The club’s members were part of a a fairly small group of surfers in
that era, 25 years before surfing started to become a national
phenomenon. Its members say there were so few surfers back then that if a
car went by on the highway with a surfboard sticking out, chances were
better than good that both parties knew each other. (excerpts from the South Bay Daily Breeze by Sam Gnerre) Fenton is pictured on a recent SHACC visit. Photo Linda Michael
It's always sad when we lose one of our fellow surf tribe members, but it's particularly tough when someone leaves us well before their time. Such was the case on January 28, when Sophia Tiaré Bartlow was killed in a tragic car accident in Waialua, on the North Shore of Hawaii. A frequent visitor to SHACC, Sophia was the most surf stoked individual one could ever come across (sorry Mickey Muñoz, you're definitely a close second). Always smiling and practically bursting with energy, her smile and demeanor was contagious and infectious. I dare you to find a photo of her not radiating joy! Sophia's mom, surfing legend Jericho Poppler instilled her daughter with a love of the ocean–Sophia was also a tough competitor in short boarding, long boarding and stand up paddling–and she was even a titled champion. Our condolences and prayers go out to Jericho and her family. You can visit Sophia's website HERE. (thank you to Betty Depolito for the use of this picture)
One of SHACC's staunchest supporters, Founding Partner and longtime family member, Ed Clapp passed away unexpectedly on January 17. Ed owned Surfboards Hawaii and helped SHACC acquire many of its best boards through either his own donation or getting others to donate theirs (including 30 from his collection). Ed also donated a large number of surf film posters and fins (we're working on a permanent fin collection - coming soon) and bequeathed SHACC his entire book collection. We're all grief stricken and truly saddened. Aloha Ed, we have a bottle of Jack Daniels in our bar in your honor.
Back in 2012, Ed drove the Stephan Gonsalves collection 2700 miles across the country with Andy Weil, delivering 38 classic surfboards to SHACC.
Bob is pictured here (in the green tee) with some friends and the Gudauskus boys and their dad. Photo: Linda Michael
Longtime SHACC supporter and friend to all of us here, Bob Nealy passed away from a battle with cancer. He had visited us recently and seemed to be doing well, but unfortunately that wasn't the case. There's a nice article about Bob in the SC Times, you can read that by clicking HERE.
Bernard "Midget" Farrelly passes away at age 71.
"Midget Farrelly was the best in every sense of the word. I
learned first hand of Midget's dignity and honor as a gentleman in Puerto
Rico in 1968. He pioneered modern day performance surfing in
Australia and was truly the best. Australia should always remember Midget with pride. Surfing
has been enriched by his life." — Fred Hemmings. Photo: LeRoy Grannis. You can read more abut Midgets' passing on Surfline.
We Say Good-Bye to Rabbit Kekai, One of the Last of the Original Beach Boys.
Kekai was born (1920) and raised in Waikiki, began surfing at age
five, and was later given informal instruction by pioneering surfer and
gold medal swimmer Duke Kahanamoku. Kekai earned the nickname "Rabbit"
as one the island's fastest runners, and he's said to have run a
10-second 100 yard dash in high school.
According to Kekai, the
invention of high-performance surfing—turning up and down the wave face
instead of just holding an angle—came about in the mid-'30s, as he and
his friends began dodging the rocks at a Waikiki surf break called
Publics. Kekai was one of Waikiki's best canoe steersmen as a teenager,
and sometimes competed in canoe races against the aging but still
formidable Kahanamoku. He was also a Waikiki beachboy—a beachfront
concession-stand worker who gave surf and canoe lessons to tourists,
lounged on the sand, played the ukulele, traded stories, romanced the
endless stream of vacationing women, and frequently engaged in
small-time hustles and scams. A black-and-white photograph from the late
'40s shows Kekai riding a small wave alongside actor David Niven, his
student for the day. He also gave surf lessons or canoe rides to Red
Skelton, Dorothy Lamour, Kirk Douglas, Gregory Peck, Sandy Koufax, and
Meanwhile, Kekai's active wave-riding style had a big
influence on the coming generation of surfers, including Californians
Matt Kivlin, Joe Quigg, and Phil Edwards and Hawaii's Conrad Canha and
Donald Takayama. "He was light-years ahead of anybody," Kivlin once
said, recalling the first time he saw Kekai surf in 1947, also noting
that the forthcoming "Malibu" style of riding was based on Kekai's
high-performance technique. Kekai is sometimes also credited as the
surfer who invented noseriding. Never shy about his own accomplishments,
Kekai told Liquid Salt magazine in 2010 that he was "the best
around." An early motivation for his style, Kekai went on to say, was to
distinguish himself from "the 'society-type' surfer—the guys who just
stand there. I used to whip my board up the wave and come back down.
