Surfer, board shaper and coach Ben Aipa dies at age 78

Renown surfing figured Ben Aipa dies at age 78

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A renown figure in the surfing community, Ben Aipa died Friday. He was 78 years old.

Aipa was born and raised on Kauai before he moved to Oahu in his teenage years.

He was a great surfer in his own right, and soon made waves in the community for his board shaping abilities. He notably created the board used by fellow Hawaiian Fred Hemmings in his World Championship win in 1968.

His Swallow Tail and Sting designs are said to have had a great impact on the sport of surfing.

He also was an accomplished coach, taking champions such as Sunny Garcia and Bethany Hamilton under his wing.

“As far as the impact that he leaves? It’s going to ripple form here until God knows how far. He has made such an impact,” Duke Aipa, Ben’s son, said. “He was my dad. Yeah he was a legend shaper, coach, surfer — but to me, he was the guy that woke up early every morning. He went to work. And he came home when the sun was already coming down. That was my dad.”

Family members say Aipa’s health had been deteriorating for about two years.

A public memorial is being planned at Ala Moana Bowls on Aug. 17, what would have been his 79th birthday.

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