Tom Blake "1994 Surf Pioneer"
Considered Wave Riding First Surfboard Designer
PHOTO: Tom Blake with Duke Kahanamoku. Courtesy of Spencer Croul Family Foundation.
PHOTO: Courtesy of the Bishop Museum
This photo of Tom Blake was taken in late 1929 or early 1930, are his designs that were for surfing and paddling.
Today's acrobatic cutbacks, aerials and deep tube rides are the direct result of Tom Blake's extraordinary design prowess, specifically fastening a fin onto a surfboard. This engineering visionary experimented with all sizes and shapes of boards and effected a 25-percent weight reduction in the boards of his day.
In 1930, Blake invented the first water-housing used for surf photography. That year he also attached a sail to a surfboard, making himself, possibly, the first windsurfer.
He even made a collapsible surfboard that weighed only nine pounds. One of his boards is displayed in the Smithsonian; his feats have also been written up in multiple issues of National Geographic; and he’s also been inducted into the Swimming Hall of Fame. A true pioneer in every sense of the word, Blake surfed waves up to 15 feet on boards that most surfers of today could not even carry.