Memories of Woody Brown (1912-2008)
by Greg Cochran
He was a very good friend of mine. I met him in the 60’s in Waikiki. I had a chance to hang out with him on his catamaran. We last saw him just four years ago. He’d always have a great story for you.
When I took him to the gate at SFO, just as he was walking to the gate, he turned and with that beautiful snaggle tooth smile he said, “We are the luckiest people in the world. We get to go home and catch a wave!” I could hear him laughing until I couldn’t see him anymore. I see him now still. He has a place here with me in my heart. You couldn’t help but love the guy! He was very dear to me.
The entire Hawaiian surfing community mourns the loss of one of the world’s renowned surf pioneers. Woody Brown was a surfing innovator who was one of the first to build a hollow plywood surfboard. He was the 1968 world surfing champion and rode big waves with legends like Duke Kahanamoku. A few years ago he was featured in the documentary “Surfing for Life” in which he proclaimed, “I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I don’t want to wreck this beautiful body, the more you take care of it , it will take care of you.”
Woody was much more than a legendary surfer. He was an ambassador of the ‘Aloha Spirit’ to whoever he met. He also set altitude records as a glider pilot and invented the modern catamaran. Woody Brown was 96 years old when he passed away last Wed, April 16.