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Blood Feud: Reno Abellira v Matt Warshaw!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Master shaper (and pals) kick head of beloved surf historian!

Do you love it when older men discover the inner teen and jump on social media to vent? It really is a beautiful thing to behold. To care after so many years!

Today, it is Reno Abellira, the former world number four, master shaper (Mark Richards got the idea for twin-fins from Reno) and one-time fugitive from US authorities (coke).

I like Reno. And I like Reno so much that when he was hiding from the cops for coke and weed dealing in the nineties and all the surf mags were advising readers to call the authorities if he was spotted, I wrote (in Australia’s Surfing Life back then) that ASL readers should give Reno a map, a change of clothes and a place to hide out for a few days.

As it turned out, it turned the key in Eddie Rothman’s heart and, subsequently, he was very kind to me.

Anyway,

Reno lit up today on Instagram about Matt Warshaw’s profile of him on the Encylopedia of Surfing.

This posting of my bio from the so called Encyclopedia of Surfing is still beyond annoying..but is now a personal affront to me …Matt Warshaw has for years touted himself as a surf historian but never made due diligence in his fact checking while compiling the book and instead left it to his inept minions to gather…the first duty of any encyclopedic work of any sort is to fact check not gather revised versions of former magazine articles and publish them as Truth…AUWE! (for shame) Matt Warshaw you made no real attempt at even the basic tenets of good journalism during your brief( thank Jehovah) tenure at Surfer Mag. and instead went into your literal diatribes of condemnation and the poorly disguised contempt you harbored for persons you profiled in pseudo hipster interviews..never a great surfer you chose to shoot them down willy nilly with Fascistic glee..still making royalties for published lies is disgusting and evil in my book…I am not the only one whose career and clear positive contributions to Surfing and the History you ruined or at the very least sullied with extreme prejudice….My father was never in a barroom fight in which he died..He was murdered in a downtown Honolulu pool room where he was employed by a faction of Korean gamblers as a stong arm…shot in the back with no witnesses to identify the shooter it is still an unsolved (as in cold case) murder on file…Stop hiding in your self-anointed ivory tower Warshaw and seek redemption for the sins of delusion you worship…

Reno’s IG pals joined in the head kicking.

sunrisesurfers: Fake News =The Encyclopedia of Surfing

mysticsurfboardseast: Reno- the “encyclopedia of surfing” is nothing more than a compendium of surf media bullshit, advertisements, and innuendo available in the last 50 years of surf print media, collated by a former surfer mag writer destined for literary glory. Parmenter @aleutianjuice flipped him off, very telling regarding authenticity. I.E.. If you weren’t there, you don’t need to know. I think Matts wife wants him to make a mortgage payment.

This posting of my bio from the so called Encyclopedia of Surfing is still beyond annoying..but is now a personal affront to me …Matt Warshaw has for years touted himself as a surf historian but never made due diligence in his fact checking while compiling the book and instead left it to his inept minions to gather…the first duty of any encyclopedic work of any sort is to fact check not gather revised versions of former magazine articles and publish them as Truth…AUWE! (for shame) Matt Warshaw you made no real attempt at even the basic tenets of good journalism during your brief( thank Jehovah) tenure at Surfer Mag. and instead went into your literal diatribes of condemnation and the poorly disguised contempt you harbored for persons you profiled in pseudo hipster interviews..never a great surfer you chose to shoot them down willy nilly with Fascistic glee..still making royalties for published lies is disgusting and evil in my book…I am not the only one whose career and clear positive contributions to Surfing and the History you ruined or at the very least sullied with extreme prejudice….My father was never in a barroom fight in which he died..He was murdered in a downtown Honolulu pool room where he was employed by a faction of Korean gamblers as a stong arm…shot in the back with no witnesses to identify the shooter it is still an unsolved (as in cold case) murder on file…Stop hiding in your self-anointed ivory tower Warshaw and seek redemption for the sins of delusion you worship…Waves of Truth, Reno D. ABELLIRA

A post shared by Reno Abellira (@renoabellira) on

Do you want to read Warshaw’s bio on the EOS? You can’t! Not unless you subscribe, a pinch at three bucks a month. 