Everybody copied me; I was so far ahead. I used to do spinners and guys
would say 'What the hell you doing?' They never did see anything like
that." (Excerpt from Matt Warshaw's Encyclopedia of Surfing). Read more on Rabbit on LEGENDARY SURFERS.
Aloha & RIP Lord James
"Tally Ho" Blears
Handsome, funny, a
brilliant wit, a master story teller, a champion sportsman, and a truly
exceptional human being, Lord James “Tally Ho”
Blears has passed away at age 93 on his home island of Oahu Hawaii.
Born in Manchester,
England, Lord Blears survived a torpedo attack that sunk his ship mid ocean,
and after capture by the enemy and surviving being adrift at sea he somehow
returned in one piece to his native England, where he reunited with being a
legitimate champion wrestler.
Soon he was traveling the
globe and using his athletic skills performing with notorious television
wrestler Gorgeous George, who encouraged Lord Blears to excel in the theatrical
side of popular modern wrestling.
When a wrestling tour led Tally
Ho to Hawaii he fell in love with the amazing beauty of the islands.
Like many travelers who’ve
been touched by the magic of Hawaii, Lord Blears vowed to return. He loved the
people, the weather, and the ocean, and when he did finally return he went on
to become one of Hawaii’s most well known and most loved public figures, living
much of his life in the Makaha area of Westside Oahu.
Lord Blears learned to
surf, and went on to raise a family that was an integral part of post war
Hawaiian beach culture, and as all of his native friends knew, truly embodied
the Spirit of Aloha.
Both his son (Jimmy) and
his daughter (Laura) became world surfing champions, and Lord Blears was a
fixture during the early days of champion surfing as the announcer at all of the
major surf contests on the North Shore. (photo: Dan Merkel/A-Frame Photo)
It’s with a heavy heart that we
report the passing of North Shore surfer Brock Little, who died on February 18, at the age
of 48. Little announced via social media last month that he was battling
Born in 1967 in Napa, California,
Little’s family moved to Haleiwa when he was three years old and he began
surfing at age seven. As a teenager, Little was considered to be one of the
most talented and hardest-charging surfers of his era and was a stalwart figure
at Waimea and Mavericks. In 1986, at only 19 years old, he finished fourth in
the Eddie event, solidifying his reputation as being utterly fearless.
Just a few years later, in 1990, he finished second in the prestigious
contest, amid some of the most harrowing conditions ever seen in the
“Although Little was runner-up to
Hawaiian surfer Keone Downing in the 1990 Quiksilver contest, held in
spectacular 25 to 30-foot Waimea surf, he stole the show with a gladiatorial
wipeout on the biggest wave of the day, and followed up by pulling into the
tube on a 20-footer—a rarity in big-wave surfing at the time—and nearly making
it out,” wrote Matt Warshaw in the Encyclopedia of Surfing.
While he would continue his search
for massive surf in the coming decades, Little also began a career as a
stuntman, appearing in numerous Hollywood films including Tropic Thunder,
Training Days, and Transformers, just to name a few.
He was also a prolific contributor
to both SURFER and Surfing magazines, penning more than 30 articles.
