronde Collection at the Ventura County Museum there is a black and white photograph of George, Wally Froiseth and Russ Takaki standing with their boards on the beach at Malibu. Behind them and kind of visible is the Model A jalopy they bought for $25, after sailing a Transpac yacht from Honolulu to San Diego. They used that jalopy to surf Windansea, then drove up to Malibu, where George ran his beloved Pepe into the Malibu Pier.

George Downing, Wally Froiseth and Russ Takaki at Malibu, circa 1948. Behind them is the jalopy they bought for $25 and drove from La Jolla to Windansea. George is leaning on Pepe, the board he ran into the Malibu Pier that was fixed by Bob Simmons - with fiberglass and resin.

Bob Simmons - garans one of the heads on the Mount Rushmore of surfboard shaper/innovators - was on the beach that day and showed some “Caloha”, by offering to repair George’s broke board. “How you gonna do that?” George asked.

Photo courtesy John Larronde Collection/Ventura County Museum

LIFE AFTER WARTIME: 1945+ As Downing grew in strength, ability and water-wisdom, so did he grow in ambition. The other shores of Oahu were empty, quiet, happy hunting grounds for young surfers looking for bigger thrills. According to the DowningSurf. com website: In the later 1940s, George became the youngest member of a group of watermen that included Fran Heath, Wally Froiseth, John Kelly, with ex-glider pilot distance record holder Woody Brown contributing aerodynamic ideas to their increasingly foiled surfboard shapes. Makaha came into play after Kelly camped there on a dive trip and returned home raving about the surf. Makaha Point waves became the new frontier and George an

eager explorer. The Hawaiian’s hot curl plan shapes became the basis for the modern big wave surfboard. Primary architects and test pilots were George, Wally Froiseth, and their elder guru Woody Brown. Always an experimenter, George and his decade-older mentor Wally Froiseth played together with surfboard design. One would swim out at Makaha wearing a mask to hang underwater and watch the other ride by, observing the water flow off the bottom, then they’d go in, revise the board right there on the beach and try it again. Through the late 1940s, George rode his beloved redwood plank “Pepe” at Makaha. It was a heavy, fast-tracking hot curl that he and Wally had shaped out of an already aged “plank” belonging to a beach boy named ”Brownie” who had awarded it to young Georgie, sensing he had a future.

And that was the first time Downing and friends saw fiberglass and resin applied to surfboard repair. According to Matt Warshaw in The History of Surfing, Downing didn’t dive into this Brave New World of plastics head first: ...for over a year Downing held off on using the new materials for his own boards. Furthermore, he rejected the new Malibu chip design, with its full profile and half-moon stabilizing fin— Downing believed he could hold just as high a line on a narrow finless hot curl as the Malibu surfers could on their wide-nosed chips. But by 1949, Downing realized he’d taken the hot curl as far as it could go, especially in bigger waves.

THE NEED FOR SPEED: 1948 - 1949 Downing and the Hawaiians weren’t the only surfers doing fiendish R and D to come up with boards that could handle bigger

surf. Joe Quigg and Matt Kivlin had their eyes opened wide to Hawaiian surf on their first visit, and on the multi-day passenger ship trek back to the mainland, Quigg had time to ponder: “On his way back to the mainland aboard the S.S. Lurline,” Craig Stecyk wrote in Hot Curl in The Surfer’s Journal: Joe decided to cut the center out of his pintail and reattach the rails, thus making a narrower

himself in Wally’s shop. Kivlin and Rochlen were also in and out of the scene with Dave hooking up an occasional old redwood plank, which could be reshaped by himself, Matt, or whoever, into a suitable hot curl.

THE ROCKET: 1951 And according the DowningHawaii.com website, that plastics revolution, and cross-pollination with coast haole shapers like Simmons and Joe

would later explain that the use of fiberglass made an even bigger contribution when used for attaching fins which spread the load of the fin torque across a greater bottom area, allowing for deeper fins thus modern maneuvering, versus use as a waterproof coating for light but absorbent balsawood. George Downing and friends really really wanted to make those big, sparkly, grinding

thunderous Makaha walls and not swim so much - and that necessity mothered their invention. Paraphrasing George from The Boards in My Life: A Time Line, he claims that introduction to plastics was a major change for him - and the world: George had crafted a few lightweight balsa/ redwood hot curl boards but they were finished with varnish - not resin - and that varnish would crack, the balsa would absorb water, and the board was pau. Putting vee into the round bottoms of these boards cut down on the “sliding ass” but that salvation in smaller surf didn’t apply to Makaha. Downing’s first skeg came from a water ski. He bolted it to the bottom of one of his guns, paddled it out to Makaha and managed some turns and some trim. It felt good, but George knew it could feel better.


board. Kivlin and Quigg returned to Malibu where they reported the virtues of finless hot curl sliding to a skeptical public. The 1948 arrival on the mainland of Downing, Froiseth, and Russ Takaki demonstrated to many doubters the viability of finless, hot curl surfing. It was on this trip that the Hawaiians met Bob Simmons who introduced them to his concepts of composite material construction using foam, wood, and fiberglass. In ’49, Quigg returned to the Islands with his pared-down balsa quiver. Additionally he personally investigated hot curl theory while building a couple of boards for

Quigg, led to an important board in the evolution of big-wave guns - featuring possibly the first removable box fin. According to the Downing Hawaii website: In 1951, George would build an experimental, all balsa, pintail named “The Rocket” that featured the first moveable fin: a redwood (sic, see below) fin box with a wooden fin that he could wedge in, try, then take out and move fore or aft and retest. Using trial and error he determined the correct setting and glassed it into a permanent position. George

“Fiberglass not only solved the problem of waterproofing the balsa,” George wrote in The Surfer’s Journal. ...but, more importantly, allowed us to laminate the skeg to the board.”

