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A Paipo Interview with Mike Broderick

Riding a Playboy Playmate paipo

A Paipo Interview with Mike Broderick
December 5, 2012 - Kailua, Oahu (Hawaii)
Interview by John Clark, based on questions by Bob Green

Introduction. Mike was a Makapu'u regular from the 1950s. Around 1963, Mike began riding a paipo with a Playboy Playmate on the deck and later on he used a Val Valentine "Paipo Nui" board. Makapu`u was his second home, a place where bodysurfers and paipo riders co-existed. Mike doesn't ride a paipo anymore but continues to spend time in and under the water, with friends he made many years ago surfing Makapu`u.

1. How did you get into riding paipo boards and what was your first board like?
I was born in Honolulu and went to Stevenson Intermediate School and then Roosevelt High School. I graduated in 1960. When I was in the 9th grade at Stevenson, I made a redwood paipo board with a skeg at school in wood shop. That was my first board. I used it mostly at Canoes in Waikiki and at Ala Moana. I remember Donald Takayama surfing there, too. In high school, I made a foam paipo board out of waterproof insulating foam and put a plastic skeg on it. That board was about 20" wide and 3' long, rounded in the front, and square in the back. I broke it at Makaha. By that time we were surfing there and at Yokohama.
Pictured to the right are John Clark and Mike Broderick, ca. 2013. Mike is holding his board from the 1960s, minus the Playboy Playmate. Photo by Sachi Clark, courtesy of John Clark.

Figure 1. Left to right: John Waidelich, Jim Growney, Jaren Hancock, Mike Broderick and John Naughton - Yokohama Beach, ca. mid- to late-1960s. 

Of the board: "The board is under repair but still looks the same except for the Playboy Playmate that my brother removed (see above photo). When I was building my board I wanted something different on it rather them a Hawaiian print so I selected a particular playmate that I thought was great and glassed it right into the board. I also had a sand sliding or skim skim board with another one on that. I am afraid that is gone now. The board drew a lot of attention. When I look at the photo now it's obvious why I selected it."

Photo courtesy of Jaren Hancock/Jim Growney and Mike Broderick.

2. In your e-mail you said that you went to Makapu`u every week-end for 15 years. When did you first go there?
It would have been about 1957, when I was in the 10th grade. My older brother had a car, so we all pitched in for gas and he'd drive us out there.

Figure 2. Makapu`u.

Photo courtesy of Darel Shea.

3. What was the attraction of Makapu`u?
Makapu`u has lots of breaks. You can ride the shorebreak, go left at the point, and on big days go right or left from the middle of the bay. We rode it so much it was our spot. And it was off limits for surfboards. John Waidelich and Jim Growney were the ones who got the zoning changed to no surfboards. That turned out great for paipo riders.

Figures 3.1 and 3.2. Makapu`u.

Photos courtesy of Darel Shea.
4. When was the heyday of paipo riding at Makapu`u and how many paipo riders would be out on a good day? What was the atmosphere like out in the water and how were things between bodysurfers and paipo riders?
The heyday of paipo riding was up until the 1970s when the Morey boogie boards came out. On good days there were 12 to 15 paipo riders in the water, and everyone else bodysurfed. There weren't any problems between the bodysurfers and the paipo riders. The paipo riders were usually outside and the bodysurfers were mostly inside. Everyone had their own spot, and everyone got along.
5. Did everyone basically have the same approach to riding a paipo or were there noticeable differences in style and technique?
Almost all the paipo riders rode prone, but a few rode on their knees. Some guys would put one arm out when they were riding down the line. The younger kids from Waimanalo did stuff like 360s and El Rollos, but we didn't.
6. Who do you particularly remember surfing Makapu`u? Craig Matthew suggested to ask you about: Frank and Renny Kruger, John Waidelich, John "Dinty" Moore, "Toby" Tobin , Pete Crooker and Ed Stroup?
Harry Akisada was one of the best. When he went out, he'd stay out all day. He wouldn't come in. In addition to myself, there was John Waidelich, Craig Matthew, Renny Kruger, and of course, the guys from Waimanalo, like Jerry Waiolama, Black Lum King, and Lymie Wilson.

