Dave Heiser passed away this week (July 15, 2013). He was a true waterman,
big wave surfer, lifeguard, volleyball player . He graduated from USC,
lettering in gymastics and swimming. He assisted Bud Browne in getting the
southern california lineups, and was a teacher at John Adams in Santa Monica.
His last few years were spent in a wheelchair as a result of a stroke, but he
could be seen daily in Palisades Park talking story and visited by all his
friends. RIP Dave — Cary Weiss (Dave Heiser, second from left)
Montgomery “Buttons” Kaluhiokalani, lost his battle with cancer on November 2, 2013. Surfer Magazine did a nice write up with a link to a recent interview with him that you can access HERE. And Surfline has a great pictorial HERE and then check out a VIDEO on Matt Warshaw's Encyclopedia of Surfing. Buttons was new school before new school existed, throwing skateboard moves on waves, along with Bertlemann, and Mark Liddle, that would inspire the Dog Town crew and vice-versa.
There will be a memorial and paddleout on Saturday November 9, 11:30am-3pm in Malibu, at Surfrider beach. Celebrate the life of Buttons Kaluhiokalani and support his wife
Hiriata Hart and family.
Shaper Bruce Grant, passed away quite unexpectedly on October 29. We had just seen Bruce at our hosting of the Longboard Collectors Club meeting at the SHACC just a few days earlier. There will be a paddle out on Nov. 16 at 3pm at Torrance Beach, just down the ramp of the parking lot. Here's a nice piece Surfline.com did on Bruce. RIP Bruce Grant
Bob Meistrell, co-founder of Dive N' Surf and Body Glove wetsuits, along with his brother Bill, passed away at the age of 84 (Bill left this world back in 2006). Both are inductees in both the diving and surfing halls of fame, and were awarded the Surf Industry Manufacturer Association (SIMA) Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003. The brothers were avid surfers and all around watermen. Bob was also awarded Redondo Beach's Man of the Year award, through his efforts to replace the bust of surfing pioneer, George Freeth. Body Glove is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, you can find a great timeline on their history by clicking HERE.
Surfer and surfboard design legend Allan Byrne, 64, has died in a Balinese hospital after a motorcycle accident last Friday left him with a broken arm and fractured skull. AB was in Bali to compete in the Rip Curl Padang Padang Cup.
He initially seemed in good spirits after the unwitnessed accident, but
lapsed into unconsciousness soon after being taken to hospital and had
since suffered bleeding and swelling on the brain.
Wife Jane and their three sons, along with brother Ian, were at his side.
Al was renowned for his mastery of the complex six-channel concave
surfboard design, which blew minds under numerous surfers' feet in the
late 1970s and 1980s and continues to be sought after by clients both
high-profile and hardcore.
He was also a complete tube pig whose second place at the 1981 Pipe
Masters was just one highlight in a life spent getting barrelled in
Indonesia, Hawaii and on the magical Gold Coast points, where he made
his home from 1975.
It is understood AB shrugged off ill-health in order to get a crack at
Padang's pits with only three other people in the water -- a typical
move for a surfer who celebrated his 60th birthday with a tow-in session
at 20-foot-plus Phantom Reef in Hawaii.
Social media has been lit up with messages of hope from around the
surfing world since news of the accident broke this week. However, Al's
condition took a turn for the worse this morning and he passed away
quietly a few hours ago. (Posted on Surfline.com on August 8, 2013. Photo: Andrew Kidman)
In 1946, fame was in the future for several new Santa Monica
lifeguards/interview of Dave Heisen in 2008: http://www.latimes.com/features/la-ig-lookback20-2008jul20,0,686351.story
Andy "AJ" Jones passed away this week. Here's a shot of AJ from back in the day and some details on his service. We'll be posting more info and remembrances soon.