When he first announced that he was
battling cancer via his Instagram account nearly a month ago, the surf world
rallied around the icon. When news broke today that Little had passed, Kelly Slater
wrote that Little was “Larger than life to me. The world I know will never be
the same. I love you, man. Thank you…”
Even as Little’s health
deteriorated, he still kept in high spirits and was very open about his
condition. A few weeks ago, he gave his final interview with SURFER, where he discussed a
life spent chasing heavy waves and his thoughts on his legacy in the surf
In Little’s last public statement,
which appeared on his Instagram account yesterday, he wrote that he was “Lucky
to be surrounded by love.”
Little was a true legend in the
sport and will be greatly missed.
RIP Larry Gordon. Thanks for your many contributions to surfboard innovation…and
for spreading the Stoke.
In the summer of 1959, when Larry Gordon was a chemistry major at San
Diego State College, he and his friend Floyd Smith built a mold, bought
the necessary chemicals (from Gordon Plastics, his dad's family
business) and started blowing foam blanks in Smiths's garage--and Gordon
& Smith Surfboards was born. By 1961, Gordon & Smith had become
the most popular surfboard brand in the San Diego area. The name became
widespread in the '60s and '70s as some of the world's best surfers
became G&S team riders, designers or shapers. Mike Hynson's Red Fin,
the Skip Frye model and the QuarterSpeed were three popular models that
come to mind from the '60s, and the G & S Modern Machine--first
introduced in 1974--was the precursor to today's fun board. Greats like
Hynson, Frye, Dale Dobson, Billy Hamilton, Butch Van Artsdalen and Barry
Kanaiapuni rode at one time or another for the G & S team, and a
host of other well-known names have shaped for the label, including Mike Hynson, Skip Frye, Rusty Priesendorfer and Mike Eaton. (Here's some more on Larry Gordon) That's Floyd Smith on the left and Larry Gordon on the right in this shot taken by LeRoy Grannis.
The last original member of the Palos Verdes Surf Club, Fenton Scholes passed away on Thursday, October 1, 2015. One of the first and most enduring mainland surfing clubs in the
U.S., the Palos Verdes Surfing Club began in the mid-1930s, in either
1934 or 1935 depending on the account, by Hermosa Beach dentist John
Heath “Doc” Ball and Adolph “Adie” Bayer. It held its regular meetings
in a back room at Ball’s dentist office on Vermont Avenue in Los
Angeles and included Fenton, John "Doc" Ball, Richard "Mo" Meine, Adolph “Adie” Bayer, LeRoy Grannis, Lewis Earl “Hoppy” Swartz, E. Calvin “Tulie” Clark, Cliff Tucker and others. The Palos Verdes Surf Club had its own distinctive green club
jackets. Smoking was forbidden during meetings, and the group had its
own creed, in which members swore to “at all times strive to conduct
myself as a club member and a gentleman.” In addition to its own
activities, the PVSC organized and conducted surfing contests and
popular paddleboard race events between themselves and other clubs that
had begun to spring up along the Southern California coast in Santa
Monica, Venice, San Onofre and Del Mar.
Fred at Waimea 1965 - Photo by Don James
Big Wave Pioneer, Fred Van Dyke passed away on Sunday, September 13, 2015. Fred was a presence in so much of what we now think of as surfing
history -- pioneering San Francisco and Santa Cruz and the whole West
Coast. He showed John Severson's first movies on the California
four-wall circuit. He rode the beasts at Sunset Beach and Waimea. He
conceptualized early versions of what evolved into professional surfing.
He told stories and wrote books that captured the essence of the
magical world in which he grew up and lived. He was also one of the
kindest, most generous persons I've ever known. Aloha, Fred and long
may you ride. — Drew Kampion Click HERE to read about Fred on the Encyclopedia of Surfing. And visit his Facebook Timeline HERE.
Surfing Legend, Wally Froiseth passed away on Monday, June 29, 2015. Wally, along with George Downing (pictured above, surfing with Wally), John Kelly and Fran Heath, were responsible for the creation of the modified "Hot Curl" surfboards, the first true high performance models of their day. You can read more about Wally and his accomplishments by clicking HERE.
