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Paipos in the Media: Magazine Articles and Advertisements

Articles | Advertisements


Some notes on the names of surfing magazines. For reference purposes, see: All Surf Magazines (magazine covers and much more, by Al Hunt); Surfbooks.com (formerly Joe Tabler, now Boyd Scofield); Surfwarez.com, AllAboutSurfing.com, Surfresearch.com (pods for primates) and Gallery of Surf Classics (Keith Maynard Eshelman) for a large listing of surfing magazines, posters and other items. Several book reviews are listed on The Waterman's Library.

Excellent guides in print include The Surfing Collectibles Guide # 1: Magazine and Poster Issue (edited by Tim DeLaVega) and 200 Years of Surfing Literature: An Annotated Bibliography (by
Tim DeLaVega).

Listed below are articles published in surfing magazines from around the world that the Paipo Research Project has been able to obtain in our effort to document segments in the history of paipo boarding. Articles are organized chronologically by magazine. Contributions are welcomed. 
  • Atlantic Surfer (ASM). Published six issues, 1978-1980. The UK's first colour surfing magazine. Atlantic Surfer was started in Newquay by Aussie Greg Haythorpe in 1978. When Greg resigned John Conway took over the helm in 1980, and although the mag didn't last long, John Conway's new mag which he started in 1981, Wavelength, has gone on to be one of the top and longest lasting British surf mags.
  • Atlantic Surfing (ATS). First published Summer 1965, by Chapey and Gundersen. According to Surfing Collectibles Guide author Tim De La Vega, "the "right coast" was never too far behind with these nicely produced magazines. Sadly, their staying power was never very long." According to an interview with the co-publishers in http://pilgrimsurfsupply.com/atlantic-surfing-magazine/, only 9 issues were published.
  • Australian Longboarding Magazine (ALB). First published in Autumn 1998, last issue was the March 2012 edition. Number of issues: 80 plus 3 specials, per Al Hunt's allsurfmagazines.com. http://www.albmag.com.au/  More info anyone?
  • Australia's Surfing Life (ASL). The magazine was founded in 1985, by Peter Morrison. Still in publication (as of Jan. 2016), now known as Surfing Life.
  • Breakway (BKY). A Victoria-based (Australian) monthly surfing journal published 4+ years in the 1970s, the brainchild of Ted Bainbridge who enlisted the help of journalist-photographer Keith Platt, another keen surfer, who in turn roped in non-surfer Tony Murrell, supposedly for his publishing skills. It was 1973, and the first issues were put together out back of the Trigger Bros. shop and board factory in the Melbourne bayside suburb of Chelsea. Breakway sold throughout Australia and New Zealand at the time surfing was transitioning from a cottage to a corporate industry. Forty-seven issues were published before Bainbridge, Platt and Murrell drifted off to do other stuff. [Source: Breakway.com.au.] The first issue was published, December 1973, and the last issue, January 1978.
  • Competition Surf (CSM). Competition Surf, a contest-oriented magazine, may have been doomed simply by bad timing, according to Tim De La Vega, author of the Surfing Collectibles Guide. "With the advent of the shortboard revolution, contests were soon to be a thing of shame, not honor." Six issues were published.
  • International Surfing (ISM). (Dick Graham) In 1974, Lopez Publications dropped "International" from their name to create "Surfing Magazine." The publishers noted, "When we, Richard Graham and Leroy Grannis, received word that Petersen's Surfing magazine was no longer being published as a monthly, we began looking around for backers to enable us to continue the magazine." This quote from the editorial herewith sums up how the present-day Surfing Magazine started so many years ago. Vol 1 (1964) through Vol. 9 (1973). Correction: Vol. 10, No.1 (Feb/Mar 1974), was still labeled International Surfing on the cover and in the masthead "fine print."
  • Pacific Longboarder (PLB). Published by Surf Media Pty Ltd, "it is dedicated to providing a comprehensive coverage of longboarding and the surfing lifestyle." Queensland, Australia. First published in 1998 and still in production (July 2013).
  • Petersen's Surfing Magazine (PSM). Petersen published the first Surfing Magazine in December 1963 (Vol. 1, No. 1) and the last in the series was published November 1964 (Vol. 1, No. 8). Richard Graham made a second run with a Petersen's surfing magazine, Surfing Action Around the World, which debuted in April 1968.
  • Petersen's Surfing Yearbook (PSY). The first Yearbook was published before Surfing Magazine's first issue, about the same time that Surfer published its first photo annual, according to Surfing Collectibles Guide author Tim DeLaVega. Petersen published four yearbooks, in 1963, 1965, 1966, and 1969.
  • South African Surfer (SAF). Harry Bold became editor of South Africa's first surfing magazine, South African Surfer, which appeared in 1965. The magazine folded three years later, but it played a critical role in documenting the early days of modern surfing. "Some of the older guys, like Derek Jardine and Harry Bold, are the proud owners of every issue - a valuable collection of memories."
  • Surf Atlantique (STL). Published by the French Federation of Surfing. The publication run was limited to 3 or 4 issues, 1964-1965 (?).
  • Surf Guide (SG). Bill Cleary, former editor; John Van Hamersveld, former art director; Larry Stevenson, former publisher. While other magazines tried to coax surfing into the sporting mainstream, Cleary preferred to see it as loose and freewheeling, and Surf Guide soon became the genre's smartest and at times most poetic voice. First surf magazine to put a woman on the cover, played down the contest scene, first article to offer real contest analysis and criticism, began using color in early 1964. Cleary went on to become an associate editor at Surfer. Candy Calhoun, who loved paipo surfing, was on the staff and wrote several articles. Twenty-two issues of the magazine were produced between 1963-1965.  More history is discussed here.
  • Surf International (SIN). Editors: John Witzig, Paul Koller. Vol. 1, No. 1, was published December 1967 - January 1968. An upmarket, alternative to Surfing World. Introduced music, lifestyle, enviroment and politics. The dates of Surf International magazines are not specified in the publication details. Some commentators have dated this issue September 1967, yet the cover article on the Newcastle Contest notes it was won by Russell Hughes on 10th September 1967. Given the publishing lag in this period (up to 6 weeks), a later date seems reasonable. The magazine's agenda was to be futher explored by Witzig in Tracks magazine. Published around 1967-1970, by Gareth Powell Associates. Information compliments of surfresearch.com.au.
  • Surfabout: Australasian Surfer (SAS). In August 1962, Surfabout Australasian Surfer was published as a quarterly that would run for 24 issues until 1968. In the debut issue, editorial staff included Jack Eden who was credited as photographer and co-editor; Garry Birdsall was credited as cartoonist and co-editor, and Bob Weeks was credited as photographer. Source: Paul Scott (2005, 29 Nov-2 Dec). Australian Surfing Magazines: The First Wave (1961-1962). Refereed paper presented to the Journalism Education Conference, Griffith University.
  • Surfer Magazine (SMQ). Also known as The Surfer Quarterly, The Surfer Bi-Monthly, Surfer. Founded in 1960 by surfer-artist-filmmaker John Severson; the longest continuously published surf magazine, and sometimes referred to as the "Bible of the sport." The long time "king of surf magazines." Severson sold Surfer in 1972, and handed over publishing duties to editor-writer Steve Pezman, who remained with the magazine for two decades. (Pezman would later found the San Clemente–based Surfer's Journal.) See more here: http://encyclopediaofsurfing.com/entries/surfer-magazine
  • Surfer's Path, The (TSP). Started publication in 1997 in the UK. According to Wikipedia, "The Surfer's Path is an international surfing journal which is published every two months. Founded in 1997, the magazine is a bit of an anomaly in the surf-publishing world. Based in the United Kingdom, the Path is low-key and philosophical. From the start, its Caribbean-born editor, Alex Dick-Read, aimed the mag at the environmentally and culturally conscious global surf traveler. The magazine has its international headquarters in Oxon in England with publishing offices in New York City. An American edition of the magazine was formerly edited by Drew Kampion from Washington State. The magazine's website has full information and upates: click-surf to www.surferspath.com."
  • Surfing Action Around the World (SAP). Published by Petersen, 1968-1972, also known as Surfing. Petersen Publishing decided to make another go at it with this magazine, according to Tim DeLaVega, author of the Surfing Collectibles Guide. Editor Richard Graham started off with America's first shortboard cover in April 1968, breaking the shortboard news to the Americans. This magazine covered quite a bit of the new counter culture movement. The magazine barely made in into the 1970s, before Petersen finally gave up in 1972.
  • Surfing East (SNE). Published by Richard S. Van Winkle, for three years, 1965-67, and nine issues. Focused on the North East and based out of Ridgewood, NJ. Considered to be poorly edited and focused on contests. Balsa Bill was one of the contributing editors. Jim Phillips also contributed as a mid-Atlantic correspondent. [Rod's Note: It doesn't seem that bad as surfing mags of the era go.]
  • Surfing Illustrated (SIL). Published by Walt Phillips from 1962-1967. Photographer Leroy Grannis had a major influence on classic covers and layouts. Phillips also produced surf films and TV shows, "Surf's Up" and "Walt Phillips' Surfing World." (Sources: Tim DeLaVega' Surfing Collectibles Guide, 2000; Matt Warshaw's Encyclopedia of Surfing; vol. 4, no. 1, June 1966.) Published by Jack Pelzer and Edited by Peter L. Dixon beginning with v4n1 (June 1966).
  • Surfing Life (ASL). The magazine was founded in 1985, by Peter Morrison. Formerly known as Australia's Surfing Life.
  • Surfing Magazine (ISM). In 1974, Lopez Publications dropped "International" from their name to create "Surfing Magazine," which has become a household name in surf mags and Surfer's primary competitor for the last 30 years. This publication should not be confused with "Petersen's Surfing," which thrived in the 1960s. Vol 10 (1974) to present.
  • Surfing World (ASW). Vol. 1, No. 1 was published Sept. 1962, edited by Bob Evans. First issue was titled The Surfing World Monthly and The Australian Surfing Magazine, and is also known as Australia's Surfing World. Still published today, it was and is "a monthly magazine published in the interests of promoting surfing in Australia and overseas." Editor 1966: Albert Falzon, others include John Witzig, Bruce Channon.
  • The Surfer's Journal (TSJ). Published by Steve Pezman (former Publisher, Surfer Magazine) and Debbee Pezman (former Marketing Director, Surfer Magazine), the Journal was founded in 1992.
  • Tracks (TRK). Published since 1970 (or to 1977?). Editors: John Witzig,  Albert Falzon, John Stewart, John Grissim, Paul Holmes, Kirk Wilcox, Neil Ridgway, Phil Jarratt, Nick CarrollIn. In 1970, Tracks magazine had a significant impact by foregoing colour and using a newsprint format that slashed production time from 12 to 4 weeks. Australia..
  • TransWorld Surf (TWS). Published since 1999. Chris Coté, Editor-in-Chief (2010). Located in Oceanside, CA.
  • Wave Rider (WRP). A quarterly surfing publication that was based in Cocoa Beach, Florida, publishing 20 issues between 1975-1982. Founded by Gunnar Griffin and John Griffin, two brothers from the Florida Space Coast, the publication had a successful run for nearly seven years until the early 1980s. Wave Rider not only covered the international surfing scene but offered more inclusive coverage of the East Coast of the United States. Information courtesy of Craig Snyder Works.com.
  • Miscellaneous Magazines (Non-surfing -- please note that some magazine articles are listed in the bibliography and annotated bibliography rather then here.)

