"A humble colossus whose impact echoed thru the decades."
Ben Aipa is dead.
The legendary Hawaiian shaper, creator of myriad surfboard innovations and a man so fierce-looking Gerry Lopez described him thus, “When you see Ben coming, don’t think, just get out of the way” has died of multiple illnesses.
Ben was the creator of the stinger design that gave ol Marky Richards, later a four-time world champ, a rocket underfoot in the winter of ’75, and, according to Matt Warshaw’s list of 15 Best Power Surfers, Ben “rode Sunset Beach like Jim Brown on a broken-field run. Power and finesse. Rudely underappreciated at a longboard surfer.”
His two sons, Duke and Akila, carried the shaper-surfer flame into the twenty-first century, both arch-craftsman, Akila you’ll know already as the man who built the board Kelly lit Keramas up on in 2019.
Ben, who turned seventy-eight in August, was terribly ill, heart issues, diabetes, dementia and had been hit by myriad strokes.
At no time in my life would I ever be ready to share with the world my fathers final day…. The passing of the greatest man I know.
SO…Instead….I am going to tell you the story about a boy, from a poor sugar cane plantation family…whose determination was unmeasurable….that literally carved out his legacy one board at a time .
A man from the simplest of backgrounds who would change the face of surfing…
A humble colossus whose impact echoed thru the decades…masterfully mentoring generations of champions…in and out of the water…in competition and life….and somehow in all this…finding the time to stoke out tens of thousands of surfers with the best shaped boards all around the world along the way…..
Most of you know Ben Aipa, the surfer, the shaper,the coach or the legend…but to me he’s just my dad and I’m so very proud of him and I’ll Miss him dearly.
Dad…I hope you enjoy the next part of your journey . @akila_aipa and I have this from here and we’ll make you proud .
A Hui Hou