Fritz's shot of Duke Kahanamoku, Dr. John “Doc” Ball, Pop Proctor, Nils “Viking” Jensen,
Barney Wilkes, Bob “Hammerhead” Gravitch, Jim “Burrhead” Drever, Fritz
Watson, and other locals of the day, hanging at the Shack. San Onofre,
Frederick (Fritz) Watson was born September 1, 1922 and left
us on November 9, 2014 at the age of 92.
In the early days, Fritz rode the redwood boards he shaped and built himself.
He was a life guard at Corona Del Mar beach in the early years when he
was not surfing.
He free dove for abalone and lobster along the coast between
Corona Del Mar and Laguna for years and worked for Loren Harrison commercially
diving for abalone.
He was really known for his craftsmanship as a woodworker,
both in the marine world and for custom homes that needed a unique touch.
Now that I think about it, he built whatever our family
needed - The '59 Chevy bread van (with yacht spec. interior) that we lived in
every summer. The skiff we fished from on Baja trips.
All of our surfboards, until I started to shape my own and
every addition of space to our house in Sun Valley ID.
To my knowledge, he and Ted Nicholson, school pals, started
going to San Onofre in 1939 to learn to surf. At that time you could camp
on the beach overnight. He continued going to San O every weekend until
we moved to Sun Valley, Idaho in 1963 to ski. But we returned to waves every
summer. Pete and I, his sons, grew up at the beach learning to surf and
body surf. He became interested in windsurfing when he was about sixty
years old and continued enjoying that sport untill his late 80's.
In August 2014, a couple of months before he left,
the whole family was at the beach on an unusually warm glassy day.
As Fritz and I sat on a log, feet in the sand, watching the
grandkids surf, he looked at me and said "Man, this is really great!"
His love affair with the ocean never ended. —Tom Watson
It's with sadness that we wave farewell to one of surfing's early pioneers, Dorian "Doc" Paskowitz. Not only did helive his life his way, he also spread a message of holistic well-being, surfing's benefits, and love. He leaves behind an amazing eclectic family who each have carved out their own paths in life, ones that Doc would surely approve. Aloha Doc, we know you are smiling wherever you are!
Ricky Grigg, supremely confident regularfooter from Honolulu, Hawaii;
winner of the 1966 Duke Kahanamoku Invitational, and sometimes referred
to as the first big-wave hotdogger. Grigg was born (1937) in Los
Angeles, raised in Santa Monica, began surfing at age nine, and by the
early ’50s was one of the hottest young surfers at Malibu. In 1955 Grigg
won the first annual Catalina-to-Manhattan Beach paddleboard race, a
32-miler that would come to stand as paddleboarding’s supreme test.
Rick passed peacefully around 2:00 this afternoon at his home (May 21, 2014). The Hospice had moved to Rick's place. He was surrounded by his loved ones.
Our Aloha and Prayers go with him on that last ride....
Aloha nui loa, Ricky
Roger Yates, Forgotten Island Of Santosha fame, passed away. Roger is pictured here at SHACC with Steve Wilkings. Roger would stop by whenever he was in the area, always high energy and willing to chat with whomever was around. He will be missed.
Surfing Heritage & Culture Center – Hobie Alter Scholarship Fund
Of all the legends we've recently lost, this one hit closest to home, especially since our own Dick Metz was such a close friend and associate of Hobie's. We all are truly saddened by the passing of this gentle man, and modern creator of so many sports innovations.