Articles

Australian Longboarding Magazine (on-line link to the magazine)
  • Smith, Bob (Boardroom Bob). (2010, November/December). Bellyboards, Paipo Nuis & Belloomers: The history and resurgence of an ancient craft. Australian Longboarding Magazine, 72, 50-52. Article with photographs, pp. 26,28. Click on the link to the article pages here (JPG): Page 26 - Page 28

    
All around the article does well until it crumbles into some of the all too customary characterizations,
  • "... a special emotional moment for all that had Chris quietly pondering whether he could have been a stand-up surfer after all."
  • "... the first surfcraft for many, and a developmental link in an ongoing historical progression that now seems to he embracing all aspects of its past."
A critical reading of the article would seem to indicate that stand-up foot riding on the paipo is required in order to "validate" a board-type intended to be ridden prone... for the joy of it!

Some good historical nuggets and a nice collection of boards are shown on p. 26.

International Surfing Magazine (on-line link to the magazine)
  • Valentine, Val. (1965, October). Paipo Nui. International Surfing Magazine, 1(6), 50-52. Story about how John Waidelich evolved from being a bodysurfer to becoming an avid paipo boarder. He gradually improved the board from a basic slab of marine ply to a highly articulated board with a scooped nose and a larger planing area in the aft section resulting in a delta shape. Commercially, this shape became known as the Paipo Nui and went on to be ridden on the famous North Shore breaks, including Waimea Bay. Article with photographs, pp. 50-52. Click on the link to the article pages here (JPG): Page 50 - Page 51 - Page 52. See the 3-page PDF here. Note: In the Letters to the Editor section of Vol. 2, No. 1 (Dec. 1965), p. 71, Candy Calhoun notes an error in the caption of the photograph (middle page, third down). She is riding a Wallace Froiseth paipo, not a Paipo Nui board. See the letter bottom right.

Calhoun, Candy. (1965, December). Letter to Editor. International Surfing Magazine, 2(1), 71.
Correction please!


  • Haworth, Ron. (1965, October). Surfing Girl of the Month: Nina Cherry. International Surfing Magazine, 1(6), 60.
One page cameo on water woman Nina Cherry. An accomplished bodysurfer, she was also a paipo rider, stand-up surfer and a member of a wahine paddling team at the Outrigger Canoe Club. Click on the link to the article pages here (JPG), Page 60.



Pacific Longboarder Magazine (on-line link to the magazine)

  • Green, Bob. (2013, May). Paipo - What’s that? Pacific Longboarder Magazine, 16(5), 50-54.
  • Wegener, Tom. (2013, May). The Secret. Pacific Longboarder Magazine, 16(5), 55-57.

    The articles described in the issue's Contents: "Like the Phantom, paipo go by many names and have remained in the shadows. "Professor of Paipo" Bob Green shares his encyclopaedic knowledge of this simple but highly functional surf vehicle from the past. Augmented by a piece from Tom Wegener on the fascinating, if more than a little eccentric World Bellyboarding Championships held every September at Chapel Porth in England. Tom’s also making and riding some fine "modern" paipos."






Petersen's Surfing Yearbook

  • Haworth, Ron. (1965). Belly Boarding: You've got to have the stomach for it... . Petersen's Surfing Yearbook Number Two, 192-195. Los Angeles, Calif.: Petersen Publishing Co.

