Harold "Iggy" Ige

harold iggy

Safe to say, Dewey Weber and Harold “Iggy” Ige were very close friends.  Dewey’s son Shea remembers Harold and his dad as polar opposites...a sort of Yin and Yang. “What I loved about both these men,” Shea told me, “was that they respected the things that made them different.  They weren’t afraid of what made them different; they actually celebrated it.”

harold iggy article 1967

The Weber Iggy Model is a sort of manifestation of the deep respect Dewey Weber had for Harold Iggy.  In 1967, when the Iggy Model was first released, signature models were extremely popular among major surfboard manufacturers; so much so that in December of 1966, Surfing magazine published a feature article entitled “The Signature Model Era.”  But Dewey Weber looked at the concept differently; he knew that the better-known surfers of the day could be impetuous, bouncing from one manufacturer to another.  Consequently, he thought that it didn’t make sense to invest marketing resources in signature models.  But Dewey knew that Iggy’s deep sense of honor and loyalty, combined with his extraordinary shaping skills warranted the introduction of the only signature model that Dewey Weber Surfboards ever produced – “the Iggy.”

donald takayama with harold iggy

Harold Ige was born in 1941 in Lahaina, on the island of Maui.  When he was four, he moved with his family to Oahu, and started surfing Waikiki Beach at the age of nine.  By the time he was just 11, Iggy had already begun shaping surfboards.  Shortly after graduating from high school in 1960, he set his sights on Southern California to work in the young, burgeoning surf industry.  He landed his first shaping job at Greg Noll Surfboards, helping Noll shape his newly-developed Makaha guns.  Iggy once said that “going to California was a good move.  I knew I had a job and I knew people already.  The biggest challenge was the cold.” 

Shortly thereafter, Harold took his shaping tools to Velzy Surfboards, which was when he befriended Dewey Weber.  At the time, Weber was managing Velzy’s shop in Venice, while Iggy was shaping surfboards for Velzy in San Clemente, about 70 miles down the Southern California coast.  In 1963, Harold Iggy joined Dewey Weber Surfboards and for the next six years, his amazing flair for surfboard design became ingrained in every one of the brand’s many innovative models.  Much more than a production shaper, he put his heart, soul and instincts into every board he created.  “When you say shaping,” Iggy explained, it’s not just shaping using the planer.  You touch it, listen to the way it’s cutting – I have to hear and feel it with my hands.”

harold iggy in shaping room
In around 1969, Iggy decided to move back to Hawaii, settling on Oahu’s North Shore.  There, he started is own surfboard shaping business, simply named The Surfboard Shaping Company – reflective, it seems, of the unassuming way he lived his life.  Then in 1981, Harold began shaping sailboards and later stand-up paddleboards for Naish Hawaii, a company formed in 1979 by the parents of 24-time world windsurfing champion Robbie Naish.  I happened to be a sales rep in the windsurfing industry at the time, and remember that the Naish brand was about as popular as the sport itself throughout the ‘80s.  Iggy’s close relationship with the family lasted for decades, and as he did for Dewey Weber Surfboards, he helped develop the many water sports creations they introduced to the market.
harold iggy with dewey weber and friendsHarold “Iggy” Ige died on January 4, 2012 at the age of 71.  Perhaps fittingly, he died testing a stand-up paddleboard prototype off Lanikai Beach on the windward side of Oahu.  In addition to being an authentic craftsman and superior board designer,  Harold was apparently a really good man; those who knew him well described him as one who carried himself with humility, loved his wife and children and was a true waterman.  I wish I had the opportunity to meet him...

My friend Shea Weber of Dewey Weber Surfboards was kind enough to share a tribute his mom wrote about Harold on behalf of the Weber family.  I would like to pass along exerpts from her heartfelt words about an extraordinary man:

“Iggy was quiet, mindful, thoughtful, respectful and humble.  He lived life simply with love and joy.  Nothing he did was for fame or wealth; everything he did was for the pure joy of doing it.”

harold iggy shaping a surfboard

Until next time,