Great Hawaiian Waterman and Mr Aloha, Mel Kinney. R.I.P.
Word of mouth report: Mel suffered a heart attack while getting ready for another session at Sunset Beach Thursday 2/9. He was taken to Queens in critical condition and was on life support.
This is another huge loss in the surfing community.
We will add more news when it becomes available. Our deepest thoughts and prayers go out to Big Mel's family and friends. God Bless you Mel.
I met Mel Kinney back in the old Days (mid 80’s) of Local Motion when Rob Burns, Leigh Tonai and George Kam ran the show. He was always so friendly and stoked to be a part of our blessed surfing lifestyle. He always had a smile and positive things to say as the conversation would always turn to surfing...esp. Big Wave Surfing. This was Mel’s truest passion.
One of several stories I remember vividly was out at 12-18’ Makaha about 10 years ago. I was hovering about 50 yards from the Point. A huge set lifted up the horizon filling my entire view. It was the kind of set that makes you focus with what’s in front of you. I forced myself into it and kept my high line prepping to outrace this beast when I heard a hoot…. “whoooo, GQ!”. I glanced down and behind me to see Mel at mach speed crouching in the trough. I quickly turned up and over the crest barely avoiding getting sucked over the 3 story vertical fall. At the same time I’m feeling shame for not paying more attention. Mel made past the bowl as I recall; I of course paddled over to apologize. Mel was totally cool and was just stoked to share a big one. I was relieved. And I would never forget his Aloha and true love of riding giants. I would also never forget the picture seared into my brain seeing Big Mel just charging that huge wave train at break neck speed. Mel was a charger. Damn, he was good.
More recently, I would catch Mel out on those 2-4’ Diamond Head days at dusk. I knew he was still going hard out in Big Surf. But, these were the moments that showed me how Mel just loved to be out there…part of ocean…sitting outside…waiting for one more set wave.
We’ll miss you Mel. And look forward to surfing with you again.
Gary gq KewleyWho’s that boy?
Now we know
The youngster in the opening sequence of ‘Five-O’ finally nabbed By Burl Burlingame
Who’s that boy?
Now we know
The youngster in the opening sequence
By Burl Burlingame
of ‘Five-O’ finally nabbed
Beep beep! Beep beep! Mel Kinney's pager made like the Roadrunner yesterday, right about the time the Star-Bulletin hit the streets.
All his friends wanted to tell him he was in the paper. Twenty-eight years late.
It started one bright morning, early in 1968, when 13-year-old Kinney was walking to the beach with cousin Kurt Bruhn. They spotted "some old guy with a really old movie camera" by the fountain at the end of Kalakaua Avenue.
"He was filming a black car zooming around Kapiolani Park," recalled Kinney. "We watched him for a while, and he saw us and asked Kurt if he'd pose for the camera."
Bruhn, however, got an attack of the shys and Kinney said, heck, I'll do it. So the cameraman filmed the boy for a minute, gave him five bucks, and said: Thanks, kid.
"We went and ate lunch on that five dollars," said Kinney. "We figured he was a tourist or something."
Shortly afterward, the Kinneys moved to Maui, and nearly a year later, the other kids in school started teasing Kinney, calling him movie star.
Photo by Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
"I didn't know what they were talking about - until I saw 'Hawaii Five-O,'" said Kinney.
You guessed it. Mel Kinney is the boy in the opening sequence of the show. Since then, he's become a respected surfer, a crewman on Hokule'a and now works at Local Motion.
After the initial teasing died down, Kinney didn't think about the show again until a couple of years later, when, "like a typical kid, I wondered if I could get more money than that five dollars." He talked to the show's producers, who assured him that since he was on-screen less than three seconds, he wasn't entitled to any residuals.
"But they did say they'd cast me in a bit part where I spoke, and I could get paid for that," said Kinney. This time, however, it was Kinney who had an attack of the shys, and he backed off.
"I haven't thought about the show much since then," said Kinney. "But now, looking back, I'm proud to be a little part of it, my two seconds of fame."
"The other kids who teased me, what they really wanted to know was: who's that girl?" - referring to beautiful Elizabeth Logue - "and I'd say, hey, she's my SISTER. What's it to ya?"