1978 -1985

      LEFT: Me and Mike Wellman at a backyard baptism service in Kalaheo, KauaiRIGHT: Jodi with Jean-Paul in the oven holding my 9’6” log outside our Waimea surfboard factory, 1985

By 1978 competitive professional surfing had grown to the degree that the North Shore was attracting more and more surfers from around the world.  The once slow paced ambience was getting more and more busy and hectic.  For me, things were about to change.  I decided to move from Oahu to Kauai with my good friend Mike Wellman and seek outer island seclusion.  Mike and I were amazed to find a friendly band of local surfers and low key California transplants on the South Shore who welcomed us into a well kept secret; Hawaiian waves without the crowds, the reputation and the renown of Oahu and Maui’s most famous breaks.  Visiting surfers usually went north from Lihue to Hanalei and left the South and West Shores undisturbed.  Within a short time we knew most every surfer in the small towns that populated the stretch of about 20 miles from Koloa to Kekaha.  After I built a short lived glass shop in Port Allen, Mike and I set up a factory in Waimea on the Westside, which Mike still works out of some 30 plus years later.  Mike and I would try and get out of the shaping room and glass shop when all the best conditions seemed to line up.  This was before surf forecasting, websites or cell phones, so sometimes getting wet was not a complete success.  Then again, there were those magic times we’d pull up to empty waves and run from the car and hit the water laughing. 

Line drive surfing on the Westside of Kauai, 1984

In 1979 I was mercifully made a partaker of salvation that is found only in Jesus Christ.  Mike and I attended Kalaheo Missionary Church and became involved in the ministry there.  A good number of our friends also came to Christ and we had a number of discipleship houses on the island.  A couple of years later I met my wife Jodi, and in 1984 we were married.  Our first child, Jean-Paul, was born on Kauai in 1986.


Our family at Mahalapu Beach on Kauai,  1986
Three shot sequence of Michel riding “Crack 14” alone on a rare northeast swell
Kalihiwai, Kauai 1979 - photo: Chris Klopf

My Christian baptism at Poipu Beach, Kauai with fellow believers John “Creature” Sadler, Benny Lagmay, Me and Mark Nakatsukasa.  This photo was taken on the beach in 1980 in front of my wife Jodi’s family beach property 4 years before we were married.