SCOTT SIMON, host:
Dr. Dorian Paskowitz was flipping through the Los Angeles Times recently and saw a photograph of two Palestinian surfers who had to share one old surfboard. That's when Dr. Paskowitz, who's an 86-year-old physician from Hawaii, decided to do something about it. Paskowitz family is a surfing dynasty. They run a surfing school in Honolulu, and Dr. Paskowitz's son, David, was a surfing world champion.
So this Tuesday, Dr. Paskowitz crossed the border between Israel and Gaza to present a group of Palestinians with 15 new surfboards. He has returned as far as New York from his adventures and joins us.
Thanks very much for being with us, Dr. Paskowitz.
Dr. DORIAN PASKOWITZ (Physician, Hawaii): Thank you, Mr. Simon.
SIMON: How did you manage it? I mean, this is a time when there's very restricted delivery of goods between Israel and Gaza.
Dr. PASKOWITZ: We were able to make it come about by two motec(ph). That's an Israeli for doll. Two mortec Jews - one, a civilian; one, a soldier - and these guys I just badgered and kept saying, you won't keep me out of there, will you? You wouldn't have me come 12,500 miles, one Jew to another? And then I'd grab him and I'd give them a hug and a kiss and he'd say, don't hug me, don't hug me. And we kept after them for two hours. We were able to bring them through the checkpoint and it was a moment of great joy.
SIMON: Dr. Paskowitz, why was this important to you to do?
Dr. PASKOWITZ: Well, things are very bad in Gaza. Bombs were dropping while we were there. Now, people like myself that really are beach rats at heart, we can only work in the model and the mode that we know, and what I know is surfing. And I know that people who surf together, live together peacefully.
SIMON: Dr. Paskowitz, do you hope something comes out of this?
Dr. PASKOWITZ: I don't hope. No. Not at all. I know. Forgive me for saying this in a sort of braggadocio way, but in 1956, I was able to take a board, one board, to Tel Aviv, Israel. The lifeguards just fell in love with it, didn't even let me bring it home. That was 50 years ago.
Now, Israel has more surfers per population at any place in the world, 18 surf shops, is third in the World Cup and has an industry of $2 billion worth of goods each year. And I know, sure as God made little green apples, it's going to happen in Gaza.
SIMON: How are the waves of Gaza?
Dr. PASKOWITZ: The waves are just like the Gulf of Mexico, only like (unintelligible) visits, few and far between.
SIMON: Dr. Paskowitz, it's been awfully nice to talk to you. Thank you so much.
Dr. PASKOWITZ: Thank you very much.
SIMON: And as I've always wanted to say on the air, aloha and shalom.
Dr. PASKOWITZ: Can I put that together and say what we say in Hawaii?
Dr. PASKOWITZ: Shalomaloha(ph).
(Soundbite of laughter)
Dr. PASKOWITZ: Okay.
SIMON: Thank you.
Dr. PASKOWITZ: Bye-bye.
SIMON: Dr. Dorian Paskowitz.
This is NPR News.