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The Paipo Interviews
Table of Contents

Interviewees: || Gus Acosta | Devon Aguiar | Reinaldo “Dragão” Andraus | Dave Andrews | Salvador (Salva) Artaza Aristondo | Javier Arteche | Dick Ash | Andy Bick | George Bills | Rick Boufford | Skip Briggs | Mike Broderick | Russ Brown | Vinny Bryan | Justin Bullock | Tony Butt | Jeff Callaghan | Kit Carson | Lewis Cawsey | Jeff Chamberlain | John Clark | William "Bill" Clymer | Gary Crandall | Brett Curtis | Tony Dawes | John Elwell | John Galera | Paul Gannon | Chuck Gardner | Larry Goddard | Jim Growney | Paul Gross | Jose Manuel Gutierrez (Meco) | Thomas Patrick Haugh | Ron Haworth | Bryan Hayden | John Heath | Wes Humpston | Dr. Barry Hutchins | Dave Jackman | Derek Jardine | Peter Kidman | Buzzy Kneubuhl | John Kovar | Joe Larkin | Marcelo Linazasoro Egaña | Paul Lindbergh | Don Long | Gilbert Lum | Jon Manss | Dennis Markson | Craig Matthew | Jack McCoy | Kevin McManus | John Mellor | John "Doc" Milliken | Robert Moynier | Robert Moynier & Malcolm Campbell | Nels Norene | Larry O'Brien & Mike Shourds | Stan Osserman | Jeremy Oxenden | Sally Parkin | Ian Peden | Luiz Antonio Pereira | Jim Pomeroy | Mick Potter | Jeff Quam | Guilhem Rainfray | Barry Regan | Charl Van Rensburg | Mark Richards (Val Surf) | Maurice Richardson | Ron Romanosky | Bob Rose | Sean Ross | John Ruffels | Richard Safady | Dave Sams | John Saul | Bud Scelsa | Charlie Schuster Mike Shourds | Gordon Simpson | Pete Sobels | Rainer Stegemann | Col Taylor | Leigh Tingle | Keith Usher | Jerry Vasconcellos | Tom Wegener | Peter White | Richard Whiting | Paul Witzig | Trevor YamamotoSteve Zane |

Traditional surfing in Japan, itago surfing:
Interviews by Nobuhito "Nobby" Ohkawa | Mitsuo "Michan" Uenoyama
Recently Posted Interviews:
Other Paipo Interviews In Various Stages of Completion:
Several others are in the works and others are always in various stages of formulation. No sooner do we think the interviewee list is winnowing down and several new interviewees emerge. We welcome suggestions for additions to: The Paipo Interviews library.

Tell us about YOUR paipo history by completing the Paipo History Online Survey Form.

Gus Acosta Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. December 25, 2011, and update July 22, 2012 - Big Island, Hawaii.  WaveArrow developer. Gus's board designs were inspired by hulled trimarans and ridng the boogie board of his children. A stand-up surfer for many years he has been experimenting with finned, fiberglass boards which he calls the WaveArrow. The WaveArrow manifesto: High speed maneuverability.


Devon Aguiar and Family Interview by Bob Green. e-Mail interview completed by Devon and his parents, based on questions by Bob Green. November 19, 2009 - Ewa Beach, Hawaii, USA. A family of paipo riders discuss how, when, where and why they ride the paipo and what types of paipos they ride, build and buy.


Reinaldo “Dragão” Andraus Interview by Bob Green. e-Mail interview. October 14, 2013. São Paulo City, Brazil. Riding waves and recording surfing history. Reinaldo began his surfing life at the beach breaks of Santos, the local beach of São Paulo. First bodysurfing, known as "pegar jacaré" (surf a wave with you body stretched as long as you can - like an alligator), Reinaldo then rode a wooden board followed by a coolite, before getting a surfboard. In addition to riding waves, Reinaldo has been documenting the history of Brazilian surfing. His impressive book is still a work in progress.


Dave Andrews Interview by Bob Green. e-Mail interview. June 3-July 15, 2016 - Grafton, Australia. The perfect surfcraft for an enthusiastic inland surfer. A bellyboard became the perfect surfcraft for Dave who lived several hours inland from Australia's NSW north coast. His board was stored in an old family caravan since the 1970s. In 2014, the board saw the light of day again when it came out of storage when the van was cleaned out to sell to a restorer. The board was displayed at the Plankshop in Yamba until it's closure early 2016, then to the Low Pressure Surf Shop in Grafton. Dave had lent the board to the shop to display, to generate sales interest in the modern variant, the bodyboard, and to display the roots of the modern bodyboard. Dave's board is also of interest for the modern looking twin fins.


Salvador (Salva) Artaza Aristondo Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. November 15 to November 23, 2011. Getxo, Spain. Salvador Artaza Aristondo (Salva) began riding wooden plankings around Bilbao, on the Basque coast of Spain. In more recent years he has returned to riding wooden boards -- this time the alaia. He recalls some of those early surfing days and discusses making and surfing alaia. Around San Sebastian (Donostia), plankings are known as txampero (meaning "the gadget that allows someone to take advantage of the strength and movement of a wave, to ride it"). And, in the Asturias, plankings were known as corre olas (meaning "wave runner"). In addition to Salva's account, the stories of other local surfers have been included, such as Julito "Copa Davis" and Nacho Susaeta.


Javier Arteche Interview by Bob Green. Questions and telephone interview by Bob Green. September 20, 2011 - San Sebastián (Donostia), Spain. Before fiberglass boards became readily available in Spain, el txampero (pronounced: "champ-ero") were ridden. These wooden bellyboards with turned up noses were popular at coastal resorts like San Sebastián. With the availability of fiberglass boards and boogie boards, interest in el txampero declined. Javier recalls some of his experiences with el txampero. His older brother, Iñaki, adds his recollections and the inspiration for his first making a surfboard. As in other countries, the txampero is being revived and can be seen at surf festivals, as well as in the water.


