From the Big Island, Jim Reddekopp sends this retro-awesome Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium photo from his family archive.
We only know two of the four guys in the picture, taken (we don’t know when) on the Ewa end of the Natatorium deck. On the left is Jim’s grandfather, Gene Froiseth, and on the right is Gene’s brother, legendary surfer Wally Froiseth, one of the developers of the Hot Curl board and a pioneer in the 1930s and 1940s of big wave surfing on the North Shore of Oahu.
The Froiseth boys were part of the Natatorium’s glory days. Gene and Wally were contemporaries of such famous watermen as Tom Blake, Ox Keaulana, Blue Makua, the Wiliwili Brothers, Steamboat Makuaha, Akong Pang, John Kelly, and Russ Takaki, to name a few.
Who Are the Other Two?
Jim thinks the board in this photo is a hollow balsa long board intended for charging big waves (without taking too many turns – ha!). But he doesn’t know the names of the two watermen in the middle of this treasured family photo. Can we help him out? Can you identify the two guys with the Froiseth brothers? Drop any information you have into the comments below. Mahalo!!
Dickey cross, peter Cole,
However, Dickey Cross was lost at sea in 1943 when he and Woody Brown got caught outside at Sunset and tried to paddle in at Waimea. If that is Dickey (next to Gene) the photo predates that event.
On the other hand, Peter Cole did not come to Hawaii until 1958 to teach at Punahou. That suggests that one of the two is someone other than Cole and Cross. Ideas anyone?
Maybe Fran Heath and Woody Brown (tall one)?
It does look a lot like Woody . . .
I believe the tall person to be Tom Blake (he WAS big) National champion paddleboard surfer at the time. The board certainly looks like one of his (no more that approx. 21″ at widest point – note the marks on the top deck which probably were where the screws were placed. (I built several smaller versions). Tom was well known as he would paddle out to Castle’s when breaking big, and ride from there through consecutive breaks including Papanui and joining Queen’s or Canoe’s to shore. (By “Chocolate” – my name at the beach)
Its Gene Froiseth, Jack Cross, Gene Smith and Wally Froiseth. There is a similar picture with the names on the bottom (and a couple of other people) over on http://www.ilind.net/2009/09/06/sunday-2-more-from-the-waikiki-surf-history-files/
Joshua, thanks very much for your insight on this!