Welcome back to Hang 10 with Birdie, where we catch up with friends Birdwell has made along the way, in and out of the water. It’s hard to think of another surfer who encapsulates the living, breathing Aloha spirit more than today’s guest, the legendary Paul Strauch, whose 311 Limited-Edition Board Shorts will launch next week. Often referred to as “The Gentleman Surfer,” Strauch claimed a permanent piece of surf history when he invented the Cheater Five, a revolutionary maneuver he created to trim the heavy balsa longboards he rode during the 50’s and 60’s. The native Hawaiian learned from some of the original Waikiki Beach Boys, and was one of four riders in surfing godfather Duke Kahanamoku’s team. Strauch drifted away from surfing’s mainstream in the 1970s to pursue business, but he has remained an active advocate for our oceans — and his style lives on in the work of nearly every legend who followed. These days he surfs a modified version of the classic “Pig” board created by revolutionary shaper Dale Velzy.
1) What's your super power?
- Positive thoughts
2) Which three people, living or historical, would you invite to dinner? Why?
- Albert Einstein, King Kamehameha, and Mother Teresa to understand their perspective of preservation of life.
3) If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
- Off the south shore of Oahu at Number 3's in front of the old Reef Hotel on a bright sunny Summer day riding 6 to 8' surf with 6 of my good friends.
4) If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your days, which one would it be?
- "Gabby" - Gabby Pahinui released in 1972
5) Favorite book?
- Baird Spaulding's "Life and Teachings of the Masters of the Far East"
6) Is there a day in your life that you’d like to live over again?
- 1960 winter day at Sunset Beach, Oahu with offshore winds with 10 - 12' NW swell and riding my 11'0" Al Nelson Balsa/Redwood Pintail with George Downing, Peter Cole, Buzzy Trent, Paul Gebauer, Jose Angel and Kealoha Kaio in the lineup.
7) Best compliment you ever received?
- "You made my day!"..: Giving a wave to someone else when I was eleven years old at Queens in Waikiki.
8) Any pre-surf rituals you MUST do?
- Always mentally ask for permission
9) Coolest animal you’ve bumped into out in the water?
- 450 lb. turtle paddling out to the lineup at Chun's Reef
10) Best memory in Birdwells?
- Dry Birdwell's on the beach 10 minutes after leaving the ocean