Dick Ash Interview by Bob Green. Questions and telephone interview by Bob Green. September 26, 2009. Byron Bay NSW, Australia. Bellyboarding builder and enthusiast, innovator and owner of Okanui surfwear, tells the story of when he started bellyboarding in the late 1950s, and then designed, produced and rode the waves on the Bellybogger.


Andy Bick Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. April 7 and 8, 2011. Cornwall, England. "This man felt the most supreme pleasure while he was driven so fast and smoothly by the sea" - William Anderson, Tahiti 1777. Also experienced today, 234 years later riding my poplar wood Paipo Glide at Saunton - Pete Robinson.


George Bills Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. April 15, 2013 - Clifton Beach, Tasmania (Australia). Keeping the family tradition alive in the cold waters of Tasmania.  Surf trips have a long history. In the 1920s, Harvie Thompson and Cedric Cane searched for spots to fish and surf. Eventually they settled on Clifton Beach which was accessed through farmland. George's parents also rode the style of board that George continues to ride to this day. Boards were originally made of solid wood; marine plywood is now the construction material of choice. Wetsuits were a late addition to this island that faces the Antarctic. While George rides a variety of surfcraft, bellyboards allow him to have fun in conditions that keep others out of the water.


Rick Boufford Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. June 22, 2010. Tustin, Orange County, Southern California. Rick is a restaurateur who makes and rides wooden boards. He describes his return to surfing after years out of the water and of sharing the stoke with family and friends.


Skip Briggs Interview by Rod Rodgers. Questions developed by Bob Green and telephone interview by Rod Rodgers. December 31, 2009. Costa Mesa, California. Skip was a Wedge pioneer. He started riding the waves in 1950, at 6 years old, bodysurfing and then mats, and started surfing Wedge in 1958. His first bellyboard was made of yucca, a wood kind of like balsa, but heavier. He was also an accomplished kneeboarder.


Mike Broderick Interview by John Clark. Based on questions by Bob Green. December 5, 2012. Kailua, Oahu (Hawaii). Riding a Playboy Playmate paipo. 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.


Russ "Captain Turbo" Brown Interview by Neal Miyake. April 13, 1998. Honolulu, Hawaii. In 1983, Russ Brown rocked the bodyboarding industry by providing a viable alternative to the colossal Morey Boogie empire--a stiff board that could be custom tailored to suit your riding preferences. Fast-forward to 1998. Though interest in the industry is higher than ever, bodyboarding is currently experiencing its worse sales slump in its history. This year, one of bodyboarding's most vocal proponents is calling it quits.


Vinny Bryan Interview by Bob Green. Questions and telephone interview by Bob Green. Interview organized by Mike "Wild Dog" Williams and photos courtesy of Peter Pope Kahapea. January 26, 2010. Kauai, Hawaii. The story of a paipo board returned to its builder and gifter, Vinny Bryan, after 45 years (as related by Peter Pope Kahapea). Vinny gave this paipo board to a young boy and recently the father of this boy (Justin Bullock, now a grown man) was told to return this paipo board back to Vinny here on Kaua`i.


Justin Bullock Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. January 13, 2010. Coffs Harbour, NSW Australia. This board was made for John Bullock, who suggested the idea to his son, Justin, of returning the board to Vinny. Justin traveled to Kauai to return the board and was later contacted in Australia about the board and its return to Vinny. Justin's side of the story follows. Justin shapes and rides his hand made paipo boards.


Tony Butt Interview by Bob Green. Questions by Bob Green. November 5, 2011 - Muriwai Beach, New Zealand. Riding prone has a longer history in New Zealand than many people realize. In the1960s, Muriwai had a dedicated crew of paipo riders, including Tony Butt. However, Tony along with Dave Jackman rode paipos longer than most. After a period out of the water, Tony returned to stand-up surfing, but has proudly kept his original paipo board. Tony's interview is followed by two short stories of other paipo riders from the 1960s, Mike Lawson and Charlie Straumietis.

Jeff Callaghan Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. May 16, 2010. Brisbane, Australia. Surfer and meteorologist. Jeff tells his story of riding the waves in and around Winki in the mid-1960s and later, transitioning from being a bodysurfer to a bodysurfer with an aid (bellyboarder). Now in the mid-60s, Jeff still loves to grab his fins and go out for a surf.


Kit Carson Interview by Bob Green. Questions and phone interview by Bob Green. May 5, 2010, Updated May 13, 2010. Stradbroke Island, Queensland, Australia. Kirra Point, 6-8’ and inside out on a piece of ply. Early ply bellyboarding in Kirra and Winki.


Lewis Cawsey Interview by Bob Green. Questions and phone interview by Bob Green. March 9, 2014 - Cronulla, Australia. Paipo surfing Cronulla in the 1960s. Growing up near the ocean and an interest in sailing craft, led soon enough to Lewis Cawsey going surfing. His early days were spent riding a coolite board. Like many young surfers of the time he then made and rode a board of his own construction, likely influenced by a magazine photo or movie image he'd seen. The powerful point waves at Cronulla provided a perfect place to ride a simple planing machine made of wood. Before leg-ropes and shortboards, Lewis and his friend Greg, amongst others would ride paipo boards at Cronulla Point. His board also doubled as a skimboard, versatile in the waves, on the sand and shorebreak.


Jeff Chamberlain Interview by Robert Moynier. Questions and in-person and e-mail interviews by Robert Moynier,  May 31, 2012 - Los Osos, California (USA). Against the grain... Paddling upriver with Jeff Chamberlain. Since his first bellyboard experiences on a broken shortboard Jeff has returned to riding paipo boards full time. What hasn't changed is his desire to explore difficult to access surf spots. Another lifelong interest is board design and he is now riding wide boards that suit his style and the types of waves and surfing experience that he seeks out. These wide planing boards capture the speed glide that he and many other paipo riders get hooked on.


