Ted Gugelyk with his 11'0" George Downing Makaha Cruiser.? Photo provided by Ted Gugelyk

By: Tom Fekete

Looking to invest in a collectible vintage surfboard? How about an authentic 1980?s George Downing Waimea Gun? And you don?t even have to go to Hawaii to get it. It?s just a short hop away in ? of all places ? Ubon Rachatani.

The board belongs to Ted Gugelyk, a former big wave charger and pioneer of surfing in Hawaii, who now resides in retirement with his Thai wife at Ubon in the Northeast part of Thailand.

Ted stared surfing Malibu, California when he was 15 and moved to Hawaii in 1957 before it even officially became a State. Over the next 50 years, Ted spent his time surfing big waves and working his way up through academia, retiring as Dean of the University of Hawaii before moving to Thailand.

He first came to Phuket for two years but wasn?t overly impressed with the scene or the quality of surf. His increasingly painful arthritis wasn?t helping either, so he decided his surfing days were over and moved to Ubon, surfboards in tow.


Waimea Bay, November 1959. This photo appeared in the very first issue of Surfer Magazine. Surfers (left to right): Max Lim, Ted Gugelyk, Jose Angel, Del Webb, Peter Cole. Photo: John Severson

?I miss surfing, of course, but then I have so many good memories,? says Ted, ?and all?guys have to give it up sooner or later. Like most athletes, our?bodies finally go out on us.?

These days, 70 year old Ted still stays active on his 3 rai property in Ubon.

?I paddle my kayak, fish, swim 3-4?thousand meters a week, write, do gardening, and ride my mountain bike.?

Judging by his photo, we can only hope to be as fit has him when we?re 70!

Other than the Waimea Gun, Ted also has a showroom condition George Downing Waikiki / Makaha Cruiser. The opening bid for the Waimea Gun is US$2,000. The Cruiser is open for offers.

The Waimea Gun. Photo: Ted Gugelyk

In addition, Ted has a few other vintage boards in his collection for sale, including an original Ben Aipa Stinger built in 1974 which the late Jeff Johnson used to win the Haliewa Surf Contest many years ago.

Interested parties can contact Ted Gugelyk at kukui@lava.net. Do note that Ted understandably would prefer these boards to end up with an owner that knows how to appreciate what they represent ? a true piece of surfing history.

?If I die here, the boards would be cut up by fishermen and used as?floaters for their nets….the ultimate disgrace and waste of those?fine surf boards.? They surf like Rolls Royce limos.?

TSM agrees!

Be sure to read Ted?s harrowing account of the infamous Great Swell:? ?December 1st 1969? in the recent issue of Surfer?s Path Magazine.




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