by Corky Carroll
As some of you might know, I have wandered into the art phase of my life in this past year. I have done paintings for many years but never really approached them with anything other than a fun way to pass some time. In the mid 1980’s I got into doing some airbrush art that I sold in a small gallery in Dana Point, those did pretty well. I was able to use some office space in the back of the SURFER magazine building to do them while I was working there as Advertising Director. I stopped doing those when I left that job to do a clothing line with Sundek.
About 20 years ago a friend gave me a small acrylics set and I dabbled with some simple paintings. I hung a few of them on the wall at our surf house and guests started buying them. This was still all in the just for the fun of it stage. During this past year I haven’t been able to surf as much as I would like due to some health issues, so I got much deeper into painting. Somewhere along the line it really captured me and has kept my stoke totally alive and burning. I post them on Facebook and thankfully they have been selling.
This brings me to this weeks story. I recently did a painting of Honolua Bay on Maui, as I remember it from surfing there in 1964. Sometimes when I post I include a story behind the painting, and I did with this one. It was suggested that I elaborate on this one further, so here it is…. The fuller story behind the “Honolua Bay ‘64” painting.
In December of 1964 I was on the North Shore doing one of those annual surf trips to catch some big waves and surf in the annual Makaha International Championship. A big swell was on it’s way and everybody was getting ready for it. A guy named Curt Mastalka, who I had stayed with the previous summer across the street from Ala Moana, was starting to make a surf movie. He came buy and asked if I wanted to fly over to Maui with him and Jock Sutherland to get some footage of us surfing Honolua Bay. I had only heard stories about this beautiful and fantastic surf spot. It only broke on big swells as it was in a position on the island where the waves had to wrap around a corner. Took a huge swell to make it happen.
I jumped at the chance, in those days hardly anybody was surfing there yet. The three of us flew over to score a day at the bay. Unfortunately, the airline didn’t bring our boards. With only a tiny window to catch the swell, we didn’t have time to wait for another day or two for our boards to arrive. So, we drove out to Lahaina and went to see Ryan Dotson, who had a small surf shop there. We could rent a couple of boards from him.
While visiting the shop I met Joanne, who would later marry my pal Billy Hamilton. She had a small baby, maybe six or seven months old, in a crib. I did the standard “oh what a cute baby,” and went to do the “goochie goochie goo” thing. As I reached in the crib to tickle his tummy he hauled off and bit me. Well, I should say “gummed” me.
This was how I originally met my longtime pal Laird John Hamilton.
In later years when Laird was maybe eight or nine and Joanne had married Billy they lived on the North Shore, right in front of Pipeline. I used to babysit Laird when they would go out. We would play checkers. If I won he would throw the checkers at me and beat me over the head with the checker board. Classic Laird. I guess this fearless attitude is what gave him the courage to ride the biggest waves known to man or beast when he grew up. We are great pals to this day, love the guy.
Jock and I got to surf a beautiful day at Honolua Bay, only us in the water. It wasn’t big but it was perfect and the whole thing was pretty magical. What a beautiful spot and a beautiful wave. A friend of mine had sent me a photo of another pal, Mark Martinson, surfing there back then and asked if I could paint that. I did, and when I got done I did another one of just the wave itself with nobody around. Exactly the way I remember it from that day in December of 1964. Pristine and perfect.
And that’s the story.