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About the Site

Table of Contents (early draft placeholder)

Paipo Research Project

Research questions include:
  • What are the origins of the term paipo?
  • When and to what extent did the birth and rebirth of paipo boarding occur in Hawaii, California and elsewhere? How has the sport of riding a paipo evolved throughout the history of wave riding?
  • What is a paipo board and what is paipo boarding? Is a paipo board the same thing as a bellyboard or bodyboard?
  • Who rides paipo boards and where are paipo boards ridden?
  • Who designs and builds paipo boards?

In the Beginning... Our Story (in process)

The initial MyPaipoBoards website started off as most internet sites did a long time ago: a hugely amateurish loosely structured mash-up of Internet hyperlinks; copies of personal stories and testimonials harvested from internet searches; images combed from Internet searches, that I owned or were given to me; and, and the goal of sharing information for and between like-minded paipo aficionados. Over the years the website modernized somewhat, data continued flowing in, communications forums were added and later modernized, and an Internet rich in paipo surfing content exploded worldwide. Long gone are the Google searches that yielded less than fifty "hits" and very few images.

Some milestones in the evolution in follows:
  • 2000. The idea of a paipo web page grew out of my participation on a text-based discussion forum, alt.surfing, a Usenet newsgroup popular during the early days of the Internet (let's just say from 1995 to 2005, now mostly just an archival on Google Groups, it has been superseded by today's discussion forum technologies and social media). One day in January 2000, an avid alt.surfing participant, Neal "Sponge" Miyake (aka neosponge), encouraged me to fill in a gap of the then infant world wide web by creating a paipo-surfing-focused website. Sometime later that month as a snow storm belted my neighborhood the birthing process began in earnest.
  • 2004. The original paipo forums, still lingering on the domain, started out during another winter storm storm four years later, on Jan. 6th, 2004. A nostalgic trip back into history shows the first fifty paipo forum members, many who are members on the newer paipo forums, others who were alt.surfing participants, some who are now surfing the great waves in the heavens and others who are not readily identifiable.
  • 2009, Spring. The Paipo Research Project began in earnest in June 2009, a result of a stimulating series of paipo forum postings that are known informally as "The Paper Trail." An early posting in this series is from March 2009, by Poobah, "The Paper Trail...Paipo Nui by Val Valentine." Most of the Paper Trail series contained scanned images and articles from 1960s surfing magazines. The Spring 2009 was a fertile time of discussion surrounding the cosmic and worldly origins of paipo surfing, the term paipo, and how paipo surfing has ebbed and flowed. Bob Green of Australia and I (of the USA) started communicating via email about taking these forum discussions on the origins and history of paipo surfing into a more formal phase that was to include interviewing paipo surfers, past and present; collecting and archiving historical information from magazines, monographs, books, newspapers and other published media; photographing and cataloging paipo boards.
  • 2009, October. Hosting of MyPaipoBoards moves from to Before the new domain and hosting service provider there were many people around the world that could not access the MyPaipoBoards web pages hosted on the domain, so a change was needed. And with an explosion in print, video and audio media coming available a new website was needed for increased storage and bandwidth throughput.
  • 2011. The newer iteration of the paipo forums were launched during August 2011, on In addition to upgrading the forum hosting software due to obsolescence and compatibility with other software and hosting requirements, the new forum software integrated more features such as organic hosting of photographs and other files (e.g., PDF, MS Word), that made for an all around better experience.
Many remnants of that original home web page (ca. 2000) are still seen on the current home page (as the old web writing technology and home page bloat shows). Over time much of the earlier content has branched out onto their own subcategories, such as paipos in the media (e.g. books, magazines), paipo interviews, and such. I also must credit, and share many mahalos, for much of the early days materials on the website that was sourced from the websites of surf historians Malcolm Gault-Williams (Legendary Surfers) and Geoff Cater (Pods for Primates,

Also instrumental in nurturing the paipo pages in the early days were Nels Norene and Poobah, and alt.surfing's El Roca, who provided early days paipo-related excerpts from 1960s-era surfing magazines.
Charlie Daley, a schoolmate of mine from the 1960s, in Santurce, Puerto Rico, also loaned me some 40+ issues of surfing magazines for sourcing quality scanned images in support of the Aviones Boys Puerto Rican surfing history project and these same magazines provided a jump start in documenting paipo surfing in the magazine media. And, for the past eight years, Bob Green has been my tireless and patient partner in the Paipo Research Project, interviewing scores of paipo surfers, and suggesting new avenues to research and share our findings.

Rod Rodgers
December 2016

Acknowledgments, Sources, Places, Citations, Contributors...

HI Surf Advisory -- Neal "Sponge" Miyake, author, creator, freelance photographer and writer, consummate contributor to the alt.surfing newsgroup, husband and father, and a stoked resident of Oahu, Hawaii. Much credit goes to Neal for encouraging me to create the MyPaipoBoards website in January 2000.

Legendary Surfers, Malcolm Gault-Williams, historian, researcher, and publisher of surfing's culture & legendary surfers including numerous oral interviews, providing the most detailed information about surfing's history, ancient to modern times, over the internet free press.

