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A Paipo Interview with Ron Haworth

Body surfer and documenter of (paipo) surfing

A Paipo Interview with Ron Haworth
August 9, 2012 - Oahu, Hawaii
E-mail interview by Bob Green

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.
1. How did you first get into body surfing? When and where was this? How old were you at the time?
I first body surfed at Old Mission Beach in San Diego and also Windansea and La Jolla Cove with the right swell. I was thirteen. My first Churchills were blue synthetic hard (WW2) rubber. In 1949 and 1950, I body surfed at State Beach, Santa Monica, before joining the army after high school graduation. In high school I ran the 100- and 220-yard dash and eight-man mile relay where we finished 3rd in the Los Angeles City track finals, in 1950.
When did you move to Hawaii?

First came to Hawaii in November 1940 and turned 9-years-old en route on the S.S.  Matsonia. My older sister was staying with my aunt and uncle in Hollywood and was not allowed to join us after Pearl Harbor so we returned in a convoy (complete with submarine scare which sent us to our boat stations with life jackets) in late April 1942. I remember that morning of the attack vividly.


Ron at Duke's, Waikiki - May 2012.
Photo by Tracy Haworth Ayers.
Came back to Hawaii in ninth grade then moved back to San Diego before six months in New Zealand. Oh. I body surfed at Waiheke Island near Auckland. After starting at Fort Ord, California (6 weeks), I was shipped to Schofield Barracks for basic training. We were quartered in Quad D which later gained notoriety in the movie From Here To Eternity. The 20th Battalion was the first of eight battalions to take basic training at the Hawaii Infantry Training Center (HITC) for deployment to Korea. All enlistees were sent here to begin training again. I served in Korea, SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe) and occupied Germany.

In 1954, I sailed with my uncle from San Pedro to Honolulu (2 of us) in a 34 ft. ketch... 23 days. The final reunion to Hawaii was in 1962, with wife Dee and daughter Tracy. We had been living in Pacific Beach (San Diego) where I, surprise, body surfed.

2. The Petersen's Surfing Yearbook articles that you wrote show a good appreciation of the advantages and limitations of paipo boards. Did you ever ride a paipo yourself?
Tried paipo surfing briefly at Makapu`u but didn't like it as much as body surfing.

Was it difficult getting your articles on bellyboarding published?

My writing was usually accepted by magazines no matter the subject. I also wrote fiction for men's pulp before zeroing in on surfing. While attending Long Beach City College on the GI Bill, I took courses in business and creative writing, and while far from an "A" student I did get an "A" in both. After graduation in January 1961, we moved to Pacific Beach where I began a correspondence course with Famous Writers School. One of the founders was Rod Serling (TV series Twilight Zone) and it was here that I sold my first pulp fiction Desire In The Dew. Finding that check in P.O. Box 1745, La Jolla, was a thrill and I was hooked. Later I wrote pulp under the pseudonym P. B. Penthouse. My love was fiction. If I have a favorite fiction it is Makaha Magic Trunks which appeared in Surfer Magazine (see Note 1).
 

Ron Haworth articles appearing in Petersen's Surfing Yearbooks Two and Three.




Source: 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. and Haworth, Ron. (1966). Belly Boarding. Petersen's Surfing Yearbook Number Three, 108-111. Los Angeles, Calif.: Petersen Publishing Co.
3. There is interest in learning more about some of the people featured in your articles. What can you tell us about Dick Wandrocke, George Farquar, Pete Howorth, and Dennis Giroux?
My text was often submitted sans photos and the editors would supply their own. Dennis Giroux was in the U.S. Air Force and we met at Makapu`u.

A photo of Dennis taken by you featured in one of your articles?

I always used a Nikonas water camera so I was directly below Dennis on this photo. Dennis was also in a "weightless world" for 30 days when in a space capsule but he didn't leave Mother Earth.

Where was the photo of Dennis taken? Any other surfing tales or recollections of Dennis?

Dennis was a very likable guy and I always thought it a bit unusual for someone in the service to be body/paipo surfing rather than bar surfing. I remember Dennis as becoming a family member and spending hours in our home. My daughter Tracy will have a clearer recollection of Dennis, and I seem to remember he was very good to her. After he left Hawaii some of his friends stopped by the house once at his request to say hello. That is my last contact with him. The photo must have been Makapu`u but I can't be positive. You saw he was also along for the Nina Cherry story. Nina was a very good body surfer and it took no urging to get her to show at dawn for the empty surf. I never saw her on a paipo... to my knowledge.. and we must have crossed fins at Makapu`u.


