Reno Abellira comes good.
Ten days ago, North Shore legend, former world tour shredder and wildly influential surfboard shaper, Reno Abellira was found unresponsive at Ala Moana Beach Park after an apparent attack.
Abellira, who is homeless and living the rough outdoor life, was taken to Queen’s Hospital for emergency brain surgery.
Earlier today, in an email to the Star-Advertiser, his nephew Kealii Aquino announced the emergency brain surgery was successful.
“Reno is still in the ICU, but thankfully he is no longer in a coma and is making slow but steady progress in recovering,” Aquino wrote, adding the family wished to thank the community “for the outpouring of prayers and support” they had received, and asked that Abellira’s privacy be respected “at this time as we focus on his recovery and rehabilitation.”
Abellira, who is seventy-one, has had what you might call a wild, wild life.
His daddy was a middleweight boxer who was shot dead in a Chinatown pool hall where he worked as a “strong arm”; he beat Jeff Hakman at thirty-foot Waimea Bay to win the 1974 Smirnoff (he’d win it again three years later) and his twin-fin design convinced Mark Richards to make a version of it and subsequently dominate the world tour for half a decade.
In 1992, he was indicted, according to a letter to BeachGrit from Abellira “for three counts for the Federal crimes of racketeering (the RICO Act) specifically Possession with Intent to distribute of four kilos of Cocaine and over 27 pounds of marijuana that had been control delivered by the U.S Postal Service and D.E.A agents to an address in suburban Honolulu.”
In a 1979 interview with Surfer, Phil Jarratt wrote,
You hear Reno described as arrogant, aloof and intense. He’s all of that, but he’s also a warm and genuine human being with a positively wicked sense of humor and a streak of dementia deep within. He is sometimes misunderstood. There are surfers who have associated with him for years but confess they don’t really know or understand him. By his own admission he is “a complex person.” He wondered whether this interviewer knew enough about him to present the big picture. The answer is yes and no. Reno revels in his own complexity, and this much is for sure: any interview that laid him bare, that left no questions unanswered, he would regard as a misrepresentation.