“Hobie” Alter, who started out shaping surfboards, and ended up shaping a
culture, passed away peacefully at his Palm Desert home on March 29 surrounded
by his loving family. Born on October 31, 1933 in Ontario, California, he was
80 at the time of his passing.
recently published biography “Hobie: Master of Water, Wind and Waves” reveals
the story of this true Renaissance man. The son of a second-generation orange
farmer, Hobie flourished spending time at his family’s Laguna Beach summer
home. And it was here in the family’s garage back in 1950 where he began his
somewhat accidental career by combining his two loves, wood shop and water,
crafting handmade 9 foot balsawood surfboards for his friends. Business was
good, and his father had grown tired of the sawdust, so in 1954 Hobie would
open the area’s first surf shop in Dana Point. But as demand continued to grow,
balsawood was becoming scarce, and even with Hobie’s creative assembly line,
the wooden board building process was cumbersome. This is where Hobie’s
extraordinary gift for self-taught, “outside the box” engineering rose to the
challenge. Through a top-secret trial and error process, and along with friend
and employee Gordon “Grubby” Clark, Hobie pioneered the development of the foam
surfboard. With the lighter and more responsive boards, and his gift for design
and commitment to uncompromising quality, Hobie quickly became the number one
surfboard brand in the world. The list of legendary surfers and shapers that
worked or rode for Hobie is a virtual Hall of Fame and his success is widely
considered the launching point for California’s iconic surf industry. Hobie
himself was a top surfing competitor.
In the late
1960’s having achieved great success with surfing, Hobie turned his attention
to another of his water-based passions. And after much on-the-water R&D, he
unveiled his namesake “Hobie Cat” catamaran. This fun, lightweight and
affordable craft is credited with bringing high-performance sailing from the
yacht club to the masses. “The Cat that Can Fly” could be launched off any
beach and soon became one of the world’s top selling sailboats. But his curious
mind and constant tinkering didn’t stop there. A few of his other inventions
include creating the “Hobie Hawk” a high-performance remote controlled glider
(another of his lifetime passions). He also designed the hugely successful
Hobie Super Surfer skateboard, sculpted a revolutionary 33-foot mono-hull
sailboat, pioneered a “Float Cat” for fly-fishing and built the “Katie Sue”
(named for his mother Katie and his wife Susan), an awe-inspiring 60-foot power
catamaran from scratch.
result of this serial innovation, the name Hobie has come to mean a great deal
to the world. But it is the integrity of the person behind the name that has
meant so much more to family and friends. A humble man of incomparable
character, he made it clear that the one thing of which he was most proud, was
his family. His sister recently recalled that their father taught Hobie early
on to always tell the truth, no matter the consequence, and that any deal worth
doing could be done with a handshake. It was a lesson that Hobie incorporated
into every aspect of his personal and professional life, and one that he passed
on to his own children as well as those that interacted with him in his various
enterprises. He was incredibly giving of his love, his time, his resources and
his expertise. Always the first to do whatever was necessary to help those in
need. Yet he never wanted any accolades or recognition. His kindness, sage
counsel and generosity literally transformed countless lives. But as he was
quick to say, “A lot of people helped me along the way, I’m just trying to
return the favor”.
discussing the future with friends as a young man Hobie declared that he wanted
to make a living without having to wear hard-soled shoes or work east of
California’s Pacific Coast Highway. By “Making people a toy and giving them a
game to play with it” he was able to realize this dream. And in the process, he
introduced an active outdoor lifestyle and collection of products that made the
world just a bit more fun. Hobie’s passing will leave an incredible void in the
world of surfing, sailing and watersports. But as with any great author, actor
or artist, the legacy of his work, and the strong wake of his innovations will
live on forever. And for his family and friends, the lessons he taught, the
quiet, moral and ethical example he set and the lingering warmth of his abiding
love will comfort them as long as they live.
loving wife Susan at his side, Hobie lived life as an adventure spending years
on the lakes and ski slopes of McCall, Idaho, navigating the Katie Sue through
the channels near their home in Orcas Island, Washington and hitting the links
at Ironwood Country Club in Palm Desert, California. In addition to Susan, he
is survived by his sisters Carolyn and Lillian, his daughter Paula and her
partner Ian, son Hobie Jr. and his wife Stephanie, son Jeff and his wife
Laurie, grandchildren Cortnie and her husband Dylan, Brittany, Scotty, Cody,
Ashlyn, Tyler, Noelle and Justin, great-granddaughter Serena, and many close friends
that were always made to feel like they were immediate family.
received the Waterman Achievement award from the Surfing Industry Manufacturers
Association in 1993, was inducted into the Huntington Beach Surfing Walk of
Fame in 1997 and admitted as an inaugural member of the National Sailing Hall
of Fame in 2011 alongside Dennis Connor and Ted Turner.
