There are a few who have impacted a particular sport directly, pioneering the evolution from idea to reality. Mark Angulo has been involved in taking surf-related sports to a dimension most can only dream of. A champion wind surfer, musician, surfer and a member of the elite strapped team, his achievements are unprecedented.
In the late 1960s, Mark’s father, Ed Angulo, was making boards on the North Shore of Oahu, where he grew up. Being born in the surfing capital of the world, he was thrown into the arena at an early age.
Mark was surfing long before he started windsurfing. He used to surf Rocky Point frequently, until he began to see guys windsurfing Backyards. The consistency of pulling big aerials is what lured him into the sport of windsurfing.
In 1986, the Angulo family moved to Maui on the eve of a booming sailboard revolution, and Mark was there from day one. His father opened a shop on Maui, and Mark was there to help the sport of windsurfing evolve.
Mark’s two younger brothers, Andy and Josh, are excellent windsurfers as well. Andy is an artist, and his passions lie more with windsurfing and skimming. Whereas Josh took to windsurfing at an early age, and is now recognized as one of the best wave riders in the world. Mark talks like a proud older brother when speaking about his brothers’ contributions and accomplishments.
Mark invented many of the maneuvers that are used in modern windsurfing. He created the aerial 360, and collaborated with Dave Kalama on the goiter, two popular moves being used in windsurfing today. He chose the name “goiter” so that he and his friends could laugh every time they read it in a magazine.
His travels have taken him to some of the most exotic places on the planet, getting paid to play. He feels that windsurfing had its day when big money was being poured into international competitions, but feels it dying out due to lack of support from big name sponsors.
Mark has not been competing in windsurfing events for almost a year, and is focusing his energy into “project strapped” instead. If you’re not familiar with the strap surfing phenomenon, check out the move Wake Up Call. The movie is a map to where towing strap surfing is, and is going in the future. Mark is one of eight members of a team of ocean warriors who are taking wave riding to new levels and beyond.
Rather than specialize on strictly gigantic waves, Mark focuses his talents on trick riding. Along with all the team members, the limits of wave riding are constantly being expanded. Mark is also a skilled driver, which is the life support system in the tow-in realm. These guys train and have life saving techniques that they practice and use. Dead serious is the expression when talking about the procedures, responsibilities and risks they take for each other.
As if tow-in surfing into Jaws wasn’t enough, Mark windsurfs the legendary break as well. He doesn’t recommend the experience to just anyone, unless completely prepared.
All the guys on the team come from different backgrounds of wave riding, and all share their experience when they come together. There will most likely be a contest at Jaws one day, but Mark is not interested in that aspect, preferring to negotiate the challenge in a non competitive way.
In between the Aloha Classic, the strapped team and a few special guests are holding an event named “King of the Surf” which is an event set up for a national television show. Windsurfing, longboarding and tow-in surfing make up the contest.
Mark Angulo has lived the life of a waterman amongst surfing’s royalty. He finds peace being at home in Maui; living the good life in Haiku with his girlfriend Laurie and sharing the gifts of the ocean with friends and family.
Maui Time would like to thank Mark for the interview; giving us a glimpse of the past and showing us how the sport of kings is being played today.
This story originally ran in MauiTime’s November 11, 1997 issue.
Photo credit Erik Aeder Photography