Remembering Pioneer Big Wave Rider Greg Knoll on Monster Waves in Hawaii during the late 50’s!

by | Feb 2, 2012

As a young teen growing up in So. California and living near the ocean, surfing became an obsession starting in the late 50’s.  At that time much excitement was created by surfing legend, board maker, and big wave rider, Greg Knoll with his buddy Corky Carroll.  I found solace at the beach, an escape from the toxic home conditions at the time included in my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Surfing, like any other physical exercise regimen and competition to excel, gave me hope and provided one of the best outlets for my anger.  It provided me with a boost in ego and camaraderie with peers who loved the waves and challenge.  All the young ladies seemed to be attracted to the beach and surfers as well, which was a bonus.

The above link reminded me of those days, and gave me solace again thinking about pioneers of the surfing world breaking new ground riding the huge waves on the North Shore of Hawaii during the winter months.  Greg Knoll was one of the first big wave riders, and he and his friends inspired the world by doing what seemed impossible and life threatening at the time, riding 30 ft plus waves at 120mph down the steep face. They rode long clumsy boards at the time, but after a wipe out or two, we could all see the film of them riding these monster waves.

Visit the above Surfing Heritage Foundation website and go back in time to see for yourself.  Greg Knoll reminds me of my own age now, but you can see him as a young man along with star surfer Corky Carroll do the impossible.  The interviews are excellent as well, providing insight to what surfing looked like back in the day.

By the way, I purchased my first surf board from Greg Knoll in Hermosa Beach, California during the summer of 1959…  Greg Knoll and I have lots in common from those years.  He was my hero!


Steve Sparks
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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