The Viking King of Mead Hall

Pat Curren sailed from Honolulu to Los Angeles on a 64-foot cutter, bearded and watch-capped, a huge Havana cigar jutting from a corner of his mouth, left hand on the wheel, right hand holding a shot glass of crème de menthe.

Dickie Cross’ death at Waimea Bay in 1943 remained the sport’s darkest, most disturbing cautionary tale. George Downing, Wally Froiseth, and a few other Hawaiian surfers drove out to the North Shore occasionally over the next ten years, but for the most part it went unridden. It was the Californians who turned the North Shore into a surfing obsession, beginning in 1953 when Flippy Hoffman and Bob...

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