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All original 5’9 Surfing’s New Image stinger shaped by Ben Aipa (mid 1970s).
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Ben Aipa: Innovative surfer, board maker,coach from Honolulu, Hawaii; a top competitor in the 1960s and early ’70s, and creator of the swallowtail and stinger surfboard designs. Aipa was born (1942) in Honolulu, the son of a sugar plantation worker, and didn’t begin riding waves until his early 20s, after an ankle injury ended his semipro football career. He trained for surfing with the single-mindedness he’d developed as a linebacker, not missing a day in the water for all of 1965, and the following year he was a finalist in the Duke Kahanamoku Classic at Sunset Beach. Aipa also finished fourth in both the 1967 Makaha International and the 1975 Lightning Bolt Pro, and competed in the World Championships in 1968 and 1970.
Aipa began shaping almost as soon as he began surfing, and in 1968 he made the board that fellow Hawaiian Fred Hemmings used to win the World Championships. Aipa Surfboards was founded in 1970, and Aipa soon came into his greatest influence as a designer, first inventing the double-ended swallowtail in 1972, followed two years later by the split-rail stinger; both designs were ridden to electrifying effect by a group of Aipa-led Hawaiian test pilots including Larry Bertlemann, Michael Ho, Buttons Kaluhiokalani, and Mark Liddell. Aipa served as an informal trainer/coach for these surfers, all of whom competed during the early years of the pro world tour, and he continued to coach in the decades to come, working with pro standouts Sunny Garcia, Brad Gerlach, Kalani Robb, and the Irons brothers, Andy and Bruce. Aipa himself continued to enter contests, winning the grandmasters division of the 1989 United States Surfing Championships and the legends division of the 2000 U.S. Championships.
Ben Aipa was nominated to the International Surfing Hall of Fame in 1991. In 2004, Surfing magazine named him one of the “Top Ten Shapers of All Time.”
Read the full article @ Matt Warshaw’s Encyclopedia of Surfing… http://encyclopediaofsurfing.com/entries/aipa-ben