Buzzy Kerbox is "Making Waves"

February 14, 2020 | Surfing
Buzzy Kerbox: pioneer tow-in surfer and Ralph Lauren model | Photo: Kerbox Archive

From riding the biggest waves on Oahu's North Shore to posing for celebrity photographer Bruce Weber on international fashion shoots, Buzzy Kerbox has led a life worthy of more than a few stuffed scrapbooks.

In "Making Waves," newly released by Legacy isle Publishing, the iconic waterman - an originator of tow-in surfing with Laird Hamilton and others - and Polo Ralph Lauren model has assembled a photo-intensive retrospective spanning more than five decades.

The lavish, large-format collection of photos is augmented with notes from Kerbox's personal journals and interviews with surfing, fashion, and photography icons Hamilton, Lauren, and Weber.

In addition to chronicling Kerbox's life, "Making Waves" captures critical points in the growth of surfing through a major player's point of view.

"I hope my book can educate people about surf history as it has evolved over the past fifty years," Kerbox says.

As a kid from Indiana arriving in Kailua, Oahu, in the late 1960s, Kerbox broke into the surf scene slowly, eventually becoming a top contender ranked in the top ten in multiple years.

His career peaked at a time when the sport was first becoming organized with professional competitions, and with the emergence of sponsors like Quicksilver and Rip Curl seeking surfers to wear their gear.

Making Waves: a photo-intensive retrospective spanning more than five decades

A Busy Agenda

Serendipitously, Kerbox caught the eye of the legendary photographer Weber, who recommended him to Lauren, launching a forty-year-plus relationship with the Polo Ralph Lauren brand.

Kerbox put in countless hours traveling the world to pose for photoshoots and compete on the surf circuit, eventually starting the Buzzy Kerbox Surf School in 1996.

"I think my success can be summed up in four words," he says.

"Average skill - phenomenal will. I never had exceptional skill in anything I did, but that didn't keep me from pushing toward my goals."

Ever the teacher, Kerbox advises, "Figure out your dream and set your goal. If I can do it, so can you."

Buzzy Kerbox remains an avid waterman, still competing in surf and stand-up paddleboard contests.

A graduate of Kailua High School, he and his wife, Barbara Kraft, reside primarily on the North Shore. Kerbox has three sons - Kody, Kasey, and Kyler.

"Making Waves" is priced at $39.95 in hardcover and is available at bookstores and other retailers, direct from the publisher at bookshawaii.net and at Kerbox's website.

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