John Clark Interview by Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawaii, as part of the series, Long Story Short. August 31, 2010. Honolulu, Hawaii. Keeping Hawaiian Stories Alive. "In this edition of Long Story Short, Leslie Wilcox talks story with a true Renaissance man. John Clark relates how learning to surf at a young age led him to become a waterman, lifeguard, fire fighter, historian, and writer. The author of a series of books on Hawaii's beaches, John Clark took the innate curiosity that we all have and hunted down the source and mo'olelo, or stories, behind the names of Hawaii's surf spots and shoreline landmarks. Find out how this descendent of a sea captain is doing his part to keep Hawaiian stories and characters alive." John has conducted several paipo interviews appearing in the MyPaipoBoards web site in addition to other important contributions documenting the history of paipo boarding and the origins of the term, paipo. You may also click here to listen to the interview audio file [MP3] and read the transcript [PDF].


William "Bill" Clymer Interview by Bob Green. An annotated paipo Interview of William "Bill" Clymer adapted from an oral interview by Frances Harpur on May 18, 1996. Sydney, Australia. Sound recording Iiterview courtesy of Warringbah Council Library and with the approval of his son, Matt Clymer, and daughter, Elizabeth Lewis.Annotated information and additional research by Bob Green. Boatbuilder, oar maker, surfboard and paipo pioneerJust as surfboard manufacturing was about to take off with the transition from wood to foam & fiberglass, William "Bill" Clymer would drop out of the industry and stick with making wooden oars and surf boats. Clymer would become a name synonymous with building surf boats, a tradition carried on today by his son, Matt. Bill Clymer not only made surf boats but rowed them as well. Unbeknownst to most are the bellyboards designed and built by Bill Clymer.


Gary Crandall Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. November 22, 2009. Highland Village, Texas (USA). Bellyboarder and artist. "A bellyboard is down and dirty with the wave… inside the curl even on smaller waves. And the sense of speed is greater just inches from the water. Feeling the salt spray peppering your face is pure joy."


Brett Curtis Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. January 29, 2010, Manly NSW, Australia. Protypes and ideas. "Paipos are wonderful because you can dream up a shape, cut it out and be in the surf testing it 15 minutes later. They are as fast as anything else in the water and you’re not limited from adding to the design. I like the ability to add something and change it over and over again." Read more about Bretts thoughts and comments on several board design elements.


Tony Dawes Interview by Bob Green. Questions and telephone interview by Bob Green.  October 25, 2010 - Manly, Australia. Bellyboards were chestboards when we rode them. Tony was one of a group of guys from the Manly Surf Club who rode twin-finned balsa boards from the late-1950s. Tony was also an accomplished surfboat rower.


John Elwell Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. August 9, 2010. San Diego, California, USA. Continuing the Simmons Legacy. John Elwell discusses the The Simmons Effect and the origins of Simmons's waveriding design concepts that were largely influenced by Lyndsay Lord's book, Naval Architecture of Planing Hulls. Elwell also discusses the Hydrodynamica movie and book project that he and Richard Kenvin have been working on.


John Galera Interview by John Clark. Based on questions developed by Bob Green. September 22, 2009. Honolulu, Hawaii. Read all about John's board, the NoFin, and where he loves to surf in Hawaii. Includes a Honolulu Advertiser article featureing John and a short video interview.


Paul Gannon Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. March 14, 2011. Coopers Shoot (NSW), Australia. Coming back to paipo. Little Avalon was a favorite spot for bodysurfers and bellyboard riders. Paul was one of a group who surfed Little Avalon before traveling around Australia. He started on ply boards made by Robert Hosking and after many years on other surfcraft has recently begun riding one of Dick Ash's new bellybogger models.


Chuck Gardner Interview by Rod Rodgers. Questions developed by Bob Green and telephone interview by Rod Rodgers. December 23, 2009. Costa Mesa, California. One of the Wedge pioneers, Chuck is remembered in the Greg MacGillivray's narrative in the surf movie, Cool Wave of Color, “there is Chuck Gardner, ‘King of the Wedge,’ getting tubed." Primarily a stand-up surfer, Chuck Gardner loved nothing better than riding Wedge on his bellyboard.


Larry Goddard Interview by John Clark based on questions from Bob Green. Appendix based on e-mails with Bob Green between Sept. 2009 - Nov. 2009. September 22, 2009. Honolulu, Hawaii. Larry's paipo boarding evolution began with the borrowing of a skim board and taking it out into the surf. He was stoked. Next up was a Val Valentine-made Paipo Nui’s, designed by Waidelich, that he bought at the Greg Noll surf shop.  Next up were a series of fiberglass/foam boards with a skeg (fin). Then he started designing and building his own boards.


Jim Growney Interview by John Clark with photos by Bud Scelsa, based on questions developed by Bob Green. August 10, 2009. Honolulu, Hawaii. Development of a board... where they surfed, how they surfed, how the board was made and in the beginnings. Historic documentation for the word, paipo.


Paul Gross Interview by Jamie McClellan. E-mail interview based on questions by Bob Green & Jamie McClellan. December 20, 2009. Central California, CA (USA). Surf craft innovator & builder of the Fourth Gear Flyer surf mat. Paul's first response in the interview begins, "The strengths of prone ridden surf crafts are legend. They are simpler and more direct to ride. The learning curve is lightening quick. There is no heroic standing or “ego-based style" to either blur the wave riding experience -- or displace it completely." Pauls goes on to cover his experience and involvement in the surf mat and paipo boarding world, including the Roger Kelly and the "El Paipo Grande."


Jose Manuel Gutierrez (Meco) Interview by Bob Green. e-Mail interview based on questions by Bob Green. Januuary 28 - February 5, 2012 - Santander, Cantabria (Spain). Meco was one of a group of spearfishermen surfers from Cantabria in the 1960s. Besides being one of the early surfers in the area he was also behind the lens and has captured some of the few images available of early surfing images from northern Spain. Several of the images below can be found in the YouTube.com clip, A Little Surfing Story by Meco. This interview which provides details about the photos is in both Spanish and English. The assistance of Salvador Artaza and Marlyn Souffront Tirado with translations in English and Spanish were much appreciated.
Meco es uno de un grupo de surfistas pescadores submarinos de Cantabria en la década de 1960. Además de ser uno de los surfistas los primeros en la zona que también estuvo detrás de la lente y ha capturado algunas de las pocas imágenes disponibles a principios de navegar por las imágenes del norte de España. Varias de las imágenes de abajo se puede encontrar en el clip de YouTube, A Little Surfing Story by Meco. Esta entrevista, que proporciona detalles acerca de las fotos es en español y en Inglés. La asistencia de Salvador Artaza y Marlyn Souffront Tirado con las traducciones en Inglés y Español fueron muy apreciadas.


