I thought this was a pretty cool deal. Although I have never been to their place over there, I am sure there are a couple of readers that have or have heard of it. Maybe someone will come up with a Hawaii Contractor Surfing Organization one day? lol –Matt
Welcome to the Hawaii Military Surfing Organization (HMSO) website. Our goal is pretty simple – to unite military surfers and provide them with an outlet to enjoy surfing. It does not matter what level of surfer you are, what your rank is or was, or branch of service. What matters to us is that you either want to learn to surf or have already caught the surf bug. Our common thread is a distinct love and respect of the ocean combined with our dedicated service to our country. We’d recommend you cruise the website and learn something about who we are, who we accept as members, what our Community Outreach is, and what we stand for as a club. If you think you fit the mold and would like to join, then contact us by all means. If you want to support our Organization – then we have HMSO Logo Items for sale on the website on the “Gear” link. Thanks again for visiting us and we look forward to hearing from you. Aloha
Chaz Bowser – President HMSO
The Hawaii Military Surfing Organization was originally founded in 1969 by a small group of military surfers at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii as a club for the sole purpose of having a group with a common interest. This group interest was not a rebellion, but merely a way for service members returning from the Vietnam Conflict to band together as surfers and to enjoy their favorite recreational activity. Originally known as “The Ali’i He’e Nalu Surfing Club”, the club struggled through the end of the Vietnam era and through the 1970’s. Membership increased and decreased through the years due to many factors. Membership records were not maintained nor were other administrative files however, in true Hawaiian tradition, a verbal history was maintained. Much of this verbal history has been lost through the years. In the mid 1980’s the club saw a resurgence in activity with the onset of club competitions at local Hawaiian beaches. Aside from these club competitions, other club functions were virtually non-existent.
In the early 1990’s the club was renamed “The Hawaii Military Surfing Ohana” and there was an increased level of activity and membership along with an occasional club competition as well as occasional surf trips to outer islands. In 1995, the club leadership was assumed by Mike White who pursued an increase in club activities to build more of a frequent meeting schedule and develop contacts along the North Shore of Oahu. Mike White began holding the annual HMSO surf contest and generated contest sponsorship by Glen Moncata of Quiksilver, Fred Patacchia Sr of Hawaiian Surf, John Moore of Strong Current and Ken Bradshaw of Bradshaw Hawaii. Mike White also became a friend of Randy Rarick and Bernie Baker who are influential members of the modern day professional surfing industry.
In 1998, Mike White handed the HMSO presidency over to Mike Fulcher who had a vision of a larger HMSO that included military surfers from around the globe. Upon assumption of the HMSO presidency, Mike Fulcher initiated a membership drive and advertising campaign on behalf of the HMSO in which membership jumped from a mere 24 members located only in Hawaii to well over 500 HMSO members worldwide. The HMSO was expanded to include affiliate self-governing chapters in Japan, Southern California, Northern California, Florida, Mid Atlantic and Western Europe. The annual HMSO competition was promoted worldwide and became the Annual International Military Surfing Championships. Competitive eligibility evolved from just local club members in Hawaii to truly International Military members from such countries as Australia, Japan, England and South Africa. Sponsorship of the HMSO jumped considerably and included not only local Hawaiian small businesses, but large businesses such as Anheuser Busch/Budweiser, XCEL Wetsuits, SURFER Magazine, The Military Times, Surfrider Foundation and many others. Mike Fulcher also increased the club activities to include HMSO assistance provided to the local communities by providing manpower to assist with the construction of The Triple Crown of Surfing event venues as well as The Haleiwa Arts Festival. In conjunction with Surfrider Foundation, the HMSO conducted beach clean-up activities as a way of giving back to the community and showing appreciation to the locals for the beauty of the beaches of Hawaii. In agreement with Town & Country Surfboards (Glassworks Hawaii) and Iris Rapoza, Mike Fulcher began repairing surfboards donated by T & C for the purpose of providing surfboards to underprivileged local children. The occasional surf trip to the outer islands became an annual event and through fundraising activities, the HMSO took an annual surf trip to Kauai. Other surf trips were taken by HMSO club members to remote locations such as The Mentawai Islands of Indonesia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica.
In 2003, as Mike Fulcher was retiring from military service, the club became stagnant and remained so for over 5 years. In early 2009, Chaz Bowser contacted former club president Mike Fulcher and long standing HMSO member Dave Elliott, who happened to be the man behind the original HMSO website. Between these three gents, a plan was hatched in which Chaz Bowser would revive the HMSO and restructure the organization into a more modern organization with a business approach that will provide stability for the club while providing a service to military personnel. The HMSO was redesignated as “The Hawaii Military Surfing Organization…est 1969?.