Dennis Giroux

Photo by Ron Haworth, in Haworth, Ron. (1966). Belly Boarding. Petersen's Surfing Yearbook Number Three, p. 109. Los Angeles, Calif.: Petersen Publishing Co.

4. Did you surf much with John Waidelich and Jim Growney? Any surfing stories you'd like to recount or other recollections?
I surfed almost exclusively with Growney and Waidelich. And also Jaren Hancock and John Naughton, Makapu`u regulars.

What was it like surfing with John Waidelich and Jim Growney? What sort of conditions were you all looking for to surf and where were your favorite spots?

One seldom surfed spot I did with Waidelich was on the Sandy Beach side of Makapu`u Point. It is rare but the break runs parallel to the lava shoreline quite a distance out. The general area is known as "Alan Davis" before his old home was washed away by a tidal wave, but this lineup was more east of what we know as Pele's Chair rock formation. Don't remember it as a good ride, a bit mushy, but it was there so we challenged it. John Waidelich on a paipo board and Ron and Churchill. Of course, even agreeing to surf with John could be an unexpected challenge.

Why could it be an unexpected challenge?

John Waidelich was possessed by some "call" when it came to the sea. Whether surfing or sailing, John didn't want, or expect, it to be easy, boring, or mundane. The moments I have shared with canoe and Cal-20 are typical John Waidelich in his element. I don't remember him as a social party type; he was conversational but on a serious note and loved to paipo like no other, at least that I knew. I see the smile on his face with the kids and paipos, and seeing it, now comes back to me. But it wasn't that he wore it for everybody. I don't know how well Jim Growney knew John, but I spent a lot of hours with him in one endeavor or another and can never recall a harsh word between us. It's been too long since I knew John so my thoughts might be off target. Hell! I don't even know when I quit body surfing. Somehow... if John were alive I have a hunch he'd still be challenging in the surf in some capacity. He knew no other way.

Not much is known about Jaren Hancock and John Naughton. Any other detail that you would like to add?

Jaren Hancock and his bother, Brent, were part of our group. Jaren, body surfing, and Brent on the paipo. Jaren once was driving to Makapu`u and passing the Blow Hole and saw a crowd. He stopped to learn a guy had fallen into the puka but been washed out (how lucky!) and was yelling for help. Jaren grabbed his fins and saved him and then went body surfing. John Naughton worked for the State of Hawaii in the Fish and Game department (I forget the exact name). We went to his wedding at Sea Life Park at Makapu`u. I did find a Surf Spray article where Jaren, Brent Hancock, and John Naughton, and others formed a body surfing club to challenge the Ala Moana Bowl (Haworth, Ron. (1966, August 11). Surf Spray article. Honolulu Star-Bulletin.). This was in the 1950s, when they were in high school.


A Surf Spray article on body surfer Joe Keawe ("A fortunate man") and John Naughton's wedding ("More zealots"). Ron wrote of this column, "I always was fond of the Keawe column because he was just a guy who body surfed his life in a Hawaii most will never know or remember if they had."




Haworth, Ron. (1968, April 26). Surf Spray: A fortunate man. Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Scan by Tracy Haworth Ayers.

Were there any advantages to being a body surfer amongst paipo riders? What would a session be like with all these guys (Jim, John, Jaren, etc.) out in the water together? Did they share a similar approach to waves and life?

Depending on the break there could be a huge disadvantage being a body surfer among paipos. This is why John took up the paipo, he was tired of them dropping in on him. Makapu`u had many different moods and the lineup could shift by the hour. Body surfing off the point in medium surf was best as the rights took you toward the lava in clean curls. Paipos, on the other hand, might be better going left for a much longer ride. Bigger days saw the lineup move outside and center stage and then both lefts and rights were good. Memory is a bit foggy but I think in those days body surfers outnumbered paipos, or maybe we were just in a tighter circle and weren't hogs. I never surfed shore break except in desperation. The three you mention were popped from the same pod. We were at home treading water, shooting the breeze, and waiting... waiting for that shout all surfers love to hear: "OUTSIDE! It would send us off in search of the best possible takeoff point... If there was more to life in those days we never found it."

