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Pacific Northwest News

The California Surf Museum

Surfers featured in this photo, donated by Scott Finkboner, are, from left: Billy Newport, Gillis Corsen, Thomas Kiakona, Edric Cooke, and A. Gay Harris. A young Thomas Gray Kiakona (middle) poses with four friends after a surfboard paddle race in this January 10, 1926, Honolulu Advertiser photograph. Thomas was a master paddleboard competitor, surfing champion, and canoe crew leader, and won many events on the Ala Wai Canal and in the open ocean. He was also an expert sailor, and raced his Lightning and El Toro Class One designs at Kaneohe and other yacht clubs. Thomas spent some time in the Pacific Northwest in the early 1950s when he worked as a welder during the construction of the first nuclear power facility. Recently, his stepson donated a koa calabash to Hawaii’s Bishop Museum that had been in the family since the time of King Kamehameha (it was said to have been used as a poi-making bowl by his wife, Kaahumanu).

The California Surf Museum in Oceanside, CA, is always happy to learn more about the history of surfing and those who helped carve the way. We are hoping to reach a broader audience, especially throughout the Hawaiian and Polynesian cultures, in order to help us present a richer story to the world. For more information about the history of surfing and the California Surf Museum please visit www.surfmuseum.org. The museum encourages any comments, questions, or stories be sent to csm@surfmuseum.org. Aloha!

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