Lorrin “Whitey” Harrison
Born in 1913 Whitey was a Surfer, he lived and loved all aspects of the life and culture. His first trips to Laguna Beach, California was by horse and wagon! When he was 12-years old he started surfing and in 1933 won the California Pacific Coast Surf Riding Championships, he was a member of a small group who started surfing at San Onofre beach. When he wanted to go surf Hawaii he stowed away on a cruise ship to the islands…twice! He was caught twice, but they let him stay on his second attempt, he helped ‘pioneer’ the North Shore of Oahu and discovered Hawaii’s Aloha Spirit, which fit his spirit perfectly. A couple of cool facts about Whitey…Whitey started surfing in 1925 when he was 12-years old, he kept surfing until 1993…that’s 78-years of surfing! Whitey was famous for wearing a coconut palm hat when he surfed…a total fashion icon
Wally was surfing at Waikiki Beach in the 1930’s at 8-years old when he met the legendary Tom Blake and became inspired. In 1937 Wally and his two friends John Kelly and Fran Heath, took an axe to Fran’s redwood surfboard and narrowed tail and turning it into the big wave gun-like shape! Wally called the new shape ‘Hot Curl’ and the surfing world changed and evolved again. Then the three friends went off to explore the West Side of Oahu and Makaha Beach and a bit later to explore and surf the now famous North Shore.
It was in the 1940’s when Wally met and mentored a young 13-year-old George Downing who was to become Hawaii’s big-wave surfrider; together they discovered and surfed Laniakea on the North Shore in 1946, the following year they were surfing Maui’s Honolua Bay.
Wally was an original member of the Waikiki Surf Club which became the first sponsor of the Makaha International surf contest in 1954 that became the Mecca of all surf contests during the 1950’ and 1960’s as well as the standard which the best contests are judged. Then in 1965 and 1966 Big Wave Master Wally became the Head Judge of the Duke Kahanamoku Invitational contest. Wally Froiseth was a true pioneer.
Richard “Buffalo” Keaulana
Before I realized what a legendary Waterman figure Hawai’ian Buffalo is, I thought he was too cool; anyone with the nickname ‘Buffalo’ just had to be a bigger-than-life. After spending a little time discovering his history, accomplishments and contributions to world of surfing, he became a real surfing hero to me. Born in 1935, full-blooded Hawai’ian Buffalo got his nickname because of his curly reddish hair. During the early 1940’s he began surfing at Waikiki Beach, then his family moved to Makaha. It was at Makaha that 50+ years of surfing legacy was created, in 1968 he won the Makaha International contest, and placed 7-times in the contest from 1957 to 1965. He became a ‘switch-foot’ so he could face the wave at Makaha and increase his edge at his local break.
His sons, Rusty and Brian, are true Watermen in their own right, paddle-in big wave riding, free-diving, sailboarding, canoe surfing and tow-in surfing at Jaws. Rusty has won three longboard world championships and he placed 5th at the 1991 Eddie Aikau Memorial at Waimea Bay. All three have starred in surf movies and they are all true Watermen.
The Makaha Buffalo Big Board Classic was started by the Keaulana Family in 1997 and has grown into a multi-event traditional Hawai’ian ocean games contest, wrapping up with an old-school local beach party.
In 1972 Buffalo Keaulana was honored with a statue at the Waianae Public Library on the West Side of Oahu.