Figure 6.1. Jaren Hancock. The board in the background is similar to boards made and ridden by "Toby" Tobin.
Additional comments from Craig Matthew,
"Miggy" (Mike Broderick) might also remember three other paipo riders from Makapu`u. "Toby" Tobin was a local haole who was an officer in the U.S. Navy, in submarines. Toby paipo boarded mostly in the late-1960s and early-1970s. He made his own board and a couple for two other men: Pete Crooker and Ed Stroup, both professors at the University of Hawaii. Stroup was an oceanography prof, but passed away about 12-15 years ago. Crooker and Toby should be about 70-years-old now. All three used boards of the same design and color (a light, lime green). Their boards were basically flat and rectangular with rounded corners. They seemed to have a slight taper from the middle out towards the edge." (Personal email to Bob Green, November 13, 2012).

Photo courtesy of Darel Shea.

Figures 6.2 and 6.3. Good times at Makapu`u Beach during the 1960s.

(Above left) Figure 6.2. John Naughton, Brent Hancock (???) and Jim Riley trying to move a palm-tree trunk on top of Riley's board. David Holzman and Mike Broderick (far right) look on.

(Above right) Figure 6.3. Around the cooler: (left to right) Daryl Aiwohi taking a swig, Jim Riley, Dudie Ho (???). Albert Kaalele or Black Lum King, seated in the background, is Larry Mac Arthur. Donald Wong is turning around in the foreground. Seated holding up a beer is Jerry Waiolama. Standing behind him is John Naughton. Seated in the white/blue shorts and taking a sip is Renny Kruger, and standing with a bottle to his mouth is Randy (Guchi-naka) Moore.

Photos courtesy of Darel Shea. Photo identification by Craig Matthew.

7. How did you come to meet Val Valentine. When was this?
I met Val in the early 1960s, when I started surfing the North Shore with John Waidelich. When we rode Sunset, John would park at Val's house, which was on the beach at Sunset. One time Val filmed me on a big wave side-slipping into a surfer below me. My board ended up on top of the guy's surfboard and he fell on my back. Those were the no-leash days, so the guy was yelling, "Hold my board!" but then the wave exploded, he and his board went one way and I on my board went the other.

Figures 7.1 and 7.2. Mike side-slipping down a wave at Sunset moments before colliding with the foot surfer.

Mike writes, "That was me going up the back side of the surfer board. The wave was too steep and I side slipped down onto the back side of his board. He falls on my back and yells in my ear, "Hold my board, Hold my board!" There we were, my paipo on his board, the surfer on my back and me thinking I have to get away from that surfboard and there was an explosion and I went one way the the board and the surfer went the other. That's my head poking up for air. Don't know what happened to the surfer. I never saw him again. When Val came out with the Sunset paipo footage of me going up the back of the guys board, he described it as. "And Mike Broderick got penalized 15 yards for clipping!" Everyone had a good laugh."
Photography by Val Valentine, music and editing by Stig Waidelich in the video, Paipo Surfing 1958-1965.

8. Did you spend much time with Val? What can you tell me about him?
I only saw Val on and off, whenever we parked at his house, so I didn't really spend much time with him. But he gave me one of his first boards, a Paipo Nui, which was lighter and easier to handle than the heavier plywood I was riding. I put a photo of playmate on my original home made board and black and white racing stripes on the Val board. I kept it for a long time until it finally delaminated, sitting in my garage, so I threw it away.

Figure 8.1. Pictured below left are Mike and his wife, Jan along with Mike's Paipo Nui board with the black and white racing stripes.

Figure 8.2. Below right are Mike & Jan and Jim & Ginny Bush (Mike's cousin). Jan is holding Mike's fins and board. Yokohama Beach, 1966.

Photos courtesy of Mike Broderick.

9. Did you stick with the same board over the years or did you experiment with different types of boards?
I met John Waidelich when I was in high school, and I made a board based on his design with a scoop in the front. My older boards would side-slip, but John's design didn't. Except for that foam board I made that broke at Makaha, I pretty much just stayed with the board that I made with John's design. I rode it everywhere, on small days and big days, and I still have it at home.

Figure 9.1 (left) and Figure 9.2 (right). Mike with his board from the 1960s (minus the Playboy Playmate).

Photos by Sachi Clark, courtesy of John Clark.

Figure 9.3 (below left) and Figure 9.4 (below right). Mike's 16.5 pound paipo from the 1960s.

Photos by Sachi Clark, courtesy of John Clark.

