Ben is related to a famous historian named Joseph Schafer who taught history at U of Oregon and has a building named for him and wrote a lot of books about the history of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest and was director of the Wisconsin Historical Society.
That is the brain Ben inherited, and he has been involved in a wide variety of history projects: Books, museums, documentaries.
For the Surfing Heritage and Cultural Center in San Clemente he produced Trunk It: A History of Surfwear from 1901 to $6 billion. To accompany that exhibit, Ben made a documentary called Trunk It, which shows moving images of Waikiki from 1906 to World War II, and then San Onofre, Malibu and Rincon in 1947. Set to music from Duke Ellington, Elvis Presley. vintage Hawaiian noises and the Ramones, Trunk It has become legend among Hawaii and surfing history aficionados.
Ben worked with Roxy founder Randy Hild and Hollister brander John Moore to research and produce materials for the M Nii brand. A fun project. A lot of Hawaiian and fashion history.
Click here for a cool blog post, about the haole forcing good Hawaiians to wear wool (yuck!) on the beach and in the surf.
Ben has collaborated on history exhibits for women surfers and big-wave surfers at the California Surfing Museum in Oceanside.
And most of his 20 books have some kind of historical element to them.
Man, he's just a research dork who's good at writing history. It's hereditary. And by the way, Ben's famous historian and great uncle Joseph Schafer is the son of Matthias Schafer, who was a close friend and school chum of Karl Marx at Kaiser Wilhelm Gymnasium in Trier, Germany in the 1880s. They exchanged letters for years, but Matthias didn't dig what Marx had to say, so he burned all the letters. Ooops