"Look! Over there! It's our future as windsurfing professionals!" Larry with Ken Kleid, Dennis Davidson, a bunch of others and Thor at end. Thor: "Professional? Me stay savage."
Nicknamed "The Kailua Kids," Larry Stanley (a 3-tour Vietnam Vet), along with Mike "Thor" Horgan and Nalani Heen, were the movers and shakers of windsurfing. They, along with a group of vagabonds that looked like something from an episode of Survivors, all lived in the same house a block from Kailua Beach. Every day was an adventure trying to sail the one-design Windsurfer® in the wind and waves of Kailua Bay. It wasn't designed for that, so they set about modifying the various parts of the board and rig to make it so.
Step-by-step, strap-by-strap they succeeded, and in doing so, magazine coverage and poster photos by Wilkings, Seer, and Speer showed the world a new way of riding, driving an evolution of windsurfing from regatta-centricity to more specialized wave sailing with such "inventions" as high-wind daggerboards (Thor & Stan), scooped noses (Thor, Stan, Warren Aitken), the harness (Ken Kleid's idea & Pat Love's craftsmanship); full-window sails (Pat Love, Stan, and Thor); footstraps (Stan); stronger bases and booms, custom boards, and myriad details and accessories (Windsurfing Hawaii ensemble), which led to WH developing and enabling the high-performance garage-band niche of the windsurfing world.
But that was where the buck stopped and Larry's legend cemented (firmly planted with the invention of footstraps). While the other kids faded into the palm fronds, Larry would continue riding, refining, and then marry Nalani the poster Queen to become proud parents with kids of their own, moving to Hood River to continue the WH business. Nothing lasts forever, and Larry retired from the windsurfing industry to Baja for a simpler life of surfing, fishing, and catering to his rescue dog, Lita. Many of us have Larry and The Kailua Kids to thank (or to blame) for driving them off the tracks of a mundane life to follow in their footstraps.
Larry and the Kailua Kids playing outside of the sandbox. Stern magazine. Photographer unknown.
Your first windsurfing experience?"Kailua, Oahu, 1973; instructor Mike (Thor) Horgan."
Favorite minute of windsurfing?"First wave jump with footstraps off Flat Island in Kailua"
What would you like to be remembered for in this sport? "First footstraps and taking windsurfing into the waves and air."
Kailua Dudes. Some guy from Survivor, Shaper Peter Trombley, Thor. Photog?
Larry figuring out the easy way that short boards work better on The Chopper. Photo Wong.
Just some photos from Larry's FB page of Larry and the Windsurfing Hawaii Shop. Photos by David Lewis, John Speer.
Larry helped a lot of famous windsurfers like the Baron get their gear ready for great adventures. Perhaps Larry called Arnaud a turkey once or twice. We were all turkeys compared to the Kailua Kids.
The only known photo of the first board to have footstraps. And from the looks of it, rocket boosters. Photo John Speer.
Thinking crashing runs in the family. Larry's cropdusting dad where he grew up in El Centro, CA.