Where were the biggest waves that you all surfed together?

Makapu`u was the most visited spot for the group and so that would be the site for the biggest waves. The Waidelich/Growney Waimea days pre-dated me and thankful I am for being spared and suckered into that!

What years were you surfing with these guys?

The July 22, 1966, Surf Spray article tells me it was at least 1966, when I knew and surfed with John. That is six months before I joined Outrigger (Canoe Club) so is as close as I can get. Jim and Jaren were Outrigger members and John wasn't (Waikiki Yacht Club). I joined OCC in January of 1967, and before that we went to the Hilton Hawaiian Village beach. So how we clicked is unknown. We all went to the Growney wedding reception (Surf Spray exclusive) but where he came into the mix I can't say. Fact is I never gave it any thought or thought anyone else would. Our daughter Tracy was known at Makapu`u for her zinc oxide nose. She would have been a tad older than John's daughter but I don't think by a great deal. My son Rex would have been younger than Stig so we had bookends.


In the below photos of Makapu`u, "...you will see a patch of white sand at the extreme right in the lava. This was our "family, friends and fins" sanctuary during those days with Waidelich and Growney and Hancock. From there we would walk out to the end of the lava and dive in timing the wave action. Tracy at this spot.




Photos courtesy of Ron and Tracy Haworth.
5. You mentioned that for seven years you wrote a weekly column called "Surf Spray" that was published in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin from June 1966. Did you write about paipo boards much?
I have just gone through a small stack of my old Surf Spray articles looking for paipo references and I have found some of interest. Did you know paipo surfing very nearly was included in the Duke Kahanamoku Invitational Surfing Championships? At least as an exhibition event. And that Ricky Grigg admitted to me that "riding a paipo frankly scares me to death" (see the article below). I also had a letter sent me in early-1967, from a Leighton Ho asking me to organize a paipo contest with the aid of Jim Growney and John Waidelich. It was this suggestion which prompted Grigg's above remark.


Papaio surfer's viewpoint.

Haworth, Ron. (1967, March 3). Surf Spray: Papaio surfer's viewpoint. Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Scan by Tracy Haworth Ayers.



Some Surf Spray clippings and snippets



Architect of big-wave paipo.

   

   


Eight years ago John Waidelich picked up a crudely shaped piece of plywood from Makapu`u Beach and vowed. "If I can't beat them I'll join them." So begins a lengthy Surf Spray devoted to Waidelich and his Paipo Nui creation. Unless you had interviewed John, surfed with him, and knew his wife and children, no written words can do these early years of the paipo justice. Jim Growney was Waidlelich's paipo twin and I can think of no one more qualified to speak of John's surfing merits. The Waimea days must have been hairy.

Haworth, Ron. (1966, July 22). Surf Spray: Architect of big-wave paipo. Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Scan by Tracy Haworth Ayers.



Surfing canoes gives thrills.

                            





"John Waidelich's surfing canoe preceded his paipo by a full year, but except to a few of his surfing friends, has remained relatively backstage on the local scene. Any similarity between Waidelich's creation and the common outrigger canoe ends with the spelling. Jaren Hancock, Waidelich, and I put Hulikai II through her paces at Publics on an eight-foot-day and Jaren and I agreed we had never had so much fun in the surf..."


Haworth, Ron. (1966, August 1). Surf Spray: Surfing canoe gives thrills. Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Scan by Tracy Haworth Ayers.



The fear of 40.

      


From the above article: Not so Waidelich who surfed his Cal-20 in three to four foot surf at Old Mans in front of the Outrigger Canoe Club. This is classic Waidelich on his feared-not forty birthday. I had sailed with him countless hours in the past and would in the future but at this sight I swam out the channel to claim salvage rights. I figured he had taunted the sea once too often. Later that day I found him at the Waikiki Yacht Club drinking a beer and mumbling something about CASTLES. Yes, this was the Waidelich I knew, crazy, unafraid, adventurers, and one hell of a waterman.

The Cal-20 surfing was also witnessed by Jim and Priscilla Growney in their P Cat. "Finger tip control," he yelled as he came about, before grounding on the reef, to sail back for another approaching set. In yet another column I read where I appointed Jim my European correspondent when they went to Spain and Portugal for a year or two. Did you know Jim was 'arrested' in Portugal for body surfing beyond the swimming buoys?

