Pioneering Big Wave Surfer George Downing dies aged 87

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

One of surfing’s greatest watermen, pioneers and environmentalists George Downing passed away at his home in Hawaii on Monday morning.

Often quoted as being one of the original pioneers of big wave surfing, Downing was an Oahu local and one of the last of the ‘Waikiki beach boys’. In a lifetime spanning 8 decades, he was an accomplished surf explorer – discovering many unridden spots in Hawaii and California, a formidable competitor – winning the Makaha International competition in 1954, 1961 and 1965 and a committed environmentalist. His accomplishments in surfing also extended to other achievements such as developing the first removable surfboard fin and creating the Quiksilver Invitational in Memory of Eddie Aikau at Waimea Bay.

Tributes have been pouring in for Downing from the good and the great of surfing. He will be remembered as a true waterman and exceptional man, and while the surfing world will miss him, his influence will live on.

Photo: George Downing from Encyclopedia of Surfing

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