November's Member of the Month

Posted by Gabe Turner on

Hawaiian South Shore's Member of the Month - Mark

When and what got you into surfing? 

I grew up in Brooklyn, New York so surfing was really limited. My father took my brother and I to Nassau in the Bahamas when I was about 12. They were renting surfboards on the beach, so my dad rented me one and I paddled out, no lessons, no tips, pure kook in the water. It was the late 60's so the board was fairly cumbersome, but there was a young, tan, blonde haired college girl who took pity on me and spent some time teaching me what to do and what not to do. There weren't many surfers out, but the board also didn't have a leash so she was probably trying to protect herself as much as anything. 

Where I grew up, surfing wasn't big on the list of things to do. When my mother remarried, she moved to Hutchinson Island, Florida. My wife, who I was dating at the time, took a job in Ocean City, Maryland so it made sense to get a board and start learning to surf. 

Did you have a time you weren't surfing? If so, when and why did you start back up? 

I surfed up and down the East coast, from Rhode Island to Florida before moving to Hawaii in the 80's as a Navy Diver. I surfed quite a few spots in between training for triathlons, where I was involved with racing, putting on races, an editor for the Runner's Life, Bullfrog Sunblock sales rep and a partner in Island Triathlon & Bike. Bullfrog gave me a connection to many of the surf shops and surfing was a way to relax and enjoy the ocean. 

The Navy shipped me out of Hawaii in the late 80's. Probably because I was enjoying myself too much. After living on the mainland for way too many years (29), I was offered this great opportunity to return this past January for a job. I retired from my job in Georgia and moved out here with my wife. My first week at work, I met Clyde Aikau and thought I needed to pursue surfing again. Also, my bike got stolen so I thought that was indeed a sign to not even think about doing triathlons again. 

Where is your favorite place to eat after you surf and what is your favorite item? 

As boring as it sounds, at home. Since I surf when the sun comes up, my wife makes a great ham, egg and cheese bagel. After surfing on a nice sunny morning, the bagel just about beats anything and probably goes back to my Brooklyn roots. 

I did stop at the Kountry Style Kitchen in Ewa Beach after surfing at White Plains Beach with a friend and had the Loco Moco. Obviously, I had built up a huge appetite. It's definitely a place to stop and eat if you're in the area. 

Outside of surfing what do you do for fun? 

On the mainland, I do quite a bit of trail running, along with some swimming and paddle boarding, just flat water stuff. Since moving here, I'm trying to really enjoy surfing. I do some ocean swimming and paddle boarding as well. 

I'm concentrating on enjoying the ocean and living in Hawaii and hanging out with some of my old friends, which none of them do triathlons anymore. We're all in our late 50's or early 60's so I think we've put in enough miles of racing triathlons. 

What do you do for work? 

I work for a consulting firm that helps the Hawaii Department of Education. I get to travel and work with other contractors across the islands and hope to make a positive difference while I'm here. 

What board did you get from us recently? 

The 7' 2 Stewart Funline 11 

Why did you decide on this model and size? 

I was interested in getting a longboard for smaller days and learning to surf much better. For many years, I rode a kneeboard and while I still go out knee boarding, the Hawaiian South Shore was limited to 7' 2 board due to my surfboard storage place at the condo. Otherwise, I might have gotten an 8' or 9' foot board, but the 7' 2 Funline has been a blast. I almost bought another similar board, but the sales person at the other shop told me to get the Stewart over the board he could sell me because I would be happier in the long term. I weighed heavily on his opinion and respect him for really giving me his honest opinion and not just trying to sell me a board. 

How did it surf and what did you like about it? 

Due to the Funline's rocker and concaves with the wider nose, it works for me and turning the board is the most fun. You can stand in the middle of the board and go from rail to rail and don't have to step back on the tail to make it turn. I can't speak for everyone else, but it's definitely the right board for me. 

What size fins and set up are you using? 

The Stewart Funline 11 comes with future fins, two 4-inch side bites and a 6.5” center fin. 

Have you tried other fins on the board? 

I'm satisfied with the fins I have and right now, it's not the fins that will improve my surfing, but my skillset. I'm working my way to 10,000 hours. 

Anything else you want to add? 

Returning to surfing has been a Godsend and when I first paddled out, I was on a used Buddie McCray Blast kneeboard. I didn't know what to expect out in the lineup. The crowd at Kaiser's, at least the morning crew, has been great. I met Ron and Reilani and they introduced me to many of the regulars, which makes surfing out there so much more fun. I even went to the Jack Johnson concert with a bunch of surfers from Kaiser's. So even though the surfing has been fun, surfing amongst a crowd that has truly shown me the Aloha spirit means so much more. 

I try to remind myself that it isn't my local break and that I'm a guest and to respect those that have surfed there for years. To the surfers, paddle boarders, and the few knee boarders out there, Mahalo nui loa. Your Aloha is much noticed and appreciated.

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