#2 Tom Blake

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Is it too much to say that Tom Blake single handedly  transformed the sport of surfing from an ancient Polynesian practice into a 20th century lifestyle? It may be hard to find someone who does not agree with this statement because Tom Blake met the Duke himself, fell in love with surfing in the most purest of forms and not only revolutionized the surfboard, but started a surfing lifestyle that paved the way for all others behind him. Born in Wisconsin, Blake found his way to coast quickly by becoming a Olympic swimmer, where het met Duke Kahanamoku. After visiting Hawaii and seeing first hand the big, wood slabs surfers were using, with a great vision he replicated the design and drilled hundreds of holes into the board to make it lighter and quicker to dry out. His new design gained plenty of exposure when Blake one the  Pacific Coast Surfing Championships in 1928 and by 1930 he had patented the “Hawaiian Hallow Surfboard.” Along with the evolutionary design, Blake also contributed to the world of surfing by adding a small keel-like fin to his boards and was the first to produce surf photography. “Besides being a freethinking innovator and champion waterman, Blake was a visionary surfer, himself a prototype for an emerging lifestyle. This vision was in large part due to his understanding of the old Polynesian sport of surfing.” He respected the sport’s ancestors and took it in his own hands to make sure others knew the history behind surfing.

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