Excerpt from the section titled Offbeat Surfing: You name away - somebody's already tried it. Article with photographs, pp. 190-195. Ron Haworth's authorship of the article was confirmed in his Paipo Interview. Photos are by Leroy Grannis, Doug Kilgour, and Greg Noll. Some snippets from the article appear below.

  • Bellyboarding, the art of riding the waves on a short board, seems to be exploding as fast as regular surfing in many areas today. In the Hawaiian Islands, a whole new breed of wave riders are experimenting with various shapes of bellyboards on the big surf, while along the California coast, a growing crowd is riding the smaller surf on bellyboards.
  • It should be said here that the sport of belly boarding is quite new, and a lot of experimenting is going on in all types of sud. There is a whole new breed of surfers in the Islands riding bellyboards with, and without, skegs. Some of these boards are made of wood and some made of glassed polyurethane foam.
Click on the link to the article here in PDF [4.5MB]. Click on page numbers for viewing: p190 | p191 | p192 | p193 | p194 | p195 |

  • Haworth, Ron. (1966). Belly Boarding. Petersen's Surfing Yearbook Number Three, 108-111. Los Angeles, Calif.: Petersen Publishing Co.

    

"The bellyboarding fan finds a whole new dimension in surfing because he gets a faster ride on a wave than a regular board rider, particularly on the drop down the curl." Also, "In the Hawaiian Islands where bellyboarding has grown temendously, they are called Paipo boards and are sued on the big storm surf as well as the smaller waves.

Article with photographs, pp. 108-111.

Click on the l
ink to the article here in PDF [725KB]. Click here for JPG images: p108 websized | hi-rez; p109 websized | hi-rez; p110 websized | hi-rez; p111 websized | hi-rez; photo spread on pp110-1 websized | hi-rez

  • [Photograph by Tex Wilson]. (1966). Belly Boarding. Petersen Surfing Yearbook No. 4, 83. Los Angeles, Calif.: Petersen Publishing Co.
No articles appeared in the Yearbook Number Four. Pictured below is the only paipo-related item, an unidentified rider at Pipeline. Photo by Tex Wilson.


South African Surfer

  • Gouldie, Rob. (1967, no month identified). Belly Boarding. South African Surfer, 3(1), 29, 37-38. This was the first article featuring bellyboard/paipo surfing in South African Surfer, the first surfing magazine in South Africa. Prior issues included advertisements, letters to the editor, photographs and other references to belly sliding within feature articles. See the PDF here [9MB].

  • The Contents page offers a preview of the article: "In Hawaii they call them "Paipos", but here they are known as belly-boards. They are becoming more and more popular every day, so we contacted Rob Gouldie, a stoked belly-boarder and asked him for a write-up." Some article excerpts are below.
  • As in surf board riding, the size of a belly board is governed by the physical characteristics of the rider. Bodyweight and height are the deciding factors.
  • Most novices begin with a 4'6" "popout" which has a fairly pronounced rocker and a single skeg.
  • The board which I have found to be most satisfactory, is a teardrop shape custom built craft, 4'6" long, which tapers in side elevation from approximately 1" in thickness at the transom to 2" at its widest point. The board has no rocker whatsoever but possesses a turn-up which starts 6" from the nose. The skegs and a handle complete the board.
  • Whether to have a handle or not is a matter of personal taste. While a handle detracts from the appearance of the board, the advantages it offers are, in my opinion, well worth the loss in looks.
This cropped photograph from p. 29 shows some close-up detail of the rider holding on to a handle but it is hard to determine whether the handle is made of a fixed material or maybe a tight rope or cord. Most of the other photographs show the riders holding on to the handle with one or both hands, although that is unclear in the photo on p. 38.

  • Unknown. (1968, March). Belly-boarding: New Concepts on a New Sport. South African Surfer, 4(2), 14. A "how to surf a belly-board" article. The author suggests a six-ply board about 42 inches long, turned up slightly at the nose, and about 2 inches broader in the nose than the tail. The board should be about as wide at your shoulders. Twin fins are preferable to a single fin board. The author mentions several reasons for riding a belly-board. Clicking on the images below will provide a larger view.







The photographs below were reprocessed to provide clearer images.





Above: Alan Cooper sneaks through at
Humewood, P.E. Photo: M. Jensen.

Above photos: Involvement at "Ballcase" Bay-Cape. Photos: G. Miller.


Surf Atlantique

  • Epiland [Advertisement]. (1964, June). Tout pour le surfer. Surf Atlantique, 1, 26-27. Epiland was a company in Hossegor, France. Surf Atlantique was a publication of the French Federation of Surfing (the publication run was limited to 3 or 4 issues).
Pictured below left is a price list that includes skimboard (Les Soucoupes) and planky (Le Surfy) advertisements. (Below right) The bottom of this advertisement states, "Sur les petits rouleaux de bord, vous donnera vos de premiers sensations de Surfer!" Roughly translated: "On small boards you will receive your first sensations of surfing!"


Figures courtesy of Guilhem Rainfray and Philip Zibin.

Surf Guide 
  • Valentine, Val. (1965, January). It's Smaller, Faster and 300 years Old: The Paipo Board. Surf Guide, 3(1), 17-19. Article with photographs, pp. 17-19. The article touches upon the early history of the paipo board in ancient Polynesian times up through the then current types of paipos in Hawai`i. The article implies that all paipos are made of wood, vary in craftsmanship from the plain plank to sophisticated woodworkings and sealants (oil or fiberglass), and may or may not have a skeg. There is also mention of experimentation with a hydrofoil paipo. The article cites the recent development of the delta shape board and a commercial version called the Paipo Nui. Also mentions that the word paipo is not in the Hawai`ian dictionary and speculates how the word was derived. Also noteworthy is the infamous Val Ching foot surfing a paipo board. Click on the link to the article here in PDF [700KMB], or JPG image files of about 450KB each [p17p18p19].
[Note: The caption for the left center photograph on p. 17, incorrectly identifies Jim Growney as Jim Brownie. In a personal email, Jim Growney said his last name was often mistaken as Brownie. See the Jim Growney paipo interview here.]



Surf International
  • Magazine Cover Shot. (1969). Nat Young at Winkipop, 1969. Surf International, 2(4), cover. Magazine cover.
    This issue features a cover shot of Australian surf rider Nat Young at Winki in 1969. The paipo rider in front of Young is Jeff Callaghan, confirmed by both Rocky Hall and Jeff Callaghan. In a review of John Witzig's newly published Surfing Photographs From the 1960s and '70s, Geoff Cater of surfresearch.com.au notes that the photograph, "Nat Young at Winkipop, 1969," was originally published in 1969 on the cover of Witizig's Surf International magazine (Vol. 2, No. 4) and that the bellyboardrider (riding on the outside of Nat) has apparently been brushed out of the later version.


Surfabout: Australasian Surfer
  • Unknown (1963, Winter). Spotlight on Hawaii, Surfabout 2(6), 13-19. The photo shown below appears on p.17. Thanks to Henry Marfleet for this contribution. (Click on image for a larger viewing.)



  • Unknown. (1965, Summer). Belly Boards. Surfabout: Australasian Surfer, 3(1), 44-46. An article on bellyboarding. Click on the link to the article here in PDF [700KMB], or JPG image files of about 300KB each [p44p45p46].

Pictured are Lewis Cawsey bodysurfing with a  hand plane and Greg Vaughan is bellyboarding.

