Dane Kealoha was robbed of a world title by politics. Photo: Merkel/A-Frame

“Excuse me sir, would you like some peanuts?” It’s hard to imagine the great Dane Kealoha as a mere flight attendant, pushing the drink cart up and down the aisle, crying kids and fat tourists giving him grief. But after walking away from surfing in the mid ‘80s he took a job with Hawaiian Airlines and started spreading the aloha. It wasn’t by design that he came into that occupation – surf politics can be a nasty thing. We could be sitting here talking about Dane Kealoha the world champion, but the winter of ‘83 changed all that. The rising ASP and declining IPS tours were at odds and the Hawaiian events went unsanctioned, anybody that surfed in them would lose their ratings points. By happenstance Dane was leading the ratings. Not by happenstance, he won two out of three events on the North Shore, including the Pipe Masters. He was promptly stripped of all of his points. Hawaii would have to wait until Derek Ho in ‘93 to celebrate its first champion. Shattered, Dane walked away from pro surfing. A couple years of partying and laying waste to those that got in his way at Pipe did little to heal the wound. That’s where the flight attendant thing came in. He walked away from the surf scene altogether and got on with life. Eventually Bob McKnight offered him a chance to manage a Boardriders shop on oahu, which then led to Dane running his own Roxy shop on Maui. And if you’re interested, he also offers surf lessons these days. It doesn’t mean he can help you get a wave at Backdoor, but he may help you perfect your mad dog glare. – JH


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