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Film sponsored by Velzy gave the surf spot its name

By June Watanabe

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 01:36 a.m. HST, Jun 01, 2011



Question: What is the derivation of the name Velzyland on the North Shore? I always presumed it was named after the famous board surfer Dale Velzy. However, I recently learned that when Velzy was asked when he last surfed Velzyland, he responded, “Never been there.” So how did Velzyland obtain its name?

Answer: Despite never having surfed there, Dale Velzy is indeed the person for whom the popular surf spot, between Sunset Beach and Kawela Bay, was named.

We found the story behind the name in “Hawai‘i Place Names,” by John R.K. Clark, former assistant chief of the Honolulu Fire Department, historian and author of several books on the beaches of Hawaii.

“When Dale Velzy passed away, I was surprised to see that some of the national media also found that passage in (his book) and used it in their memorial stories about him,” Clark told us. Velzy died in 2005 at the age of 77.

As Clark relates in his book, Velzy was a surfboard manufacturer in San Clemente, Calif.

In 1958, Bruce Brown, who went on to fame with his surf movie “The Endless Summer,” worked both as a lifeguard and for Velzy, who wanted to make a promotional movie about surfing. He gave Brown $5,000 to produce it.

That year, Brown and five other California surfers flew to Hawaii and “discovered” a new surf spot. They called it Velzyland, for their sponsor, as well as for Disneyland, which had opened in 1955.

Velzyland was featured in Brown’s second movie, “Surf Crazy,” released in 1959.

According to Clark’s book, “The name was reinforced locally when Velzy opened the first foam surfboard shop in Hawaii in August 1960. … The introduction of inexpensive, lightweight and mass-produced foam surfboards by California entrepreneurs like Velzy revolutionized surfing in California and Hawaii — and eventually in the rest of the world.”

Clark pointed us to a website called “Ulukau, the Hawaiian Electronic Library” as a good reference source. His book, as all others, are searchable at no cost, so that's an easy way to find the moolelo (story) of Velzyland, he said.

He previously helped Kokua Line solve the mystery of the “jizo” — memorial marker — at Halona Blowhole (archives.starbulletin.com/2003/07/20/news/kokualine.html) and of the memorial located on a small overlook near the Blowhole (archives.starbulletin.com/content/20090919_kokua_line).

Clark has just published a new book, “Hawaiian Surfing: Traditions from the Past.”

Question: I live near Nuuanu Stream on Vineyard Boulevard. I just passed by there and saw a few shopping carts in the stream. Whom do we contact?

Answer: You can call the city Department of Facility Maintenance’s Honolulu dispatch office at 768-3622 to remove carts you see in the stream.

We’re told the carts were removed last month.

Meanwhile, if you see a shopping cart on public property, we’re told the best way to report it is via the city’s complaints office — call 768-4381 or email complaints@honolulu.gov — and it will be relayed to the appropriate merchant.

MAHALO

In May I lost my wallet at Aina Haina Park. I searched all day to find it, finally giving up. The next morning, I got a call at school from my mom, who said, “Some nice man found your wallet at the park and drove it to our house.” My dad didn’t get the man’s name, so I would like to say thank you so much for taking the time to return it to me.

— Troy M.

Write to “Kokua Line” at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email kokualine@staradvertiser.com.






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