You can learn more about Hobie on our website HERE, HERE and HERE.
In lieu of flowers,
the family requests that you consider a donation to either:
Surfing Heritage & Culture Center – Hobie Alter Scholarship Fund
Sport of Kings
Foundation – in Memory of Hobie Alter
Box 2499 Capistrano Beach, CA 92624
Community Foundation – Deer Harbor Volunteer Fire Department– in Memory of
Mail donations to: Barbara Bedell ℅ Fire Station 24, PO Box 370, Deer Harbor, WA 98243
“Mo” Meine, a
Manhattan Beach home builder, was an original member of the Palos Verdes
Surf Club and began surfing redwood boards at Bluffs Cove in the
mid 1930s. In the mid ‘60s, Meine started “The International Surfing Magazine”
out of Hermosa Beach with photographer and fellow Palos Verdes Surf Club member
and Hermosa Beach Surf Walk of Fame inductee Leroy Grannis, editor Dick Graham,
and surf filmmaker Bud Browne. The magazine evolved into “Surfing Magazine.” Meine continued to surf Bluffs Cove through his late 70s.
Matt Kivlin's Californian and Hawaiian peers respected him as the best California
surfer of the postwar '40s into the 1950s. Many point to him as the originator
of the classical California point style: riding small, perfectly peeling waves
with knees and ankles together and slightly flexed, torso upright, arms
gracefully spread low and balanced, slotted deep, in perfect trim and
"Kivlin built boards for that type of surfing, thin-railed blades with
speedy pointed outlines-boards foam impresario Gordon Clark regards as being
closely related to the modern equipment of today, but over fifty years ago! All
surfing that followed Kivlin was either directly or indirectly influenced by
his approach."–Steve Pezman
The surfing world lost a genuine legend, Kivlin passed away from complications from pneumonia on Sunday, March 9. Photo: Joe Quigg, Matt Kivlin, and Tom Zahn, returning from Hawaii on the Lurline. March 1948. Photo: Joe Quigg collection
Natalie Kotsch never surfed, but she was one of surfing's biggest supporters. She and co-founder, Ann Beasley both shared a love for the ocean and for their home town of Huntington Beach. They opened the International Surfing Museum in 1987. The ISM has played host to a number of first-class exhibits as well as establishing "Surfin' Sundays," a series of free concerts that featured top artists such as Dick Dale. In recognition of her work, Huntington Beach named Natalie
Citizen of the Year in 1991 and in
1998 she was inducted into the Surfing
Walk of Fame. Then, in 2013, Huntington Beach gave Natalie its highest
honor, a Key to City. Natalie passed away on February 20, 2014, after a long bout with cancer. She was 75.
Bruce Jones, passed away after suffering a heart attack on January 14, 2014. Bruce was there at Hobie's, during the golden age of the mid
1960's, when the best shaping talent in surfing history was gathered in one
place: Phil Edwards, Dale Velzy, Terry Martin, John Gray and Ralph Parker,
among others. Starting in the gluing department, Bruce worked his way into
rough shaping and then into the actual shaping room and lost no time in getting
help from everyone involved.
In the mid to late 60's, Bruce moved to Huntington Beach,
where he shaped for Vardeman Surfboards, doing all the Jackie Baxter Models,
which to this day are considered rare collector's items, being the first board
on the west coast to combine the low tail rails of the Hawaiian Gun (for
speed), with a refined longboard outline and eventually a turned down, flat-bottom
nose for superb nose riding (influenced by the famous Morey/Pope John Peck
Top photo of Bruce is from the Shapers Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Bottom photo: December, 1965, Rocky Point. Both photos: Leo Hetzel
Here's Bruce's website: http://www.brucejones.com/history.htm
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)