What a curious find

LIHUE — How in the world did a Hawaiian surfboard from the 1930s end up in Montana?

Kauai-born J.K. “Keala” Kinsey, owner of Kinsey Auctioneers in Montana, has the story.

“I knew it came from Hawaii, but I thought, ‘What a find,’” he said.

Kinsey, who was born in Waimea and is part of the Kauahi family from the Westside, said it was quite the coincidence to stumble upon an antique from his home state.

“For me, being Hawaiian, to sell it, that was another thing,” he said.

Labeled on the board is “Ka! He mea kupanaha,” which translates to “Oh! What a curiosity.”

The board’s owner, 85-year-old Jim Moffitt, recently moved into an apartment and put the surfboard up for auction, along with more than 160 other collectibles.

The retired Montana rancher acquired the board from a friend who ran a meat market in Dearborn, Mich., in the 1960s.

“One day I walked in there and looked behind the meat counter and there was that 10-foot-long surfboard running the length of the counter,” Moffitt said in a letter. “He had gotten it on his honeymoon in Hawaii years ago and his wife wanted to chuck it out.”

Moffitt said his friend’s wife was going to make the surfboard into two coffee tables.

Not wanting the surfboard to become furniture, Moffitt decided to take it off his friend’s hands.

On a bitterly cold day in February, Moffitt’s letter read, he and his friend loaded the board into Moffitt’s 1962 Buick Electra.

“People had to think I was crazy,” Moffitt recalled.

As of July 3, the highest bid for the surfboard was $2.50. The auction lasts until July 14.

Kinsey said he hopes the board will make it back home.

“It’s a great opportunity for us and I’m real interested to see what this thing brings,” he said. “Hopefully it can make its way back to Hawaii.”


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