10. Did you have any other favorite spots to surf beside Makapu`u? Would you see many paipo riders out in the surf?
In Waikiki, I used to ride Publics and Castles. One time I rode a wave from Castles to The Wall. You can do it as long as you're planning out in front of the wave. I really liked Yokohama on a big south swell. It's got a nice long wall. I had some big days at China Walls at Portlock Point. The biggest surf I ever rode was about 15-foot at Sunset and a really big day at Sandy Beach, in the 1960s, when the pier for the sewer pipe was there. I didn't ride Waimea or the Pipeline. I never saw too many paipo riders at the other spots, especially at Ala Moana and on the west side. We'd be the only ones out.

Figure 10.1 (below left) and Figure 10.2 (below right). Mike riding high and out on the shoulder with John Waidelich below and deeper, at Sunset. 

Mike writes, "There is a few shots in there (home surf movie) of Jim Growney and Mike Irwin in the beginning. Jim had the red board to start with and John the green. At Sunset it was John and I. After my shot going up the surfer legs starts the footage from Sandy Beach. A lot of footage of me and John now has a red board. At times we both caught the same waves. John had more hair than I did so I tried to line up more in the less critical area. So I am on the shoulder and John was on the left. Sure glad that John's son found the movie and had it fixed up."

Photography by Val Valentine, music and editing by Stig Waidelich in the video, Paipo Surfing 1958-1965.

11. What skill was involved in riding a paipo?
You had to be in good shape and you had to be able to swim, especially in big surf if you lost your board. I used fins, Churchills first, then Duck Feet. I liked them because they floated. On calm days at Makapu`u we used to dive for fins that sank.

Figure 11. John Waidelich riding a large Sandy Beach.

In one of the Sandy Beach shots John loses his board and in the process put a hole through his bottom lip. When I saw him after that in the water he was blowing water through it with his mouth closed. That didn't stop us, we kept going.

The last shot is of John and was described by Val in his surf movie as the greatest paipo ride of all time. John and I got out by going out at the temporary pier that was installing sewer pipe for a new sewer out fall. It went out about 100 yards and had a crane on the end of it to lower the pipe in the water. We crawled on the rail as far as we could and jumped in. There was too much current and to many waves to get out normally. As we were trying to get out the waves were breaking on the crane and pushing it in on the track, kind of hairy. The body surfing guys tried the same thing but never made it out. (See Note 1.)

John and I and some surfers were the only ones. Val had his camera on the side of Kam highway about half way to the blow hole. You can tell be the camera angle were the break must have been. The whole body surfing beach was closed out and the break was 100 to 150 yards off the beach. I have not seen it ever break like that again and no one could remember ever breaking like that prior to that. You may be able to contact the city and county sewers division to see if there are pictures of the temporary pier for the sandy beach sewer treatment plant. The pier was removed when the plant was completed. At that time I believe that John and I and Jim were the only ones paipo surfing on the north shore. I never tried Pipeline or Waimea. John may have tried Waimea.

Photography by Val Valentine, music and editing by Stig Waidelich in the video, Paipo Surfing 1958-1965.

12. What was the attraction of riding a paipo?
With a paipo you can get on the waves earlier and faster than you can bodysurfing, and it's easier to get out of waves. You just go out the back. You can rest on a paipo board, but they're not buoyant enough to be a problem on the big sets. And on a really big wave, you can fly, go really fast. I liked the speed.
13. When was the last time you rode a paipo and who is still around from your paipo riding days?
The last time I rode a paipo was in 1985, when I was about 40-years-old. I had a family, I was playing volleyball, and I really got into scuba diving. I still dive today. There aren't too many paipo riders around now, but I dive with two guys who bodysurfed at Makapu`u back in the day, Darel Shea and John Naughton.

14. Makapu`u Beach Culture (Many of the following photographs need people identification or other minor corrections. If you can assist, please send an email with information identifying the figure number.)

Figure 14.1. Relaxing at the beach.
Figure 14.2. A young, Charles "Black" Lum King.

Far left, clockwise: Diana Riley (Jim's wife), Black Lum-King,
Maxeen Shea (Daryl's ex-wife), Donna McLanahan (Keoki's wife), Judy MacArthur (Larry's wife).

