Sunday, August 30, 2009

Kamehameha Day 1944

Ian Lind has unearthed some classic photographs taken on Waikiki Beach during WWII, that feature Duke Kahanamoku, George Downing, Tarzan Smith and some beach beauties displaying trophies from King Kamehameha Day, June 1944.

Ian wrote of the photographs that they were "among the old photos and clippings in my father’s collection... the [photographs were] taken by a U.S. Army Signal Corps photographer under the authority of the commanding general at Fort Shafter, and cleared by military censors for public release, according to a stamp on the back. This appears to place it during the period of martial law in Hawaii, which extended from December 7, 1941 through late 1944. Note the barbed wire fencing in the background, the only visible sign of the wartime conditions."

Please visit Ian's website for more details on the pictures, additional photographs and comments about them:

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hawaii 1916 Footage

Hawaiian footage from 1916. A brief surfing sequence at very end:

YouTube - Hawaii: Paradise of the Pacific (1916)

The translations of the title cards (thanks to PaulW)

De Hawaianeilanden in Vogelvlucht:
Birds-eye view of the Hawaiian Islands.

Deze eilanden behooren tot de Sandwich eilanden. Het landschap is zeer bergachtig:
These islands belong to the Sandwich Isles. The landscape is very mountainous.

Een tochtje op de Hilo baan:
A ride on the Hilo track.

De inboorlingen visschen in de brandingen met behulp van werpnetten:
The natives fish in the surf with the help of nets.

Typen uit Hawaian:
Characters from Hawaii.

Met een snelheid van 35 K.M. per uur door de branding:
With a speed of 20 mph through the surf.

Thanks and appreciations to Damon Tucker for posting and Bob Russell for giving the heads-up on it. Please visit Damon's website "Pahoa" for comments, including some from old timers.

See also comments at YouTube: Paradise of the Pacific and check related videos.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Santa Barbara Surf Club

Santa Barbara Surf Club History

[ From: The Santa Barbara Surf Club - Santa Barbara ]

More than 100 miles above the sprawling acropolis of Los Angeles, with its ever north creeping fringe communities, the greater Santa Barbara area has a long and storied surf history. This is not surprising given the many picturesque right-hand point breaks that can be found along this stretch of land that starts just north of the city of Ventura. While at times the geography of this region makes it a surfer’s paradise, the fickle seasonal nature of its waves can make being a surfer in Santa Barbara as frustrating as it is rewarding. The average surfer in Santa Barbara regards the winter months as primo surf season and the spring and summer as the long down time of waiting and remembering the swells of yesterday.

It was within this realm that in the year 1960 the Santa Barbara County Surf Club (SBCSC) was originally formed by a group of locals that included, among others, Arlen Knight, Tim Knight, the Perko brothers, Bob and John (after whom the surf spot “Perkos” is named), Stu Fredricks, Rennie Yater, Ken Kesson, Jerry Shalhoob, John Bradbury, George Greenough, Don Bittleston, and Willy Norland. Joining this original group in the early 1960s were the second generation of club members that included, among others, Andy Neumann, Alan Hazard, Dan Hazard, Michael Cundith, and Shaun Claffey. Like a ten year old boy’s tree-house there were no girls in this original club, but this was not a sexist arrangement. Instead, it was indicative of the small number of female surfers in the area at the time. As an organization, the SBCSC has its roots in one of the most prestigious surf destinations in southern California: the Hollister Ranch.

In the early 1960s, before the magazines and the big surf companies arose and began to mold “surf culture”, the Santa Barbara County Surf Club had entered into an informal marriage of sorts with the Ranch; the club members, who numbered 60 in total, served as the security force for Clinton Hollister. In return for their service, SBCSC members gained the right to surf the many points along this remote Santa Barbara County coastal stretch. This arrangement grew out of what the founding members of the SBCSC called Clinton Hollister’s “open attitude” towards surfers and surfing, which first became apparent to them in the late 1950s.

Bob Perko’s first waves at the Ranch came in the summer of 1957, when one day his surf buddy Ken Kesson suggested a trek north to look for waves instead of their normal southern jaunt to the beaches of Ventura and Oxnard. After this first session, Ranch trips became more frequent for Perko and the other Santa Barbara locals he rode waves with. As surfing boomed in the late 1950s and early 1960s, stories of the gold to be found up beyond Gaviota spread. By 1962 Clinton Hollister had become increasingly concerned with the havoc and antics being carried out on his land by out of town surfers from places like LA and the vast beyond of Southern California. This is when the partnership between the SBCSC and Hollister occurred.