But screwed-on skegs were screwy as the screws would pull out from the stress and fins came off mid-turn or mid-trim and that would screw up a sweet ride. No bueno. So George turned to that smelly, sticky stuff he’d seen on the beach at Malibu with Bob Simmons: “Fiberglass not only solved the problem of waterproofing the balsa,” George wrote in The Surfer’s Journal. ...but, more importantly, allowed us to laminate the skeg to the board. Understanding the value of a skeg, I designed this board to take advantage of one. Not knowing where to place it and what size to make it, I decided to build the first skeg box with a slot to hold the skeg in place. Once I decided on the skeg I wanted, I fiberglassed it into the box. I went through some wild free-falls when testing skegs in this pressure-fit box

before glassing the right one in. I remember doing a 360º on a large point wave at Makaha. Occasionally, the skeg would fall out while I was traversing a wave. This encouraged me to pick a permanent solution and glass it in. Once I did, I never again changed it. Keone Downing added: “That fin box was made out of teak not redwood. Teak had oils that stopped water from being absorbed and was perfect for the box.” So there it is: Fiberglass and resin lead not only to stronger, more water-tight laminations, but also the first adjustable fin box, and then glassed-in fins.

It took Downing a few weeks (and a few cartwheeling Point Surf wipeouts) to come up with a fin solution, but from then on it was a big-wave surfer-surfboard partnership like no other. Downing rode the Rocket for ten years. “I had so much confidence in this board,” he later said, “that never once, if I got it trimming right, did I feel like I couldn’t make it to the end of the curl line.” In 2010, sixty years after launch, the Rocket still had a place in Downing’s board collection.


Downing had changed his mind about the fin, and was now convinced that it would be the key stabilizing feature in big surf, but he wanted to try a few different sizes and shapes—this “fin box” would allow him to experiment. Three longitudinal strips of redwood, one of them down the board’s centerline, were set between the balsa planks, and the resin coat had been fine-sanded and polished to a gleam. The Rocket looked fast just laying in the sand.

as both a challenge and a responsibility—almost a burden. Downing didn’t take many days off.

Paddle fast to catch da buggah, drop in fast, more fast off the bottom and then high or mid-line trim to fast-pass that screaming wall, make it through the Bowl and out with adrenaline flowing from your nostrils - hands in the air like you just don’t care - and glad to not be doing that swim to the beach.

By the ‘50s, George Downing understood the mechanics of big waves better than any other surfer. He wasn’t unequaled as a big-wave board designer—Joe Quigg, for one, had plenty of arrows left in his quiver—but he was the best combination of shaper and test pilot in the game.

That’s what the 50s were all about, and George Downing was one of the leaders - riding his own boards, carved from necessity: The need for speed.


According to The History of Surfing:

Matt Warshaw supported the importance of The Rocket in The History of Surfing: Made for the upcoming 1950-51 winter surf season at Makaha, the Rocket was essentially a hot curl crossed with a Malibu chip. Downing kept the hot curl’s streamlined shape, but flattened out the back hull, knowing that a non-rounded planing surface would run faster through the water. The board was fiberglassed, like the chip boards, and had a strange 10inch redwood-lined slot (sic, see above) routered into the bottom, near the tail.

over and over again sucks, and that necessity mothered the evolution of big-wave guns that had three qualities: Go! Go! Go!

Dig around on the Internet or dig up your copy of Riding Giants and you will catch glimpses of big, windy, haul okole Makaha - this is where George shone the best. In small to big surf, he was an upright, graceful surfer - stylish and smooth. But when the jungle drums were lighting up the Coconut Wireless that Makaha was big and bigger, that is where George came alive: Tall, lean, strong and an exceptional, Dorian-class paddler, Downing was perfectly framed to sleek and streak big Makaha - but he needed the perfect boards to match his physicality. Buffalo Keaulana summed up the early days of Makaha best in Riding Giants: “You don’t wanna mess up. You don’t have no leash. And you are way out there. And when you get wipe out - there’s nobody.”

GO MANGO Buffalo is correct. Getting wipe out and swimming in at Makaha

Surfers from both Hawaii and the mainland would contribute to the new charge on Makaha, but George Downing, a slender Waikiki regularfooter and the youngest and most tightly-wound of the group, went at it harder than anybody. Downing was just 20 in 1950, but as the protégé and nephew by marriage to early hot curl pioneer Wally Froiseth, he already had years of Makaha experience. His surfing was more graceful than flashy, and he had a reputation as an excellent sailor and canoeist, as well as a deadly paddleboard racer. Like Bob Simmons, Downing focused on all things related to surfing with a scholar’s obsession: on calm days he snorkeled over reefs to better understand how they affected incoming swells, he studied weather charts to better decipher swell creation, and he invented a way of corkscrewing his body into the water during a wipeout to minimize the punishment. Downing took as much joy in riding waves as anybody. But he regarded the vast amount of surf-based knowledge left to be unearthed

Joe Quigg, for one, has vivid memories of watching George Downing joyfully Rocketing into Point surf and hauling okole through the Bowl on boards he made himself: “I can remember paddling out at Makaha in Point conditions and pushing up through the lip on a big set wave,” Quigg remembered in Hot Curl in The Surfer’s Journal. Right at the top, as I’m about to punch through, I looked down and there was Georgie standing there smiling, going faster than hell on his redwood. He was just streaking along in impossible situations and making it because of positioning and all that inertia. Downing pioneered the riding of really big, nasty waves. Because George pioneered the shaping of badass big-wave guns that would make those waves. Balsa and redwood Ferraris.

CONQUERING KON TIKI: 1954 Some surfers/watermen shy away from competition because it doesn’t suit them. Others eat it with a fork and spoon. George Downing was a competitor as a paddle boarder, canoeist and surfer. His accomplishments were listed in The Encyclopedia of Surfing: Downing won his first Makaha International in 1954, but didn’t

really hit stride as a competitor until the ‘60s - a remarkable feat given that he was constantly matched against riders 10 or 15 years his junior. Aside from his run at Makaha (winning again in 1961 and 1965, placing second in 1966 and fourth in 1968), Downing finished seventh in the 1965 World Championships, second in the 1967 Duke, and third in the 1968 Peru International. At 40, he competed one last time in Peru, finishing fourth. He coached the Hawaiian team to victory in the 1968 World Surfing Championships. (He has also set a number of paddling records - from 100 yards to one mile - that as of 2003 were still standing.)

cracked in 1956 by Greg Noll, Pat Curren, Mickey Munoz, Al Nelson, Greg Noll, Mike Stange, Fred Van Dyke, and a lot of the energy and attention went over the Waianae Range to Haleiwa, Sunset and Laniakea.

