Saturday, March 05, 2005

Les Williams: Nick Gabaldon

I was fortunate to recently receive more info from Les Williams about Nick Gabaldon. Les wrote:

Malcolm: ... Reviewed your blog on Nick Gabaldon today and found some inconsistencies. I grew up surfing on the Beaches of Santa Monica in the 1945 thru 1955 era, with Pete and TZ as friends. often surfed in front of Ricky's house then, his mother then was known as Mrs. Campbell. Nick came to join us in the water in the late 40's, but learned his surfing at the (now removed) Crystal Pier. I know of no reference to the 'inkwell', and knew many of the SM lifeguards then, and never heard such a derogatory term. Nick was totally accepted by us as a surfer, and a person. Please review what Pezman put in the latest Surfers Journal, with an article by me. Understand that Nick was one of my self-described 'troika'. Surfing has never been race or color sensitive, but is sure is receptive of ability. Nick was a little slow on his feet, as a surfer, but as an accomplished (former) Navy Boxer he was powerful, and fast. As a surfer I would rate him at B+, much like Peter Lawford. By contrast I rated Dick Jaeckel at A-... Mahalo, Les Williams

After I asked Les' permission to share the above, he wrote some additional comments: 

Malcolm: Thanks for the response. Please read the TSJ article to keep the Nick Gabaldon article in context. The Nick article is right out of my (still unpublished) book. Most everything in the book are standalone chapters of my observations of 50 plus years of surfing, as that of an avocational sport -- very much opposed to a vocational sport, or past time. Feel free to use my comments in the blog. To the uninitiated my reference to TZ is Tom Zahn (TZ was one of his nicknames, as well as the 'Golden Boy'). Not that it matters, but in my book I carry Pete Peterson, Tom Zahn and Buzzy Trent as my mentors... As TZ would say -- See Yaz. Les W


  1. Les, if you would be so kind, drop me a line at I am curious about your book

  2. Rick BlockerNovember 14, 2009

    Thank you Les,
    For all you have done for our sport. We will miss you. And thank you for totally accepting Nick as a surfer and as a friend. I have never seen or heard anything different than that. I believe that Nick would be honored to be categorized as having B+ ability and along with someone the likes of Peter Lawford. I wish I was so accomplished.
    As for the term "Inkwell", Thanks for showing your humanity and sensitivity. You and your friends and even the lifeguards may have never have spoken or heard that term. Even today, there is debate as to whether referring to that area's past as the Inkwell, is derogatory. I'm a Black surfer and I don't think so. My mother told me that's what she and her friends called it as they enjoyed its pleasures. And if you talk with other African Americans who used that stretch of beach during those days, they called it the Inkwell proudly, for it was our little tiny piece of paradise on the beach. You too know about that, for you shared it with us. Thanks again Les and may you rest in peace.


Mahalo for your comment!