The arrangement was simple; the club would police itself and its members while at the Ranch, as well as monitor closely the visiting surfers that passed through. Older members of the SBCSC remember Arlen Knight as the enforcer back in these days, a role he took on, perhaps, due to the major part he played in the club’s arrangement with the Hollister. That is, it was Knight who first approached Clinton Hollister with the idea of starting a club to police Hollister Ranch land. When Hollister agreed to the idea, Arlen Knight, a founding member of the SBCSC, decided to assign his surf club with this new security detail. The deal elevated the SBCSC from being a small informal association of young surfers, to a larger most prestigious organization as to many local Santa Barbara surfers gaining club membership meant gaining access to the Ranch. By 1962, as the original SBCSC members completed the development of the rules and regulations for the Ranch, a decision to limit their membership to a maximum of 60 people was also made. Shortly thereafter as the club began to formally enforce the newly created surfing rules and regulations of the Hollister Ranch, there was already a waiting list of over 100 people hoping to join the SBCSC. Rules, regulations, and quotas aside, these early members of the SBCSC talk fondly about their days of surfing and policing the Ranch and enjoying its year round walls. Nothing lasts forever, however, and the union between SBCSC and the Ranch spanned a mere 10 years, 1962-1972. These were the salad days of the Santa Barbara County Surf Club.

During the 1960s another area that many club members were involved in was competition; however, the SBCSC itself did not have a surf team. Most of the big name surf clubs of this period differed from the SBCSC in this respect. The Malibu Surfing Association, for example, was formed in 1961 by a group of surfers that included its first president Butch Linden, a member of the Santa Barbara Surf Club since 1988. In 1963, the MSA hosted its first Classic at First Point Malibu, a contest that continues to be held each September. The Windansea Surf Club is said to have been formed in the mi- 1960s in order to allow its members to compete in the MSA Classic; among its roster of surfers at this time was local Santa Barbara goofy foot Mike Haskell. Many of the SBCSC’s contest oriented surfers attended events up and down the coast under the flag of the Hope Ranch Surf Club (HRSC), an organization with a storied, yet often forgotten, place within California surf history. In 1965, the HRSC’s team roster for the 3rd annual MSA Classic included Denny Aaberg, Bob Baron, John Bradbury, Lance Carson, Ross Cave, Shaun Claffey, Alan Hazard, Andy Neumann, Kevin Sears, and Rennie Yater. Linda Merrill, Kathy Beck, Terri Gillard, Sheri Stump, and Kathy Moutner represented the HRSC within the girl’s divisions of this contest, while listed as alternates for the men were Dan Hazard, Michael Cundith, Tim Donovan, Stanley Donovan, and Bob Cooper.

Things are never stagnant and when change occurs it often has long lasting effects. Such was the case when surfing underwent its “shortboard revolution” in the late 1960s. By the early 1970s, with the sale of the Hollister Ranch (1972), the movement of surfboards towards becoming smaller and smaller, and the trend of big name shapers of the 1960s being replaced by backyard /garage shapers, the Santa Barbara County Surf Club entered into a long hibernation period. A generation or so later, in 1988, a new club (re)emerged, the Santa Barbara Surf Club (SBSC), under the leadership of SBCSC members Andy Neumann, Gary Ross, Craig Angell, Shawn White, Dick Lovell, and Jeff Kruthers. Since then the SBSC has been a vibrant part of the local surf scene. Over the past 21 years, surfers Andy Neumann, Burt Davis, Debbie Trauntvein, Kenji Webb, Simone Reddingus, Dean Ehler, and Jason MacMurray have all served as president of the SBSC and helped guide it along. Trauntvein, the current president, is in her second reign at the top of the club, and has devoted more than 10 years to the position. Ironically, while those who helped recreate the SBSC in 1988 made the decision to drop the “County” from the club’s name, they at the same time, opted to use the logo of the original SBCSC for their decal, a design created by Dick Lovell in the early 1960s. This was done to make clear that while this was a new outfit, it was nonetheless very much rooted within its 60’s born predecessor.

Since 1988, the Santa Barbara Surf Club has been involved in a variety of causes and events in and out of the water. Its dry land endeavors have included such things as beach clean ups at local spots like Bates Beach, Ledbetter, and Rincon. Some years have also seen the club adopt portions of the 101 freeway. In the water, the club has also had an active history of service. From 1997 to 2006, for example, the SBSC was a constant participant in the Groundswell Society’s Rincon Cleanwater Classic, winning the event within the Surf Club Division in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006, while raising considerable money towards clean water. The club also supports a variety of causes and organizations throughout California via its involvement in the various contests hosted by the many club’s that make up the Coalition of Surfing Clubs (CSC). Even though, one of the main reasons the club was (re)formed in the late 1980s was to allow local surfers to compete in these contests, it’s participation in these contests for many years was often spotty.

