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Gods of Thunder

Jeff Hakman. Photo: LeRoy Grannis
Sunset Beach. Photo: John Witzig
Barry Kanaiaupuni, Sunset. Photo: Lance Trout
Reno Abellira. Photo: Art Brewer
Margo Oberg. Photo: Rus Calish

From the late 1950s forward, through every change in board design and riding style, and every shift in surfing’s global balance of power, Hawaii remained the sport's magnetic center. The shortboard revolution did nothing but underscore this fact, and from 1969 to 1976, very little happened in surfing that wasn’t somehow aligned with respect to Hawaii.

Fred Hemmings had called short surfboards “absurd for Hawaiian surf,” but in fact they were a godsend. Riding a longboard at a place like Sunse...

The North Shore remained the center of the surfing universe, Sunset Beach was the center of the North Shore, and Sunset was ruled by Barry Kanaiaupuni and Jeff Hakman, the yin and yang of power surfing.