THE PROLIFIC STORY OF MIKE HYNSON
Endless Summer co-star Mike Hynson was born in Crescent City, California in 1942. His father was career navy, so the family bounced between Hawaii and San Diego for the first dozen or so years of Michael’s life. By the mid-‘50s, the family had settled in Pacific Beach, a neighborhood of San Diego. There, Hynson started surfing and quickly became one of area’s hottest surfers. In late 1961, he moved to Hawaii to surf the North Shore of Oahu, and was one of the first surfers to take on Pipeline.
By 1959, Michael had become a professional surfboard shaper, shaping for such notable brands as Hobie and Gordon and Smith. While working for Gordon and Smith, he and his friend Herbie Fletcher pioneered the down rail concept, and Michael personally designed and created the HY-1 and HY-2 models. But perhaps his most famous design was the Hynson Redfin Model.
Never that enthralled by surf competitions, Michael still had some success as a contest surfer in the ‘60s. Often riding for the Windansea Surf Club – a club he helped establish in 1963 - he placed fourth in the ‘63 Malibu Invitational and second in the ’65 Tom Morey Invitational. Michael was also selected three times – in 1965, 1966 and 1967 - to surf in the Duke Kahanamoku Invitational.
In 1964, with the U.S. fully immersed in the Vietnam War, a 16 mm version of a new surf movie called The Endless Summer debuted, in – of all places – Wichita, Kansas. The movie sold out every night for two solid weeks. It wasn’t until June 15, 1966 that The Endless Summer was released into worldwide distribution. It was 26 year-old Bruce Brown’s sixth film. Hynson was just 21.
I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Hynson and his fiancé Carol in May of this year. They came up to meet with me and see Last Wave. While having lunch and spending the afternoon at the beach, Michael told me a little about his storied life. The title of his book alone defines who Hynson is…a true soul surfer with some hippie mixed in, one who lives his life on his terms. No doubt, Michael Hynson was a key figure in defining the surf lifestyle we all enjoy today. Thank you, Michael!
Note: My thanks to Michael Hynson and Donna Klaasen Jost for the photos and information that went into preparing this short bio.
Until next time,