Since 2003 or so, however, the club has become more involved in these events, focusing on attending more events and selecting competitive, full rosters as much as possible. There are a lot of great surfers in the Santa Barbara area, a fact which both locals and non-locals have become increasingly aware of with the SBSC’s increased participation in CSC contests. The last six years or so have also seen the SBSC consistently moving up the CSC ladder, finishing in 11th place overall in 2003, 9th in 2004, 7th in 2005, 5th in 2006, and tied for 3rd with MSA in 2007. That same year, the club’s competition team continual growing presence was underscored when it won the team title at the MSA Classic. Not only did this break the SBSC’s streak of being runner-up for three straight years at MSA (2004, 2005, 2006), but it was also only the 3rd time in 20 years that MSA failed to win their own event. Alongside this increased focus on attending contests, the SBSC has remained committed to providing as many of its members as possible the opportunity to compete. In 2007, 92 different club members represented the SBSC in CSC associated contests.

Amusingly in 2007, while in the midst of completing its best overall year of competition in its history, a little piece of the Santa Barbara surfing personality reared its ugly head. Going into the final event of the CSC season, the club had had strong showings in all the events attended for the year (ending up in 6th place finish at DLSA, 3rd place at the Logjam in Santa Cruz, 4th place at the Memorial Day contest in Santa Cruz, 3rd at Call to the Wall at Malibu, and 1st place at the MSA Classic). This created a situation in which heading into the Windansea’s San Miguel Contest, the SBSC, DLSA, MSA, and the OLSC were all in the running for the overall 2007 team title. To win the title, the SBSC needed to merely attend the San Miguel Contest and do one better than their 2nd place team finish at the 2006; a task that seemed very doable on paper. However, each of the past years the SBSC had attended this contest getting surfers to attend had never been easy. The reason for this is simple; it’s not that it’s in Mexico and would require a long drive to attend, it is that it is held in November, a time when the northwest swells might start showing up. So, while the competing clubs gathered in Mexico on November 23-24, 2007, they did so without the SBSC in attendance. Instead, many club members joined their fellow Santa Barbara surfers in view of the waves, perched on their lookout posts up and down the coast awaiting the arrival of a northwest swell. Yea, it’s hard to make a Santa Barbara surfer leave home when the Aleutians start to show life.

• The club meets on the last Thursday of every month at Rusty’s Pizza (Carrillo and Bath location)
• Club dues are $30 a year for individual / $40 for families
• In 2008, the SBSC followed up its exceptional 2007 results with an even stronger year of competition within the Coalition of Surfing Clubs contest series, ending the year tied for second place in the overall standings with the Doheny Longboard Surfing Association and the Windansea Surf Club.
• For more information about the club or membership contact Deb Trauntvein ( or Andrew Buck ( – as these are personal email accounts, please make sure to include reference to the club in the subject heading of your email to make clear your inquiry isn’t thought to be spam).


To read more about Hollister Ranch history, please go to:

LEGENDARY SURFERS: Early Hollister Ranch History
by Laurie Lemmerman-Castaneda, October 19, 2007.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Rick Griffin's Trinity

Rick Griffin – surfer, cartoonist, psychedelic poster artist, legend. Born near Palos Verdes in 1944, Griffin took-up surfing at age 14. During the 50s while he was in high school, Mad magazine heavily influenced his comic stylings– but he soon found his own voice, creating his own surf style that would become iconic. Through his undeniable talent and connections, Griffin was soon working for surf legend, Greg Noll, among others. After leaving high school he joined Surfer Magazine as a staff artist – creating the legendary California surf scene character Murphy, and working his way up to Art Director by the time he was of 20. But by 1964, Griffin decided it was time to move on and see what the world outside of So Cal’s tight-knit surfer scene had for him...


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Surfing in Santa Cruz

Thomas Hickenbottom has written "Surfing in Santa Cruz," a pictorial history of Santa Cruz surf history. Here are two articles about the book. Please visit the websites for full text, images and comments:


Hickenbottom's book a portable Santa Cruz surf museum

By Gary B. Niblock, 08/15/2009, Santa Cruz Sentinel

... With his new book, "Surfing in Santa Cruz," Hickenbottom presents a pictorial history of the sport from South County to Steamer Lane. Written by a native son, the book offers the reader an ultimate insider's look at the roots and evolution of modern day surfing in Santa Cruz.