Jack Evans took the photos on the cover at Cronulla Pt. He was consulting editor
by this time. Reg Millar was editor.
General notes and comments from the article:
  • Introduction makes a distinction between the belly board and the paipo board, noting, "Belly boards are made of laminated wood or foam. The size is usually 2 feet. x 3 feet and they have two skegs. The Paipo board is at times called the belly board, but this is incorrect." Continuing, "The Paipo is an entirely different type of board. Saucer-shaped, sometimes made of ply or balsa covered with fibreglass, the name Paipo is derived from the Hawaiian word "Paepae" which means in a slapping manner." 
  • More to the point, "Belly boards or Paipos simply mean a body-planing board.
  • Candy Calhoun, mat rider. "Girls, too, are taking kindly to mat riding - one notable fern in the sport is Candy Calhoun, of America, who has become an expert in this phase of surfing."
  • "Bozo" Griffith has become a top belly board rider and has given up his surfboard to concentrate on mastering this art.
  • Bellyboard is spelled with two words, "belly board." 
  • Belly boarders make the cover shot! Is this the only instance of a cover?
Puurri from the paipo forums tells us that he is the bodysurfer pictured in p. 45; the pictures were of Cronulla Point; the girl on p. 46 is Julie Gibson and she still bodysurfs though mainly at Curl Curl; and that Jack Eden used these photos in a book he did on Oz surfing.

Lewis Cawsey informed me in an email that he is the bodysurfer with the hand plane and Greg Vaughan is the bellyboarder in the cover photograph at the bottom. The photograph on p. 44, shows Lewis Cawsey (top) and Greg Vaughan (lower)  surfriding at Cronulla Point. (Personal communication, February 25, 2014).

Shown on p. 44 (far left) are Lewis Cawsey (top) and Greg Vaughan (lower) bellyboarding at Cronulla Point. The bodysurfer in the top photograph appearing on p. 45 (middle), is Puurri. On p. 46, Julie Gibson is handplaning in the top photo.


Surfer Magazine (on-line link to the magazine) 
  • de Rosnay, Joel. (1962, Spring). Le Surf. Surfer Magazine, 3(1), 23.

The article begins,
"The "scenarist," Peter Viertel, brought the first board to Biarritz in 1956, and was met by Joel de Rosnay, avid belly-board and body-surfer. Peter lent the board to Joel for three months; Joel becoming the first Frenchman to surf."
Significance of this article to paipo surfing: This is the first instance that belly/paipo surfing appears, in word or figure, in Surfer Magazine.
  • Dahlquist, Ron [Photographer]. (1964, August/September). Surfer Extra! Surfer Magazine, 5(4), 82.

Bellyboarder George Farquhar between a longboarder and a loose board. (See article below. the board
did hit and dent Farquhar's helmet.)
  • Unknown. (1965, August/September). Bellyboarding a sport!!! Surfer Magazine, 6(4), 54-55, 57.

Click on pic for a PDF version. Hi-Rez image files: page 54, page 55, page 57.
Summary and Snippets:
  • The author begins the article asserting that Waimea bellyboard rider J.R. Waidlich and Huntington Pier shooter George Farquhar would tell you is asked, "Bellyboarding is no sissy sport or poor substitute for surfing. They're stoked!"
  • "In the Islands it is called Paipo boarding. Everywhere else it's Bellyboarding"
  • Ron Haworth says, "Paipo boarding has grown out of the basic love and special thrill of taming a wave. Paipos come in various shapes, sizes and craftsmanship anywhere from beat-up, odd-shape, discarded plywood to the custom, costly, Johnny-come-lately models. But, no matter what the price tag, paipos... offer years of surfing pleasure."
  • Bellyboarding gets a boost every summer during the restricted surfing hours at beaches which largely do not apply to bellyboarding.
  • Farquhar became stoked on bellyboarding when he could swap out his 55-pound surfboard for a light bellyboard -- a big deal of a 90-pound kid. As an adult he rides a 42 by 16 inch, quarter-inch marine plywood board a direct copy of the nose of his surfboard. It is glassed and resined.
  • Ron Haworth nominated Makapu`u as the most paipo-surfed beach in the world.
  • Unknown. (1967, September). The Unsung Body Surfer. Surfer Magazine, 8(4), 72-77. A feature article on our friends riding the waves without a board. Mentioned are Bob Gardner, Candy Calhoun, Nancy Corfman, Pete Hallworth, Mickey Munoz, Buffalo Keaulana, and Joe Quigg. Click on the link to the article here in PDF [7.5MB]. See JPG pages p72 | p73 | p74 | p75 | p76 | p77.
  • Unknown. (1969, April/May). Reducing the Medium. Surfer Magazine, 10(2), 92-93, 95.  Three Wedge notables are pictured: Rick Newcombe (top far left), Chuck  Gardner (bottom far left) and Spyder Wills (middle page). Spooning is George Greenough. Click on the link to the article here in PDF [5MB]. Click on images below to read JPG files (~675KB).
    
Questions:
  • Are you one with the wave?
  • What is a paipo vs. a bellyboard?
  • Knee riding or kneeboarding?
  • Prone board riding features?
  • Are pure to you ride?
  • A lot of surfers have been mouthing one of the truly camp-cliche statements of all time lately... While it's the surfers who talk about "being one with the wave," it is the belly boarders, knee riders, paipo boarders and body surfers that are doing something about it.
  • "You're so close to the water," says Newport Wedge paipoboarder Rick Newcombe, "you're right in it, and everything is up to you.. the board, like fins, must become a part of you."
  • "I surf just for the fun of it," Greenough says: "I don't even care what I ride. A mat is fine. As far as comparing surfboards and knee boards, I don't compare things along that Iine."
  • "It seemed like there was too much work carrying a board around," Spyder Wills shrugs; "I want something that's portable." Spyder classifies himself as a paipoboarder and body surfer. A bellyboard, he says, is any prone ridden water vehicle with a round bottom; a paipo being any prone-ridden vehicle with a flat bottom.
  • More from Spyder Wills, "With a paipo I'm closer to the wave than a regular surfer, and yet I have more speed than a body surfer. Besides, it's easy to get out of waves. I tie my board to my wrists with cord and have a handle to hang onto. It reduces the drag by keeping my arms out of the water and off the rails. I turn through the handles, using my wrists and hips, I tried it for a while without handles, but with them you can turn much faster."
  • Rick Newcombe, "For me, at a place like the Wedge, bellyboarding has several advantages over body surfing: you have more speed, there are less bellyboarders (Ron Romanoski and myself are about the only two regulars), it takes turns better, people get out of the way, and therefore, I get more waves."
  • "I used to surf my kneeboard standing up," Art Brewer states, "but it wasn't the same as riding a surfboard and wasn't the same as knee riding. I figured I had to do one or the other, so I chose knee riding."
  • Just as in the surfboard industry, the bellyboard-knee machine industry has its phases. According to Newport paipoboarder Bud Hulst: "A revolution began in the design of bellyboards last summer. For the first time, hard rails were seen. The V, the Tri-plane as in surfboards, has come and gone... Unlike the surfboard revolution, bellyboards and knee boards became longer instead of shorter, from 38" to 54" and even longer. One longer fin is replacing two small ones. Removable fins are also in."
  • Kampion, Drew. (1969, September). One Step Beyond... The Legend of Spyder Wills. Surfer Magazine, 10(4), 100-103. Article with photographs, pp. 100-103. Click on the link to the article here in PDF [3.0MB]. Click on images below to read JPG files (500KB).
  
