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David Nuuhiwa Walks on Water

David Nuuhiwa. Photo: Ron Stoner
David Nuuhiwa, 1965. Photo: Stoner
Paul Strauch. Photo: John Severson
Mike Doyle
Lance Carson. Photo: Grant Rohloff

Surfer magazine ran a feature in 1965 titled “Phil Edwards Picks the Top Ten Noseriders.” Heading the list was a 17-year-old goofyfooter with a last name that the surf world was still stumbling over—David Nuuhiwa. The Hawaiian pronunciation was something close to “Newee-He-Wa.” To kids on the beach it was either “New-Way-Va” or “New-Whee-Va.”

Edwards’ list was a who’s-who of high performance surfers in the mid-'60s. It included Corky Carroll, a junior division chatterbox who went on to become...

By late 1965, David Nuuhiwa was practically levitating over the American surf scene. He was smooth to a point where he made other top surfers look as if they were riding over gravel. He was also dark and quiet, with Miles-Davis-strength cool.