Kelly, John

Lively and resourceful surfer-activist from Hawaii; inventor of the hot curl surfboard in 1937. Kelly was born (1919) in San Francisco, the son of artists, moved with his family to Honolulu at age four, and began surfing at six on his mother's discarded ironing board. Kelly got his first real surfboard at nine, a seven-foot redwood plank shaped by David Kahanamoku, Duke's brother.

It was Kelly's idea in the summer of 1937 to streamline the tail section of the planks he and his friends were r...