 
Legendary Laguna Beach frizbee thrower, paipo rider, photographer and film maker and a man to make his own trail. Wills worked on several classic surf films including Pacific Vibrations, Forgotten Island of Santosha and Big Wednesday. Kampion writes,
    • "Spyder is one of the best paipo boarders in California, but paipo boarding itself is so unobtrusive that reputations are seldom made using the stubby little board as a vehicle of expression. Yet he is a much better body surfer than he is a paipoboarder, probably one of the best anywhere. But body surfing, though popular, is so obscure that a criterion of good and bad hasn't reallybeen established on a large scale."
    • "Spyder started body surfing seriously in 1959, and really got into it heavily in '65 after his discharge. He discovered the paipoboard in '63, and has become one of the mostadvanced practitioners anywhere."
  • Unknown. (1970, May). Toward Unencumbered Flight. Surfer Magazine, 11(2), 110-117. Link to the introduction and the three supporting articles is here in PDF [6.5MB], sections in JPG format below.
Introduction, pp. 110-111.

Out on the fringes of surfing the individual is being reborn. Anonymous for a time, he is now ready to assert himself as a totally commited voyager into new surfing dimensions. He is called by many names: bodysurfer, paipoboarder, bellyboarder, kneerider, but names are inadequate.

Photos by John Ramuno and Art Brewer. Both are from the paipo-related surfing world.

[Rod's Note: appears to be Drew Kampion's style of writing, but the author is unknown.]
(L) Crandall, Gary. Potato Chip Thrills In a Washing Machine, 112. Snippets:
  • Steaming out of a grisly tube on one rail of a potato chip leaves no time for tricks. Like a dragster, the paipo board is built for one thing - speed. Flat-out, tire-smoking acceleration.
  • A paipo board reduces surfing to its most functional simplicity. Plane enough to lift the body out of the water and no more.
  • It prefers hard-breaking waves to fat, mushy ones...
  • My homemade board - L'enfant Terrible - is made of marine ply, fiveeighths of an inch thick with a thin coat of paint and resin. The skeg is in the middle where the center of weight lies and where turns, when needed, are cranked out most effectively.
  • In a prone position, the wave folds around you, engulfs you. The sensation of speed is intense - just inches from the surface - like opening the car door while speeding down the highway and staring at the ground. The sensation of speed is increased ten-fold.
(Above Right) Romanosky, Ron. A Wilderness of Knees and Spoons, 113.
  • The Wedge. [Note: Need we say more?]
  • "When it comes right down to actually making a good-sized wave-some monster twelve feet or better - the bellyboards have been the going means of transportation and will probably continue to be. Bodysurfing is not being knocked at this point. It is just a fact that a big wave breaks proportionately faster than a small wave, usually erasing the chances of anyone not on a board making a large wave. Names like Chuck Gardner, Bill Sinner and Bob Bell are synonymous with the regular "in" crowd at the Wedge with their bellyboarding. But enough has happened this past year to warrant the statement, now fact, that there hasbeen an evolution."
  • This evolution, spawned by George Greenough...  is neither board surfing nor bellyboarding, and really cannot be called either... This method of involvement, still in an infant stage of development, is knee riding.Knee riding can be done anywhere, although large Waimea or Sunset Beach waves, at this point, are restricted areas. I feel that even this can be changed, however, but only with a new concept of wave equipment. By "new" I mean new to most - like 99 percent. This new concept is the "spoon, "rigid, flex-bodied or otherwise. [Note: It is not clear to me why knee riding is restricted at Waimea and Sunset Beach.]
Ramuno, John. Specifications for the Revolution, 114-117.


  • Knee-riding is part of the new surfing revolution. It is not just an easier, more portable way of surfing-like some of the old paipo boarders claim. And it's not just a way of "reducing the medium" to get more involved with the wave. Knee-riding is a highly intricate and sophisticated aspect of surfing. [See Surfer Magazine, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 92-3, 95.]
  • It is changing every day because of the great number of knee-riders who aren't satisfied with what has happened in the past. They are individuals who have separated themselves from traditional knee-boarders and are seeking a new direction in knee riding.
  • In spite of all the improvements, the conventional foam knee-board seems to be dying a slow death because of the increased interest and speculation concerning the flexible knee-board.
  • As a result of extensive experimentation, three major flex-board designs have gained prominence. The first is called the "flex-tail" (Fig. 1). the second is the "rigid center spoon" (Fig. 2). The third is the "shell" or "spoon" flex-board, which is probably the most popular flex-board in use today (Fig. 3) . [The article goes on to describe the variations. What isn't clear is how "flex" in a knee riding board is differnet than flex that could be and has been incorporated in various prone riding boards.]

Surfer's Path, The (on-line link to the magazine)
  • Carson, David & Kenvin, Richard. (2009/2010, December/January). Deaf Musicians and Silent Dancing: Wave Riding with Richard Kenvin. The Surfer's Path, 75, 40-53. Article with several photographs. Below is an excerpt from the article that discusses paipo boarding. Also see this section in PDF format.
  • Sankey, Mark. (2010, August/September). "The functional art of paipo glide," in Ripples & bombs - Shapers first hand. Surfer's Path, 79, 32.  Article about the paipo glide boards built by Andy Bick, in Cornwall, UK. Click pic for a largr JPG or read it in PDF.
      

    Snippets from the article


    • "My first board was just an experiment," says Andy. "It was much too wide and thick, but it worked."
    • Since that first board five years ago, Andy has developed his own blends of rocker, foil, rails and concaves to achieve the combination of drift and performance he's looking for in a prone position. According to Andy, normal foam bodyboards just don't compare. "These boards are really fast," he says. ''And personally, I just love the feel of a wood board - they're that much more in tune with the ocean, plus they look good."
    • He's embracing neighbouring Homeblowns evolving bio foam and resin.

  • Wood, Terence. (2013, March/April). Convergent Evolution. Surfer's Path, 95, 50-57.  Photographs by Terence Wood and Trond Saetterm. Solomon Islands's Weather Coast kids make paipo surfing boards from sago palm trees. Apparently, the villagers have been riding these home-hewn boards for generations, influence-free. More to come...

    Caption for photo appearing on p. 56: Local grommets, left, who's sheer enthusiasm inpired the author, right, to give surfing another go after so many years.


Surfing Action

  • Newell, Skip. (1970, January/February). Paipo Part I: It's not how long you make it... . Surfing Action, 3(1), 56-59.
    First in a 3-part series focused on the paipo board.
    Click here for a PDF version [3.2M]. Click on images below for large JPG views.
       
       
    Quick Notes:
    • Bob Simmons built a modern day balsa paipo around 1950.
    • Skip Newell produced the Newport Paipo. 
    • Con Colburn Surfboard manufacturer and Newport Paipo board builder.
    • Bud Hulst is the manufacturer of the El Paipo "spoon" shape.
    • Jack Hokanson, of Jack's Surfshop, was the first to market mass produced belly boards.
    • Side cap to the article: "Paipo" is a Hawaiian word designating a short or small board. Paipo boarding is probably one of the oldest, yet most underrated and underdeveloped phase of the sport of surfing today.
    • As beaches become more restricted, the easily portable and fast paipo boards are the possible answer for many surfers.

    The article beings, "The original purpose of the paipo was to get the body surfer up on a more smooth and streamlined plane than he could get with his body alone."