That day changed the history of surfing in Peru. From that day forward, thanks to George Downing, Peruvians have valued big wave surfing as the highest form of wave riding.

MAKING HEADLINES: JANUARY 13, 1958 George was 28 years old in 1958, and in his prime. He had Makaha as dialed as anyone on his Rocket: “On this new board,” according to Warshaw in The Encyclopedia of Surfing:

those sparkly walls. One photo of Downing, Buzzy Trent and Wally Froiseth made the front page of The Honolulu Advertiser. That photo went out on the wires and across the Pacific and

In 1954 The Outrigger Canoe Club tapped George to travel to Peru to represent Hawaii at the annual surfing competition organized by Club Waikiki in Lima, Peru. According to Felipe Pomar: The Peruvians had previously tried to surf their newly discovered big wave spot, Kon Tiki, without success and had decided it was too powerful and treacherous to ride with their heavy finless surfboards. George arrived with a finned balsa board and when he heard about the new big wave discovery he asked the Peruvians to take him there. As the story goes George paddled out and proceeded to give a masterful demonstration of how big waves should be ridden. 56

Downing was able to ride bigger waves than anybody before him, and by the mid-’50s he and Froiseth, along with Woody Brown and Californian-born surfers Walter Hoffman and Buzzy Trent, had cracked the 20-foot barrier at Makaha. Downing, Trent, and Froiseth were the standout riders on a glassy Makaha afternoon on January 13, 1958, when the waves were roaring in at 30 foot. On that day a photographer named Skip Tsuzuki was on the beach snapping photos of George and friends charging

“..hit the mainland like a bomb,” according to Stacy Peralta in Riding Giants. Those three bombing along that big, sparkly Makaha bomb wall sparked mass coast haole freakout, inspiring the likes of Ricky Grigg, Peter Cole, the Van Dyke brothers and others to drop everything - jobs, kids, weapons, PhDs, wives, lives - and flock over to Hawaii to ride the wild surf.

POINT SURF MAKAHA: JANUARY 12, 1959 By the end of the 1950s, George and the Happy Few had company. Waimea Bay had been

But George just couldn’t tear himself away from those wild Makaha walls. And The Rocket was under foot, almost a decade after he shaped it. From The Surfer’s Journal: The biggest waves I ever rode were on this board—Sunset, Laniakea, Makaha Point, and the biggest day of any in my memory was January 12, 1959 at Point Makaha. I had so much confidence in this board that I never felt, once I was trimming across and set into the face, that it could not make it to the end of the curl line. On that day of the 12th, it was the first time I heard my rail hum like you hear when a skeg’s trailing edge is not sufficiently shaped down. I determined, after much thought, that you can go so fast down a wave that although the front of the board is pointing down, if the outer rail is lower than the inside rail, the board will slide sideways faster than it moves forward, making the inside edge the stern. The hum I heard was from the inner rail leaving the wave face like the back of a skeg. Riding this board taught me everything I have learned about drag-curve factors in a surfboard. The Rocket allowed me to go fast enough to identify the dragging curves of rails and bottom rockers.

1959 IS A TURNING POINT IN SURF HISTORY You could easily write a book about every decade in the life of George Downing, from 1930 to 2018. But that’s the thumbnail history of gorgeous George and his gorgeous boards up to 1959 a milestone year in surf history: In 1959, the movie Gidget came out nationwide and was a big hit, introducing the squares to the secrets of surfing and focusing a lot of attention on Malibu.

In The Surfer’s Journal, Downing explained: I designed Pinky to turn completely back toward the curl. Before that, our focus was on out-running the curl to the channel. My desire for speed was now combined with a need to maintain position in the most critical portion of the wave. I shaped Pinky in 1960. The bottom rocker has a curve that works well with any wave face.

Keone Downing said: As contest director he also started surf contests to look at the surfer for his maneuvers and the degree of difficulty verses length of ride or completed wave through the Hang Ten American Pro. The Rip Curl and Coke Surfabout tried to implement this objective scoring but did not understand as the wave size changed so

same templates used in shaping George’s 1945 redwood “Pepe.” Ditto for the gun built for his son Keone on which he won the Aikau Contest at Waimea Bay. Keone backs that idea up: “It was the balsa Rocket and Pinky George’s first foam board - that was the DNA for Barton’s pipe board and my Waimea gun.” And speaking from Down Under, Bob McTavish threw this into the calabash: “Sugar”....Our latest glider shape for long distance trimming on our points is 95% a sweet Downing from the mid fifties. Goes so fast for so long....

In 1959 Dick Dale and the Rhythm Wranglers changed their name to Dick Dale and the Del Tones and would soon start playing surfer stomps in southern California.

It’s his coconut tree and string template, with soft roll forward and low rocker. Flatter bottom in the back end. A bit more tail lift than George ...

In 1959, Jack O’Neill moved his surf shop from San Francisco to Santa Cruz and was perfectly positioned for the surf boom that was just around the corner. In 1959, Brian Wilson got an F grade for a high school music composition that would become a #1 hit a few years later for the Beach Boys: Surfin’ In 1959, George made the transition from wood to foam and resin and fiberglass with Pinky, a “user friendly” 10’ x 35 pound foam gun colored pink perhaps in tribute to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Tripler Army Hospital and a lot of Hawaiian sunsets but maybe because of the pink motif of the newly-christened Hilton Hawaiian Village - where George was running beach services out of the 1950s into the 1960s.