Longtime supporter and good friend of Surfing Heritage, Tom
“TJ” Johnston passed away in the hospital from complications due to pneumonia. TJ
started coming by for a visit about the same time Surfing Heritage opened its
doors here in San Clemente back in 2005. Always cheerful, he’d invariably ask,
“So how’s the Old Fart doing?” referring to his longtime friend and Surfing
Heritage Founder, Dick Metz. TJ had a knack of just missing Dick by 10 minutes
on nearly every visit but that didn’t deter him from taking a little time to
chat with each of us or to introduce himself to those he hadn’t met yet. And I
might be wrong but–every time we saw him, he was getting shorter and shorter
and his socks were getting higher and higher–at some point he was going to
become a baseball cap and a pair of socks! We’re going to really miss his
Tom “TJ” Johnston was born in Lancaster, Ohio, on November
13, 1924. When TJ was 3, his family moved to Santa Ana but it wasn’t until high
school that TJ began to dabble with surfing. During WWII, TJ started to surf
more seriously while stationed in Hawaii. After the war, TJ gravitated to June
Lake where he taught history but was summoned to Mammoth Mountain in the early
1950s, to tutor Dave McCoy’s kids (McCoy founded the Mammoth ski resort).
Skiing would become another passion for TJ, along with photography and soon TJ
took over the business management at Mammoth as well as becoming their official
photographer. TJ finally returned to California around 2005.
TJ took this photo of the Beckett sisters skinny dipping at Sano in 1973. It was the last shot on the roll, so no "water exit" shots exist.
Longtime Sano regular, Gwen “Honey Baby” Waters, had this to
say about TJ: “It’s hard to imagine life without TJ, after being friends for
probably 70 years. He was a guy who cared enough to keep in touch, dispensing a
little advice, and he would always be on time–to the minute–now that’s dependable! A
fond farewell to a really good friend.”
Esther Williams, whose
experiences as a young swimming champion led to a career of Hollywood
“aqua-musicals” designed just for her, died on Thursday, June 6, 2013, in Beverly
Hills, California, at the age of 91. Williams was one of the biggest box-office stars of the 1940s
and 1950s. She was known as “Hollywood's Mermaid” and “The Queen of the Surf.”
At her peak, the woman with the wide smile and bright eyes was second in
earnings only to Betty Grable and often in the top 10 box-office draws.
Sally Yater passed away today, May 1, 2013. Sally owned the Bikini Factory in Summerland, CA, but most will recognize the Yater name from (Reynold) Yater Surfboards of Santa
Barbara. Sally was Renny's longtime wife and mother of Lauren Yater. Not only was Sally a seamstress, she was also a cook and author. You can read some of her recipes HERE. On the rare occasion, she would accompany Renny on his trips down the coast, stopping by the Surfing Heritage on their way to the various shops that carried the Yater label. She was always a sweetheart, very polite, and you just knew she and Renny were a great couple. Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to Renny and the Yater family, she will be greatly missed.
Annette Funicello (October 22, 1942 – April 8, 2013) was an American
actress and singer. Beginning her professional career as a child
performer at the age of twelve, Funicello rose to prominence as one
of the most popular "Mouseketeers" on the original Mickey Mouse Club. As a teenager, she transitioned to a successful career as a singer with the pop
singles "O Dio Mio," "Tall Paul"
and "Pineapple Princess", as well as
establishing herself as a film actress, popularizing the successful "Beach Party"
genre alongside co-star Frankie Avalon during the mid-1960s. In 1992,
Funicello announced that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She died from complications
of the disease on April 8, 2013.
Jeff Harris, 56, of Newport Beach, brother, dearest friend, leader, ally, musician, uncle to many, cohort, wingman and inspiration left us suddenly, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. His smile, wit, loyalty, laugh, intelligence, instinct, talent, passion, artistry and optimism will be with us forever. Jeff had the rare blessing of living his passions and dreams every day. His talent and craftsmanship on the ground and sheer artistry in the air were legendary. The travel bug bit him early, taking him to every corner, and surf spot on the globe. His passion for flying continued that dream, both as a longtime pilot for American Airlines, and as one of the most talented and prolific private and vintage war bird pilots and restoration experts in the country. Jeff's insistence on perfection was always apparent, whether in designing and building a masterpiece custom home or restoring and flying historic aircraft. A humble yet very friendly and outgoing lad, "Hareball" could strike up a conversation and hold court with anyone, anywhere. He surely had his opinions on most subjects and was not hesitant to share them. His love for the water drew him to many exotic destinations, and also to his beloved Beacon Bay, where he was a longtime and beloved figure; and where he was building his dream home and future. Jeff often talked about hanging out in his garage/workshop at retirement, holding court and building fine guitars. Whether you knew him a day or a lifetime, he was your friend, mentor and entertainer.
