The Makaha International Surfing Championships

The Makaha International Surfing Championships was truly international by 1959, as surfers from Australia, Peru and everywhere were invited to compete in the heavies at Makaha Point surf. This photo was taken by Clarence “Mac” Maki who served as contest director of the Makaha event from 1959 – 1961. The photo is kind of an odd choice, as it shows a surfer going left when Makaha is definitely a right-breaking point wave. But this photo was also somewhat prophetic, as the winner of the 1959 event was Buffalo Keaualana, a goofy foot who used switching stance to make it through the early heats, then beat former champions George Downing and Wally Froiseth to win the fifth running of the event. Buffalo received a waterproof watch and a plaque which he most likely cherishes to this day, as winning the Makaha event was the biggest of deals in the Hawaiian Islands at the end of the 1950s.