TALKING STORY: Uncle Billy
Meet the Waikiki Beachboys: Uncle Billy
By Conor Lyden
During the year 1952, Uncle Billy, our most senior beachboy, began his legacy on Waikiki Beach. At 12 years old, Uncle Billy was brought down to the beach by his family every Sunday and has been coming back since.
In 1955, at 15 years old, Uncle Billy got his first surfboard; a 7ft 6in redwood plank with replaceable false pine nose. A year and a half later, he traded his extra bicycle for another newer board with a kid at school. He stored his new board at one of the old hotels on Waikiki Beach, treating it like a community board amongst him and his friends. For 10¢, Uncle Billy could catch the bus down to Waikiki Beach to surf or to train, and if he and his crew got hungry they would throw rocks at the date trees and climb the coconut trees in Kapiolani Park to feast on.
Uncle Billy spent many weekends on the beach helping paddle canoes and teaching surf lessons mostly manuahi (free of charge). It wasn’t until his retirement from Hawaiian Electric when he began his professional beachboy career with Waikiki Beach Services. 70 years from when Uncle Billy was first brought to the beach by his family, he is still enjoying his Beachboy lifestyle while promoting a similar experience that keeps others coming back.
Mahalo for tuning into Meet the Waikiki Beachboys: Vlog Series. ALOHA!
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