Monday, September 28, 2009

W.J. Lucas Ford, Sr.

Skipper Funderburg has unearthed another early Twentieth Century photographic gem. It is of William Johnstone Lucas Ford, Senior (Alexander Hume Ford's nephew), riding Canoes in 1923.

William Johnstone Lucas Ford, Senior, resided on the Big Island, Hawai'i. He is listed in Alexander Hume Ford's 1945 published obituary.

Skipper wrote the following about the image:

"My hunt on the old history trail of Alexander Hume Ford carry's on to a further point. With happiness, I share this 1923 surfing image of Alexander Hume Ford's nephew, William Johnstone Lucas Ford, Senior. Grande Lucas was residing on the Big Island of Hawaii at the time of Alexander Hume Fords death in 1945. I am well aware the number of surfing photographs from this era are very limited, so I am delighted to present this rare historical treasure to the surfing world. Above and beyond my discovery, I hope a revived public awareness of Alexander Hume Ford will help lead to further discoveries about this important surfing family."

My best, Joseph "Skipper" Funderburg

Skipper added:

Attached is the back of the photocard. It reads:

"This is a picture of your son W.L. Ford, riding the surfboard at Waikiki Beach."

"P.S. It cost four dollars to have it made."

"4/14/23 Waikiki Honolulu T.H."

The T.H. is an abbreviation for Territory of Hawaii.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Allen "Dempsey" Holder

Tom Keck sent me this classic image of Dempsey Holder. Dempsey was the first person to surf the Tijuana Sloughs (1937) and lead the charge on that "first" of the California big wave spots in the 1940s and into the 1960s.

(Click on image for full view)

Click here to read more about Dempsey and the Tijuana Sloughs:
 Riders of the Tijuana Sloughs, updated 2017.
 The Riders of the Tijuana Sloughs, updated 2005

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Waikiki Surf Club

Ian Lind continues to post photographs from his father's photographic collection. It is a great collection of historic images. Please go to John Lind's Waikiki Surf Club Collection

[ The following is from the LEGENDARY SURFERS Chapter "Post World War II," a section on The Waikiki Surf Club, 1947 ]

No two ways about it, World War II had interrupted the lives of most everyone in the "civilized" world and, in the case of surfing, put a lot of things on hold. Following the war, however, there was resurgent interest in and some changes in how surfing was organized in its traditional early 20th Century capitol, Waikiki.

By the end of 1946, the two main original Waikiki surf clubs had changed considerably. The native Hui Nalu had limited its activities mostly to outrigger canoe racing. The haole-influenced Outrigger Canoe Club had become more of an exclusive prestige-type establishment, "with a wide range of social and athletic interests." So, in 1947, the Waikiki Surf Club was formed for the same reasons that the other two had originally been put together. "Its purpose," wrote surfing historian Ben Finney, "was to promote surfing as well as other Hawaiian water sports. It provided board lockers and clothes changing facilities near the beach, for anyone who could pay the small initiation fee and monthly dues."

It was obvious that the Waikiki Surf Club filled a void, when, under the leadership of John Lind, it enrolled 600 members in three months -- some of whom were California surfers that were just starting to come over to the Islands. "We had [island local] members like George Downing, Wally Froiseth, Russ Takaki," recalled relocated California surfer Walter Hoffman. "The Outrigger was down the beach, at $200 per month -- a rich guy's club, very exclusive, you had to be voted in. Our club was for the regular guys who surfed, so it was a great place to meet everybody -- where all the transplant Californians hung out."

"The club was downstairs in the basement of this house... and consisted of some lockers, showers and a place to leave your board." A local guy named Taka was club attendant around the time Walt Hoffman and Ted Crane first came over in 1948.

The Waikiki Surf Club was followed by other newer clubs and the ongoing health of the older ones, but much of the post-war growth of surfing at Waikiki was, undoubtedly, due to the existence of the Waikiki Surf Club. The club did more than just provide a place for surfers to hang and keep their gear close to the beach. The club also initiated and sponsored several surfing and watermen events that stimulated public interest and fostered competition. Among these were: the Diamond Head Surfboard Championships, the Molokai-Oahu Outrigger Canoe Race, the Makapu Bodysurfing Championships, and what was to become famous as not only the first big wave surfing contest, but the first truly international surf contest: the International Surfing Championships at Makaha.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Searching for Michael Peterson

"Michael Peterson ruled the surf scene throughout the early to mid-1970s with his savage, groundbreaking surfing. An undiagnosed schizophrenic, Michael couldn’t handle the fame his surfing powers attracted, and he retreated into a world of hard drugs, fast cars and shadows. He eventually hit rock bottom after a car chase, which took 35 police cars to stop him. It’s an intoxicating and addictive tale for anyone who has ever felt like a fish out of water..."

Searching for Michael Peterson: Indie Film About Legendary Surfer | Ventvox

Searching for Michael Peterson Trailer from jolyon hoff on Vimeo.