"It was an era for only the boldest and most dedicated surfers," said Hickenbottom of Bonny Doon in the book's introduction. "This volume of photographs is a testament to those people from the earliest of times who helped define and transform surfing and beach life in Santa Cruz."

Hickenbottom's stories and pictures evolve from the slabs of redwood used by the three Hawaiian princes who christened Santa Cruz's waters to the heavy wood boards of the 1950s to the light "foamies" that emerged in the early 1960s.

Hickenbottom's sincere focus isn't the boards, however, but the people who rode them. He shares snapshots of some of the area's premiere surfing families, including the O'Neills and the Van Dykes. He digs up pictures of pro and local surfers waiting for their turn at contests and shows members of the Santa Cruz Surf Club gathering at the surf barn that used to sit at the corner of West Cliff and Bay Street.

One photo shows a group of longtime Westside surfers, including Al Fox, hanging out under a beach umbrella

"After Fox retired from the County of Santa Cruz, he rarely missed a day sunning at Cowell's," Hickenbottom wrote. "He was down there so much he would tell people, If you need me, I'll be at the office,' which meant under the beach umbrella."

Hickenbottom, 61, succeeds at capturing Santa Cruz's surf history in part because he lived it. He started surfing in 1959 as an 11-year-old "gremmie" [young surfer]. He progressed quickly, and as a member of the premier O'Neill Surf Team, was one of the first sponsored surfers. He competed up and down the coast, surfing against and often beating the best surfers of those days.

His meteoric surfing career was disrupted by the war in Vietnam, but Hickenbottom never lost his passion for surfing -- especially in Santa Cruz. That's why decades later, Hickenbottom delved into piecing together his latest book, taking his own knowledge and gleaning additional stories from some older members of the SCSC and information found at the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum.

"Surfing in Santa Cruz is a multifaceted experience," he wrote. "The community has some of the greatest surfers in the world as residents -- professional surfers who are constantly seeking out ultimate honors and personal triumphs. It is also a community that supports even the most physically compromised individual, who would like to experience the stoke of riding a wave."

"Surf Citizens" Column, 8/12/2009

... Right after Thomas Hickenbottom signed with Arcadia Publishing last fall to compile a pictorial history of surfing in Santa Cruz, the bottom fell out of his plans. Hickenbottom, a Santa Cruz native and professional surfer during the '60s, '70s and '80s, knew he'd have no problem gathering photographs from the 1950s and 1960s; his friends had plenty of those. But the collection he was relying on for 90 percent of the vintage photos from the 1940s and earlier --photos belonging to original Santa Cruz Surfing Club member Harry Mayo -- was suddenly off limits, tied up in litigation over rights to the images and the club name.

It may have been a blessing in disguise. Nerve-racking though it was, it forced Hickenbottom to reach out to other surfers, some of whom had moved away from Santa Cruz years before. Slowly the significance of his task dawned on him.

"I didn't realize what a cosmic thing I was doing for the whole surfing community, to be able to talk to all these people and sit in their living rooms and realize what incredible people were involved in this thing called Santa Cruz surfing," he says. "It's done for posterity, man! It's so bloody cool!"

Hickenbottom, a tanned, good-natured man with laughing hazel eyes and the upright, eternally youthful vibe of the soul surfer, speaks unselfconsciously about the Great Spirit and the role of service when he talks about the book. But it works on a material level, too, as a history of how boards themselves shaped the sport, the evolution from redwood plank to balsa to foam blank to shortboard fostering a constant expansion of maneuverability and athleticism. His book ends in 1968, after a decade of foam longboards had made possible the stylistic riding of the era. "In some ways it was more of an art form than an athletic endeavor," he says. Even the hotdogging--that quaint term--of the day was graceful.

Of course surfing didn't end in 1968. Hickenbottom himself went on to adapt to the shortboard revolution of the 1970s and 1980s, and he's as excited about surfing today, tow-ins and all, as he ever was. "It's going in all different directions!" he says. "Who knows where it could go?"

Ultimately, though, the book's significance, at least to its author, resides in the story of a developing Santa Cruz surfing community, one that embraces the physically limited along with the supremely gifted. "If someone were to ask me to write the history of Santa Cruz surfing, I'd tear out this page and say, 'Here it is, man!'" says Hickenbottom. He turns to a page with two plates, one of Dick Keating on a monster wave at Steamer Lane and one of Danny Cortazzo helping a young amputee catch a two-foot swell. "You can go into the consciousness, man, and this is where we need to be going. We need to be changing things for the better. And I think the Santa Cruz surfing community is like a metaphor for that."