Thomas Patrick Haugh Interview by Bob Green. e-Mail interview based on questions by Bob Green. August 21, 2014. Ventura County, California (USA). Belly boards: experimental and premeditated Thomas Patrick Haugh is a shaper who has embraced the challenge of making bellyboards for customers who want to ride prone.The T-Belly, as Thomas refers to his bellyboard line, was originally based on a Larry Goddard design but is in a process of continuing development. The third generation in the design evolution is the G3, but the G4 is just around the corner. Riding a bellyboard has also opened up new surfing experiences for Thomas.


Ron Haworth Interview by Bob Green. e-Mail interview based on questions by Bob Green. August 9, 2012. Oahu, Hawaii. Body surfer and documenter of (paipo) surfing A long time body surfer, Ron was a friend of John Waidelich and Jim Growney who were credited with developing the Paipo Nui style of paipo board. Ron also wrote several articles on paipo and body surfing that were published in surfing magazines in the 1960s. Additionally, he wrote the Surf Spray column in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin from 1966 to 1973. He is particularly proud of being presented with a Gold Duke trophy.


Bryan Hayden Interview by Bob Green. e-Mail and phone interviews based on questions by Bob Green. January 13, 2010. Torquay, Victoria, Australia. Surf Coast bellyboarder before the crowds and legropes. Bryan talks about the growth and revolution of waveriding in Austarila during the 1950s, including bellyboards. It all started with the Torquay Surf Life Saving Club; surfing at Bell's Beach and Winkipoop; the pinnacle of bellyboards at breaks before leg ropes; and "it's all about speed."


John Heath Interview by Bob Green. e-Mail interview based on questions by Bob GreenApril 18, 2011 - Perranporth, Cornwall (UK). U.K. bellyboard rider. John prefers to ride a style of bellyboard that has been referred to as a "coffin lid." At 70 years old he still has the "bug." In addition to ridiing a bellyboard his family hardware firm diversiified into making bellyboards and selling surf gear. John also shares some of the techniques involved in riding an English bellyboard, a tradition carried on by his sons and others, young and old.


Wes "Bulldog" Humpston Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. October 31, 2009. Oceanside, California, USA. Skater, surfer and creative artist. Wes discusses the boards he and his buddies designed, painted and rode; the transition from fiberglass/foam to wood and back again; the distinctive wooden handles on the boards that he and his Dogtown friends rode; and the continuing evolution of belly/paipo boards.


Dr. Barry Hutchins Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. November 30, 2009. Perth, Western Australia. Bellyboarder and scientist. Over the years Barry has ridden his paipos on Australia's eastern, southern and western coasts. Growing up he started surfing the rubber surfoplanes during regular visits to Cronulla Beach with his family. He made his first bellyboard in 1963, after seeing surfers riding them at Cronulla, a crude plywood board with no fins, before building over 40 redwood and balsa paipos.


Dave Jackman Interview by Bob Green. Written reply to questions received May 2 & June 23, 2011. Follow-Up Interview of November 5, 2011. Muriwai Beach, New Zealand. Big wave pioneer and paipo rider. Dave grew up at Freshwater Beach, where in 1915, Duke Kahanamoku rode a board he made from local sugar pine. Another piece of history is located nearby at the legendary Queenscliff Bombora. In 1961, Dave was the first to ride this wave on a surfboard, the same year a Who's Who of Australian surfers visited Hawaii. It was in Hawaii that Dave was exposed to paipo boards. He carried the design he saw ridden at Waimea in his head for many years. Once he built a paipo based on this Hawaiian design he rode his board all around New Zealand. Dave described himself as still hooked on riding paipo.


Derek Jardine Interview by Bob Green.  E-mail interview by Bob Green.  August 7, 2012 - Durban, South Africa. Ply boards of the 1940s in South Africa. Derek rode a homemade ply paipo in Durban in the 1940s. He and his friends cut down longer bellyboards that were sold to tourists "so that we could swim with them." They were called "dumper boards." Then came surfoplanes and wooden stand-up boards.


Peter Kidman Interview by Bob Green. Questions and telephone interview by Bob Green. April 11 and 12, 2011. Terranora, NSW (Australia). Why buy a board when you can make one with handlebars? Peter is the father of Andrew Kidman and great grandson of Captain William Frazer Milne, the Arctic whaler who assisted Amundsen in finding the North-West passage. He has lots of projects on the boil including one to enhance the number of indigenous teachers, doctors and nurses. However, this interview is about Peter surfing in the late-1950s on a curved, shaped board with a set of handlebars mounted on the front.


Buzzy Kneubuhl Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. April 15, 2011. Pukalani, Maui, Hawaii. The Story of a 60’s Surfer.  Many children growing up in Hawaii in the 1960s rode simple ply paipo - Buzzy was no different. He soon progressed onto riding stand-up at Ala Moana and other South shore spots. Later on Maui he windsurfed and more recently has been kitesurfing. He has again caught the paipo bug and speaks of his re-connecting with paipo boarding. The boards are no longer ply but the same stoke is experienced.


John Kovar Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. December 8, 2010 - Canberra, A.C.T, Australia. Geometry, tubes & the Malaroo. John began making and riding bellyboards at a time well past the peak of bellyboard riding in Australia. Originally developed as bellyboards his boards have been also been ridden standup.