Haworth, Ron. (1967, June 16). Surf Spray: The fear of 40. Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Scan courtesy of Tracy Haworth Ayers.



Letter from Val Valentine explaining his latest paipo design.
      
A letter from Val Valentine explaining his latest in paipo design brings welcome news to those who take their waves lying down. Valentine's paipo is constructed of fiberglass with enough foam to ensure good flotation (see Note 2). It is impervious to water and unbreakable. The Valentine trademark is the absence of a skeg. At that writing Val's only problem was where to market his product. I do not recall ever seeing this paipo in use or whether Waidelich used it.

Haworth, Ron. (1971, August 27). Surf Spray: A letter from Val Valentine explaining his latest in paipo design. Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Scan courtesy of Tracy Haworth Ayers.



Surf Spray Best Hawaiian Surfer Poll

Results of the Surf Spray first (and maybe only) best Hawaii surfer poll. For the sake of this readership I will mention only paipo and body surfing. Paipo...Waidelich edged Val Ching (closest of all categories). Body Surfing...Buffalo Keaulana in a breather. The trend is not always a good indicator. First body surfing vote went to me, and no I didn't submit it, but history has lost the final tally. WOW! How do you spell "relief?"

Haworth, Ron. (1967, January 27). Surf Spray article. Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

6. There's not much written about Val Valentine who commercially produced the Paipo Nui boards. Did you know Val?

Yes, I knew Val and interviewed him for Surf Spray. Did you know Val Valentine was Canadian... that he toured Europe as a professional wrestler and juggler, escaping Europe just before war broke out.. that he was with the U.S.O. during the war and entertained G.I. Joe? Did you know Val, John Waidelich, and I went to a Val yet-unnamed secret surf spot on the North Shore and surfed all morning by the number... never two to the same wave. We were leaving after the wind blew it out as two board surfers appeared, checked it out, then left. Our secret was secure!


Val Valentine

Photo courtesy of Glen Powell .

Do you have any paipo photos that I could include as well as photos of John Waidelich, Val Valentine and others?

Photos of John, Val...no. Funny but we weren't into camera reflections of ourselves, it was all about the wave. We had a spot of sand at the Makapu`u point which was ours for family, friends and fins. We occupied it all day. Our kids grew up there and learned to body surf and love the ocean. It was sacred sugar sand and is still there... only the people are gone. But then that is life. Val Valentine was not a member of this group.

I ended my Surf Spray interview with Val at his home on Sunset Beach such: We think Val's character is best portrayed by the seemingly unimportant fact that he's listed in the phone book. Surely it must be tempting to have an unlisted number and thereby cut by a hundredth the amount of phone calls which go, "Hello Mr Valentine? You don't know me but... what's the surf like?"


Paipo Nui promotional material with John Waidelich and his children.

Photo courtesy Jim Growney.

7. Watching a good body surfer, it sometimes looks like they are riding a paipo board. Do you see much cross-over in paipo board and body surfing technique?
I don't recall paipo surfing at all until seeing them at Makapu`u. Body surfing and paipo surfing have much in common, like kicking into a wave and running ahead of the white water but as I didn't use them I can't say much more. I didn't want to be bothered holding them. In the no leash days of board surfing we'd pull lost boards of others back out with our toes (losing them again in white water) as a courtesy. Even at age nine, I did this on my "ironing board," towing larger boards toward swimming owners.

What was your ironing board?

In the days of the famous Waikiki beach boys the Waikiki Traven stood right on the beach where the Waikiki Police Station is today. It was here many beach boys plied their trade when not playing cards beneath a hau tree. I even shined shoes when the surf was flat for lack of adventure. Only needed one polish... black... the US Navy was in town and "a date which will live in infamy," was their destiny. A sailor off the battleship U.S.S. California often treated me to miniature golf where the International Marketplace is today. He was from Texas and I never saw him again after Pearl Harbor. We lived on Kalakaua Avenue mere barefoot steps from my (now), Waikiki nostalgic playground which was never to return after the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor by Imperial Japan. Barb wire fenced the beach where I once belly skimmed on the receding waves; machine guns poked from behind sandbags; martial law brought us blackouts; gas masks were issued. Hawaii survived World War II but gone was the Hawaii Calls radio broadcast (it was resumed but never with the pre-war nostalgia once so mesmerizing as it had been with the sound of surf on Waikiki Beach and the lyrics of Sweet Leilani and Aloha' Oe). Boat Day was revived when Lurline and Matsonia again began service but air travel was to do to them what the war didn't.

