Sunday, July 31, 2011
I was poor so I couldn't afford my own board at first. Then Steve Parkford, the water polo player, gave me his old Ramsey Jay long board. It was red and came with the wagon wheel contraption to tow it behind my bike. I got up real early when it was still dark out and would tow my board from 45th street to the river jettys in hope of catching a few waves before school. There were no wetsuits back then. So I stayed out in the water during the winter months as long as I could until I no longer felt my feet because they were so numb from the icy water. If I caught a good wave I would be inspired and stay out even longer in the hopes that there would be a repeat wave...usually never happened. I would shiver for an hour after getting out, all blue and red with teeth chattering and my body twitching trying to get warm.
Surfing hadn't quite caught on yet, so the waves were all ours to enjoy. In fact you got stoked if someone else was out there with you. I wasn't very good at surfing but I enjoyed it just the same. I mastered skim boarding before anyone even knew about it. There were these skimboarding guys at Victoria Beach in Laguna that I had heard about. So I went down there and they kicked me out and told me to never come back. I believe those dudes started the current skim boarding craze of today. I personally started skim boarding myself in 1963.
I was a part of surfing history with my friends. All of us would go on Safari journeys together up and down the coast looking for waves. Mike Grasso had this big converted US Mail truck that we could travel in. It held all of us and our boards along with the food etc.
Scott Clucas, Steve Parkford, Lee Pope, Mike Grasso, David Hargrave, Steve Ward, Mike Rucker, Jim Trapp, Clint Reynolds and myself hung out at 45th street in front of Scott's house. And of course there were the babes. At the time Scott's was the biggest house on the beach. It was this big white house with Japanese roof lines. Because there was no groins yet, I would use Scott's house as a visual marker to know how far I was drifting. I could start at Rivers and pass Scott's house at 45th street fast on those certain days when the current was eating away the sand towards the pier.
There were a few times where the sand disappeared right up to the foundations of the houses on the beach. It was the worst in the winter of 1967. The Army Corps of Engineers would replenish the beach now and then until they put in the first experimental metal groins. Chief Reed of the life guards swore it wasn't actually sand that was brought in. To prove his point he had planted grass in front of his house on the beach. His lawn spoke reams.
I think that the waves changed after the groins went in. It was a much better break before. Although on certain swells the point could break like Hawaiian waves. It would really get some big sets rolling in.
And then there was the Wedge. All of us got bruised and scratched up, but we were never fearful of the bowl. We would body surf the wedge when no one else would on big swells. Looking back now I realize how nutts we truly were...
Purchase Living It Forever