He had the eye for the perfect trimming The rail line allowed this board to pick up speed going down the line without losing control when cutting back. Since this board, I have used this rocker strategy continually to this day. George Downing at 30 was just getting started and there was much to come: Victory in surf contests, many more surfboards. George embraced the plastics revolution and was the hand behind some of the best fiberglass and resin big-wave guns of the 1960s. Boards that won the prestigious contests, sometimes with George at the helm.

should points awarded. If they only talked to George the scoring system used now could have started over 30 years ago. From 1959 to last year, George stayed involved, active and relevant as a shaper, organizer, kahuna. Too many examples to cite here, but in 1989, Barton Lynch won the Pipe Masters and clinched a World Title on a George Downing-shaped board. According to Hot Curl: Some of the curves employed in building Barton’s boards were in fact derived from the very


SURFBOARD DNA So no, there is no surfdna.com or 10’3”andme.com for surfboards and that is a shame, because it would be cool to shave off a core slice of foam, fiberglass and resin the next time you’re fixing a ding, send it into a lab and trace the design DNA of that board. More than a little bit of it would be George - no matter what you’re riding. pau






Jackson Bunch Photo: Dayanidhi Das




Mikey O’Shaugnessy Photo: Tony Heff

Tepper Tajima Photo: Keoki

Connor Kennedy Photo: Jeff Bautista

Clay Marzo Photo: Dave Gomez


Jack of all trades - Master of fun By Daniel Ikaika Ito Photographer Jake Marote was built for adventure. His mauka to makai approach to photography was cultivated by his upbringing as a hunter, spear fishermen, skateboarder, surfer and dirt bike rider. This kanaka maoli – who is originally from Hilo, Hawai‘i, but now residing on O‘ahu’s North Shore – is a “jack of all trades and master of none.” But whatever Jake decides to do he is usually going to be super good at it. He is one of those guys that would easily be the leader of your group if you folks were stuck in “The Walking Dead” because he is a sharp shooter, outdoorsman, gear head and an all-around problem-solver. “Being a hunter and waterman all my life has helped my photography with being in the right place at the right time and knowing different locations where I can find various subjects to shoot,” says Jake.

Jamie O’Brien

Although he has only been shooting photos for three years, this multi-talented, 28- year-old has an impressive library of nature photography and a loyal following thanks to Instagram. Ironically, he never started his @Jake_of_ all_trades account, but it was the catalyst for his art. “I got into photography when my friend, Shaun Harada (@2scoopsofaloha), made me an Instagram and ever since then I’ve had a passion for taking pictures,” explains Jake. “I wouldn’t consider myself a professional, I do it solely for fun.”


As a prolific explorer, equally adept underwater as well as above sea level in the mountains, his favorite subject matter is the ‘aina (that which feeds us). His go-to rig is a Canon 7D-Mark II inside a CMT carbon fiber housing. While he primarily shoots fisheye when it comes to underwater and surf photography, Jake also captures the bird’s eye view with his DJI Phantom Three Pro. He is also a top gun drone pilot, and like photography, his learning curve for flying drones happened quickly. “I won a trip to New Zealand through Red Bull and two days prior to my trip I decided to buy a drone to capture a new perspective of New Zealand and I learned to fly it within two days,” he says. “Ever since then I’ve been flying it everyday.” Jake’s photos take people to places that they most likely would never be able to see. At the same time, photography has done something similar for him. Jake has been to numerous exotic locations that he never dreamed

of before as a student at Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i campus, but as his art form progresses the number of stamps on his passport grow as well. “I love to do photography because it gets myself out of the house and leads me to places that I probably would have never ventured to,” says Jake. “I love to photograph different landscapes around the world and through photography I get to travel to different places around the world.”







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Loyal to the Foil By Kyveli Diener

From the Pass in Byron Bay, Australia to Velzyland here on Oahu’s North Shore, you can’t go to a beach without seeing a couple people hovering above the water like magic on foilboards. We caught up with esteemed surfer, stand-up paddler, and shaper Robin Johnston at his shaping bay (where he was working on the newest shape in his collection, a foil he named “The Pill”) to get a breakdown on foil construction and what it’s like to learn to fly. So what inspired you to get into foiling and shaping foils? I really look up to John Amundson, so I watched him and his riders ripping on them and realized it was more progressive than i thought. Then my sponsor transitioned over to foils, Cloud Nine Surf Foils — they’re the reason I’m flying. What’s it like learning how to foil? It’s super humbling! Blaine Chambers has really helped me a lot in the stand-up foil world, going behind a jet ski is ideal. I took three days of lickings because it’s really a tricky learn. When you get past that it becomes magical. Weight forward is the absolute must, so it’s a re-learning for any surfer who’s used to pushing on their back foot for control. The second you forget that, you’re reminded quickly because the board starts to take flight and goes airborne, it ejects you into the air. Small, soft waves are key, those are ideal even when you get better. What are the different variations in foil shapes? There’s a large and a small. A heavier rider would probably use a bigger foil once they get better — everyone usually learns on a smaller foil. In bigger waves, you need a smaller foil because you don’t need as much lift because you’re moving so quickly. Bigger foils are good when the waves are tiny because there’s not as much power in


the wave. There’s plusses to both a prone and a stand-up foil: on a stand-up board you can catch an unbroken wave and you can take off on bigger waves because the paddle allows you to get a burst of speed that lets you take flight and lift up sooner than you would on the prone board. The advantages with the prone board is that the boards can be so small you can pump with greater efficiency and create speed when there is no wave — you can kick out of a finished wave and pump back out to sea if your level is there. That’s really neat, to be self-propelled. Everybody’s riding pretty tiny boards: I’d say both boards are going to be a foot shorter typically than what you’d normally ride, maybe a foot and a half shorter on a stand-up in length. But the volume is maintained from what you’d normally ride, or increased because you thicken these boards and they’re sometimes wider because you’ve shrunk the board down so much shorter to maintain a control of the foil. The mast may vary a couple inches but it’s usually pretty consistent, about 27 inches. Why do you think foiling has gotten so popular, and where do you see the sport going? When the board starts to rise up and the water is no longer touching the board you accelerate rapidly, I’m guessing triple the speed of surfing. So the sensation of all that speed and the ability to have tremendous, exciting, exhilarating adrenaline fun in little to no surf makes it a really good option for a lot of junker condition days. I see it growing and the capability and the maneuvers definitely evolving. I’ve seen some crazy stuff from Austin Kalama on Maui, he’s doing flips and aerials with control. If you wanna see the future, that guy is probably it. And Kai Lenny, of course.

