Matt Warshaw – 5 Surfers To Rescue From Obscurity

Matt Warshaw, July 2020. Photo: Owen Tozer

Encyclopaedia of Surfing honcho Matt Warshaw on the five surfers unfairly left behind by the onward march of conventional surf history.

1. Pat Curren

“Tom Curren’s semi-absent father made the best big-wave guns of the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, and was the guy who sat furthest out at Waimea, waited three hours, nailed the biggest wave of the day and went home. Job well fuckin’ done”.

2. Joey Hamasaki

“The mid-1960s surf media had no time for the chunky Asian-American tomboy with the bowl haircut—the only “girl surfer” who mattered at the time Joyce Hoffman, aka the Blonde Goddess and two-time world champ. And don’t get me wrong, Hoffman was loaded with talent and absolutely ate the competition for lunch. But Joey had the style, the flow, the cool. Number Two on the charts, but Number One in my heart”.

3. Matt Kivlin

“The smooth-riding heart and soul of California surfing in the early ’50s. Kivlin made great boards, threw great parties, was Miki Dora’s style mentor, and was a super nice guy into the bargain. Left the game while he was still on top and became an in-demand Los Angeles-area architect”.

4. Todd Chesser

 “Smart, good-humored, big-dick-swinging surfer from Hawaii. Ripped small waves and LOVED the big stuff. Brock Little would have been Brock Little without Todd Chesser, but it would have taken longer. Todd not only had the misfortune of dying young, while in action, but did so not long after Mark Foo passed in similar fashion—except Mark did it in front of the cameras. Both great guys. Both gone way before their time. It was a tough couple years for surfing”.

5. Bobby Brown

“Smoothest man in surfing in 1967, more cat-like than Da Cat, a stylist up in that angels-singing category along with Tom Curren and David Nuuhiwa. Another tragic end. Poor Bobby got glassed in a bar fight near his home in Cronulla, Australia, and died at 20”.