As the summer season has kicked in, RALPH.com.au‘s Larkin Harrison takes off his leggie to find out more about the planet’s most notorious surf gangs.
With outsiders and the professional contest circuit shunting surfers on the north shore of Hawaii’s Oahu from their favourite surf breaks, some locals banded together in 1976 to form the Hui O He’e Nalu, or Club of Wave Sliders.
Known as Da Hui or the Black Shorts, for their uniform surf trunks, they paddled into waves during competitions to protest that the water had been closed to them.
Feeling disrespected at home in a sport their ancestors invented, Da Hui threatened and thrashed a bunch of predominately South African and Aussie surfers.
Da Hui’s 400-plus members have mellowed with age and these days, they’re more interested in community events and their surf and MMA clothing label.
Known as the defenders of Oahu’s north shore, the Wolfpak reputedly use fear and their fists to police an 11km stretch of some of the world’s best and biggest waves. At the Banzai Pipeline, Wolfpak determine which waves go to whom, and punish those who breach their code of respect.
Wolfpak represents tribalism and localism, often in a gang-like manner, and have picked up where Da Hui left off in the 1970s and 1980s.
The most well-known Wolfpak members are the late Andy Irons and his brother Bruce, Sunny Garcia and muscle-bound pro surfer, Kala Alexander, who has “Wolfpak” tattooed across his knuckles. Alexander, who also appeared in Blue Crush and Forgetting Sarah Marshall has served time in prison for assault, and his reputation as a brawler is more legendary than his profile as a surfer.
The Wolfpak formed a decade ago when Alexander moved to the north shore from Kauai and joined his childhood friend Kai Garcia — a former professional surfer and jujitsu champion known as Kaiborg for his fearsome superhuman reputation.
Californian surfer Chris Ward cut off a local surfer while riding a wave at Banzai Pipeline. He was banished to the beach, where a Wolfpak member reportedly smashed him in the head.
During the 2007 Billabong Pipeline Masters, a fight in the water spilled onto the beach as Sunny Garcia chased his opening-round opponent, Neco Padaratz of Brazil. Padaratz browned his wettie and fled, followed by Garcia and some locals. The cops eventually escorted Padaratz from the contest.
This surf tribe from Sydney’s Maroubra Beach was founded in the 1990s, as members from housing commissions and broken families gained notoriety through violent clashes with outsiders and the police.
The brotherhood took the “bra” in their name in part from Maroubra, the tough beach suburb they call home, and from the street slang for brother.
The 200-plus members, which include former pro surfers Sunny and Koby Abberton and rugby league players Reni Maitua and John Sutton, are often inked with “My Brother’s Keeper”, 2035 (Maroubra’s postcode) and a special handshake illustration that grips the inner arm.
In 2002, around 160 members were involved in a mass brawl with off-duty police officers at Coogee-Randwick RSL Club. News reports at the time claimed 30 coppers were left injured.
In 2005, Jai Abberton was acquitted of a 2003 murder of standover man and former Bra Boy Tony Hines. His brother Koby was handed a suspended nine-month jail sentence after being found guilty of perverting the course of justice.
Palos Verdes surfers
In 2002, a surfer named Tim Banas and his 18-year-old son, Tommy, tried to get a wave at Palos Verdes Estate, California and was told by local surfers, “If you don’t live here, don’t surf here.”
A fight broke out and Tommy allegedly cracked open the skull of one of the local surfers with a rock, the UK’s Guardian reported.
The Banases claim that they were attacked and were filthy that only Tommy was charged. The fight led to police setting up Surf Watch, for those who wish to surf and don’t want to be intimidated.