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The advent of spring and summer across the Hawaiian Islands brings a shift in focus from the north to the south. The sky’s the limit when dealing with the potential size of surf during the winter, while summer is quite different. Board quivers shrink down to the fun-size range, with only the occasional day where a step-up is needed. Some surfers, like Ezekiel Lau, are even keen to change shapers with the seasons, from one that specializes in South Shore waves during the summer, only to go back to his North Shore shaper for the winter. When we think of the summer surf scene in Hawai’i, the energy and enthusiasm for south swells in Honolulu is second to none. It’s only fitting as this tropical yet urban metropolis was once the “breadbasket” of the Hawaiian Islands and the heart of “The gathering place”, or O’ahu as translated in Hawaiian. Although today the south side of O’ahu is more known for high-rise hotels and hordes of vacationers, that doesn’t take away from the fact that Honolulu and more specifically, Waikiki, was and is the original Surf City and birthplace of modern surfing, as well as a damn fine place to be on any given summer’s day in the Aloha State. The South Shore was an agent for change in surfboard evolution from George Downing’s influence in the 40’s and 50’s through the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. as surfboards were mutating from the traditional tankers to shorter boards around 9’0”, a young shaper named Ben Aipa, along with surfers Michael Ho, Larry Bertlemann, and Buttons Kaluhiokalani, began experimenting with boards in the 6’0” range.


From those sessions, Aipa

Buell Toa and Tama Pere

tinkered with numerous designs before birthing the legendary swallowtail shape and “Sting” design. The South Shore then became a playground for Hawai’i’s most innovative and progressive surfers, as well as the testing grounds for modern surfboard R&D. Flash forward 40 years and the South Shore remains a breeding ground for the next generation of Hawaiian pros like Carissa Moore, Ezekiel Lau, Keanu Asing, and the Moniz family. From Sandy Beach to ’Ewa Beach, a myriad of wave options allows surfers of all skill levels to thrive in the Hawaiian waters, which are as warm and approachable as the people themselves. The playful and relatively forgiving surf also inspires a wide variety of board designs and dimensions, therein galvanizing a more eclectic boardbuilding community.


Hi-Tech Maui Cody Young Photo: Heff


HIC Surfboards Josh Moniz Photo: Heff

Buell 4’10” Foamie

Campbell Brothers Bonzer Twin

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Hawaiian Island Creations Striker Shaper: Kerry Tokoro Dimensions: 5’7” X 19.28” X 2.31” Volume: 26.5 Liters Perfect for summer, the “Striker” is a fuller-outlined hybrid model that allows highperformance surfing on even the smallest of days. The low balanced rocker makes this board fly on the water. A full-nose outline blends into a small bump in the tail, keeping the board up and moving in low-power situations. The moderate singledouble concave ends in a slight vee running off the tail, allowing the board to easily transition from rail to rail.

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running out the tail. A unique multi-angular swallow tail provides pivot points for release and precise turning. Can be ridden as a thruster or use Roberts new and extremely fast Twonzer fins to amplify the Star Chip’s mach speeds. (805) 658-6855 info@robertssurf.com instagram: @roberts_ surfboards


T&C Surf Brisa Hennessy Photo: Heff

Yet for shapers, the only trouble in paradise comes in the way of numbers. 

Obviously more surfers on the island equate to more orders, but the local population here doesn’t compare to Southern California or Australia’s Gold Coast, making it difficult for


But ask any shaper on the


a shaper to strike it rich.

South Shore, and you’re likely to find that money isn’t a major motivator. Living and breathing surfing, and catering to the loyal, avid the most beautiful places in the world seems to be the golden egg for most boardbuilders here. And with all the conveniences of a major city and the infrastructure of an industry built by pioneers like George Downing, not much happens in Hawai’i shaping-wise that doesn’t have to do with Honolulu.



surfer population in one of


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T&C Surfboards Flux Shaper: Glenn Pang Dimensions: 6.0 x 19 x 2 1/2 Good all around shortboard. The rocker is a medium to low entry rocker, with a medium tail rocker. The bottom is a single to double with a little V off the tail. Rails are a little turned down as compared to a rounder rail. The Flux is the go to shortboard for many of our team riders. Order at your regular shortboard dimensions, thumb tail or squash. tcsurf.com

Torq Surfboards TEC Fish

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And when the conditions

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ramp up, the engineered

quick rail to rail transitions.

flex patterns will give you

In Torq’s new X-lite

a massive advantage, as

Technology you get this

well. We’ve refined our

board in a light, strong,

technology and shapes for

responsive layup.

nearly three years. Available at your local dealer.








BLDG Active ACTIVE Skin Repair: Healing Spray & Hydrogel

Buell RB1 Long Sleeve Neoprene Top

Honolua Surf Co. Men's short sleeve Island Style Aloha shirt- M501MHIS

Buell Long Sleeve Tops feature our ultra-flexy "Ninja

· Wooden buttons

ACTIVE Skin Repair kills 99.9% of all bacteria and

Neoprene" combined with flat-stitched seams. The

· Short sleeve

helps speed the natural healing process all while

light and stretchy material of the Buell RB1 tops

· All over island print

being non-toxic, antibiotic free and sting free. It

provide plenty of warmth and performance.

· 100% Cotton

works on: reef cuts, wounds, sunburns, rashes, sea


· Sizes S-4XL

lice, insect bites and more.

