Dave Sweedler caught up with Mark Anderson in his shaping room in Lahaina. Mark was doing some last-minute airbrushing on one of his Honolua underground surfboards he had just finished for his friend Mitch.
MAUITIME: How did you get into shaping surfboards?
MARK ANDERSON: I used to play around in the shaping room when I was kid, just having fun. I was waiting on a board from Dick Brewer. It was taking so long so I decided to buy some blanks and shape them myself. My friends liked them and it started from that.
MT: Are there any experiences that stand out for you surfing Honolua bay?
MA: I was out one evening session and it was picking up, it was Brad Lewis and I. I turned around and dropped into a 15-footer. I stood up and then got pitched. I skipped down the face and then got pounded. I was washed around underwater for a hundred yards. I almost drowned.
MT: Do you have any kids?
MA: My wife Renae and I have two kids. Makena who is seven and Kaikoa–he’s five.
MT: Do they surf yet?
MA: Yes, they play around in the ocean and have fun. I’m not a forceful dad, I let them go at their own pace. When the interest is there, I’ll be showing them the ropes.
MT: Who were the surfers you looked up to when you were a kid?
MA: Simon Anderson, Brad Lewis and Mark Richards. Mark was the best surfer I have ever seen surf Honolua. He was like a genius the way he connected his style and power. His surfing was flawless.
MT: How long have you been surfing Honolua bay?
MA: Twenty years.
MT: Are there any waves or sessions that stand out?
MA: The last day of 1995. It was right at dark, the first set of a brand-new swell. I pulled into a solid eight-foot barrel and got so piped for what seemed like an eternity. It was the last tube ridden at the cave in 1995.
MT: Do you surf contests?
MA: Only longboard ones. I don’t like to grovel on shortboards.
MT: Do you have any advice for traveling surfers coming to Maui?
MA: Show respect or don’t bother showing up.
MT: What are your feelings about tow-in surfing?
MA: I’ve tried it a few times, at big Subs and Pier One. I haven’t been out at Jaws yet, maybe next year. I think strapped-in surfing is here to stay, if the law doesn’t interfere with the wave runners. It won’t replace big wave surfing, yet the futuristic side of riding huge waves is exciting.
MT: Any advice for the kids?
MA: Don’t surf for the fame or the mags, take it from the heart. Enjoy surfing with your friends. That’s what it’s all about.
MT: What are some of your other hobbies?
MA: Fishing, snowboarding, diving for lobster.
MT: Any last words?
MA: I would like to thank my sponsor Quiksilver. Stay focused on what you want in life, and charge.
If you’re interested in having a custom longboard or shortboard shaped by Mark give him a call at 808-661-5722.
This story originally ran in MauiTime’s June 24, 1997 issue.
Photo: Ron Loomis