For the sake of clarity in this little blood feud, and just this once, however, here’s the Reno bio on the EOS.

Stylish, enigmatic regularfooter from Honolulu, Hawaii; world-ranked #4 in 1977, and a central figure throughout the first decade of shortboard surfing. Abellira was born (1950) and raised in Honolulu, the son of a middleweight boxer who was shot and killed in a barroom fight. Abellira began surfing at age four in Waikiki, but didn’t get his first board until 11. He won the juniors division of the Makaha International in 1966 and 1967, and earned $200 for winning the 1966 Hawaiian Noseriding Contest, the state’s first professional surfing event.

Abellira was Hawaii’s juniors division champion in 1968, and made his international debut later that year in the World Surfing Championships, held in Puerto Rico. Although he placed sixth, many observers thought the small-framed (5′ 7″, 135 pounds) 18-year-old was the event’s most exciting surfer, as he consistently rode just beneath the curl on a stiletto-like purple surfboard. “It was a skateboard,” California surf publisher Dick Graham wrote, marveling at Abellira’s radical new equipment, “and he rode it like a god, because he is one.”

Abellira’s style continued to develop over the next three years. He rode in a low crouch, chin tucked into his left shoulder, arms extended, wrists cocked, each part of his body precisely arranged. Whether or not the streamlined stance added speed to Abellira’s surfing is impossible to say, but nobody in the ’70s—except for Australia’s Terry Fitzgerald—looked faster on a surfboard. Abellira also proved to be one of the sport’s most mysterious figures: he kept to himself for the most part, rarely smiled, and countered the scruffy surfer image with Italian-made leather loafers, pressed linen pants, and neatly coiffed hair. “He’s a bit of a dandy,” Australian surf journalist Phil Jarratt wrote of the dark-eyed Hawaiian, “and could teach most surfers a thing or two about color coordination.”

Abellira competed regularly throughout the ’70s, winning state titles in 1970 and 1972, placing fourth in the ’70 World Championships, second in the 1973 Duke Kahanamoku Classic, and making the finals in more than a dozen professional events on the North Shore of Oahu. He was also an Expression Session invitee in 1970 and 1971. In what many still regard as surfing’s most thrilling big-wave contest, Abellira beat fellow Hawaiian Jeff Hakman by a fraction of a point to win the 1974 Smirnoff Pro, held in cataclysmic 30-foot surf at Waimea Bay. Among the first Hawaiians to set out on the pro circuit, Abellira was world-ranked #4 in 1977, #8 in 1978, and #13 in 1979.

Abellira was also a first-rate surfboard shaper, learning the craft from boardmaking guru Dick Brewer in the late ’60s and early ’70s, then going on to work for the Lightning Bolt label; Abellira and Brewer together experimented with an early version of the tri-fin design in 1970 and 1971. Mark Richards of Australia later became an international surf hero while riding Abellira-shaped boards, and it was Abellira’s stubby double-keeled fish that inspired Richards to produce in 1977 the twin-fin design that swept through the surf world in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

While Abellira was for the most part removed from the surf scene beginning in the early ’80s, over the decades he has occasionally produced thoughtful and eloquent articles for the American surf press. Abellira made headlines himself in 1993 when he disappeared for several months after being indicted on cocaine distribution charges; he was later convicted and spent several months in prison.

Abellira appeared in more than 15 surf movies, including Hot Generation(1968), Sea of Joy (1971), Going Surfin’ (1973), and Tales of the Seven Seas (1981). In the late ’70s, Abellira lent his name to a short-lived surfwear company called Reno Hawaii. He competed in the 1990 Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau big-wave contest at Waimea Bay at age 40, finishing 24th in a field of 33.

Meanwhile, BeachGrit sources say Reno and another master shaper (yeah, there are a few of ’em) got into a little pushing game in San Clemente recently and Reno may have (or may not, we weren’t there) called a very influential pal on the North Shore to ensure the other shaper could never safely visit Oahu again.

So much beautiful passion. It keeps the testosterone surging! The elixir of youth etc.