The other day I was at Kewalos checking the surf, and I was two women painting in the grass. I decided to go over and check out what they were doing, and while I was talking to them I found out that one of them was Lynne Boyer, the 1978 and 1979 surfing world champion!
I ended up talking to both women for a while, and Lynne told me her story, which was really quite interesting!
She moved over to Oahu with her parents when she was 11, as her dad was in the Army and was stationed here. She started surfing immediately, and soon was hooked. Her parents were super supportive, and before long Lynne was competing in the HSA events, where she was quite successful.
Right around this time, the world tour began with the first contest at Sunset, the Smirnoff Pro. The event put one woman in every six-man heat, and then combined the scores of all the women from the different heats to determine the winner. The next year the women had their own event, and by the late 1970s there was a proper world tour. Margo Oberg and Boyer were the two dominant forces in women’s surfing at that time, and traded off world titles in the late 1970s and early 1980s (Oberg won in 1977 and 1980, while Boyer won in 1978 and 1979, making her the first woman to win two world titles).
There wasn’t much money in pro surfing back then, and pretty soon Boyer traded her pro surfing career in for her first love—art. She had been painting since before she even started surfing, but really dove into it after her surfing career ended, and has been painting ever since. She still surfs, but she puts most of her energy into her art. She took some classes at UH, but is mostly self-taught, and really enjoys plein-air painting, which means painting outside. Boyer finds this style of painting to have much in common with surfing. You are outside in nature, have to adapt to the elements, and when you are in the zone, the paint just seems to flow, sort of like waves.
Boyer still lives in Hawaii most of the time, close to the waves that served as the platform for her professional surfing career. But she also travels to Hungary for a few months every year to paint. Meeting her at Kewalos was a great reminder of how lucky we are to have our surfing heroes right here on the beach and in the water with us every day, and also a reminder of how great it is to have more than just one hobby in life. Thanks for the interesting conversation, Lynne!