Surfing Community Offers Its Support
Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel
Legendary Hawaiian surfer and board maker Ben Aipa has accomplished things most people only dream about. From humble beginnings on a Kauai sugar plantation, he's reached the pinnacle of surfing as a competitor, board shaper and coach.
"Surfing has taken me places I never thought I'd go," says Aipa, who has received many honors from the surfing world. And now, as he battles a serious illness, Aipa is seeing just how much he means to surfing as the surfing community offers its support.
Duke Aipa, Ben's son, appreciates the love and Aloha that is pouring in and says of his Dad, "He is still the titan of the Hawaiian waves and the unpretentious trailblazer of the shaping room whose legacy is forever woven into the kapa fabric of Hawaiian surf culture."
Named one of the Top Ten Shapers of All-Time by Surfing magazine and inducted into the Surfing Hall of Fame, Aipa, the founder of Aipa surfboards, has had a wild ride, mentored by surfing great Duke Kahanamoku and sharing waves with Hawaiian big wave surfer Eddie Aikau.
His innovative swallow tail and stinger surfboards turned heads, while the surfers he coached – Sunny Garcia, Bethany Hamilton, Andy Irons, and more – won competitions.
In 2014, on the 50th anniversary of his illustrious career, the Surfing Heritage & Culture Center in San Clemente, CA, commemorated the event with its exhibit In the Moment with Legendary Ben Aipa.
The opening night was a love fest for all, with family, friends, and fans all turning out to hear him tell stories and share the stoke.
SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel could feel the wave of energy in the room.
Near the Aipa exhibit we noticed another exhibit showcasing the iconic surfing movie The Endless Summer. It was the perfect pairing since Ben Aipa’s extraordinary career has been one endless summer.
Even though he can't paddle out now to enjoy the waves he loves so much, his heart is still in the ocean and he continues to inspire all those around him.
To help his family with medical expenses and hospice care, a Ben Aipa Legacy GoFundMe site has been set up for contributions.
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