America salutes those individuals who have had a profound influence
on the sport and culture of surfing.
Meet the girl who started it all...
Silver Surfer:Rell Sunn
shortboard, pro competitor and soul surfer; canoe paddler, diver
and spearfisher; Rell’s parents no doubt sensed destiny when
they gave her the middle name of Kapolioka’ehukai: Heart of
the sea. Raised on the beach at Makaha, she fell in love with surfing
at the age of four. Her tutors included classic surfers like Buffalo
Keaulana and Buzzy Trent who taught her not only surfing, but how
to dive and spear.
She exemplifies the Hawaiian’s
aloha spirit whether it’s teaching hulas, water safety (she
was Hawaii’s first full-time female lifeguard) or throwing
impromptu luaus for hungry guests.
she meets, including top surfers Sunny Garcia and Kalani Robb, refer
to her as Auntie Rell. A 1966 trip with the legendary Duke Kahanamoku
to the world contest in San Diego piqued her interest in traveling.
For over 30 years she surfed her way around the globe becoming Hawaii’s
most recognized surfing ambassador to the world.
Her biggest contribution to the sport
of surfing was her image as a strong, confident role model for the
growing community of women’s surfing. Rell helped to establish
women’s professional surfing, along with other legends Margo Oberg,
Jericho Poppler and Lynne Boyer, creating a pro circuit on the International
Professional Surfing (IPS) World Tour. Twice Rell finished third
in the year-end ratings and still rates fifth all-time in the ASP’s
top eight year-end appearances. Emphasized recently was her penchant
for helping young surfers…her Hawaiian Menehune surf contest
celebrated it’s 20th anniversary in 1996. The Menehune is
one of the world’s biggest contest of it’s kind. It’s
held just for kids and over 300 participate. Up until almost her
death, from cancer, at age 46 in January of 1998, Rell remained
an avid surfer, diver, canoe paddler and one of the world’s
premier female longboarders
to Boarding America, long live 'Boardom'
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