Joe Larkin Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interviews by Bob Green. November 2009 through December 2012. Cabarita (New South Wales), Australia. Surfboard craftsman from wood to foam. Born in 1933, Joe Larkin began making 16-foot hollow ply surfing boards in the family garage when he was 15-years-old (c.1948). Soon he was making boards for friends. Larkin's career in carpentry was swapped for the life of a beach inspector. Two years later, he started working for a board, boat and oar builder, Bill Clymer, in 1957. After balsa, came foam and Joe moved to Queensland, where in the 1960s, Joe Larkin Surfboards became an institution, a hot bed of innovation and progressive surfing. After the shop closed in 1978, Joe got out of the surfboard business. But in the 1990s, he returned to making old-style wooden boards and today, although retired, he still likes a beer and a bodysurf. Less well known are the bellyboards Joe Larkin built.


Interview with Aitor Linaszoro about Marcelo Linazasoro Egaña by Lázaro Echegaray Eizaguirre. Translation by Javier Arteche and Lázaro Echegaray Eizaguirre. Based on questions by Bob Green. January 26, 2012 and March 27, 2013. Zarautz, Spain. The story of Marcelo Linazasoro Egaña and the champero (txampero). Marcelo Linaszoro is one of the few documented manufacturers of the wooden bellyboards ridden across the Basque coasts of northern Spain and southern France. The wooden bellyboards were called txamperos and plankys. A hallmark of the Linaszoro design was rounding the tail of the board, adapting it to the waist of the surfer and thus making it more ergonomic and easy to use. Txampero boards were ridden from at least the 1950s and into the 1970s, gradually disappearing from the beaches and being replaced by surfboards and boogie boards.


Paul Lindbergh Interview by Bob Green. Phone interview and questions by Bob Green. February 25, 2010. Big Island, Hawaii. Keeping the lineage going. Paul discusses the evolution of the HPD, from the original ply paipos built in high school shop class, the evolution to John Waidelich's delta shape design, including Val Valentine and Jim Growney and the "paipo nui," to the moden HPD that is made of fiberglass and foam, using a semi-vacuum bag process. And much more!


Don Long Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green January 30 and February 21, 2011 - Colorado (USA). Father and son riding paipo.  Don and his son, David, both ride paipo boards. Now living in Colorado, Don skis in winter and fly fishes in summer. He is a collector of not only paipo boards, but also swim fins and snow boards.


Gilbert Lum Interview by Neal Miyake. July 18, 1998. Honolulu, Hawaii. Gilbert Lum, innovator. Gilbert is a Honolulu-area paipo boarder that has been experimenting with an attached hydrofoil for many years.


Jon Manss Interview by Kim Green. Interviewing by Kim Green based on questions by Bob Green. December 5, 2009 - Santa Cruz, California (USA). Kneeboard pioneer and paipo rider. Jon talks about the early days of kneeboarding and paipo boarding in the Santa Cruz area. Check out the excellent video of rare 1960s footage.


Dennis Markson Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green.  January 25-26, 2011 - Auckland, New Zealand. Dennis and friends body-surfed, dived and rode what they called skimmers - small ply paipo. Living overseas Dennis made and rode boards when he got the opportunity in locations from Gibraltar to the U.S.


Craig Matthew Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. August 13, 2012 - Utah  (USA). Lifeguard and paipo rider. Craig Matthew spent many years lifeguarding, surfing and competing at Makapu`u, as well as riding paipo boards around Oahu. He describes the the paipo contests of the 1970s and 1980s, and surfers who rode in those contests. A mentor of Craig's was Harry Akisada, who also made his current board. These streamlined boards are known for their speed and maneuverability.


Jack McCoy Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. June 1, 2010. Avalon Beach NSW, Sydney Australia. Jack grew up in Hawaii and like many youth of the time rode a paipo. Like many of his peers he moved onto riding a standup surfboard, however, unlike many of his peers he has spent more time behind the lens documenting the surfing life. Jack pays tribute to a stand-up paipo rider, Valentine Ching, and also describes his recent experience of riding paipo again. Interview is forthcoming.


Kevin McManus Interview by Bob Green. Facebook Chat Interview by Bob Green. October 20-26, 2015. Perth, Western Australia. Escaping the crowds on a broken ski paipo. What started out as taking up the offer to try a mate's board, saw Kev surfing this board in some of the most remote and isolated waves in Australia. A dislike for crowds led to adventures surfing waves off the beaten track. With a background in skateboards, Kev and his friends rode their own style of bellyboards, in their own style. The first board was made from a broken surf-ski, first owned by Kev's mate, sold to Kev and then years later after multiple repairs returned back to him. The source of two of Kev's boards was John Burns who returned to surfing at age 34, first on a mat and then a few years later, on a variety of fiberglass bellyboards.


John Mellor Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. July 14, 2012. Los Osos, California (USA). John's introduction to surfing in the mid-1960s, is similar to that of many others. However, he has also spent much of his life making and riding a wide variety of surfcraft, including bellyboards. His preference is for for wider, higher flotation style boards. He talks both about surfing and making boards, including his interest in hoop fins.


John "Doc" Milliken Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. December 5, 2009. Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA. Kneeboarder, paipo rider and knowledgeable guy talks about his 40 years in the water, design concepts, dabbling in a little physics, and having fun in the surf.


Robert Moynier Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. July 5, 2010. Cambria, California, USA. From Curl Curl to Cambria. From growing up riding the shorebreak at Curl Curl Robert has returned to riding prone boards, but with a few twists. He has spent his surfing life looking for the connections between the paipo/kneeboarding experience and high performance stand up surfboards.


Robert Moynier & Malcolm Campbell Interviews by Bob Green and Robert Moynier. Questions and e-mail interviews by Bob Green and Robert Moynier, September 22, 2011 and October 24, 2011, respectively. Cambria and Oxnard, California, USA. The Bonzer paipo: two classic designs revisited. Robert Moynier was interviewed a year ago and at that time was riding stand-up and at times prone, on bonzer boards ranging in length from 7'8" to 9'. In his collection he had a short paipo from the 1980s made by Gordon Theisz. He decided to revisit the design of this board with the assistance of Malcolm Campbell. The result: two bonzer paipos. Robert describes his surfing experiences and thoughts on these new boards which, while modern designs, also have strong links to the past, going back to Wally Froiseth. Malcolm provides insights into his board design experience and Moynier's boards. See Part I of the Moynier paipo interviews above.