Pods for Primates: A Catalogue of Surfboards in Australia Since 1900 ( Geoff Cater's Pods for Primates is a free online annotated surfcraft museum. In particular, see the paipo* catalogue : text and the paipo* catalogue : images. For reference citation codes, see "pods for primates: references." There is much, much more so take some time and explore.

el_roca, active alt.surfing participant; contributor of scanned articles/adds from old back issues of the surfing press

Bob Green (Australia), my principal collaborator the past years on the Paipo Research Project, in particular the extensive work he has done on the Paipo Interviews, from identifying people to interview, doing the background research in preparation for the interview, conducting the interview via phone, email, letter writing, and in-person, compiling the interview, edit, review... a lot goes into the process! Many thanks, Bob.

John R. K. Clark, author of several Hawaiian Islands beach books and the outstanding reference book, Hawaiian Surfing: Traditions From the Past (2011), contributor to the Paipo Research Project, and the person who has best answered the question, "What is the origination of the word paipo?"

Surfing Heritage & Culture Center (formerly the Surfing Heritage Foundation), for their cooperation and support in providing special access to their collection of surf-related magazines and periodicals, books and access to their artifacts and facilities.

Florida Surf Museum (formerly the Cocoa Beach Surf Museum), for their cooperation and support in providing special access to their collection of surf-related magazines and books, and site of the Paipo Exhibit in 2014, curated by Rod Rodgers,

Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum, for their cooperation and support in providing special access to their collection of surf-related magazines and books.

San Diego State University, Surfing Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, for their cooperation and support in providing special access to their collection of surf-related magazines and books.

Surfer Magazine and Surfing Magazine, long-time publishers of surfing items and source for several scanned articles and advertisements with pics and descriptions of paipos. And, The Surfer's Path, a more recent surfing magazine of U.K. origin that carries this torch in addition to regularly publishing several fine feature articles.

The Surfer's Journal, the source for information on a wide range of topics related to the culture, history, and art of surfing.

Making of America (MOA) on-line digital collections, at Cornell University and University of Michigan.

Google Books.

My local library, Baltimore County Public Library, in providing access to so many books through the Inter Library Loan program (in addition to being my first internet service and hosting provider).

WorldCat, the world's largest library catalog. WorldCat also provides a means for managing my
research bibliography and citations.

EasyBib for easily generating reference citations and providing a special account for assisting citation management.

The members of the MyPaipoBoards Forums who have collectively expanded the knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of paipo boarding. And to all the Paipo Interviewees that have made contributions, small and large, and to those unnamed paipo surfers who inspired them.

To the many others who have helped researching the literature at "special collections" sites, worked on the Paipo Interviews, stimulated discussion and made many other contributions, including but not limited to: Kim Green (Santa Cruz); Joe Tabler (; Matt Warshaw (database research); Charlie Daley; Tom Duncan (scanner, lodging and moral support!), Jeff and Jill Quam (stoke and lodging sponsorship!); Cher Pendarvis (San Diego); and, Steve Wilkings (photo editor at the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center and Steve Wilkings Photography). To all the authors and sponsors of the written word, in print and on the Internet, covering the wide breadth of surf history, collectables, artifacts and more.

My Paipo Biography

A couple of interviews tell the much of the story of my paipo surfing experience.

Shortly after contacting the Cocoa Beach Surf Museum about accessing the museum's magazine and book archives for researching any and all things paipo I was asked by John Hughes to write a short article for the museum's quarterly newsletter. The beginning of a long relationship. John rides several surf craft, including a surf mat, so we try to hook up whenever I am down in Florida.

Rodgers, Rod and John Hughes. (2009, Winter). The Paipo Project. Wave Lengths, 2(4), 10-12. Cocoa Beach, FL.: Cocoa Beach Surf Museum. (PDF)

Photo by Rod and paipo doggies somewhere in Costa Rica (March 2009).

After writing a "short article" about the Paipo Research Project the magazine asked about splitting it into shorter articles. This is "part two." A few of the facts became mixed up along the way, e.g., I was born in Los Angeles but spent 9 years of my youth (grades 4-12) in Puerto Rico where I return to visit annually.

Unknown. (2012, September). Boardrider of the Month: Rod Rodgers. The Beachside Resident, 8(7), 26-27. (PDF)

Surfriding a favorite NW Puerto Rico break (Jan. 2011), photo by Jim Crotty.

Seated at Maria's Beach
This is a bilingual French-English interview by the Québécois surfer that is posted on his blog.

Jean. (2014, October 10) Paipo ? Oui , oui ... Paipo ! On surestime toujours l'intelligence moyenne de la   population... (Blog). Retrieved 2019, 06 10, from

Photo: I am seated third from the left. Note in the century plant my first paipo board. Ca. April/May 1970. Brownie Snapshot by Betty Dietsch.

An exhibit curated for the Cocoa Beach Surf Museum, Paipo: Prone to Ride, April to November, 2014. Contributions for display from coast-to-coast.

Surfriding NW Puerto Rico (Jan. 2011), photo by Jim Crotty.

Also see the Bibliography for Paipo Research.

Feel free to send me suggestions for additions to: The MyPaipoBoards.

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Last updated on: 06/10/19