A black surfer's manifest of destiny

December 23, 2020 | Surfing
Black surfers: is racism inherent to the sport of surfing? | Photo: Shutterstock

Thurston Sawyer II could very well be the most controversial person you'll ever meet.

He presents himself as Brohuna, the world's first African American professional surfer, and defies the history of surfing as we know it.

But there's more.

Sawyer likes to talk about his past as an actor, artist, designer, inventor, writer, philosopher, scientist, musician, businessman, and martial arts priest.

He started emailing and spreading his word in the aftermath of George Floyd's death, the African American man killed at the hands of the police in Minneapolis in May 2021.

Thurston Sawyer's story has been largely ignored by all the media outlets that got his "press releases." Until now.

The 6'5'' surfing veteran wants to raise awareness for the lack of black surfers in competitive and non-competitive lineups.

Why aren't more black people surfing? Sawyer blames the surf industry.

Get ready for an unconventional story and make your own assumptions.

"I have been surfing since I was five years old and sailed up and down the southwest coast of California for more than seven years," says Sawyer.

"I got my first wave at Kings Beach in 1966. I lived in Hawaii from the age of five to ten. I have made a dozen trips back to the islands and shaped hundreds of surfboards."

"I should be on the Surfboard Shapers Hall of Fame under Doc Collins. He taught me how to shape and glass surfboards in the 1970s."

Thurston Sawyer II: he presents himself as the world's first professional black surfer

"No Kaffirs" at the 1990 OP Pro Surfing Championship

The American surfer says he was denied entry to the 1990 OP Pro in Huntington Beach by a top executive of the former Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP).

"Derek Ho was behind me in line to sign up for the OP Pro. [The man] went to the money box and put my money on the table and tore up my entry form," explains Thurston Sawyer II.

"He said: 'There will be no kaffirs in this competition.' Kaffir is a term used to address niggers in white supremacist South Africa."

"He then pulled me aside, pointing his finger at me, saying that 'as long as I am was president of the ASP, you will never compete in a contest.'"

Sawyer is a man on a mission, so he wrote a manifesto or personal declaration of intentions. His following words have been edited for clarity and length.

Riding a Wave of Hate

In 2020, professional black surfers met a mountain of sabotage and misinformation.

Black surfing legends are selected by the racist, US-led surf industry, which has always acknowledged Latinos into this whites-only surf culture, thereby making Nicolás Rolando Gabaldón one of them - an 80 percent Latino with his mother being one-third black Creole and Latino.

Does this sound like an African American? No.

This 70-year-old lie has stopped many blacks from surfing without real heroes - they had no real goals or dreams of becoming great surfers.

The white Aryan surfing industry has carried out fascist, racist propaganda on the black citizens of the United States by falsely selecting a Latino to be a black surf legend.

They have ignored, sabotaged, and fully disenfranchised other African Americans and me for many centuries since black-skinned Hawaiians invented surfing.

Here are the facts:

My father was 100 percent African American, and my mother was German-Creole.

Yes, I have African American natural curly hair.

Yes, I paid for an ASP membership for 1998 and 1990.

Yes, I surfed in an ASP event.

Yes, I surfed boards I made personally.

Yes, I sold surfboards I made.

Yes, I owned a surfboard company that made and sold hundreds of boards.

Yes, I have had more tube time than any black man on Earth over 54 years, averaging 20 plus barrels per year since 1966 - that's 1,080 tube rides.

Yes, I got my first wave in 1966.

Yes, I had non-racist professional surf buddies such as Robert August, Mark Occhilupo, Shaun Tomson, Tom Carroll, Tom Curren, Michael and Derek Ho.

All of them were world-class surfers and champions that knew me.

Yes, I had world-class enemies as well, who put an end to my career and tried to stop me from surfing 20-foot Sunset Beach in Hawaii - "for your own safety."

That's an example of white stereotypical racial ignorance perpetuated by the US Aryan surf culture.

Yes, I have surfed every main surf spot on the island of Oahu.

Yes, I have surfed Pipeline, Sunset, and 30-foot plus Waimea Bay.

Yes, I have surfed Mexico, Rosarito Beach, and K38 to the border.

Yes, I have surfed all of San Diego County surf spots from the border to Oceanside, California.

Yes, I have surfed all of Orange County surf spots from San Onofre to Seal Beach.

Yes, I have surfed double overhead Upper and Lower Trestles, with Cotton Point being one of my favorite waves at 15-foot plus.

Yes, I have a west coast favorite number one surf spot - Salt Creek Beach, in Orange County. It reminds me of Hawaii.

Yes, I have surfed all of Los Angeles County surf spots from Cabrillo to County Line and all of Malibu breaks.

Yes, I have surfed all of Ventura and Santa Barbara County, with Hollywood Beach giving me the hardest time in my life, not for the dangerous conditions of the ocean, but for the dozens of white supremacists yelling "nigger, get out of the water" in 1987.

I still got around four waves before it got too crazy.

Yes, I am the self-proclaimed first professional black surfer, receiving endorsements from Al Merrick's Channel Islands surfboards and free products from Victory wetsuits, and having owned at one time 15 surfboards and three sailboards.

Yes, I have taught hundreds to surf from Malibu to San Diego.

Yes, now I am riding the biggest wave of white water ever surfed - a wave of hate, full of stereotypical racist propaganda trying to crush my every moment of life into a history of non-existence.

Yes, I am the first African American professional triathlete and have competed on the Bud Light Triathlon Series in 1984.

Yes, I am a sailboat owner.

For more than seven years, I would sail to a location, anchor and paddle into the lineup, have a great time surfing, and then paddle home to my sailboat, have some dinner, watch some TV, sleep, wake up the next day, surf and move to my next surf location or back to my home port in Long Beach, and/or Newport Beach where I lived for 14 years with my wife.

We raised our four children in another racist milestone, being the first black man to have his children go to all three schools in Newport Beach.

They all attended Newport Elementary School on The Peninsula, Ensign Intermediate School and Newport High School.

My question to the Aryan white surfing world is - how many world-class surfers can claim this lifestyle?

Answer - very few, if any.

Yes, I am the self-proclaimed all-around African American waterman.

Yes, I am trying to right a wrong for all of the future African American children, so they to can dream of being a super surfer and waterman like myself, who is battling a multibillion dollar Aryan, racially motivated surfing industry by telling the real history of surfing to all of humanity.

Yes, this 60-year old black dude is still surfing, and I am going to try and make a comeback by competing in a professional longboard surf contest outside New York City scheduled for 2021.

Yes, this is no joke.

All of my life has been hidden from people of African American ethnicity in order to segregate and deny them from one of the most beautiful sports on the planet.

But most blacks don't know they have been denied and sabotaged because their role models and heroes have been selected, as well as viciously ruined, by a hidden infrastructure of white supremacists controlling the surf industry.

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