Nels Norene by Bob Green. Questions and e-Mail interview by Bob Green. March 16, 2010, updated June 8, 2010. Ventura County, California, USA. Publisher and editor of vagabond surf amongst other things. Nels tells us, "What influences my choice of method [of surfing] on any given day: surf x crowd x transportation vehicle x weather x what else needs to be accomplished that day. I am subject to a myriad of influences, practically everything except cell phones and peer pressure." Nels's waveriding modes include bodysurfing, using a handgun, mini-paipo, paipos of different styles and shapes and kneeboards, and... well, you guessed it. Read the interview and learn more!


Larry O'Brien & Mike Shourds by Terrie Leigh Relf. in the OB RagAugust 23, 2012. Ocean Beach (San Diego), California, USA. Sustainability 101: The Rebirth of Riding Wood: An Interview with Larry O’Brien and Mike Shourds. From the on-line blog, "In the following interview, OBcean Larry O’Brien, vintage body board collector, cave explorer, and aspiring eccentric shares one of his many passions: Creating boards from found wood and other materials. Coronadoian “Paipo Mike” Shourds, builder of wooden body boards and recycled junk bikes since 1960, is also a collector and all-around creative person."


Stan Osserman Interview by by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. November 1, 2010. Kailua, Hawaii. Knee riding paipo on a taro leaf. Stan makes and rides his own style of paipo which he has been refining for many years. He shares his construction method as well as offering recollections of riding paipo. Stan's motivation for surfing in contests wasn't about winning.


Jeremy Oxenden Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. August 23, 2011 - Jersey, Channel Islands (UK). Surfing is fun no matter how we do it. Jeremy's grandfather, Nigel 'Oxo' Oxenden, was surfing in Jersey from the 1920s to the 1940s. Jersey developed a lively surf culture which has continued to this day only halted by war. Jeremy has continued the family tradition on a variety of surfcraft. 


Sally Parkin Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. November 20, 2011 - Devon, England. Capturing the grace and style of traditional English ply surfboards. Sally has ridden ply boards from a young age and her boards were known as surfboards. In March 2008, she established The Original Surfboard Company, which hints at the traditional nature of these boards as well as reflecting her view that the stand up surfboard industry has usurped the term "surfboard." From a modest start, her boards are now sold around the world. Their versatility allows people of all ages to surf in a wide variety of conditions. Sally remains stoked to ride and sell her boards.


Ian Peden Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. September 20, 2010. Coomba Park, New South Wales, Australia. Bodysurfing to bellyboarding. Ian was a bodysurfer from Maroubra in the 1960s who began riding and experimenting with ply bellyboards. Along with some of his friends he was featured in a 1965 Surfing World article, one of the few articles with bellyboard content.

Luiz Antonio Pereira by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. March - April, 2013. Brazil. Surfing the alligator in Brazil. Before fiberglass surfboards were made and ridden in Brazil, bodysurfing and bellyboards were popular. Jacaré, literally "to catch alligator," was a brand of bellyboard but also slang for bodysurfing. Luiz  Antonio Pereira recalls these early surfing days in Brazil, when to "catch the alligator" was one of the main forms of enjoying waves.


Jim Pomeroy Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green.  December 23, 2009 - MinersvilIe, Utah. Jeffrey Dale Surfboards: Surfing for Fun. Jeffrey Dale Surfboards were made by Jeffrey Wilson and Dale Schleusener. They also made boards for Val Surf and Jack's Surfboards. Jim Pomeroy managed the Jeffrey Dale store in Anaheim, California, and also worked at Jack's Surf Shop as a ding fixer.


Michael Potter Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green.  August 14, 2010. Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Experimenting with fins. Michael or "Mick" as he was known then was one of a group of guys who rode plywood bellyboards at the southern end of the Gold Coast in the mid- to late-1960s. Whereas everyone else rode a twin fin Mick experimented with single fins.


Jeff Quam Interview by Robert Moynier. E-mail and letter interview by Robert Moynier, May 31 - June 5, 2013, Laguna Beach, California (U.S.A). Jeff Quam's Excellent Paipo Adventure: The Quest To Refine A Design. Jeff grew up in Laguna Beach, California, an area with a history of riding paipo boards. His history of experimenting with board designs begins with necessity, then in response to taunting, and more recently by seeking to refine a style originally made by Wally Froiseth, of Hawaii. Jeff has ridden paipo boards for many years. His relationship with a range of talented shapers is part of a continuing quest to enjoy surfing and the ocean.


Guilhem Rainfray Interview by Bob Green. E-mail interview by Bob Green, June 21, 2011, updated July 31, 2013, Guéthary, France. French shaper of 13-foot gliders who rode a "planky" when younger. Guilhem Rainfray makes and rides boards that are 2 to 3 times longer than the average paipo. However, in his younger days Guilhem rode a plywood "planky" as did his friends, including fellow shaper Daniel Creignou. It is difficult to find information about plankies so the recollections of Guilhem and other surfers from the early days of French surfing provide a glimpse of an under-documented aspect of French surfing history.


Barry Regan Interview by Bob Green. Questions and telephone interview by Bob Green. August 10, 2010. Ballina NSW, Australia. Hollow ply boards, recollections from the 1950s-2010 and Colin Harper's restored paipo. Barry started surfing on wooden boards in the 1940s, before progressing to a malibu board. In recent years Barry went back to building and riding hollow ply boards. His interview also contains the story of an old paipo board that was being restored. Barry tracked down its owner, Colin Harper.


Mark Richards Interview by Rod Rodgers. Questions by Bob Green and e-mail interview by Rod Rodgers. December 12, 2009. North Hollywood, California (USA). Mark Richards, son of the founder, answers a few quetions about the bellyboards sold by Val Surf in the 1960s and early 1970s.