Somehow I had acquired a board with a split near the nose and was befriended by one, or more, of these carefree beach boys. It became "mine" but never left the beach. I learned to surf here. On big days I'd surf the backwash off the Traven foundation. I had always had a fear of the ocean lapping around my feet on the beach until I learned to swim in front of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. And as corny as it might sound the moment my feet left the bottom I remember turning seaward and breast stroking toward the surf. The Pied Piper beckoned.


Ron Haworth riding his "ironing board." The photo was taken by Toby on his hollow board. It wasn't much bigger than a paipo. Ron left for California in May 1942.



Photo courtesy of Ron Haworth.

Where was your favorite body surfing wave?

For me the perfect wave was Point Panic. It was usually not crowded and the waves were meant for a single surfer, something about how they formed and feathered into the channel. A summer break of perfection.

When I did a Surf Spray on Dave Rochlen in 1966, he mentioned his favorite south shore break was Incinerators and described the wave. Now it overlays my memory of Point Panic (see Note 3). If you have never seen this break it is off a breakwater/landfill and not at all hospitable for entering or exiting the water. I seem to recall there was an incinerator (perhaps long smokeless) in the area. Point Panic was a most unique wave. I know I surfed it with my right arm hanging over the back of the curl (If you think of an envelope and where you insert a letter opener this is the perfect body surfing position at Point Panic. The envelope flap is the wave); I was always high, never on the bottom, and of all the waves I surfed none left me with more realization that I was a part of a brief creation of nature.


Dave Rochlen, Incinerators and body surfing.



Haworth, Ron. (1966, June 24). Surf Spray: Surfing a first love. Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Scan courtesy of Tracy Haworth Ayers.

I have since seen photos of paipos at Point Panic (and on the bottom of the wave!) but honestly I don't recall them in my time. Boards were banned and paipos might have come later and I don't remember surfing Panic with Waidelich. I would like to hear from any others who might have different memories than mine. Especially if it was once known as Incinerators. When I last mounted Panic, I have no idea; yes, it was summer; yes, I was a young man; and, yes I wish I was still young enough to blend with a such a wave.

A contest was held at Makapu`u, October 17, 1970,
"The caps we wore belonged to Australian life saving clubs and were  flown up on Qantas... In Surf Spray I labeled the cap colors and mine was "chaste white." So inappropriate. But it might have helped me get "lost" in the white water. Sol Aikau was one judge".
The Honolulu Star-Bulletin Advertiser ran a 3-1/2 inch mention, "Ron Haworth Surf Victor." I had two Surf Spray, one prior and one post, on the contest. Winners and runners up in other body surf age groups were also mentioned but nothing on piano contest. Jerry  Vasconcellos and the main event never got any ink. I had nothing to do with this and I expect Chuck Shipman called it in to paper.  The senior men age group was 35 and over.


Kahanalu Makapu`u in 1970. Ron Haworth finished in 1st place in the senior men's division at age 38-39.


Figures courtesy of Rex Haworth.
8. Any general observations about changes in surfing over the years?
Of course the size of boards, how they were made, and the ability of the riders to control them made huge changes from when I first board surfed at age nine, at Queen's Surf, Waikiki. It was telephone poles to potato chips.
9. You must have seen some impressive waves and surfing over the years. Any memories still stand out over the years?
I surfed Sunset with Waidelich, a nice five-foot day with never ending rights. We might have been the only ones out. Skinny body surfing on the Na Pali Coast, Kauai, shod with Mr. and Ms. Churchill. Nudist beach Little Makena on Maui was research for a Surf Spray. Surfing Waidelich's 2-man fiberglass Indian canoe at Waikiki wearing fins was always good for a few wiped-out board surfers and stink eye. I also liked to body surf Tracks and Yokohama occasionally. Surfer Magazine did a Yokahama pictorial with my text. This was a Waidelich, Growney, and Hancock safari. The body surfing was surprisingly good.