Material: "Ninja Neoprene" V-Foam Seams: Flat stitched



Entry system: Pull-over with 3/4 back zip


Lining: Soft Ultraspan flex-fabric that’s warm & cozy Available at Hi-Tech Surf Sports


ICEMULE Coolers ICEMULE Pro XL in Matte Black

The ICEMULE Boss looks like a

ICEMULE has been the key innovator in

refrigerator and works nearly as well.

the backpack cooler space since 2012 and

The Boss will keep ice frozen for over 3

the Matte Black Pro is sleek, durable and

days without breaking a sweat. Credit

extremely portable. Comfortable backpack

goes not only to the 3 centimeter thick

straps lets you haul your drinks for hours and

closed-cell insulating foam but also the

the roll-top makes it easy to load and unload.

layer of air you puff into the lining via a


side-mounted valve. Hands down the


best soft-side cooler out there.

@icemulecoolers on Instagram

$299.95 icemulecoolers.com @icemulecoolers on Instagram

Kona Brewing Co. Growler This is sure to be your favorite new Growler, and the best way to keep your beer icy cold and carbonated all day long.The Fresh Carry System provides a leak-proof seal with improved temperature control and easy portability. We embellished the

Nektor Sunscreen products are 100% Natural, made with Certified Organic Ingredients. Reef Safe • Non-GMO • Eco-friendly • Made in USA

growler with our logo and the Island

www.nektorsunscreen.com Nektor Sunscreen products are 100% Natural, made with Certified

Chain for some extra aloha.

Organic Ingredients. Reef Safe Non GMO · Eco Friendly · Made in USA www.nektorsunscreen.com @nektorsunscreen

wide. $65.00 shop.konabrewingco.com 86

Sunscreen NektorNektor Sunscreen SPF 50+ Face Sunscreen$12.95 $12.95 SPF 50+ Face Sunscreen @nektorsunscreen

NO.6 THE DEUCE 42” 42” x 11.5” x 21.5” x 18.5” The No.6 Deuce has been one of the flagship boards in the No.6 range for over 8 and design. Double stringers in a superior PP (Polypropylene Core) with mesh

Natalina Hawaii Bikinis Unique Handcrafted Bikinis

layering forextra rigidity and recoil. Each Deuce comes with a standard Fatty

Imagine your perfect bikini and I will create it with you because we are all beautiful.

neoprene bicep leash. Streamlined template for allstyles of riding: prone or drop-


years and still sets the benchmark for high performance bodyboard specification

knee. Limited Rasta graphic bottom. (714) 389-1822 sales@theno6.com

instagram: @theno6

facebook: @No6Intl


Quiksilver Highline Ala Moana 20" Boardshorts · Heathered rip-stop 4-way stretch fabric · DryFlight® water repellent hydrophobic coating · 20" outseam, on the knee length · Performance fit · Neo fly closure · Heat welded zippered pocket ·

Key bungee cord inside pocket


Power Tip Flex Fins Power Tip Flex Fins are THE BEST single fin on the market today! These "black tip" fins are hands down THE MOST RESPONSIVE single fin that you can buy. The Power Tip Flex, featuring a black carbon fiber base and tip, allows for recoil spring in the tip when powering out of a turn. Manufactured by Futures Fins and EXCLUSIVELY SOLD BY ROGER HINDS SURFBOARDS.

SafeGrom Stoke Vest

SafeGrom Sting Kit

Safegrom Water Safety Water Products are designed with your familys' Ultimate

Other Water Safety Products include our 40 SPF Organic Sunblock, 400 UV

Safety in Mind First!! Starting with the "Stokevest," which is the most technically

Sunglasses,Water Sox and our award winning Stingray Safety Kit. SAFEGROM is

advanced PFD on the Market today!! The "Stokevest" features the Patented

the only complete Water Safety Line in the world today!! So make sure to visit your

"Stoke Grip, along with 3 other strategically placed handles that keep your Grom

local Shop and ask, or Visit us online at SAFEGROM.COM...Don't go to the beach

safe,close and secure!!

without it!! SAFEGROM!!!



Surf N Sea Hurley Collaboration Hats - Exclusive Hurley x Surf N Sea Collaboration Hats - Haleiwa and North Shore (Snapback) and AloHaleiwa (Flexfit) embroidered with Hawaiian Island chain on the back. $28-$30 www.surfnsea.net

Scarfini Air Fin

TropicSport Sunscreen

An upright and less curved template to create and maintain hi-speed. The smaller

Passes both the U.S. FDA 80-minute and Australia 4-hour water resistance

center fin allows for quicker tail release. Excels in powerful conditions.

tests. Perfect for surfers as it does not run into your eyes! NO oxybenzone and

Reef-friendly, Mineral based, SPF 30

octinoxate. scarfini.com

Tiki Toss / Mellow Militia Tiki Toss Surf Deluxe Edition Essential lifestyle. Before, between or after sessions, Tiki Toss always satisfies. No surf today? Bring the beach vibe home. Solid Bamboo backboard. Deluxe edition includes 5' telescoping pole - plugs seamlessly into backboard. Get Hooked! playtikitoss.com $39.99 www.playtikitoss.com




Vans returns with the Era Boardshort, a silhouette that is designed to be iconic and

Highlighted in Wade Goodall’s footwear and apparel collection, the UltraRange

classic, with distinctive prints and colors. The Era Boardshort is engineered utilizing

is Vans’ most versatile shoe to date. Exhibiting Wade’s signature hand-drawn

critical feedback from Vans’ surf team and is complete with Vans’ innovative 4-way

illustrations on the instep and outsole, this custom endorsed UltraRange is built with

Sturdy Stretch technology for all-day surf performance, comfort and durability.

UltraCush Lite midsoles, co-molded with Vans’ original waffle rubber compound to


provide a modern fit and feel that caters to all-day comfort and exploration.