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Costco Board

[ From: "Costco Sparks a Surfing Revolution?" By Steve Casimiro, The Adventure Life, August 5, 2009 ]

Every day at Doheny State Beach, there’s a blue flotilla—dozens upon dozens of surfers bobbing in the lineup just outside the Dana Point harbor at the southern end of Orange County, California, all on blue foam boards purchased for $100 at Costco. Most of the surfers are half the height of the eight-foot board, but there are tweens and teens and 50-somethings on them, too. The boards are soft and slightly squishy and perfect for beginners—this isn’t a lineup of Kelly Slaters—and when a wave rolls through it brings mayhem. There are collisions and flying boards. Every wave is a party wave, with five, six, seven people all on the same mushburger, all struggling to balance atop the foamy surge. On any given summer afternoon, there will be 60 or 70 surfers in the lineup, and from the right angle it looks like D-Day.

It’s a beautiful sight.

Surfing is exploding in popularity and at this local break it’s directly connected to the introduction of the hundred dollar soft board at Costco. Until the arrival of foam boards, which are much less likely to injure and far more durable, a grom had little choice but to buy a fiberglass board, which can easily set you back a grand. Even when the first foam learner boards started showing up, they still cost into the hundreds and were typically found at surf shops, which for the uninitiated can be as intimidating as a hard-core bike shop. As a result, the kids who surfed generally came from parents who surfed and they learned on hand-me-down boards. Everyone else, well, they had to plunk down a big cash outlay–risky, given the fickleness of children–or stick to cheap boogie boards and body surfing.

The blue bombers from Costco changed all that. Now, for a fraction of what you’d spend sending your kid to a surfing camp, you can have a board on call. Because they’re cheap and ultra-durable, you don’t have to worry about them getting lost, stolen, or damaged (my sister in law lost hers off the roof of her car on the freeway—it didn’t get a scratch). Even for adults, too, the Costco board is a great option for learning–though not a true longboard, it’s plenty long enough to get you in and on a wave. And if you discover surfing isn’t your thing, so what–it’s only a hundred bucks.

On our street, almost every kid has one. The girl next door started surfing with hers at age seven. Five people have already learned to surf on ours. It’s a safe bet this is happening wherever there are Costcos and waves—the big box store is regularly sold out of the boards. A flyby last weekend turned up just one, which had been returned to customer service; a worker urged me to grab it fast before it was snatched up. It’s a full fledged phenomenon.

A light day at Doheny.

And quite possibly a revolution. Surfing is one of the most difficult sports to learn. Just balancing on the board is a challenge, let alone paddling through the breakers, figuring out where to wait for waves, how to paddle into a wave, and when to stand up. And that’s all before you actually surf. By putting a board in every garage, Costco has dramatically lowered the first barrier to learning. Indeed, my 11-year-old took lessons every summer for three years, but it wasn’t until he had his own board and the repetition of time in the water that things clicked. Now he’s hooked. Everywhere, I look, I see the same thing happening.

Cotstco has been criticized for importing cheap high performance epoxy boards from China. Ever since Grubby Clark shut down Clark Foam, the main supplier to the raw blanks used to make fiberglass boards, the industry has been turbulent. Companies like Surftech mass produce boards, many overseas, and the lament that hand shaping is dying is common.

Ironically enough, my son and I surfed in the middle of the blue flotilla last Saturday and later that night I went to the world premier of the ragged but very cool documentary on surfboard shapers called Shaped. It’s an oral history from the shapers themselves—there’s no narration—and though there are the inevitable complaints about industrial board-building, legendary shape and surfer Mickey Muñoz seemed the most pragmatic and insightful of all. Look, he said, I design one great shape that works for a lot of people, it gets manufactured in mass by Surftech, and then I have the freedom to practice my art on boards for people who want that level of craftmanship. Everyone wins, he seemed to be saying.

Well, that’s a slightly different issue than with Costco learner boards. The spongy boards are really only a threat to other mass-produced sponge boards. Nobody seems too up in arms, unless they’re beefing about more people in the lineup. But the underlying sentiment is what’s to be celebrated: Surfing is…surfing is unlike any other sport. You come out of the water rinsed, clean, fresh, and connected. Getting people on boards, on the right boards, is good for them and great for surfing. How funny that Costco would be the one behind the celebration that is the chaos of Doheny on a summer afternoon.


For full text, plus images and large number of comments, please go to:

Costco Sparks a Surfing Revolution? | the adventure life