    "For years, Hawaiians have been riding paipo boards at Makapuu, Makaha, and just about any place having a rideable wave. They used a small piece of plywood, often without a fin , and rode on their knees, occasionally standing as though on a surfboard."

    "There was a need for a very thin and very fast paipo board that could adapt to any wave of any shape in the country. A series of foam, hand shaped, high peformance paipo baords were introduced by the author early in 1966. Known as the Newport Paipo, they has a flat bottom which ended in a a release area at the tail. They were designed to produce as little turbulence in the water as possible. The rails were hand shaped and turned down sharoply towards the rear. The idea worked out quite well because with two fins, aka Bob Simmons, the Newport Paipo rode higher in the wave and never spun out on hollow tubes." Newell goes on to note that he experimented with different bottom countours (e.g., "V," concave, convex, slot) before settling on a concave bottom, naming this design the Newport Paipo Concave Vector.

    Newell takes some credit for the popularity of kneeboarding with Rick Newcomb riding his paipo design at The Wedge, and hence the evolution of the "Knee Machine." Then the bluring between paipo riding (prone) and kneeboarding -- the paipo board basically meaning "short board" regardless of whether ridden prone or on the knees, or even stand-up style. Newell goes on to write, "The paipo offers the surfer tremendous speed and involvement with the wave, whether ridden prone or as a knee machine."

    "Several prominent riders came out of this era of foam paipos. Terry Jay, usually found at the Santa Ana River jetty, was very adept at late take-offs. The incredible speed of the paipo enabled it to beat collapsing sections that would have stopped a surfboard . Rick Newcomb started riding at the Wedge and astounded people by riding on his knees to get more maneuverability out of his board. Hence, the era of the knee machine."


    Jack Hokanson f
    amous quote: "Belly boards will soon outnumber surfboards."

    1Editor's Note: ca1950.
  • Newell, Skip. (1970, March/April). Paipo Part II: Greenough-Man in Motion. Surfing Action, 3(2), 62-65. Second in a 3-part series focused on the paipo board.  Click here for a PDF version [2.2MB]. Click on images below for large JPG views.
The author notes Greenough's influence on riding waves, from mat surfing to erectile boarding riding, in particular kneeboards. There is no mention of Greenough riding a paipo (notwithstanding riding a "soft" paipo, aka a surf mat). Newells states, "What Greenough gave us is more than a new concept, it is a new impetus to develop the paipo board or knee machine to further degrees of refinement for more and more people." Also places Greenough among the greats in modern surfing history: "Yet he has given surfing more real innovations than most anyone... save perhaps Bob Simmons, or Dick Brewer, or one or two more. Greenough has contributed fin shapes, rail designs, wave theory, knee boards, photographic concepts, and has been a driving force behind many of the contemporary ideas that have come out of Australia in the past few years."
  • Newell, Skip. (1970, May/June).Paipo Part III: Wave Test. Surfing Action, 3(3), 66-68. Third in a 3-part series focused on the paipo board. Click here for a PDF version of the entire article (2.5MB) or the Table of Boards from p. 67 (250KB). [Note: The emphais has certainly shifted to knee riding.]
"Your face is only inches from the side of a fast green tube... you're roaring along inside the curl and breathing the vapors from the very heart of the wave... that's what paipos are all about."
"To bring this rapidly growing segment of surfing into clearer focus, SURFING Magazine conducted the most comprehensive research and testing program ever attempted. Performance, design, and specification tests were made both in and out of the water on the contemporary boards available on the market today. The results and evaluations are now available for publication."


The Surfing Heritage Series, Parts I through IV
  • Shipman, Chuck. (1969, July/August). Heritage Series Part I: Pre-Hawaiian Surfing History. Surfing Action, 2(4), 64-65.
    Surfing was practiced in various forms (e.g., body, board and canoe) throughout Oceania and along coastal Peru, where the Peruvian indians rode the waves for thousands of years. Eighteenth centrury European explorers observed body surfers in the West Indies and later compared this activity to surfing in the Pacific Islands. More research is needed to clarify if paipo boards were used to aid these body surfers. Surf riding was also practiced in West Africa in the area of the Gulf of Guinea, including body surfing, paipo surfing and standing erect on boards about six feet long. Click here for a PDF version [1.2GB] and Hi-Rez image files: p. 64 and p. 65 [~800KB each].
  • Shipman, Chuck. (1969, September/October). Heritage Series Part II: Surfing at the Time of Capt. Cook. Surfing Action, 2(5), 68-70.
    My reading of the article is that a board similar to what is now called the Alaia was most popular and that this board was usually ridden prone. There is a mention of some very skilled riders that rode on their knees or standing. Certainly provides a good departure point for some serious research. Click here for a PDF version [2GB] and Hi-Rez image files: p. 68, p. 69, p. 70 [~1MB each].
  • Shipman, Chuck. (1969, November/December). Heritage Series Part III: Prehistoric Hawaiian Surfboards. Surfing Action, 2(6), 24-25.
    The author makes his point very quickly, "By the Fifteenth Century, as we reckon time, Hawaiian surfboards had reached an excellence which would not be surpassed until very recent times. The prehistoric Hawaiian surfboards are clearly and distinctly different from the well publicized "renaissance redwoods" ridden by such greats as Duke Kahanamoku, Dad Center, George Freeth, and Tom Blake during the early 1900's." Continuing, "Waikiki Bay was the cradle of the rebirth of surfing. As a result, the "redwoods" were shaped for gentler, flatter, and longer rolling waves than are commonly found around the various Hawaiian Islands. Most of the prehistoric Hawaiian surfriding took place at areas that had steeper, faster, and harder breaking waves than Waikiki. Consequenly, the prehistoric surfcraft developed along foils and lines that would function best in these conditions." And more, "The alaia type of surfboard was by far the most common type of prehistoric surfboard. The alaia still in existence range from three to nine feet in length, ten to twenty-two inches in width, and one-half to one and one-half inches in thickness." 
On learning to ride the surf the author writes, "The prehistoric surfers learned to surf in somewhat the opposite progression than is common in our time. We usually begin surfing on an oversize board and gradually work down to a smaller one. The ancient Hawaiians always began by learning to kaha nalu (body-surf). Then they were taught the use of the small alaia (bodyboards and knee machines). Some of the ancients, like George Greenough of our time, preferred these forms of surfing because of their purity and intimacy withthe wave." Click here for a PDF version [1.3GB] and Hi-Rez image files: p. 24 and p. 25 [~1MB each].
  • Shipman, Chuck. (1970, January/February). Heritage Series Part IV: Prehistoric Hawaiian Contests. Surfing Action, 3(1), 72-73.
    Games and contests for the ancient Hawaiians was serious business... even deadly. Surfing contests were also hazardous by design to weed out the less talented contestants. One advantage of being a talented surfer? "A popular surfer of those days would find life more enjoyable, even if he couldn 't make a real living from the sport alone. Girls and women who enjoyed the beach life found him more desirable, common people sought to be around him, other surfers wanted to learn from him, and most of the district would be more hospitable to him and more solicitous of his needs." ... . Click here for a PDF version [2GB] and Hi-Rez image files: p. 72 and p. 73 [~1MB each].

Surfing World (See the magazine at http://www.surfingworld.com.au/.) (xxxx)
  • Pennings, John. (1965, May). New South Coast Discovery: Wilinga Reef. Surfing World, 6(2), pp. 13-16. Photos: John Pennings.