Jeff leaves behind his sister, Kirby Carol Harris; brother, David Harris (Kathy); twin sister, Jeanne Harris (Jim); nieces, Cindy Wall (Rob) and Erin Hay (Brooke); great niece and nephew, Julia and Ian Wall; and many friends, worldwide. He was preceded in death by his mom, Kirby Harris and dad, David B. Harris. A memorial service was held Saturday, April 6.
Donations in memory of Jeff may be made to Surfing Heritage, of which he was a founding member CLICK HERE TO DONATE
Buzz Sutfin passes away
From Buzz's widow, Jen:
Hello, Everyone, Our hearts are breaking as we are writing this to
tell you that our wonderful Buzz, husband, father, and friend to all, passed
away peacefully Sunday afternoon. We are reeling because it was so sudden, but
after speaking with his doctors, we now understand that the suddenness was a
gift to him and to us, because the decline would have taken months but would
have been inevitable.
Buzz left us while he was his strong and happy and
hilarious self, which is exactly how he would have wanted it to be. Sadie
and Mackenzie will be home until Sunday, so we have decided to schedule a
Remembrance this Saturday, March 30, at Buzz's favorite place: our home!
This event will be "Buzz-style" (casual clothes, flipflops,
no schedule or formal speeches) and will be open house between 4:30 and
8PM. Stop by anytime for a hello, stay a little while or all evening and be
sure to bring your favorite Buzzy stories or photos if you have them!
There are no words to describe how very much Buzz loved
everyone on this list and how much we appreciate the loving words and caring
support you have all given us during these last weeks. We love you
all so much and look forward to seeing you either Saturday or another time if
you are not able to see us there. Love from Jen, Mackenzie, and Sadie
From the Memorial coordinator, Mary
Good evening everyone.
Thanks for all of your kind wishes and emails. We have
been coordinating with Jenifer about Saturday - and she would like to do a
"pot-luck" style evening. So in addition to bringing your
favorite Buzzy story, feel free to bring your favorite dish to share (or wine
In order to make sure that we reach everyone who would want
to attend and help, please reach out to others who know the Sutphin's to let
them know about the event. Please ask them to make sure any dish
they wish to bring is ready to serve, as we won't be able to cook or re-heat
anything. It can be an appetizer-style dish, salad or dessert --whatever
is their specialty We will have serving utensils and tables set
up. They can bring it when they arrive - no need to bring anything early.
We will have beer, water, lemonade and sparkling water.
We will have some wine - but if anyone would like to bring a bottle, that
would be welcome.
Kristin will be coordinating all of the paper products.
Bob Rohde is bringing ice.
We have tables coming as well - and will be setting up on
I thank you so much for all of your support, and I look
forward to seeing you on Saturday.
Daryl "Doggie" Diamond (1946-2013)
Daryl "Doggie" Diamond, a highly skilled Dana
Point surfer of the 60s has passed away. He was one of the best surfers
in Orange County as evidenced in 1960s Ron Stoner photos of him carving,
and riding the tip at Neepees (a surf spot now covered up by Dana Point
harbor). Lifelong friends with the Fletcher family, Dibi described
him as the best surfer at Doheny, and because of his stunning good
looks "We called him The Doheny dreamboat. He was perfect, perfect
hair, perfectly ironed shirts, a perfectly kept, immaculate black VW,
and well-mannered. He wouldn't let Herbie and I sit in his car for fear
of messing it up. At the time that intrigued me because none of the
surfers we knew were neat and tidy. They were all slobs. He had the
biggest surf knots of anyone we knew. His beautiful 'can do anything'
wife Shirlene was the rock in his life." His son Eric became a
well-known surfer, and designer for Quiksilver and Billabong. In his 20s
he was a competitor in Hawaii at the Makaha contest and was known along
the California coast as the Clark Foam blank delivery truck driver. As
friend Tom Mckray described him "'The Dog' was a good guy. Skier,
Surfer, Hunter, and Beer Drinker (16 oz. Buds). He will be missed."
