The Surfer’s Journal is proudly reader-supported since 1992. We rely on membership rather than advertising to remain commercially quiet. Become a member below and gain access to every article ever published along with many other TSJ member-only benefits.
Jimmy “The Impala” Lucas and the case for proper positioning.
By Scott Hulet
Light / Dark
Positioning is a style fundamental. Reductively, it means surfing deep. Holistically, it’s more soup to nuts. Where you park, when you surf, how you pick through the rocks, what you bring—or don’t bring— with you. And where you choose to live.
Sure, surf-turkeydom calls for always being at the best spot on the best day. But the style play has always pivoted on the artful avoidance of crowds. The Venn overlay of stylish surfers and limelight avoidance can look like a lunar eclipse.
Jimmy Lucas, shown here at Sunset Beach in 1974, is a case in point. Something of a “writer’s writer,” Lucas hails from the island of Kauai, an early hothouse of creative surf expression well outside the blast radius of California and the North Shore. Known as The Impala (perhaps to imply a cliquey connection to fellow Kauaian Joey “The Gazelle” Cabell), Lucas was a surfer who the stars of the day referenced as “scary good.”
Known for sheer speed and a powerful elegance, he benefited from the world-class shapers who also called Hanalei home—principally Dick Brewer and Mike Diffenderfer, as well as Billy Hamilton, Steve Lis, and Terry Chung.
Not averse to the siren call of the air horn, Lucas surfed his way into the field at the Smirnoff Pro-Am and the Hang Ten American Pro, where he came across Jeff Divine’s viewfinder for this frame. Lucky for us. Not one to “do it for the ’gram,” few photographs exist of The Impala. This one will do. High and tight, steep and deep, bullet fast. And then, real quick-like, through the crowd and back home to prime position.
[Feature image by Jeff Divine]
Become a premium member of reader-supported, independent journalism. Our premium members advance the work of The Surfer’s Journal. Enrollment at this level includes:
Bi-monthly delivery of The Surfer’s Journal
Custom Annual Gift
Listed as a TSJ premium member on surfersjournal.com
25% off merchandise and apparel in the TSJ store
Unlimited access to every article we’ve ever published