The 80-year-old Lahaina resident was inducted into the International Surfboard Builders Hall of Fame December 2009 at Doheny State Beach.
''I'm pretty honored by the whole thing,'' Olson said. ''I've been doing it for a long time. I started shaping in 1956.''
Olson was a wood shop teacher at Ranchos Alamitos High School in Garden Grove, Calif., when he first got interested in building surfboards. While he was still teaching, Olson opened a surfboard shop.
''I would shape boards after school, sometimes at night, and on the weekends,'' Olson said. ''Everyone was talking about surfing back in the early 60's, it was new.''
''Back then you could sell them a two-by-four with a one-by for a fin,'' he added with a laugh.
Olson took a teaching leave of absence in 1971 to visit Maui and made the Valley Isle his permanent home. He still surfs his favorite spot, Mala Wharf.
Olson is the fifth surfboard builder from Hawaii to be inducted into the SBHF, joining the father of modern surfing, Duke Kahanamoku, and Oahu's Rabbit Kekai, Ben Aipa and Barry Kanaiaupuni.
Inductees are selected by current members of the SBHF. Olson was selected by Phil Edwards, a noted surfing pioneer and shaper for Hobie Surfboards.
''Ole is the oldest-living board builder that is still making boards. It's great these guys get recognized. When these guys are gone, they take a lot of surf history with them.''