$90.00 www.vans.com

Volcom Plasm Plus Mod

Volcom Primo Beer Mod

Ultra high tech, the Plasm Plus Mod boardshort fuses science and surfing like no

The Volcom and Primo Beer collaboration captures the Hawaiian lifestyle and is

other. The Plasm Plus Mod features Stone Shield stretch, a dual layer fabric. A water

perfect for the beach, pool or boat… so kick back, relax and enjoy the Aloha! The

repellent smooth outer shell that is interlocked with soft pillow like inner facing. It’s

Primo Beer Mod includes a cargo pocket to hold two of your Primo beer cans.

a technical structured fabric that you are gonna dig, in and out of the water! volcom.com volcom.com

Waimea Valley Naupaka Jewelry Hawaii based designer Marco Daniel has created an elegant collection of rings and earrings based on the Hawaiian legend of the Naupaka flower exclusively for Waimea Valley. Naupaka can be found along coast and mountains but the Waimea Valley gift shop is the only carrier of these beautiful pieces on the North Shore. $42.95 & Up waimeavalley.net or (808) 638-5871


The ProTest By Kahi Pacarro The Surfers of the ProTest project put their lives at risk with new technologies they had heard about but had never used before. Convincing them to paddle out an ecoboard at crowded maxing Pipeline was not an easy feat. We knew the boards would work but we needed the proof to be forever sealed on film in hopes of proving it to “YOU”. We luckily brought Cliff Kapono on board from the onset and he was willing to be the first to throw his body over the edge on any of the ecoboards we got shaped. Surfers followed Cliff’s lead and if you took part in the voting for the winner of the ProTest project, you saw first hand that ecoboards work and are the future.

As I write this article, voting is occurring for our project “The ProTest”. Awarding the best performance on ecoboards this winter on the North Shore with $10,000, the ProTest incentivized Pro’s to Test ecoboards while also throwing a shaka to the 100% toxic past. The suspense will crescendo in a few days when we announce the winner on the beach at Pipeline. But as you read this, all of that has already happened. The winner has been announced, someone has deposited the $10,000 into their bank account and this iteration of the ProTest is now over. But the wake being left by the ProTest project will resonate forever on the North Shore. Before this winter you’d be hard pressed to find an epoxy board glassed with epoxy resin anywhere near Pipe. Therefore we had

a dream quiver of 35 EPS ecoboards shaped by some of the best shapers in the World. They were shaped specifically for the North Shore with some of those boards specifically for Pipeline. By the second half of Winter as the coconut wireless spread, a waiting list formed for our best Pipe boards and with every new swell, our boards were stuffed into the bellies of Pipe and put to the heaviest of challenges during the biggest days of the year. Only three boards broke the entire Winter and one of them was fixed only to be put right back into the lineup at Pipeline and is surviving to this day. We attribute the strength of the boards to the fact that we were able to glass them a bit heavier. Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) blanks are inherently lighter than Polyurethane (PU), but a board that is too light will produce chatter or be easily blown off a wave. To make up for this risk, we had the glassers provide a thicker glass job. This provided strength and stability along with the added bonus that the boards would last longer and ultimately be even more environmentally friendly. The last thing we wanted to do was to put out a bunch of boards that wouldn’t outlast a standard shortboard. We aimed for our boards to be 25% less environmentally detrimental than the traditional PU board, but if our EPS boards last twice as long, that makes them more than twice as environmentally friendly. But let’s be totally clear and reiterate, the boards that were surfed in the ProTest project, other than Ulu Boy’s Alai’a, were still a bit toxic. EPS is still derived from oil even if part of it is recycled. The resin although it contained 25% plant based resin, contained 75% oil based resin. Our aim is to take those levels continually higher. To push the mainstream to where the eco fringe is now and to push the eco fringe to the next level. Ultimately creating enough demand by “you” to justify increased supply, create economies of scale, and prove return on investment for research and development for better technologies. This is the path towards a solution.


Kai Ku Hale Green Style Island Living Unique Hawaiian Art, Home Decor & Gifts

Moku Team Rider Sophia Culhane Photo: Tony Heff

Rentals, Lessons & Sales Haleiwa Town Center

Open 10 am - 6pm Daily 66-145 Kamehameha Hwy., Haleiwa, HI 96712 Phone: (808) 636-2244 www.kaikuhale.com

Meeting All Your Surfing Needs With Aloha! Now four convenient locations... Waikiki, Hale’iwa, Long Beach NY and our newest location, Playa Jobos, Isabela, PR



studio + boutique Open Tuesday-Saturday 11-5

A tiny boutique and jewelry studio featuring Kaleimaeole Jewelry and locally made goods. Located in the Scoop of Paradise Ice Cream Factory 66-935 Kaukonahua Road Waialua, HI 96791

Now comes the big question of where to next? Unfortunately I am not allowed to say exactly what is happening next for the ProTest but I can say that the project is continuing on the other side of the earth. Hopefully for June’s issue I can announce the specifics of the next ProTest project along with providing some further insight from the surfer’s themselves from their participation in the project. Until then, Summer is knocking on our doors. Time to dust off your fishes and logs. But if you’re planning on getting a new one, make it an ecoboard. The goals of the ProTest have been realized. You, your shaper(s), and glassers now have options. The Marko and Arctic Foam collaboration has resulted in a supply in Hawaii of better ecofoams, Entropy Resins are on the shelf at Fiberglass Hawaii, hemp and flax cloth are readily available online, and you won’t need to sacrifice performance to surf a bit more guilt free. Help us keep pushing the possible and someday we can totally surf guilt free.

Ulu Napeahi



Photo Lee Jensen

76-6246 Ali`i Dr. Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740 (808) 326-1771

I N DUSTRY NOTE S samples of Raw Elements Eco Formula sunscreen to guests on all flights from North America to Hawai‘i this month, along with full-size bottles for purchase at a discounted in-flight price through June. Hawaiian also debuted a new educational in-flight video, Reefs at Risk, to educate guests on the impact of sunscreens on Hawai‘i’s coral reefs. “Hawai‘i is a very special place, and we believe it is our kuleana, or responsibility, to care for our home,” said Avi Mannis, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Hawaiian Airlines. “Through our partnership with Raw Elements, we encourage guests to join us in reducing the human impact on these delicate coral ecosystems.”

