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Surfer, board shaper Ben Aipa honored in paddle-out memorial

Surfers and friends gathered Tuesday to honor Ben Aipa.
Surfers and friends gathered Tuesday to honor Ben Aipa.(HNN)
Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 4:12 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Aloha was in the air Tuesday as friends and family came together to honor the life of the late surfing legend and renowned surfboard shaper Ben Aipa.

Dozens took part in a paddle-out memorial to scatter his ashes at the surf spot Ala Moana Bowls on what would’ve been Aipa’s 79th birthday.

Aipa passed away in January after a stroke and a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. He was 78 years old.

“We’re here to celebrate his life. We’re talking about a man who’s touched so many other lives,” his son Duke Aipa said. “The impact that my dad had on the world of surfing — it’s hard to measure. He’s touched every part of it from surfboard design to coaching to surfing itself. He was known as the first power surfer.”

Aipa was born and raised on Kauai and later moved to Oahu as a teenager.

In his years coaching surfing, he took champions under his wing including Sunny Garcia and Bethany Hamilton.

Aipa’s son is cherishing his father’s legacy, noting the signs of his presence are all around him.

“When my dad passed away in January, a swell hit on that day. And everyone around the world named it the Ben Aipa swell. So here we are again, on my dad’s birthday and celebration of life, and the peak swell of south shore of Ala Moana Bowls. It can’t get better than that,” Duke said.

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