The Story of M.Nii
Makaha in the ‘50s was a surfer’s Eden. Situated on the west side of Oahu, the sun shined brightly, the prevailing winds were offshore, and the ocean shim- mered in vibrant sapphire blue.
Most importantly, the surf pumped. Lauded
as the birthplace of big wave surfing, stouthearted waveriders from Waikiki and the mainland shacked up in army-built Quonset huts and lived a simple, oceanic lifestyle.
By day, they streaked across the clean turquoise combers with regal grace. By night, they gathered around campfires on the beach and talked story, sang songs.
Down the road, at a mom-and-pop tailor shop called M.Nii, some of the first surf trunks were about to take flight. It was a natural progression: first, local waveriders brought their “baggies” to M.Nii’s for repairs. Recognizing the need for durability and
comfort, M.Nii built simple twill trunks made specifically for surfing. With feedback
from some of the best surfers of that era,
he added stripes, wax pockets, patches. They earned a nickname: the “Makaha Drowner.”
When overseas waveriders visited Hawaii for the inaugural Makaha International Surfing Champion- ships in 1954, they were blown away by M.Nii’s surf trunks. When they left, they took home several pairs. Word spread. Along
with shinnying up coconut trees, eating yourself into a food coma at luaus, and getting bucked off your 10’ longboard in the Makaha shorebreak, a visit to M.Nii’s became
part of the ritual.
They were not just a pair of surf trunks; they were a memento,
a badge of honor. The faded back-side spoke of six-hour marathon sessions in ten- foot waves. Those beads of sandy wax stuck in the eyelets smelled of coconuts. That stain on the cuff? Pork laulau. The more weathered and beaten your M.Nii’s, the more wholeheartedly you understood ‘Aloha.’