“Somebody Should Do Something,” last week’s History of Surfing chapter, looked at how surfing did (or didn’t) merge with the early environmental movement. I knew, or at least met, most of the early hardcore surf-environmental guys. They were all a little off.
John Kelly (the same John Kelly who invented the hot curl board; he founded Save Our Surf in the late ’60s and thus created the eco-surf movement) was so focused on political issues that he didn’t much think or talk about anything else. Same with surfer-lawyer-pinup-boy Mark Massara, and original Surfrider executive director Tom Pratte. All three were (or still are) true obsessives, and mostly blind to the fact that others didn’t share their obsession, and therefore capable of boring the hell out of all present. They were me, in other words, just angled a little differently.
Most of my week was spent on a Kimo Hollinger bender. Kimo in his late ’50s and early ’60s prime was a beautiful surfer (watch here), one of those classic upright Hawaiian stylists, a bit like Paul Strauch but not as dynamic. Absolutely fearless in big waves. Bright, funny, warm, but intense. Kimo had a knack for going right up to the line . . . and stepping over. Usually he made it back with mind and body intact. Sometimes not. (Read about one such instance here.)
I read Kimo’s defining anti-contest article “An Alternative Viewpoint” when I was 15, and knew it was powerful (even if I didn’t fully agree with what he was saying), and was gratified to see how well it holds up 40-plus years later. All of Kimo’s writing, in fact, is worth a second read. If you’ve got back issues of The Surfer’s Journal holding up a corner of your bookshelf, dig through and look for Kimo’s articles—you won’t be disappointed. And if anybody out there knows Kimo personally, please tell him he’s got a big fan in Seattle.
Okay, that’s it for today. Thanks for reading, and see you next week!
PS: I like Medina for the win tomorrow and Parkinson for the Triple Crown. Neither call is bold, but if they both come to pass it’ll be the feel-good day of the WSL season. Thank you Pipeline!
[Kimo Hollinger photo by Don James]