A Brief on John Kelly and Save Our Surf


A Brief on John Kelly and Save Our Surf



c. 1990



BORN in 1919, John Kelly arrived in Honolulu at age 4 with his widely known artist parents to stay for a year - and never left! They fell in love with the Native Hawaiian people, their beautiful non-privatized sharing culture, lands and, especially for John Jr., their ocean environment and skills. His mother and father enshrined Native Hawaiians in their physical beauty and heritage in works of art leaving son John Jr. from the 60's on, to motivate and mobilize two generations of Hawaii's youth in defence of the islands' once pristine natural environment, its indigenous people, their heritage of skills and resources.
And what was the setting? Thousands of greedy foreigners had come to Hawai'i in the 1800's with but one imported aim: the competitive privatization of land, labor, love and resources! To achieve wealth and control, they slyly christianized and cultivated high chiefs in the name of colonial religious imagery. After stealing all the Hawaiian lands, they overthrew the sovereign Hawaiian nation with corporate intrigue, guns and military force. Today, Hawai'i has by far the highest cost of living in the U.S., its worst housing crisis, jails jammed with thousands of suffering poor, stifling urban pollution of air, land, streams and coastal waters, and more — all from the motives of private wealth of a few large landowners and corporations with the help of money-hungry stooges in and out of governments. The peoples' contrasting theme: Fight Back!
Achieving fame but not fortune in WWII. John Kelly was honored in the name of the President of the United States "For heroism and outstanding performance of duty" in an extremely hazardous skin diving operation at 70 feet depth and awarded the rare Navy and Marine Corps Medal. After the war, John graduated from Juilliard School of Music returning home with his anthropologist wife Marion, and two lovely daughters. A skilled diver and surf rider from the late '20's on and later, a lifeguard, familiar with the ocean heritage and skills of ancient Hawaiians, John made the first big-wave gun in 1934, invented the hydro in 1960 — the first modern board to combine speed and maneuverability on big waves with which he, with two friends, opened up and named Himalaya's 40-foot waves — and is still riding big summer and winter surfs at 79 in '98. In the mid-'60's, John and his teenage pals formed Save Our Surf, the wise, skilled and demonstrative movement of thousands that stopped 27 major coastal projects-for-private-profits threatening surfing and fishing reefs on all the islands. Choosing cooperation rather than competition, SOS achieves unparalleled environmental victories with the theme "Respect the intelligence of the people, get the facts to them and help the people develop an action program. — in short: EDUCATE, ORGANIZE and CONFRONT!