Enter Makaha

Browns was the most challenging plus-size wave on the south side of the island. Kelly and his friends hadn’t mastered the break completely on their new narrow-tailed boards, but they could now at least stroke into an eight-footer and know they had a fighting chance of making it to the channel in one piece. More importantly, they all knew that Browns was by no means Oahu’s last word in big surf.

Wave-riding in Hawaii during the late 1930s was still done almost exclusively at Waikiki, where the...