The first time that I ever saw anyone riding waves on a surfboard was back around 1950 by the
pier at Malibu cove. It was a care-free time when only a handful of lifeguards, movie stars and
college students were lucky enough to belong to that select, underground group known as surfers.
This was before surf shops, foam boards and The Beach Boys. The only way to get a hold on a
balsa board at that time was to know one of the guys on the inside of the loop, such as Dale Velzy
or Joe Quigg. Or if you could find the wood, you could try shaping your own. In my case, my
dad used to take me to Malibu on weekends in the summer. At that time, he was an engineer at
Northrop Aircraft Company and had been working on the original Flying Wing. After gathering
information at the beach, he was able to find some balsa wood at L.A. harbor and shape my first
board in the garage...that was the way it was done. As far as crowds were concerned...there were
none. Some days you would actually hope that more guys would show up so you wouldn't have
to surf alone. It was a time when the water was clear and words such as "ecology'' and ''pollution''
were unheard of. Guys never pushed you out of the way. They would allow you to drop in
because it was cool to ride a wave with a buddy. And you could hone your surfing skills very
quickly because surf spots were never crowded. Compared to today's technology, those early
wood boards were primitive and heavy. But the long rides into the cove enabled us to spend our
summers developing our classic, erect, ballet-like styles. If I wasn't in the water, I would sit on
the beach and study the surfing styles of the early hot-dog masters such as Matt Kevlin and
Mickey Dora. I knew then that surfing was going to be a part of my life forever.
Then along came ''Gidget'' and ''The Beach Boys''. The 60s commercial boom was here. The
lighter foams surfboardshad been invented. Surfboard shops appeared on every block. And the
surfboard manufacturers and their logos became as famous as the hot surfers. The surf culture as
we know it today, had arrived. The good surfers were all being sponsored by their local surf
shops. Surf teams were put together by the various shops complete with all the team apparel.
Surf competitions were held and it was a real status symbol to find your photograph in the new
"Surfer'' Magazine. Surfing was no longer just that neat thing that we did on summer weekends.
Now, it was business. So, I went with the flow. I got a job at one of the major surfboard
manufacturers in the early 60s as a salesman. In the mid 60s, signature models became the rage.
Every surfboard manufacturer had his top guy's name on a specially designed board that was a
cut above the others. I was fortunate enough to be picked to have my name on that special model
that eventually was to be the class of the industry. It was, and still is, one of the finest longboards
that has ever been produced.
During the 70s, short boards had completely revolutionized surfing. Longboards had all but
disappeared. You couldn't find one to ride, let alone have one made. I was still riding my old
tenfoot pintail that I was smart enough to hold on to. Since style was a major part of what I
considered good surfing, I never liked what I saw in short boards. It was a lot of performance,
but no style. It was as if guys were trying to show off rather than just have fun. So, refusing to
give up longboarding, I still dragged my old heavy pintail up to Malibu. I felt like a fish mout of
water. I probably was the only guy in California who refused to give up riding a long-board. I
used to get a lot of criticism from all the other guysin the water that I wasn't keeping up with the
trends. For a long time I actually wondered if I was doing the right thing. But instead of giving in,
I stuck with it and in 1976, I got a hold of a couple of old paddleboard blanks and shaped a couple
of longboards to see if I could sell a few to re-generate an interest in longboards. I can't honestly
claim to be responsible for the resurgence in longboarding, but by the mid 80s it was back. It's
been said that if you do something long enough, it can only get better.
Today, I'm still producing those 60s style longboards along with a line of t-shirts and accessories.
The current hi-tech materials allow us to make millennium style, lightweight, high performance
surfboards. I can make these kinds of boards too, but my traditional longboards have been time
tested. They reflect a style of surfing that is part of my soul. They are memory inspired and are
designed, not only to help improve your surfing, but enhance your style for the type of recreational
surfing that is just plain fun. So please check out my web site. And feel free to contact me if you
have any questions. I would love to discuss designing a board for you that will help you get back
a little bit of an era of surfingthat many of us still cherish.