“The story of Michael Peterson makes Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas look like Alice In Wonderland.” Describes Peterson biographer, Sean Doherty.

Director, Jolyon Hoff recalls when he first heard about the surfing enigma,

“As a teenager, my friends and I would drive our cars up the Australian coast to places like Seal Rocks or Angourie or Lennox Head and Byron Bay. The trips were all about growing up – there were girls, drunken nights, experiments with drugs, warm water and beautiful waves. We were after the surf but it was often the other unexpected things that happened along the way that became the highlight of the trip – stories to be endlessly recounted on our next trip.”

Hoff continues, “It was on these trips that I first heard, from the older surfers we met, the stories of Michael Peterson, this mysterious character and incredible surfer. We’d sit around the campfire and they would speak with reverence while we listened in awe. It was like a surfing ghost story in many ways.”

“Years later, I decided to throw the boards on the roof and the cameras in the boot and head out to the point breaks, beaches and carparks to capture all these wild, weird and mysterious stories.”

For five glorious years “MP” led Australia’s charge into the shortboard era and won virtually every event he contested, including three Bells Beach Pros back to back. His brilliant surfing provided the centerpiece for Albert Falzon’s "Morning of the Earth" film in 1972, and MP never looked back. His final tour victory, at the inaugural Stubbies Pro at Burleigh Heads in 1977, is regarded as the high point of the early professional era. Increased erratic behavior and paranoia led to an infamous car chase with police, which landed him in jail. He was later diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1982.

Thirty years on, MP is still vitally interested in the sport and culture of surfing and is a fixture at most Queensland events, enjoying the action with his mother, Joan. He is rightly regarded as an iconic figure in Australian surfing, and Jolyon Hoff’s film, while it pulls no punches, is an intensely moving tribute to the man.

Surfer Magazine ranks Michael as the #16 all-time greatest surfer in the world. Click here to view the article:

SEARCHING FOR MICHAEL PETERSON features original footage of Peterson’s life as well as interviews with his friends and surfing rivals. The 55 minute documentary has already achieved success and stellar reviews...

Adding a special touch to the U.S. tour is Australian singer/songwriter Beau Young (2 x world champion surfer) in concert. Beau retired from professional surfing in 2003 to focus on a fulltime career in music. He has gone on to record 2 albums and performed at many of Australia’s most respected music festivals and toured through Japan and Europe. Beau has an obvious affinity with the film and story of Michael Peterson, being the son of one of the world’s most recognized and famous surfers (and Peterson’s predecessor), Nat Young. This will be Beau’s first official U.S. tour.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Preisendorfer on Tails

Rusty Preisendorfer's article "THE HISTORY AND FUNCTIONALITY OF TAILS," at, breaks down the lower third of surfboards from squashes to swallows. Lots of illustrations and comments.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Chris Hawk Honored

[ From Surfers Hall of Fame to Honor Chris Hawk | surfer-magazine, September 3, 2009 ]

In a special tribute to one of the southland’s legendary surfer-shapers, the Surfers’ Hall of Fame is set to induct Chris Hawk at 10 a.m. on Friday, September 18, 2009. The induction ceremony – which will include the traditional “hands and feet” in cement and presentation of the coveted Surfers’ Hall of Fame trophy – will take place in front of Huntington Surf & Sport (corner of PCH and Main).

According to Aaron Pai, Surfers’ Hall of Fame Founder, the unusual timing of the induction is due to Chris’ terminal illness (he is suffering from throat cancer). “Chris Hawk is a local surf legend of Huntington Beach,” said Pai. “Back in the day he was one of the best surfers in Huntington Beach and he has been a master shaper since the 70’s. We are super stoked to be able to induct Chris Hawk into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame.”

As one of the renowned Hawk brothers surfing clan that includes Sam and Tom, Chris helped shape the Huntington Beach surf culture in the 1960s and ‘70s. While the brothers often travelled to Hawaii and charged Sunset and Pipeline, Chris chose to make his mark as a master surfboard shaper.

During one of these famous Hawaiian trips, Chris met legendary shaper Dick Brewer and was taken under his tutorage alongside Reno Abellira and Davie Abbott. Chris soon became a household name on the mainland and the “go to” guy for many hard-core surfers up and down the California coast for years and years.

Chris was recently diagnosed with throat Cancer and began his fight against this terrible disease. Now immersed in a debilitating chemotherapy treatment program, doctors have prohibited Chris from shaping or engaging in any type of physical activity.

In 1997 the Surfers’ Hall of Fame celebrated its first induction inside of specialty retailer Huntington Surf & Sport where several slabs remain. Four years later with the blessing of the City Council and a stunning bronze statue of sport’s spiritual leader Duke Kahanamoku serving as a backdrop, the ceremony moved outside to the corner of PCH and Main; less than 100 feet from the famed Huntington Beach Pier.

Chris Hawk’s Surfers’ Hall of Fame induction ceremony is open to the public, free-of-charge. Further information is available at