Diamond at Makaha. Photo: Ron Stoner/Surfer archive
Denny Waller passes away
January 30, 2013
Carroll recall's in an article in the 18 May 2006 issue of the Orange County
at the Newport Beach River Jetty......a few locals surfed there all the
time. The most notable was a dude named Denny Waller. They called
him the 'River Rat' because he was always there"
I worked side-by-side (well shift-opposite-shift) with Denny
Waller at Dave Sweet Surfboards in the sixties. And remember firsthand
all those phases and changes that Dave and Denny made at the shop.
There was always just enough sibling type rivalry between
Denny and I to make it interesting: competing for who did the best in the
latest contest or who starred in “Another Top Surfer” Dave Sweet
ad. Or even who was getting what-hours-when in the showroom.
When I mentioned to Denny my idea for a gag in the film I
was making, Denny volunteered his girlfriend (and his hand) for the
“Backside Bottom Turn” in “The Living Curl”.
Denny is also featured driving his Porche up Highway 1 at step-frame
When I re-released “The Living Curl” in 2008,
Denny and I talked via telephone and emails. He seemed the same as he ever was:
getting Dave Sweet Surfboards online, selling memorabilia and even getting a
few “classic” boards made for Dave.
It seems like he was always there and involved in the spirit
of those pioneering days of ‘60’s surfing. Denny and
his energy will be missed.
Fragale, legendary surfing collector, author, historian and friend writes:
after the birth of their son in 1964, Bonnie Sweet left the retail end of the
operation and moved her accounting duties to the home front. Taking over, as
manager of the surf shop was Sweet Surf Team member, Denny Waller. Waller
helped with the expansion when Sweet moved his showroom to the corner building
of the 14th and Olympic location and created one of the most esthetically
appealing surf shops of all time. Waller was also one of the few privy to the
secrets of the foam room and often helped Sweet with design concepts and board
testing. As shop manager, Waller was in charge of the increasing mail order
business that Sweet was starting to accrue. He would correspond, answer
questions, process orders and then pack and ship the new out-of-state bound
surfboards. Sweet also sent Waller to the East Coast for a summer of promoting
in 1966 to fuel the burgeoning new market starting along the shores of the
Atlantic. Denny Waller managed Sweet's shop until 1968, when he walked away from
surfing in protest of leashes and short boards. Waller did not surf again for
14 years. He began his comeback in 1982 in the traditional way, single fin
longboard sans leash with paraffin on the deck, and continues with the old
style to this day. It was 32 years before Denny Waller and his old friend, Dave
Sweet, reunited in 2000."
then, Denny continued to represent all things Dave Sweet in the most
Aloha no, Denny, I so much respect you for your devotion to Dave Sweet, the
Surf Team and your friends. I know you are riding deep, no leash, no
wetsuit-old style brudda. You da bes.....
Attending HENRY PREECE'S celebration of life were, GREG NOLL,
BUFFALO KEAULANA, PETER COLE, RENO ABILLERA, KIMO HOLLINGER, AND EARL DAHLIN,
just to name a few. Surfing's royalty.
When crowds at Makaha chased Noll and his friends to the North Shore, one fateful
day, they spotted a young Hawaiian named Henry Preece surfing all alone at Haleiwa. When he invited them to
join him, the stage was set for a shift in emphasis from Makaha to the
wide-open spaces of Haleiwa and beyond. Over the next few years, Noll and other
Californians pioneered the various North Shore surf spots. Belovedly
known as the “Mayor of Haleiwa”, there is park
bench in Henry’s honor, at Haleiwa’s Ali’i Beach Park on the North Shore.