KAUAI’S BETHANY HAMILTON WELCOMES SECOND SON Kauai pro surfer Bethany Hamilton and her husband Adam Dirks welcomed their second son, Wesely Phillip Dirks, earlier this year and announced his arrival via social media on March 27. The unstoppable Hamilton, who also tours as a motivational speaker after surviving a shark attack as a teen, famously surfed Jaws just six months after giving birth to the couple’s first son, 2-year-old Tobias and was also seen surfing and skateboarding while seven months pregnant with Wesely. “We are overjoyed to welcome our son Wesley Phillip Dirks into the world!” Hamilton wrote when posting a photo of her family. “It’s a beautiful time getting life started with the four of us.” Congratulations to Bethany, Adam, Tobias, and Wesley from all of us at Freesurf!

HAWAIIAN AIRLINES, RAW ELEMENTS USA PARTNER IN EXCLUSIVE REEF PROTECTION INITIATIVE In support of the airline’s ongoing sustainability initiatives and emphasis on a company-wide commitment to preserving Hawai‘i’s natural resources, Hawaiian Airlines has become the official airline partner of Raw Elements USA, a certified-natural, chemical-free, reef-safe sun care company dedicated to protecting the environment. To celebrate the partnership, Hawaiian is offering complimentary


"Partnering with Hawaiian Airlines to raise awareness of the critical state of Hawai‘i’s coral reefs is something we are incredibly proud of,” said Brian Guadagno, founder and CEO of Raw Elements. “Together, we are able to positively impact thousands of Hawai‘i-bound guests per day on safer sunscreen practices and preserving the reefs.” Raw Elements USA is hosting a social media sweepstakes this month to celebrate the launch of the partnership. United States residents may enter for a chance to win two roundtrip tickets (140,000 HawaiianMiles) to Hawai‘i courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines, a five-night stay at The Surfjack Hotel and Swim Club (an Aqua-Aston Hospitality Hotel), the choice of three complimentary island activities, and a year’s supply of Raw Elements reef-safe sunscreen. More details about the partnership are available at HawaiianAirlines. com/ReefPreservation. For sweepstakes rules and information on how to enter, please visit RawElementsUSA.com/Pages/Protect-the-ReefSweepstakes.

THE MAUI INTERSCHOLASTIC LEAGUE SURF SEASON REACHES MIDPOINT OF ITS FIFTH SEASON MIL surfing, sponsored by industry stalwarts Dakine and Billabong, and TS Restaurants (Kimo’s, Hula Grill, Duke’s, Leilani’s), just completed the first two events at D.T. Fleming Beach in Napili, and Koki Beach in Hana. King Kekaulike High School leads the boys

The Surfer’s Shaper

John Van Hohenstein Photo: Nick Alexander @nicka02

Custom Surfboards + + + +


+ + + +





while Maui Preparatory Academy is ahead in the girl’s competition. Dante Silva, of Maui Prep., won the season-opening event at Fleming. Irie Gonah, of Maui Prep, took the bodyboard at Fleming. Madison Runyon, of Lahainaluna High School, won the girl’s shortboard at Koki. Axel Rosenblad, of King Kekaulike, won the shortboard at Koki while Na Ali`i teammate Miles Obley captured the bodyboard. Taitum Jones, of King Kekaulike, claimed the girl’s bodyboard title at Koki.


NEW STORM BLADE DEVELOPMENTS SUPPORT YOGIS, PADDLERS, AND KAYAKERS A new collection of foam boards from Storm Blade is supporting former pro surfer Rochelle Ballard’s high-end surf and SUP wellness program, Surf into Yoga Kauai Wellness & Adventure Retreats, in partnership with Nukumoi Surf. The new Storm Blade foam boards collection was developed solely for use with learn-to-surf programs featuring Extruded Barrier Top Deck skins, superior cores with laminated epoxy coated stringers, and Skintec™ strengthening reinforcement. Learn more about Ballard’s Surf into Yoga Retreats at www.surfintoyoga.com. Storm Blade is also working towards the development of a new Stand Up Paddleboard and Kayak hybrid ready for those who wish to have a dual-purpose board on which a rider could leisurely paddle at the beach park or take out fishing on a calm day offshore. The new SUPYAK hybrid has details that are the first of its kind and exclusive to Storm Blade technology. Visit www.stormbladeboards.com for more information.


This month, Pakaloha Bikinis will be launching a new collection of swimwear inspired by one of the Maui bikini line’s top team riders, 2x Women’s World Big Wave Champion Paige Alms. For more information, visit www.pahalohamaui.com, follow Pakaloha on Instagram @pakalohabikinis, or visit the Pakaloha shops on Maui - in Paia and Lahaina, or on O`ahu - in Haleiwa and Kailua.

Surf Through the Weekend with Pros like Tatiana Weston-Webb in Cabo at One & Only The Art of Luxury Surfing, in partnership with TropicSurf and One & Only Palmilla Resort is inviting surfers – from novices to veterans – to experience the beachfront resort’s next Art of Luxury Surfing weekend, June 17th-21st. The latest in the series, guests will have the opportunity to surf with some of the world’s leading pro surfers, including #1 in SURFER Magazine’s “Women’s Hot 100”, Tatiana Weston-Webb. Oceanfront rooms for the Art of Luxury Surfing weekend start at $890 per night. Guests staying four consecutive nights will receive the fourth night complimentary. Pro-surfing lessons begin at $150 per hour. One & Only Palmilla is located on one of the only swimmable beaches along the Sea of Cortez in Los Cabos, Mexico. Explore a number of après-surf activities, from a relaxing massage to the newest signature ritual treatment, “Temazcal”, at the One & Only Spa, then unwind with a tequila tasting hosted by in-resident mixologist Philippe Zaigue. Learn more at www.oneandonlyresorts.com.

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An underwater pass by seems appropriate as a last look, especially when it’s from one of our #freesurfphotobattle top 5. Surfer unknown Photo: Austin Moore

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