The Manoa Surf Club Ballet Board

By James Harris

In 1939 regular beach-goer/fitness enthusiast Edward Hawkins, inspired by the paddleboarding talents of his 9-year-old daughter Dorothy (nicknamed "Dottie"), founded the first-ever public paddleboard club and built a clubhouse on the lower deck of the Santa Monica Pier. Hawkins originally named the club "Hui Maiokioki", paying homage to the Hawaiian roots of surfing and paddleboarding. Within a few years he changed the club’s name to "Manoa" – still Hawaiian, but far less tongue-twisting. Since this club was publicly accessible, the sport of paddleboarding quickly became the hottest trend at the Pier. All talent levels were welcome and on display constantly. Whether a person paddled or not, the Manoa club was sure to entertain all who visited the Pier. The club also became a magnet for celebrities, attracting the likes of Johnny Weissmuller, Burgess Meredith and Daryl Zanuck as members. Dottie was, by all accounts, the club's best paddler and, of course, its star. While the club claimed the best and fastest paddle racers in southern California, Manoa's greatest contributions to the sport were in the development of paddleboard water polo and paddleboard water ballet. This board is a replica of the water ballet's featured “Stars & Stripes Forever” performance board. The design was a tribute to the soldiers returning home from service after the completion of the Second World War. The signature on tail of the board is that of Dottie Hawkins herself (of course!).