Two legends that are no longer with us, Donald Takayama and Harold Iggy. photo: LeRoy Grannis Collection, LLC
(please note: these photos are copyrighted and watermarked and may not be reproduced without permission)
Go Here to read Matt Warshaw's entry on Donald in the Encyclopedia of Surfing
Dick Metz called to say a mutual friend had passed on,
Mike Riedel. "When?" "A week or two ago."
Who today knows of this fine Malibu surfer, a great guy.
Dick asked me to put some thoughts together.
What I've written doesn't particularly go somewhere. It’s
just writing... and by so doing–remembering and yearning.
For no other reason than that he stood 6'4" (if he'd
ever really stood up straight) and was lean, we called him; 'The Noodle'.
I met Noodle somewhere in and-around spring, Malibu, 1954.
Maybe by a beach fire, or in the line up yakking between sets.
He was a smooth and graceful surfer.
Although not someone you'd particularly notice from the
beach, his skill was well-respected by his peers; one of a handful of hot West
LA guys I'd occasionally see at Malibu: Bailey, Hopkins, Bullis, Schurmer and
And, beyond many, Noodles had top-notch wave savvy.
Looking back, he maybe should have been called 'The Guide',
for showing all of us "who was who" and "what was and wasn't worthwhile". And
demonstrating that–with very little effort–gloves, a dive mask and tennis
shoes; instead of catching waves off the Malibu reef, you could pick off
In his final years, he served as resident guide in an up-scale
Idaho fishing resort, a job he thoroughly loved.
Mike entered USC a couple years after me and we hung out
often... Mostly hung out getting out of there to surf Swamis, Malibu, or Rincon.
Then one by one, the opposite sex picked us off. In Mikes’ case I think it was even before finishing college.
I moaned when it happened. He'd hooked up with a Mormon girl, Marilyn. Nice
enough gal and not that I have anything against Mormons. I moaned because of
all friends, the Noodle seemed least likely to give up drink.
And I'll add it wasn't so much drink, it was about Mike no
longer being a bachelor. Gone. If you wanted to hang out with him, it was at his
house with all the domestication. Before then, if you went to dinner with Mike Riedel, you'd
know you'd really been somewhere and done something special... even if it was
just to El Cholo where you always went. Riedel was perhaps the best host,
most conversationally entertaining human I've ever known. You felt very alive
and comfortable with him... and continuously entertained!
In any case, he did give up drink. And stuck with it for
many, many years during which time he and Marylyn spawned a whole pastel of
kids; now of course, all grown. At least two of them became prominent in the surf world, shaper
Stretch Riedel and promoter, Clark Riedel.
In 1958 or 59, I wrangled a job with Douglas Aircraft. After
a few months, I got Riedel a job there too. Although, like me, his experience
didn't extend much beyond surfboard repair, he was able to fake his way along
for several years and surely did some good.
We played chess at lunch, ate often at the Chatum in West LA
and occasional ditched out to surf Malibu.
Various times and places along the way, Mike, ever the wood
working hobbiest, became a surfboard shaper for Dave Sweet, carved beautiful rifle
stocks, and in the early days of epoxy resin, came up with use of an electric
bar-b-que rotary to flow epoxy continuously around the base of fishing pole
eyes (all of them at once!) to hold them to the pole instead of laboriously
binding them on with fine lines of cord one at a time.
Years passed, families grew, marriages dissolved and Mike
remarried Vickie. They moved to Idaho where they bought a very high-end fishing
magazine, which they published for decades.
A couple of years back Mike visited me here in San
Clemente. I was somewhat shocked to find he was no longer 'The Noodle'. Back
problems followed by operations had cut him down to about 5'10", badly
stooped over. But inside, he was the same humorous pal. That was good.