Best moment... perhaps the Golden Duke presentation ("for outstanding contribution to surfing") at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, breakfast, and driving out to Sunset for the contest with Duke, Kimo McVay, Dr. David Eith in Duke's Silver Cloud Rolls Royce with a Don Ho tape blaring "Suck 'Em Up.' Don't get many Aloha Fridays like that! Jock Southerland won.

Statuette itself is polished brass (shines as if Inca Gold in the late afternoon sun) .......... It is a treasure. If you have never seen one it was like the Hollywood movie Oscar with a surfboard behind the figure. I know Kimo McVay had many old pictures of Duke and a long board in mind when it was designed.


"Duke's handshake was a promise... his smile a treaty." Ron with Duke Kahanamoku, December 15, 1967. "Life doesn't get better than this moment... at least without family."

Photo by Camera Hawaii.

Note 1: Selected surfing publication article authored by Ron Haworth.

Haworth, Ron. (1966). The Lure and Beauty of the Surf at Makaha. Makaha Program 14th Annual Championships.

Haworth, Ron. (1964, September). Wipeout for Wendy. Surf Guide, 2(8).

Haworth, Ron. (1965, June-July). Three Rare Days at Sandy. Surfer Magazine, 6(3).

Haworth, Ron. (1965, August-September). The Endless Walls of Portlock-Koko Head, Hawaii.
Surfer Magazine, 6(4).

Haworth, Ron (uncredited ). (1965). Offbeat Surfing/Belly Boarding. Petersen's Surfing Yearbook Number Two, 191-195.

Haworth, Ron. (1965). Big Gun At Makaha.
Petersen's Surfing Yearbook Number Two.

Haworth, Ron. (1965-66, December-January.) The Makaha Magic Trunks.
Surfer Magazine, 6(6) .

Haworth, Ron. (1966, August-September). Yokohama.
Surfer Magazine, 7(4).

Haworth, Ron. (1966). Belly Boarding.
Petersen's Surfing Yearbook Number Three, 108-111.

Haworth, Ron. (1966, June). What's Your Name. Surfing Illustrated, 4(1) .

Haworth, Ron. (1965, October). Surfing Girl of the Month: Nina Cherry. International Surfing Magazine, 1(6), 60.

Haworth, Ron. (1966, October-November). Coed Invasion.
International Surfing Magazine, 2(6).

Haworth, Ron. (1966, October-November). The Intruder.
International Surfing Magazine, 2(6).

Haworth, Ron. (1967, February-March). The New Makaha. Surfer Magazine, 8(1).

Haworth, Ron. (1967, June-July). Men Against the Sea.
Surfer Magazine, 8(3).

Haworth, Ron. (1967, June-July). Another Great Spot.
Surfer Magazine, 8(3).

Haworth, Ron. (1967-1968, Winter). Is Surfing Sick? Hawaiian Surfing, 1(1).

Haworth, Ron. (1968, May-June). Last Days of Duke Kahanamoku. Surfing Action Around the World, 1(2).

Haworth, Ron. (1969, July). There's Gold in Them Thar Waves.
Surfer Magazine, 10(3).


Note 2: Paipo Nui board construction
Glen Powell, Val Valentine's neighbor and friend, advised on August 18, 2012:
".. the reference was made that he used a foam insert for his boards - while he did experiment with that concept almost all of Val's boards were made with laminate veneer cross laid, glued and shaped in a press that Val made. The material Val used was mahogany, about 1/8th thick and cross laid to make a plywood about 3/8ths thick. The unique scoop to the nose was produced by this method. Once shaped, sanded and the edges rounded Val would glass the entire board. I used to go with Val when he was marketing these boards at various surf shops. The foam insert was not very successful.

On one occasion when I stopped by his shop I found Val mopping up blood from a cut to his tummy, all the way across, from a utility knife he was using to trim a new board just out of the press. I tried to insist that he go to the Doc but he just cleaned up the blood and taped himself back together. In that same vein, Val made most of his tools himself."
For additional information on the Paipo Nui and its construction, see the paipo interview with Jim Growney.

For additional information on the contemporary version of this style of board, the Hawaii Paipo Design, and its construction, see the paipo interview with Paul Lindbergh.


Note 3. The location, history and origin of the beach and surf break named Incinerators



Source: Clark, John R. K. 2002. Hawaiʻi place names: shores, beaches, and surf sites. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press, p. 121.

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


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