Black lost his lower right leg in Viet Nam. Black would leave is artificial leg on the beach, hop into and out of the water to bodysurf and every once in a while one of the regulars would borrow the leg... sometimes to bury it with only the foot sticking out of the sand, sometimes it would be set next to a stranger who was asleep for them to wake up to, sometimes (usually later in the day and after several beers), it would become a beer stein - the cup of it where the stump fitted, filled with beer and the leg passed around. Black would be told to wait until we finished the round or just join us. He usually would do that. One of those times where you had to be there and in the same condition for it to be funny.

Photos courtesy of Darel Shea. Photo identification by Craig Matthew and Mike Broderick.

Figure 14.3 (below left). Clockwise, starting with Larry MacArthur holding a beer on the far right are Daryl Shea, Black Lum King, Joel Nevels or Andy Speece (?) with his back to the camera, Albert Kaalele, unidentified person wearing a blue shirt,  and a beardless Craig Matthew is crouching in the back. Standing and wearing a white shirt is unknown. Joel Nevels lifeguarded at Makapu`u from 1970-72)(?).

Figure 14.4. Jaren Hancock and Jim Riley.

Photos courtesy of Darel Shea. Photo identification by Craig Matthew and Mike Broderick.

Figure 14.5. "Waha nui" or "too much talk" are (L to R) Jerry Waiolama, John Naughton, Black Lum King and Jim Riley.
Figure 14.6. Looks like they're coming out of the water from a contest heat. In the foreground is Gordon Smith, followed by Jim Riley, John Naughton and unidentified bodysurfer.

Photos courtesy of Darel Shea. Photo identification by Craig Matthew and Mike Broderick.

Figure 14.7. Jim Riley with the white visor, Jerry Waiolama taking a sip and Darrel Aiwohi in green t-shirt.
Figure 14.8. Robin Bond and John Naughton.

Photos courtesy of Darel Shea. Photo identification by Craig Matthew and Mike Broderick.

Figure 14.9 (below left). (L-R, clockwise) Robin Bond (standing), Sam Herric (bent over in orange shorts),  Larry MacArthur (center seated in back), unidentified (seated upper right), Bill Westermeyer (foreground in the white t-shirt), Jan Broderick (Mike's wife), and David Fleming (the young boy, Mike's nephew).

Figure 14.10 (below right). (Counter-clockwise from far right) Sam Herric (standing, rust colored shorts), Black Lum King, "Dinty" Moore, Mike Broderick (standing, yellow shorts) and Jan Broderick (Mike's wife).

Photos courtesy of Darel Shea. Photo identification by Craig Matthew and Mike Broderick.

Figure 14.11 (below left). (clockwise, more or less, from far left) Black Lum King (standing with back towards camera), John Naughton (bent over), Jim Riley talking to Jerry Waiolama. In the background is Diana Riley and her three daughters, Anne Marie Naughton (John's wife) and Maxeen Shea, Darel's wife. Unidentified person wearing a blue shirt in right foreground.

Figure 14.12 (below right). (L to R) Larry MacArthur,
Mike Broderick and John Naughton.


Photos courtesy of Darel Shea. Photo identification by Craig Matthew and Mike Broderick.

Figure 14.13. Seated to the left is Jim Riley. On the right are Jaren Hancock and his girlfriend.

Photos courtesy of Darel Shea. Photo identification by Craig Matthew and Mike Broderick. 

Note 1: Additional comments from Craig Matthew: "Four or five of us (bodysurfers) did make it out and bodysurfed one day of it. There were probably only 8-10 people outside catching waves, but we would take off bodysurfing, the waves would wall up and we'd be almost skipping along, we were going so fast. We'd be cutting out towards past the other end of the beach area, but about a 100 yards offshore of the Blowhole. It was a LONG swim back to the lineup in blue (deep) water. My memory of it is that those were some of the biggest and fastest waves I'd ever bodysurfed. I remember Naughton, MacArthur, Shea, and myself out there, there might have been 1-2 more bodysurfers, 4-5 paipos ( I think Harry Akisada was there too), later a couple of surfers made it out, but they were lining up away from us. Whew! What a day!" (Personal email to Bob Green, February 28, 2013.)

"Out of all the people listed there, most were bodysurfers. Some dabbled in paipo surfing, but the only people who paipo boarded regularly would have been Mike Broderick and Renny Kruger. Donald Wong and Albert Kaalele would switchback and forth between the two"
(Personal email to Bob Green, February 25, 2013.)

Feel free to send me suggestions, comments and additional information to: The Paipo Interviews

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