A year or so ago I wrote him that Anning had passed, three
or four months ago Ken Price, and then a month or two, Tubesteak. After that he
wrote back he was soon to follow, "Cancer has me by the balls, I've very
little time left". I emailed my good byes briefly, over the years we had
already enjoyed plenty of quality correspondence.
Of what might be considered a kind of set of 1935-37 Malibu
waves, Bill Bullis, Scott Schurmer, J.J. Moon, Lynn Bailey, Bill Hopkins,
Karl Pope and I remain.
Frankly I feel the draft... look more forward to a
major transition than a continuation of progressive decline. And, there's always
the possibility of transcending from grub to butterfly.
So long for now, Mike Riedel, Terry Tracy, Kenny Price, John
Anning, and Bobby Patterson.
This note is intended to reach folks on my list who know or
are familiar with Danny Calohan, one of the partners and the principle shaper
for Plastic Fantastic Surfboards from 1968 to 1972.
Danny lives up in my area, here in the Pacific Northwest of
the US. We've had a few road trips together in the past 10 years, primarily to
serve at judges for the Clean Water Classic surf contest in Westport,
Washington. In between those events we've stayed in loose contact.
A gifted wood artist and carpenter, Danny's had his share of
physical challenges over the past few years, but I was stunned to receive this
message from his daughter Sarah:
"I'm incredibly sad to inform you that my father is not
going to be with us much longer. We recently found out that he has lung cancer
that has metastasized to his adrenal gland; he doesn't have more than a couple
"I hate to ask this of you, but I was wondering if you
could contact some of the ol' gang and let them know. He isn't completely
lucid, but he has his moments. If anyone has any pictures or memories to share,
I think that would really brighten up his last days. I'm sure you know this
about him, but he never stopped missing the good ol' days. Thank you for being
So ... if you would like to send Danny something, the
Eddie Bertrand, the guitarist from the Bel Airs died. The
Bel-Airs were an early and influential surf rock
band from Southern California, active in the early 1960s.
They were best known for their 1961 hit "Mr. Moto", an instrumental
surf rock song that featured a flamenco inspired intro and contained a melodic piano
interlude. (excerpt from Wikipedia)
Bobby being interviewed by Colby Klink, at the opening of "The Innovations of Hobie" exhibit. photo: Linda Michael
A founding member of the Pacific Beach Surf Club in the late 1950s, Bobby "Challenger" Thomas took over Challenger Surfboards and made it one of the most
successful surfboard manufacturers of the late 1960s. After a detour
into the financial sector in the 1980s, Thomas returned to San Diego to
sponsor surf tournaments, advise the PB Surf Club and even compete in
surfing contests. Mr. Thomas died in Escondido on Sept. 16 of complications from lung disease. He was 69.
To read the rest of the article in UT San Diego, CLICK HERE
LeRoy Grannis, Whitey Harrison, and Terry Tracy. photo: Leo Hetzel
Surfing legend, Terry "Tubesteak" Tracy passed away on August 22, 2012. Also known as the "Mayor of Malibu", Tubesteak was the inspiration for "The Kahuna", Cliff Robertson's character in Gidget. Tubesteak was infact responsible for giving Kathy Kohner the nickname of "Gidget", on first seeing young Kathy, he yelled out, "hey look, it's a girl midget, a Gidget!" They soon became good friends. Tracy built the first shack at Malibu in 1959 and infact lived there for two summers. There were a lot of characters at Malibu, but Tubesteak was the character of characters. Tubey, we will miss you!
For more on the Tubesteak era at Malibu, go to:
Long time supporter, Richard "The Fox" Mobley passed away earlier this year, on March 9. There was a paddleout and celebration of his life on July 17, 2012, at 22nd St in Hermosa
Beach with a party for over 400+ at the King Harbor Yacht Club in Redondo
Beach. In attendance were many well known surfers from La
Jolla, Hawaii, Santa Cruz and elsewhere. Richard will again be honored this September at the Annual Windansea Reunion and Luau. To read our tribute, please click: