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Buzzy Trent, King of Beasts

Buzzy Trent. Photo: Don James
Buzzy Trent. Photo: John Severson
Makaha, mid-'50s
Walter Hoffman, Makaha, mid-'50s
Buzzy Trent (right), Makaha, mid-'50s

George Downing, Wally Froiseth, Woody Brown, and a few other Waikiki surfers were all riding finned boards at Makaha by the end of 1951 and stroking with confidence into fifteen-foot-plus waves. The new equipment was fast and stable, and miles ahead of the hot curl in terms of bite and stability. If the boards weren’t all that maneuverable, it didn’t really matter. A high, tight, cleaving line to deliver you from the Point through to the Bowl on the heaviest wave of the day—that’s what matter...

Buzzy Trent made people nervous. He had cinderblock arms and shoulders, a tiny danseur waist below a row of corrugated abs, and a smash-nosed face set low on a huge, blunt head. Raw ass-kicking masculinity came off him in waves.