Maurice Richardson Interview by Andrew Garton and Jeremy Oxenden. Questions from Bob Green July 22, 2012. Jersey (UK). Maurice rode ply bellyboards boards and bodysurfed Durban, South Africa in the of the 1940s before moving to the northern hemisphere where he later discovered others still ride the boards of his youth.


Ron Romanosky Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. October 8, 2009. Newport, CA, USA. Bellyboarding at Wedge in the 1960s, the ‘El Paipo’ and the Transition to Kneeboards. A Leading Kneeboarder’s Perspective.


Bob Rose Interview by Bob Green. Questions and phone interview by Bob Green.  December 25, 2010 - Bilambil, New South Wales (Australia). Surfing a door with a handle. Originally from Sydney, for a time Bob shared a fibreglass bellyboard with his brother-in-law. After riding standup for several years he became fascinated with a friend's ply bellyboard. Since that time he made and rode a ply bellyboard, and then a boogieboard, until health and crowds made surfing difficult.


Sean Ross Interview by John Clark, based on questions developed by Bob Green. November 9, 2009. Honolulu, Hawaii. Paipo Boarding at Waikiki, Pipeline, and elsewhere and how he started riding the Paipo Nui shape.


John Ruffels Interview by Bob Green. Telephone interview by Bob Green. October 24, 2010 (revised March 6, 2011) - Newcastle, Australia. Riding on Air in the Surf: The Story of Dr. Ernest Smithers and the SurfoPlane. John Ruffels developed an interest in the story of Dr. Ernest Smithers, a man with an inventive bent and perhaps most widely known for his invention in the early-1930s, the surfoplane. Smithers’ surfoplane was the forerunner of the modern surf-mat and was marketed around the world.


Richard Safady Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. March 4, 2010. Torrance, California. Stand-up, to kneeling to prone. Richard describes his devolution to prone riding: "Knees - because I was not a good upright rider. Losing the board often. Refused to wear a cord. Prone - close to the curl. View, great! My hand is on the rail for stability. Higher percentage of waves makeable proneing, at a southern Baja low tide location." Learn more in the full interview about Richard and his 9 foot prone board.


Dave Sams Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. December 20-26, 2014. Newport, Australia. From Newport to the North Shore . Dave Sams grew up on Sydney's northern beaches and would go on to visit Hawaii several times, developing friendships with some renowned Hawaiian surfers. His link to Hawaii began in 1964, when he wrote to John Kelly, the author of the classic book, Surf and Sea. Dave had been riding finned bellyboards but wanted to ride a finless paipo like he'd seen in a movie. Amazingly, Dave kept the letter from John Kelly.


John Saul by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. February 1 & 2, 2013. Virginia & California. Paipo rider and poet. Unlike many who grew up by the ocean, swimming from an early age, John didn't start surfing and swimming until he was eight years old, when his family moved to Hawaii. Virtually as soon as he was off the ship John began surfing. At school he was surrounded by surfers. One of his friends was John Clark, with whom he became involved in organizing the Sandy Beach bodysurfing championships which continue to this day. Both Clark and Saul rode paipo boards and bodysurfed. While John Clark went on to write about the beaches of Hawaii and Hawaiian surfing traditions, John Saul wrote poetry which in recent years he has begun to publish. In addition to describing his surfing experiences John also describes what it was like growing up in Hawaii in the 1970s.


Bud Scelsa Interview by Bob Green and John Clark. e-Mail interview based on questions by Bob Green and interview organized by John Clark. April 9, 2010. Honolulu, Hawai`i. Paipo knee-rider. Bud Scelsa grew up in Newport Beach, California, where he did some stand-up board surfing, became a body surfing regular at the Wedge, as well as trying to build “belly boards.” The first time he rode a paipo was about 1966, at Makapu`u and Sandy Beach, borrowing boards from some of the locals. In 1968, he ended up in Hawaii with the Coast Guard. He started riding paipo boards "knee-down" style in 1968-9, and has built over 30 beautiful wood boards.


Charlie Schuster Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green.  August 14, 2012- Hawaii. From boat floorboards and real estate signs to kneeboards. From boat floorboards and real estate signs, Charlie recounts his experiences and observations of paipo boards from the 1950s to the 1970s. His surf craft of choice over the years have been finned, foam boards - everything from kneeboards to paddleboards. Also an extended Note on "The Bagman" bag surfing.


Mike "MrMike" Shourds Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green and from postings on the MyPaipoBoards Forums. October 26, 2009. San Diego, CA, USA. Mr. Mike discusses designing, building and riding wood paipos. Tons of tips in this interview by an expert craftsman.


Gordon Simpson Interview by Bob Green. Questions and telephone interview by Bob Green. December 28, 2010. Sydney, Australia. Waimea on a bellyboard. Gordon was a standup surfer who also rode a bellyboard. During a 1961 trip to Hawaii he was talked into riding on his bellyboard at Waimea, after earlier breaking his standup board at Haleiwa. It wasn't until years later that Gordon learned that his ride was featured in Bruce Browne's film, Surfing Hollow Days.


Pete Sobels Interview by Bob Green. Questions and telephone interview by Bob Green. March 14, 2015. Mullumbimby (Australia). Avalon paipo rider from the 1960s. The northern beaches of Sydney, Australia in the 1960s were home to small groups of paipo riders. Pete Sobels was one of these surfers, riding a board of his own design and proving it in local waves and in Hawaii. He bought home a Hawaiian paipo board but preferred to ride his "prototype" which has surprisingly contemporary features.


Rainer Stegemann Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. July 10, 2010. Santa Cruz, California. Past and present paipo recollections. Rainer began riding paipo in Hawaii in the 1960s, with John Waidelich and Paul Lindbergh, before getting hooked on a 10'6" Greg Noll gun. In addition to classic photos, Rainer talks about some of the technique used to surf paipo above and below the water.


Col Taylor Interview by Bob Green. Phone interview and questions by Bob Green. June 5, 2010. Stradbroke Island, Queensland, Australia. Prawn trawlerman and surfer.  A long-time stand-up surfer, Col discusses the links between bodysurfing and bellyboard technique. For Col, riding ply was bodysurfing "assisted by wood." He also mentions the need for fins on the board to stay in the wave.


