Tag Archives: Waikiki Surf Club

Remembering Dorian Paskowitz

I was interested to see the Star-Advertiser story about the memorial service for old-time surfer, Dorian Paskowitz who died last year at age 93 (“Family and friends bid aloha to influential surfing legend“).

A very young Paskowitz was active in the fledgling Waikiki Surf Club back in the late 1940s.

For example, Paskowitz was a participant, and one of the top finishers, in the 1948 Christmas Day Diamond Head Paddleboard race. It was the first year that the WSC sponsored the event.

Winners of the first 10 places appear in this photo. L-R: Rabbit Kekai (#1), George Downing (#2), Robert Krewson (#3), Herbert Bessa (#4), Edward Whaley (#5), Wally Froiseth (#6), Dorian Paskowitz (#7), Frank Freitas (#8), Blue Makua (#9), Russ Takaki (#10).


And he was #95 on the men’s signup sheet for the club’s Christmas party that year.

For more photos of that Christmas period in 1948, click here.

I’m sure that there are a few more photos of Paskowitz among my dad’s papers from those early WSC years, and perhaps I’ll be able to track them down.

Back in 2007, I cribbed this quote from the Honolulu Advertiser which was attributed to Paskowitz.

“God will surf with the devil if the waves are good.”

See who attended the Waikiki Surf Club’s first Christmas party in 1948

Dec 22, 1948 Here’s another bit of Waikiki history from December 1948, as the Waikiki Surf Club, a relative newcomer in the small world of organized surfing and paddling at the time, was making a big splash.

On Christmas day, the club sponsored what it dubbed the 1st Annual Diamond Head Race, and the competition was fierce as competitors paddled surfboards or long paddle boards from Waikiki to Diamond Head and back. The list of winners from that first race reads like a Who’s Who in the history of surfing. They appear in the photo from left to right.

Rabbit Kekai (#1), George Downing (#2), Robert Krewson (#3), Herbert Bessa (#4), Edward Whaley (#5), Wally Froiseth (#6), Dorian Paskowitz (#7), Frank Freitas (#8), Blue Makua (#9), Russ Takaki (#10).

But there was more going on.

[text]Three days before, on December 22, the club held its first Christmas Party. Earlier, I found a few photographs taken at the party in my dad’s collection of papers and photos. I’ve previously posted a batch of these pictures, including the ones here.

Then this week I ran across the handwritten sign-in sheets for the party. I love finding these remnants that make bring the past to life.

There were 102 men and 51 women on the list.

There are some who became legends. Blue Makua. Wally Froiseth. Bobbie Krewson. Rabbit. Dorian Paskowitz. Others were less well known outside of the community of watermen. Some you wonder about, signing in with names like Twinkle, or Brother. Some names are illegible. I noticed Francis Kennedy Jr., who went on to become chief negotiator for the Hawaii Fire Fighters Association and died in 2001 at the age of just 59. He must have been one of the kids at the party in 1948.

I hope some of you will look through the list and fill us in on those you recognize.

Just click on the page below to look through the whole list, which is divided into kane and wahine.

December 1948

Waikiki Surf Club remembers its co-founder and first president

I surprised and pleased to learn yesterday that paddlers from the Waikiki Surf Club are wearing shirts honoring my father, John Lind, during the current canoe racing season. My dad was one of the club’s founders and served as its first president, among other things. He died in October 2010.

The shirt features a photo of him taken on the beach in front of the old Waikiki Surf Club clubhouse next to the Moana Hotel back in the late 1940s or early 1950s.

The Waikiki Surf Club was born just about the time I was, and in many ways I grew up in its shadow. On my dad’s list of life’s priorities, I honestly think I was somewhere just a notch below the WSC, so I know he would be very pleased by this honor.

Here’s what Luana Froiseth, daughter of co-founder Wally Froiseth, said about the shirts in an email:

We do a members shirt every year starting the regatta season. It is usually a design that is chosen from a member of the club. When Mike Tongg passed we did an “Aloha to Uncle Mike shirt”, as we did with Aulani Kauhane, who was our secretary for 20 years.

We could not pass your dad without giving him the honor that he so much deserves. Everyone in the club was told of what he did for Waikiki Surf Club and felt very proud to wear our members only shirts.

I had so many comments about the shirt from people who new him. And when asked who we were dedicating our season to, I told them he was one of our founders and 1st president of the club. They all felt that they had learned a part of history of WSC.

We are the ones to be honored to have had your father as a founder of Waikiki Surf Club.

My thanks to the members of the Waikiki Surf Club for remembering my dad in this way.

Waikiki Surf Club shirts

Surfboard lockers in pre-1950 Waikiki

Here are a few more things culled from among my dad’s papers.

The small news clipping is undated. It reports on a request from the Hawaii Surfing Association to the city for surfboard lockers on the beach.

My dad helped to found the Hawaii Surfing Association in 1939, soon after his arrival in Honolulu. The organization provided a vehicle for lots of surfing and beach activities prior to the founding of the Waikiki Surf Club in 1947. So I expect this clipping dates from somewhere between 1939-1947, most likely in the post-war period.

I haven’t yet found anything about a city response to the locker request, but I did find the next photo (also undated) showing a group of young men building what appear to be those lockers. I’m guessing that this was done by the Waikiki Surf Club.

Two other photos show Surf Club activity in February 1949.

Hopefully some of you will be able to identify the people shown. If so, just leave a comment below.

–>View all of today’s photos