  • Bellybogger [Advertisement]. (1978, August). Surfing World, 27(5). Issue 167, inside back cover. Thanks to Jeff Bickerstaff for a copy. [Note: Date is approximate.] Also see the Dick Ash interview.
  • Doherty, Sean. (2012, February). Board Design. Outside the square: Look mum, they fibreglassed a boogieboard! Surfing World, 322, p. 101.


A short story about professional surfers who foot ride very short boards (bodyboard type boards with fins) or very thin boards (alaia). The article describes the board dimensions stating, "The tape says 4'6" by somewhere around 23"' wide. The outline is something between a boogieboard and a Mini Simmons with maybe a just hint of paipo thrown into the mix." Continuing, Dave concurs, noting. "It looks like an oId paipo and similar to the single fin Ted Spencer was riding at Angourie in Morning of the Earth."

Dave apparently likes this board for riding small point break waves, "The points at one, two foot have always been a challenge to find the right craft.. Yoo need something to paddle you if the current's strong, but somethtng that's small enough to fit in the pocket."


The Surfer's Journal (on-line link to the magazine)
  • Unknown. (1993, Summer). Tales of a Town and Country: Walter Hoffman's Scrapbook, The Early Years: 1948-1954. The Surfer’s Journal, 2(2), 83.. This article contains one noteworthy photograph and another photo which is curious. The first photograph is noteworthy since there are not many photographs of paipo boards from this period in time and the board appears to be a reasonably modern looking shape for 1950 era. It's unclear what the other board is in the other photo.


    Above partial caption: The guy that controlled the area where hundreds of balsa life rafts were stored on the base at Pearl Harbor ended up being our friend's, the Patterson brothers, father , so he'd let us drive in there and we'd slice up the balsa rafts and glue the pieces into blanks.

    Question: Is that a balsa life raft in the above photo or something else?

    Caption (left): "Our living quarters, Summer 1950--a $25 a month basement and backyard garden area where we kept our boards." Against the garden wall is a variety of surfing equipment of the period ranging from the balsa/redwood planks on the left (note the  ittle plywood palpo with fin leaning against the tree), Malibu chips In the middle, ("They were just beginning to arrive in the islands In the hands of guys like Zahn, Quigg, Kivlin and Rochlen who would bring them over and sell them when they left.") to the kook box at right.
  • Pezman, Steve. (2009, August-September). Hobie's Story - Chapters from His Early Years. The Surfer’s Journal, 18(4), 49, 54-55. [PDF, 320KB & 570KB]. Bellyboarding as a youth, swim fins and using a belly board mold in early poly foam experiments.
    • On p. 49, Hobie Alter mentions his early days surfing as a kid at Laguna Beach: "When you think about how we get into stuff, well, there's a lot of luck involved. In my case, I picked good parents. If there was ever a spot where you wanted to be: I had Brooks Street right here and Oak Street there, and Thalia down at the other side of us. I mean, that's it! That's surfing in Laguna. Dead center. Best bodysurfing of anywhere around there. That's what we did. A group of us kids grew up bodysurfing and skimboarding and bellyboarding." Hobie also mentions using swim fins: "We had Owen Churchill swim fins, but you couldn't get rubber during the war so they were made of black synthetic rubber that wore holes in our feet. We'd wrap cloth around them, tape, everything. There were even some wood ones on the market then, but they didn't look like they worked very well."
    • On pp. 54-55, he mentions a bellyboard mold that was used in his early experimentation with polyurethane foam: "You can't believe what a shock it was after Styrofoam didn't work. That was the first I had seen of urethane foam. After that I had a belly board mold that I tried to foam up. I went up to Reichhold and did it right in their lab."
  • Steele, Jon. (2009, Winter). Cowboy From Hell: Hoo-dang! The Surfer’s Journal, 18(6), 79.

    Note the picture of the Texas paipo-boarder from the article on Texas surfing. "Out of the woodwork: When hurricane swells are forecast a menagerie of archetypes emerges from Lone Star country to slide a few. Homemade craft appear like this finned paipo--In quick peaks a challenging ride."

    Read the full article here: http://www.surfersjournal.com/node/828
  • Pendarvis, Cher. (2010, Winter). Uncle Val. Paipo in practice. The living link to surfing's high-performance roots. The Surfer’s Journal, 19(6), 38-47Article summary: All around waterman, Valentine Ching, Jr., has spent a lifetime surfing the waters of Oahu and is known as the pioneer of shortboard surfing on his paipo. He and his father began designing and riding paipo boards when he was only 7 years old, riding both kipapa (prone) and ku (standing) style. "Uncle Val" is busy passing the torch on to his children and their generation by encouraging and teaching Hawaiian culture, farming, arts fishing practices, and, of course, paipo shaping and riding. [Rod's Note: More to follow.]
  • Kenvin, Richard. (2011, Feb-Mar). Child of the Cataclysm. The Surfer’s Journal, 20(1), 20-23. Article summary: He made skateboard history, but Tony Alva’s always been a surfer at heart. In this piece we decode myth and the man down in dusty, old Baja Mexico. Paipo punch line in the article appears on p. 20, "Bertleman was, after all, raised on a paipo." This comment was made in reference to how the surf/skate style traces its worldwide roots to the Hawaiian paipo board and the ancient alaia which are the elder siblings of the Simmons planing hull and Lis's fish.
  • Pendarvis, Cher. (2011, Feb-Mar). Home Grown: Steve Lis and His Fish. The Surfer’s Journal, 20(1), 108-119. Article summary: It was only one of the most influential developments in surfboard design, no big deal. From his quiet perch above Sunset Cliffs, emerged Steve Lis and this unabridged Fish story. Paipo bottom turn storyline: Steve Lis started out bodysurfing at age 10, but wanted to rider steeper, faster waves. He started building and riding small marine plywood paipos, adding skegs near the tail, and then starting experimenting with foils, concave and rocker. [Rod's Note: More to follow.]

Transworld Surf (on-line link to the magazine)
  • Unknown. (2010, October). Quivers: Malloys' Gear for Killing Fish, slaying waves, and Much More. TransWorld Surf, 12(9), 72. 

    The adjacent panorama image shows the paipo board on the right. Odd fact in the article: the paipo is not listed even though the handboard and fins are itemized. Side note: Danny Hess, in San Francisco, makes bellyboards and bodysurfing devices. The plywood paipo was built by Dan Malloy after watching the surf video, Modern Collective. [PDF (740KB), JPG (500KB) ]

    Original photograph by Brian Bielmann.
  • Masters, Brad. (2012, June). South Pacific: Find Your Own Way. TransWorld Surf, 14(5), 1-2, 94-99. 

    This might represent the first time in a decade or more that a surfing magazine cover shot featured a paipo surfer (other than in a bodyboarding magazine). Alas, it appears to make for a nice novelty photograph as not much text follows in the magazine article about traveling to a remote South Pacific destination. (Although I am a bit confused because the article cites Indonesia as the destination and Indo appears to be in the Indian Ocean, not the South Pacific.)

    The adjacent panorama image shows a super stoked native kid riding a plank. The caption states, "Sometimes pro surfers don’t score the trip’s best photo. Instead, a stoked young kid on a plank does—by exemplifying all of the reasons we started surfing in one single moment." 


    Original photographs and words by Brad Masters.


    This photograph appears in the table of contents. This wider version of the cover photograph adds two dimensions not seen on the cover shot: (1) there is noticeable rocker on the paipo plank and (2) the kids in the background are also riding paipo planks.

