Paul, tell us about one of your most memorable days surfing?
"This is an impossible question to answer. Most memorable to me would be like asking how many total hours have you surfed in your lifetime. I mean, where exactly would you even begin your list and then how could you objectively rate each one that comes to mind? Well, one of the most memorable days among many, that comes to mind was December 12, 1961 at Makaha. The date is embedded in my memory and I'll tell you why. By chance I drove out to Makaha after finally mustering the courage to ditch high school upon learning the north shore was closed out and waves were washing over Kam Highway. It was unforgettable ... There was no wind, completely glassy and mirror-smooth, with blue skies and no clouds in the sky. It was the largest surf I had ever seen rolling through the Point at Makaha and the biggest I had ever rode. The lineup had moved almost two hundred yards outside of the normal takeoff area at the Point. Normally, Point Makaha surf usually ends at the "bowl" where the reef rises up and causes the last section of the wave to break in front of you, forcing you to straighten off and prone out. In addition, depending on the swell direction, you normally have to pick and choose your waves carefully at Makaha and ride a high line angle from the Point, so you can get down the line to even reach the bowl section before having the wave either close out or force you to straighten out and deal with tons of whitewater. On this day, there was no bowl to worry about, just these giant, smooth walls fanning in from the northwest and breaking 20 to 25 foot plus, like they came out of a machine. It was like a dream sequence, just unimaginable! I surfed for nearly three hours and must have caught over two dozen perfect waves that day, with every one ending in the channel over a half mile from the takeoff area. My math teacher, Peter Cole was there. So was George Downing, Kimo Hollinger, Rabbit Kekai, and a host of others. I never lost my board once during the entire afternoon. I have never ever seen Makaha as big and perfect as it was on this day."
For more of the spirit and presence that Paul brings to our community, you can go to the article about him in the June-July Issue of The Surfer's Journal entitled, "Alo-Ha! A Conversation with Paul Strauch, Jr."
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Tribute to Bud Browne Packs them in at the Surfing Heritage Foundation
continued from page 1, bottom Far Right column
Local filmmakers such as, Bruce Brown of Endless Summer and John Severson founder of Surfer Magazine followed in Buds footsteps. Bruce Brown a longtime admirer of his film's, went to Bud to asked his permission to film surfers as well and Bud told him to go for it!
The evening at the Surfing Heritage hosted a number of Bud's friends and fans all shared stories amongst themselves as well as hearing special tributes from Greg Noll, Linda Benson, Anna Moore, and a tape presentation by Greg MacGilliveray of 5 Summer Stories fame.
WE ARE A COMMUNITY OF PEOPLE WHO SHARE A COMMON PASSION
Surfing and its Culture has come to stand for many things these days. In this industrial age of surfing, We believe that it is first and foremost about its people.
Getting to know the people at SHF. This is the first in a series of articles talking about the people who make up the Board of Directors, Staff, and volunteers at the SHF. The people who make it possible. Who better to start with than one of our newest board members, Paul Strauch, Jr.
Paul, why is the SHF important to you?
"I'm so lucky (actually my Hawaiian name means "lucky one") to have grown up surfing in Waikiki, Makaha, and along the North Shore, learning early proper ocean etiquette and respect for nature and others. It was truly magical for me (and still is!!) to stand for the first time on a wooden plank and slide across the beautiful coral reef on a wave while watching fish zip by, to swim and bathe in the warm Pacific Ocean and then repeat, almost desperately at times, this process over and over and over again, just to capture that thrill again for all these years. I've had so many memorable experiences to learn vivid lessons in the ocean and surf, surf craft- their form and function, about people, personality, human nature, and importantly about myself. This heritage is very special to me. I think it's the same for others who surf. It's this heritage of those who surf that I consider unique, special, and worth saving for others to know about and learn. This is why the Surfing Heritage Foundation is so important and why I share the vision of our founders Dick Metz and Spencer Croul and everyone associated. It's a very special privilege to me."
Paul, as you know, one of our missions at SHF is to capture and preserve the Oral history of our tradition--we call this our "Talk Story" mission. What does "Talk Story" mean to you?
"In old Hawaii, lessons were passed down orally. There was no written history. You learned from your parents, elders, and mentors in your life about virtue, honor, respect, and patience by word of mouth. It was a way of life. Talk Story brought you close to someone; to share something special or reminisce, acknowledge, recognize or laugh. Personal acquaintances and relationships were developed this way. It kept everything in perspective. Talk Story is what surfing is all about... Sharing the experience, albeit personal, when it's too good, too important just to keep to yourself. This is what has to be shared. It's about talking story. All surfers do it. It's sharing the exhilaration!! This is part of the mission statement of the SHF. It's about surfers talking story with SHF for others to hear and learn. It's sharing the heritage of surfing with others. We have an Oral History Committee in place. We have created an Oral History Field Guide for surfers to follow to document their personal history by "talking story" for others to hear, learn, and laugh." Come share your story with SHF."
Paul, you have given back to surfing in many ways, but more recently as a member and President of the Hawaiian Surf Club, tell us about that?
"The Hawaiian Surf Club of San Onofre was formed in 1990 by surfers transplanted from Hawaii to California like Raymond Patterson, well-known surfer and ukulele virtuoso, who together with his brothers, Bobby and Ronald, all surfed and worked for Hobie Surfboards; Kalani Akui; Frank Marasco, nephew of big-wave Hawaiian surfer, Kealoha Kaio; John Loo and Sandy Kanaeholo, to preserve the Aloha Spirit they were raised with, their surfing background and the Hawaiian culture. I have been president since 1995 and our club and membership is very active in perpetuating the Hawaiian ethics of family, culture, music and dance, friendship, riding waves, good food and good fun. We also host an annual Polynesian Festival at the San Clemente Community Center complete with a day-long event comprising arts and crafts exhibits, woody car show, food and Polynesian dancing, music and entertainment, as well as an evening luau complete with a spectacular floor show and raffle. We meet at San Onofre State Beach every Sunday to surf, play music, and enjoy a big pot luck beach luau. If you're in the area, please stop by for a visit. This club has been very important to me to serve as a living extension of Hawaiiana, its people, culture, true spirit, and to share this with other surfers, friends, and their families in California. Hawaiiana and surfing are important roots to me and the founders of the club, and we are committed to teach and enjoy them with others. We all know it comes back in some way." Interview with Legendary Surfer Paul Strauch Jr. continued here, middle of the page
Paul Strauc Jr. Surf Legend and Statesman
Photo: Leo Hetzel