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Innovations of Hobie • Parts 1 & 2

You can see an expanded online version of our Innovations of Hobie exhibit by clicking HERE. Part 2 is also up now and can be seen HERE. Part 3 is coming soon!

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Da Cat

Unquestionably one the most infamous of the famous (or is it the other way around) surfers ever, Miklos Sandor Dora, a.k.a. Miki "Da Cat" Dora, a.k.a. "The Black Knight," was one of surfing's most colorful characters. Miki was a study in contrasts, a zen-like smoothness that was anything but Buddhist like when it came to sharing his waves. Railing against the destruction of his beloved lifestyle, he wasn't above receiving a paycheck for being an extra in Hollywood's Beach Blanket Bingo false portrayals of that said lifestyle. Miki was our surfing enigma—loner, world traveler, fugitive, and follower of his own drum—perhaps "Exiled Prince" would be a more fitting title. In 2002, Miki succumbed to his battle with the big "C" at his father's home in Motecito, California. If you ever get the chance, ask Greg Noll about his relationship with Miki and see if the big wave legend doesn't get a little quiet as he shares a tale or two about his good friend. These two boards come to us by way of Miki's ex-girlfriend, Cecilia Clouse, who agreed with Miki's family that the boards should come to the Surfing Heritage Foundation. They look to be circa late '70s-early '80s. One is a 7'7" silver Bruce Jones, and the other is an 8'8" Bill Shrosbree Fresh Pineapple (complete with a black paw logo). Both are single fins and still have the leashes attached. Pretty darn cool.

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Don Thomas

Dear Friends of Don:

I know many of you are not cruisers, but others of you are, including some other old friends we have known, and we just wanted to share with all of you a letter Jim just wrote to Latitude 38, a magazine all us cruisers read, write to and stay connected through no matter where we are or whether we are still cruising.  We know Don will still be checking in to the section entitled Changes in Latitudes and we just want to make sure he knows how much we all miss him.  Be safe all of you.

Don Thomas, single-handed skipper of s/v Tamure (Peterson 44), and our weatherman supreme on the Pacific side of Central and South America for years, died last week in Newport Beach, CA.  He had been suffering from throat cancer since last year.  Don was a great weatherman and a truly wonderful friend. 

My wife Leslee and I (aboard Trilogy, our Cal 2-46) first picked up Don's weather in El Salvador or Costa Rica in 2002, and stayed glued to the SSB every morning for years after to tune in and get the real thing from Don.  Don didn't just read weather reports he picked up from NOAA or someone else's service; he ran weatherfaxes and raw chart data numerous times throughout the day, every day, then gave us an analysis based upon his experience as a military meteorologist and a cruiser for many years, including lots of local weather, tide and current information you only get from someone who's been there.   And he was efficient.  Some days we would hear "if you like what you've got today, you'll like tomorrow even better."  Enough said.  Other days, he would warn of bad things to come, tell us why in detail, give us his thoughts about leaving or hunkering down, and stay with us if we were getting beat up out there on a passage,  just needing to talk.  If Don said it was going to blow like stink, it did, if he said it was going to blow "woo woo", we put out more rode, shortened sail or hove to, and settled in to ride it out.  I remember well a time when he gave a very strong warning to a boat NOT to set out across the Tehuanepec on a northbound passage the following week.  When the boat went anyway, Don stayed with them on the radio every day, every night, helping the crew get through a really bad blow, and never once any hint of "I warned you" or "I told you so," just hours of calm and patient cruiser-talk.

We actually met Don for the first time in person at Bahia Honda, in Panama, between Christmas and New Year in 2002. We pulled in, dropped the hook, looked around and I told Leslee, "look, it's Tamure, let's go introduce ourselves."  We did, and it led to ten years of friendship.  At the little village on Isla Cana, in the Pearl Islands of Panama, Don was known among the local fishermen as "Standup Man", the single-hander gringo who always drove his dinghy standing up as he moved from dive spot to dive spot and to fish around the islands.  I don't know anyone who spent more time in the water.  And, the name was apt, in both languages and with both meanings; Don was, in all ways, a "Standup" man.  

We miss Don terribly, as will all his cruiser friends from his years on Tamure.  So, Standup Man, our very good amigo, we wish for you fair winds (no woo woo), following seas and a very safe passage out there.

Jim Massey and Leslee Bangs
s/v Trilogy

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Any color as long as it's black

Tim Bessell dropped by a few weeks back to donate this early 70s Bodyglove wetsuit, still in cherry condition. He also gave us a preview of the Warhol boards he's been working on. Thanks Tim (when ya gonna donate one of those?) http://www.bessellsurf.com/artist_series.php

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Additional Happy Beach Bums From San Onofre

A Sano Story

You never know what you might stumble upon when visiting the Surfing Heritage Foundation. Earlier this year I stopped by to ask Steve Wilkings (SHF Photo Archivist) about some of the photographs he was scanning and cataloging. Steve pulled out a very unique collection of photos that had just been donated and began telling me how amazing this collection really was. It was a scrapbook of sorts with Polaroid snapshots of families and individuals that frequented San Onofre during the early to mid-sixties. Below each photo he would write names, address, phone number and occupation. He had just finished scanning each of the photos and documenting and cataloging information about each and every photo. I asked him if he could show me an example and he randomly pulled one up on his Mac to show me. Steve could not have helped notice the surprise in my eyes. The photo was of the Atkinson family of San Clemente. They were one of the first families we got to know when our family moved here in 1962. My brother and I were very fortunate to join the Atkinson family and other San Onofre Surf Club members on trips to San Onofre during the 60’s.

It’s funny how one story invariably links together with multitudes of other equally unique and poignant. The Atkinson family also invited my brother Malcolm and me on an annual pilgrimage to the Colorado River. Over the years we managed to navigate our canoes down the Colorado from Black Water Canyon to Yuma Arizona.

The station wagon (the “Beach Wagon”) seen in the photo at left, was not only used to tote surfboards to San O’, but ferry us to the Colorado River on annual week-long expeditions. If you look carefully you can see numerous San O’ stickers on the front windshield. I believe one of the canoes strapped on top of the Beach Wagon belonged to Ron Drummond. Drummond was legendary for surfing canoes on some very large days at Killer Dana and other spots up and down the California coastline. DJ Atkinson became friends with Ron and would frequently borrow a couple of Ron’s canoes for his annual trek to the river…but that’s another story all together. –Duncan Wilson

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Digital Watermarking of our images – Public Notice

As part of our commitment to protecting our image donors, the Surfing Heritage Foundation has begun using digital watermarking on ALL of our images, including those images seen on our website. This watermark is not visible to the eye, but is easily seen by many computer programs such at Photoshop and other image editing programs. In addition, we have also purchased a “watermark spider” that crawls the Internet specifically looking for any images that contain our SHF watermark. The Surfing Heritage Foundation is prepared to take the appropriate action should we find any illegal or unlicensed usage of images from our files.