Leigh Tingle Interview by Bob Green (accomponied by Leigh's Story of His Trip to Hawaii in 1964). Based on questions developed by Bob Green. September 14, 2009. Australia. Development of a paipo board based upon the viewing of a 1957 surf film. Leigh has ridden the same board since 1958. Leigh briefly made Barracuda Bellyboards. Includes pictures and board specifications.


Charl Van Rensburg Interview by Charl Van Rensburg, Autobiographical magazine interview. October 2009, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa. My Life In Water. Charl discusses his introduction to surfing, the stoking feeling he found for riding prone while watching a surf movie, Follow the Sun, riding his local spots and taking regular trips to Jeffrey's Bay and Cape St. Francis, drifting away from surfng in early adulthood, and then rediscovering his love for waveriding during bodysurfing sessions. The desire to ride prone on a wavecraft prompted him to start riding paipos and surf mats, and regularly building new wooden paipos to enjoy and experiement my modifying designs and test riding in differing wave conditions.


Keith Usher Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. May 10, 2014 - Swansea, Wales. Surfing Wales and beyond, finless. Keith Usher started out on a surfboard but realized he could catch a lot more waves riding prone on a bodyboard. Ten years ago the seed of riding something different to a standard bodyboard was planted and in 2013, with the assistance of a local shaper and some inspiration from the boards of Tom Wegener and Larry Goddard, his ideas became a reality. Since then he has ridden waves on his paipo boards in Wales, California, and Indonesia. Not sitting still, Keith is experimenting with other designs, including wooden boards.


Jerry Vasconcellos Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-mail interview by Bob Green. July 18, 2012 - Honolulu, Hawaii. Making & riding paipo boards, directing contests and sculpting wood & stone. Jerry has spent much of his life spreading the stoke about paipo boards. Besides organising contests he made paipo boards for kids as part of his job with the Honolulu Parks Department. These boards were made for free in local parks. Since 1970, Jerry has been making sculptures from indigenous Hawiian materials.


Tom Wegener Interview by Bob Green. Questions and telephone interview by Bob Green.  May 1, 2010, Noosa Heads, Queensland, Australia. Relearning ancient wisdom.  Originally from Palos Verdes, Tom moved to Noosa Heads, Australia, where he established a board building business. Over time he began experimenting with wood surfboards, both the long Olo and the shorter paipo style board. Tom's boards have been inspired by boards he saw in the Bishop Museum, Hawaii.


Peter White Interview by Bob Green. Questions and in-person of February 28 and phone interview on January 29, 2012 - Mermaid Beach, Australia. New Zealand paipo rider and builder from the 1960s.  After living next door to Val Valentine at Sunset Beach, Peter White returned to New Zealand and made a mould to produce paipo boards like Val Valentine's, which were based on a design developed by John Waidelich and JIm Growney (see The Paipo Interviews). Peter rode his boards all around New Zealand, however, it was at Muriwai that a group of surfers based around the local life saving club continued to ride these paipos.


Richard Whiting Interview by Bob Green. Questions and e-Mail Interview interview by Bob Green. July 23, 2011 - Portreath, Cornwall (UK). Modern moves on a traditional ply bellyboard. Richard has been surfing a traditional English bellyboard for many years. He likens riding a minimalist wood bellyboard to bodysurfing.


Paul Witzig Interview by Bob Green. Questions and telephone interview by Bob Green. July 27 and August 13, 2011 - Maclean, NSW Australia. Surfing film-maker and bellyboard rider. Paul has described three phases of prone surfing during the course of his life. This last phase was prompted by his desire to stay in the water and to keep surfing. More than a "geriatric surfing aid," prone surfing has allowed Paul to continue to take off deep, riding an innovative bellyboard with horns.


Trevor Yamamoto Interview by Bob Green and Kim Green Questions and e-Mail Interview by Bob Green and Kim Green. December 4, 2009. San Francisco, California, USA. Surfer of many craft rediscovering paipo. Trevor discusses riding the paipo as a youth in Hawai`i and later as an adult in the San Francisco Bay area.


Steve Zane Interview by Kim Green. March 25, 2011. Palo Alto, California, USA. From 'barn doors' to Paipo Nui Steve recalls his teenage years in Hawaii. He started out, like many other kids, on a home-made board before buying one of Val Valentine's Paipo Nui boards. Steve kept riding a paipo while his friends moved onto stand-up boards. On a recent trip to Hawaii he came across the Paul Lindbergh's Hawaii Paipo Design boards, a modern version of the Paipo Nui.


Japanese Itako Surfing Interviews by Nobuhito "Nobby" Ohkawa. Various dates. Japan. Traditional Surfing in Japan: An Unknown History. Nobby is documenting the history of surfing in Japan. After World War II (post-1945), the soldiers in the American occupation army surfed fiberglass longboards at Kamakura, Karatsu and beaches around the military bases. But before that, Japan had a traditional culture of surfing over 100 years old. Like the Polynesians, Japanese people subsisted off the bounties of the sea where they, too, discovered how to ride waves in the ocean.

Mitsuo "Michan" Uenoyama Interview by John R. K. Clark. July 24, 2013. Zaimokuza Beach, Kamakura. Hiring "itago-nori" on Zaimokuza Beach. Conventional wisdom dates the origins of surfing in Japan to U.S. surfers post-World War II. Postcards which featured small wooden boards sparked questions regarding whether there was an indigenous surfing culture. Wooden boards that became known as known as itago, or "itako," were floor boards lining the bottom of fishing boats. These boards also served a life saving purpose and later would be used to ride waves — itako-nori is the act of riding these wooden boards. Mitsuo "Michan" Uenoyama rented these boards to tourists at Zaimokuza Beach, over a period of many years. On a visit to Japan, John Clark, with the assistance of his son Koji as his translator, met with Michan and asked about his experiences with itago-nori boards.

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

Feel free to send me suggestions for additions to: The Paipo Interviews.


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Last updated on: 01/28/17