    The caption accompanying this photo in the table of contents states, "Mikala Jones, Dede Suryana, and photographer Brad Masters cash in on a hunch and a gamble--and prove that magical, untouched places still exist."


    This is an image appearing on the TransWorld Surf website. A higher resolution image of the board being held in the foreground may be seen by clicking on the figure to the left.

    This photograph opens the 6-page article on pp. 94-95.
    The online version includes the following dialog:
    "We caught up with Brad as he was dashing through the Perth airport en route to Bali, the place he calls home.

    TransWorld SURF: So Brad, how did this photo come about?

    Brad Masters: We’d been surfing all morning and we’re driving back along the coast to where we were going to camp when I saw a bunch of kids playing in the water on these little boards. The guys were surfed out so I just went out and joined them for some fun. It was just a little reef pass, and I stayed out there for about an hour and a half shooting photos of the kids. Stoked! That’s two covers for WA guys in the last two months!

    While we’re not going to disclose the exact location of the trip, it’s safe to say the boys scored somewhere in the South Pacific…"

    Caption for the photo on p. 96: "How many times have these groms witnessed pumping surf without taking notice? Mikala Jones punts while the local kids play."

    My guess based on the history of surfing going back to ancient times is that the local kids noticed.

    Caption for p. 98: "Dede Suryana was just as stoked to high-five the local kids as they were to see him. We couldn't help but wonder, were we the first to surf these waves?"

    My guess based on the history of surfing going back to ancient times is that the indigenous people had surfed these waves before the
    TW visitors' arrival... just not on thrusters!

    My overall observations: Were these planks and the pictorial spread a completely fabricated event? Did the kids have these boards lying around and ride them regularly? Unfortunately the trip story sheds little light other than observing the now old cliché, "Were we the first to surf these waves?"

Other Magazines (from the non-surfing press in roughly chronological order)
  • Rouch, Jean. (1949, April). Surf-riding: Sur La Cote D'Afrique. Notes Africaines, 42, 50-52. Bulletin d'information et de correspondance de l'Institut Français d'Afrique Noire (IFAN). Article in French -- translation assistance needed! 




    Not withstanding my poor reading and comprehension of French it
    appears that paipo/belly board surfing has been practiced along the
    coast of Senegal for quite some time (a friends says the article
    suggests that surfing on wooden boards in Senegal existed centuries ago.

    Many thanks to Hervé Manificat for this article.  Translation assistance needed!
  • Unknown. (1953, August). Making Your Own Surf Board. Woodworker, LVII(717), 158-159, 145.
    Thanks to Henry Marfleet for this contribution.


    An article on making your own U.K.-style bellyboard, with and without nose rocker. Wood types are suggested along with board lengths and how to build rocker into a board. The boards also feature finger grips and and a strip of wood on the rear bottom of the board to prevent wear from scraping along the sand.

    From the article,
    "One of the pleasures of a holiday on the North Cornish coast is surf board riding. Although surf boards can be hired, readers who propose to spend a holiday in this part of Britain may like to make their own. The only part of a board that may involve some difficulty is the slight upward curl towards the front, though this curve is not absolutely necessary. To anyone familiar with woodworking, the formation of this curve should not prove an insurmountable obstacle. One real difficulty may well be the obtaining of suitable material of the right size, in which case it would be better to purchase a board rather than to use material, which would prove unsatisfactory."
    Click here to read a PDF version [500KB] of the article.
  • [Teenagers' Weekly cover photograph]. (1962, August 22). The Australian Women's Weekly, 30(12), 39 [cover page for Supplement: Teenagers' Weekly, p. 1]. Retrieved May 10, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article41860039
    Thanks to Bob Green for this contribution.


    Caption: "Our cover boys are some of the surfboard riders who competed at Narrabeen, one of Sydney's northern beaches, during the rally organised by the South Pacific Surf Riders' Club last season." [Teenagers' Weekly, p. 3.]

    In the center of the back row is a lad in white trunks holding a twin-fin paipo. Bob Green suggests it could be the same lad in white trunks pictured in the Oct. 3, 1962, photograph below ("A Dream of Summer"). There might be another paipo board in the second row, second lad from the left. Although it is difficult to determine the length of boards laying on their sides, front to back, this board appears to have a red handle... it just doesn't look like a logo or art work to me.

    Note: Teenagers' Weekly was a supplement to The Australian Women's Weekly.

  • Barlow, Keith. [Photographer]. (1962, October 3). A Dream of Summer. The Australian Women's Weekly, 30(18), 23.
    Thanks to Bob Green for this contribution.


    Caption: "The surf-riders were pausing gregariously between rollers on one of the last summer's long Sundays at Coogee, N.S.W."

    At first glance I only noticed the paipo boarder in the botttom left of the photograph. After fully opening the photograph I saw the paipo boarder that Bob Green referred to in another pic (note the wood handles). At least four other prone riders are pictured but I can't determine what kind of prone craft they might be upon (e.g., paipo, surf mat, coolite, lamaroo, surfoplane).


  • Pedersen, M. J. (1966, April). Surfboard for Sand and Sea. Popular Mechanics, 125(4), 98-99.

    (Click on figure to see a larger view of the belly riders.)

    A combo sand, snow, or surf board. Excerpts from the article appear below:

    "It's just as easy to ride down the slope of a sand dune as it is to ride the crest of a wave with a new lightweight fiberglass "surfer."

    The multi-use surfer is really a thesis that was done by a UCLA student in his industrial design studies.

    The board is five feet, eight inches long and weighs between 12 and 13 pounds. Runners on the bottom make it usable on sand and snow while an aluminum skeg is attached to the bottom when the board is to be used in water."

    Many thanks to Poobah for identifying this article.
  • McGetrick, Patricia. (1966, December 7). Be in it, girls! The Australian Women's Weekly, 34(28), 24.
    Retrieved December 1, 2010, from National Library of Australia website: http://nla.gov.au/nla.newspage4902618
    (or http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/page/4902618).

    An article on Candy Calhoun, an all-around accomplished wave rider, loved the paipo.

    Of special note is this excerpt from the article:
    Although Candy has won international acclaim as a surfboard rider, her greatest thrills in competition were when she twice took second place as the only female in U.S. body‐surfing contests. Despite these successes her first love is bellyboard riding. "With a bellyboard you are down in the water going with it," she said. "You can get right inside a hangover and feel like a fish. There is no trouble balancing and it is easier to catch a wave. "Older people find them easier to handle - I sold one of my boards to a man over 40 - and they are cheaper, about $50 compared with approximately $95 for a surfboard."
    Click here different file format versions of the article: PDF, image or a text [in PDF].

    Note: The text version Includes an editor's reference note on the surfo-plane.
  • Gilmore, Roland. (2010, October/November). Riding the Plank. Hana Hou: The Magazine of Hawaiian Airlines, 13(3), 25. Retrieved June 3, 2011, from http://www.hanahou.com/


    An article on author and paipo rider, John Clark, and his soon to be released book, Hawaiian Surfing Traditions from the Past.

    Click here for a PDF version [500KB] or text only version or the article.

Also see my Bibliography for Paipo Research, Annotated Bibliography and
General Acknowledgments, Sources, Places, Citations, Contributors...

MyPaipoBoards.org recommends EasyBib for easily generating citations EasyBib: the bibliography maker.

Feel free to send me suggestions for additions to: A Bibliography for MyPaipoBoards.


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Last updated on: 12/07/16