BEN AIPA A LEGACY OF GREATNESS
In the 1820's, missionaries arrived in Hawaii and discouraged surfing, calling it the pastime of "chattering savages." Surfing started to go into a decline as the missionaries influenced Hawaiians to replace their traditional pastimes, with the games they introduced and believed worthy.
In the 1890's surfing had began to reemerge, Princess Ka'iulani had helped to revive the sport in Hawaii. Her push along with the brave few that ventured out into the lineup made a statement that surfing is our bloodline right to enjoy. It is during this time that the first image of a Hawaiian surfer was captured on film, standing proud and tall with his Alaia on the South Shore of Oahu.
This image was of Bens' ancestor, his great great grandfather James "Needles" Gilman. The photo is one of the most iconic surf images of all time and proof that surfing and board building were in the AIPA Bloodline for centuries.
Ben Aipa is the perfect example of what is possible by fearlessly diving into what you love.
Born in 1942, as the son of a poor sugar cane plantation family, Ben had the determination and grit that did not let his circumstances define him. Rather he would let his actions speak for him in everything he did, from working the fields, shining shoes, competitive swimming, football, surfing, and as a uniquely talented shaping coach... His attack was full on!
He is the original Modem Hawaiian — An all-American story of a humble yet determined man that would become a legend. Ben was driven his whole life to help others, and to perpetuate Aloha with his hands that have built more happiness than can be measured. When asked how he accomplished as much as he did for the world of surfing, Ben said “I never planned on anything... It just happened." His prowess in the water encouraged generations of surfers and his teachings as a coach changed the direction of countless lives.
Who is Ben Aipa? More than a shaper, surfer, or coach. He is a warrior of Aloha, the perpetuation of an ancestral birth right and personification of the strength and grace of what it means to be Hawaiian.
CELEBRATION OF LIFE
How do you honor a man that has done so much for so many? How do capture and recognize those many achievements in one day, in one moment? How do you gather all those who loved and admired Ben in one location?
What we can do is celebrate the life of this man, and the foundation that he laid for millions of surfers, board builders, and the future of surfing to come. Everywhere you are, all around the world, you can take up your boards and honor this legend.
If you cannot make it to Hawaii, that's OK, Ben was international. His presence is felt in surf breaks around the world. We encourage you to purchase a shirt, gather your friends and paddle out at your home breaks.
Video and share your paddle out on Social Media wearing the Ben Aipa Paddle Out Shirt with pride, and know that you are participating in surf history. You are putting to rest the spirit of one of the greatest men in surfing of all time. #AIPAPaddleOutTee
The AVVA x AIPA Commemorative Ben Aipa Paddle Out shirt, is the essence of Ben's spirit, a glimpse of his Mana ( energy), and an invitation for all surfers to join us in honoring Ben's memory.
Join us as we all IMUA (move forward) and journey with him towards finding "The Next Wave, The Next Move".