Wednesday, March 14, 2001
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Posted on: Wednesday, March 14, 2001

Alan Naluai of The Surfers dead at 62

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Editor

Alan Naluai, a member of The Surfers, whose onstage hilarity with the musical group often belied his vocal prowess, died of a heart attack Saturday at his Hawaii Kai home. He was 62.

Alan Naluai, originally with The Surfers, was completing a solo album at the time of his death.

Advertiser library photo • Dec. 26, 1996

He was completing a solo vocal album of Hawaiian tunes, including some of his original compositions, said his brother Clayton Naluai.

"It was his project, not The Surfers’, and he wrote some new music," said Clayton, who hopes the posthumous CD will validate his brother’s talent. Some selections will be performed at the funeral Sunday at Kawaiahao Church. Services will be at 6 p.m., preceded by visitation from 5 p.m. The ashes will be scattered Monday off Waikiki.

Alan Naluai had a heart attack about two years ago, according to Clayton Naluai, the other "up front" member of the original Surfers for more than 20 years.

"I was a big fan," veteran Waikiki entertainer Don Ho, who shared the stage with The Surfers at Duke Kahanamoku’s in the ’70s and the Hilton Hawaiian Village Dome in the ’80s. "I thought Alan and Clayton were underrated, superior showmen. Off stage, Alan was always a smiling person, very pleasant, always. He was always positive. As a group, they were a cut above the rest."

Tom Moffatt, the veteran entrepreneur who produced The Surfers’ "Shells" album, said: "I remember The Surfers from the Show of Stars’ era, when they were in college and did some of my shows. Al and Clay were terrific and went on to a successful recording career."

Though "retired" since 1980, Alan and Clayton periodically worked as a duo, the last time aboard the cruise ship Independence in December and January.

The Surfers — like Ho, Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman — were in the first wave of musicians to bring the Islands’ music to the post-statehood Mainland audience. "Shells" was one of their hits; as a duo, Alan and Clayton also popularized "You Gotta Feel Aloha."

On stage, Clayton’s romantic, leading-man posture contrasted with Alan’s clown antics, in gigs at Duke’s, Don the Beachcomber’s, Hong Kong Junk, Canton Puka, C’est Si Bon, the Oceania Floating Restaurant, Outrigger Waikiki, Hilton Hawaiian Village and Imperial Hawaii Hotel.

At the time of his death, Alan was in real estate and worked as a Budget Rent a Car salesman.

Besides his brother Clayton, Alan Naluai is survived by his wife, Faith; children, Alan Jr., Allison, Honey, Camille, Vanessa and Lorna; brothers, Michael of Santa Cruz, Calif., and Buddy; sisters, Judee Mulcahy in Long Beach, Calif., and Louise Danilevicius in Laguna Hills, Calif.; mother Abigail Naluai; and 11 grandchildren.

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