Surfer’s Journal

Surfer’s Journal

Surfing changed my life

Surfing connected me to a healthy lifestyle, nature, and freedom.

At 15 years old, arriving in Hawaii for the first time, the Pacific captured my imagination – and the ocean became my life-long teacher.

The photos shared on this page are my scrapbook. I hope that anyone who surfs to this page will enjoy them.

Steven 'Surf Doctor' Martin

Surfing in Hawaii with my friends in the 1980s (I'm second from left)


I got my first surfboard in 1979, a 5' 6" kneeboard, far too small to float me or paddle on – but I didn’t know any better.

That first year I took a beating on the reef, healing my wounds on the shore. In surfer slang – I got slammed, took my beatings, and learned my lessons the hard way. What didn’t kill me made me stronger.

1980 at "Old Airports" in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii | My first fiberglass surfboard

Surf Beach Lifeguarding | White Sands Beach (Magic Sands) Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Lifeguarding at Magic Sands Beach in Kona in 1989 for the County of Hawaii

Surfing Magic Sands Point, Kona, Hawaii, in 1991, during lunch beak

A good day at Magic Sands Point (La'a Loa) | c.1990 | Click to enlarge

Surfing with NASA Astronauts | The Space Ambassadors

One morning after a volunteer project at Kahaluu Beach Park in Kona, Hawaii, a couple approached me to ask if I collected patches, offering me a small patch with an image of the space shuttle on it.

It was none other than Scott Horowitz, four-time commander of the Space Shuttle, and his wife, Lisa.

Scott had just a few minutes to learn to surf, and so I geared him up, and we hit the water. Scott was a surf instructor's dream, naturally enough. As an astronaut, he had been selected for both physical strength and learning ability – so he was very close to the perfect student.

Commander Scott Horowitz (lower right) and Mission Specialist Pat Forrester (lower center) and the STS-105 Crew

I saw a wave coming, just the right size and shape, and we got Scott turned toward the beach, in position on the board, and with a well-timed push coordinated with the wave, he was launched like a rocket. He found his balance, stood up, and was surfing on the first try. Beyond expectation, he turned on his own and traveled along the open face of the wave. It was the best I ever saw a student do on the first wave.

After his first wave, Scott exclaimed, "Surfing is out of this world!"

One thing led to another and over the next year I found myself imagining the entire shuttle crew to coming to the Big Island of Hawaii to surf and appear at local schools.

The next year Scott and fellow astronaut Pat Forrester came to Hawaii, officially representing the NASA Space Program, and appearing at schools across the island and catching a few waves.

I wrote a short article named, "The Space Ambassadors" to share the experience in the Kona Views Magazine.

With Astronaut Scott Horowitz in Kona, Hawaii

With Astronaut Scott Horowitz in Kona, Hawaii

Astronaut Scott Horowitz with his wife Lisa after surfing in Kona, Hawaii

International Surfing Scrapbook

Surfing Hawaii

I was young and enthusiastic about surfing and travel, so toting heavy camera gear, such as the telephoto lenses needed for surf photography, wasn't an option. These days were long before digital photography and the advent of the selfie.

I don't have many photos of the waves or photos of myself surfing in the early years of my international surfing, so I am thankful to have a few to share here on this page.

These are mainly amateur scrapbook pics, taken by friends made along the way, and recently dug out of an old shoebox and scanned.

Surfing Lyman's Point in Kona, Hawaii, in the 1980s with "Cab" (far left) and me, second from left

c.1989 | Kohala Lighthouse, Big Island of Hawaii

1991 | Lyman's Point, Kailua-Kona, Big Island of Hawaii

Summer 1992 | South swells at Lyman's Point, Kailua-Kona, Big Island | Photo by Jeff Middleton

Winter 1992 | Inaugural Tiger Espere Longboard Competition, Kawaihae, Hawaii

Summer 1993 | Magic Sands Point, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii | Photo by Jeff Middleton

Winter of 1996 at the Kahaluu beach house, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, before leaving to study abroad in South Africa

2002 | Surfing "House Rights" at the beach house, Kahaluu, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Surfing Southern & Eastern Australia

1992 | Bells Beach, Australia

1992 | Angourie, Australia

Surfing Western Australia

1994 | Red Bluff, Western Australia

1994 | Perfect overhead waves at Red Bluff, Western Australia

Surfing Spain

1993 | Ubiri point break, Spain | Bay of Biscay

1993 | Ubiri point break, Spain | Karramarro (Crab) in Basque

Surfing Portugal

1998 | Lisbon, Portugal, while studying abroad | Click to Spain page...

1998 | Algarve, Portugal, while studying abroad | Click to Spain page...

Surfing France

1993 | Biarritz, France, with the Italian surf club, the "Hurricanes"

1993 | Nearly drowning in the rip-current while bodysurfing during high tide at Grande Plage, Biarritz, France!

1993 | Sunrise at low tide | Grande Plage, Biarritz, France

Surfing Brazil

1996 | Pascual, from Rio de Janeiro, showing me the waves at 'Prainha', Brazil

1996 | Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro

1996 | Saquarema, near Rio de Janeiro

Surfing Uruguay

1996 | Surfing near Punta del Este, Uruguay

Surfing South Africa

1997 | Jeffreys Bay, South Africa

1997 | Jeffreys Bay, South Africa, with Hawaii Lifeguard JQA

Surfing Taiwan

June 20, 2004 | Typhoon Dianmu | Bashendong, Taiwan | Click to enlarge...

September 17, 2006 | Typhoon Shan Shan | Fulong Beach, Taiwan

2004 | Chenggong, on Taiwan's east coast

Surfing Thailand

2008 | Having fun at Kata Noi Beach, Phuket, Thailand

2008 | Kata Beach Surf Club, Phuket, Thailand

2008 | Phuket Surfing Contest, Kalim Beach, Thailand

2007 | Kamala Surfing Contest, Phuket

2008 | Phuket Surfing Contest (free surf), Kalim Beach, Thailand

A sunny day in Phuket | November 2007

2008 | Paddling out in the Andaman Sea at Karon Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Phuket surfing fun | Wave police

2008 | Japan's Nalu Magazine featuring Steven's university surf site conservation research | Click to view this Japanese article

Surfing Malaysia

2009 | First Place (Men's Longboard) Monsoon Mayhem Surfing Contest | Desaru Beach, Malaysia

2009 | 1st Place (Longboard) | Monsoon Mayhem Surfing Contest, Desaru, Malaysia

2009 | Monsoon Mayhem Surfing Contest | Desaru Beach, Malaysia

Surfing, skating, and sandboarding fun in China

1997 | Surfing small waves on an island near Shanghai, China

1995 | Skateboarding on the Great Wall of China at Badaling 八达岭 万里长城

1995 | Air time on the Great Wall 八达岭 万里长城

2001 | Sandboarding at Dunhuang, China

1997 | Surfing on a rice paddy in southern China

Thank you for visiting my Surfer's Journal Page.

I hope you enjoy the photos and information in the links provided. If you feel motivated to learn more about international surfing or surf tourism, please let me know – I’d love to hear from you.

–Steven 'Surf Doctor' Martin