Shaping Legend, Dave Sweet passes away. CLICK HERE for a write up by Bruce Weber in the NY Times and HERE for a piece in the LA Times by Elaine Woo. Surfing Heritage is saddened by the loss of yet another important innovator and we feel privileged to have one of Sweet's early foam boards on loan from the collection of SHACC co-founder, Spencer Croul.
R.I.P. SHAWN 'BARNEY' BARRON (1970-2015) Santa Cruz aerialist and Mav's pioneer passed away on May 5, 2015. CLICK HERE for a photo feature on Surfer Mag. And check out this video feature on SURFLINE. Photo: Doug Acton
Brian "the Sparrow" Test. Please click on the images above to read about this legend, and to see more, visit his website here: http://sparrowsnestsurf.wix.com/brian
Bill and Kathleen Blackburn.
(Photo courtesy: Tiffany Blackburn Coyne, Coastline Pilot / March 19, 2015)
It's with great sadness that we report the passing of longtime SHACC supporter and wife of SHACC President Emeritus, Bill Blackburn, Kathleen Blackburn. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bill and his family in this time of sorrow.
Kathleen Diane Blackburn died peacefully on Monday, March
16, 2015. The cause of her death was long term complications from an automobile
accident thirty-four years ago.
Kathleen grew up in San Marino. When she was twenty years
old, she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from University of California at Berkeley and
went on to do research at the U.C.L.A Brain Research Institute.
Kathleen met her future husband Bill Blackburn in 8th
grade math class. In 1974, they moved to Three Arch Bay. David and Camron,
their two children, and she and Bill settled into the happy, active life of a
young family. Their two children attended Aliso Elementary School where the
family made many lifetime friends. She was
active in the P.T.A, and she herself played tennis and volley ball and women’s
soccer. She also coached girls’ soccer teams.
When South Laguna began the process of annexation to the City
of Laguna Beach, Kathleen became involved in planning efforts, the beginning of
a long record of public service. Following this successful annexation, she
served on the City of Laguna Beach Planning Commission. Later, she was elected
to two terms on the City Council and also served two terms as Mayor of the
City. During her tenure the Orange County Bankruptcy and the City fires
presented major challenges. In particular, her term as Mayor during the
Millennium was something she considered an honor.
The centerpiece of her Council service, however, was the
successful completion of the Montage Hotel. She took pride in its community legacy of free
parking, a public park, easy access to the beach, a continuous boost to annual City
revenue, and on-going, generous donations to local charities from Friends of
Kathleen was preceded in death by her two children, daughter
Camron and son David.
She is survived by her husband Bill, her three grandchildren
Lauren, Evelyn, and Daniel Blackburn, her sisters Marolyn Peterson, Jacquolyn
Sawyer, and Gloria Cormier, and her adopted daughter Paula Vercelli.
She also leaves behind many friends who will always remember
her for her intelligence, courage, style, and grace as well as her sense of
A very private service for the immediate family will take
place. Friends and family are planning a public Celebration of Kathleen’s life during
the month of May, and details will be forthcoming.
A Memorial Fund is being established at the Laguna Beach Community
Foundation. The fund will continue
Kathleen’s deep concern for people in need in Laguna Beach. Memorial donations may be made out to the Laguna Beach
Community Foundation and designate for Kathleen Blackburn’s Laguna Beach Fund,
and mailed to: The Laguna Beach Community Foundation, 303 Broadway, Suite 212,
Laguna Beach, CA. 92651. (submitted by
Ricardo Dos Santos, Brazilian tube-riding specialist and big wave charger, was gunned down and later died from his injuries, in his hometown of Guarda do Embau in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Dos Santos appeared in several (CT) events in recent years including the 2012 Billabong Pro Teahupo'o, during which he received the Andy Irons Most Committed award (beating Jordy Smith, Taj Burrow and Kelly Slater in the main event) and in 2012, he won the "Wave of the Winter" with a tube at Pipeline. Tragically, Ricardo was only 24 at the time of his passing.
Shelley Merrick, 50s female surfing pioneer, passed away. A contemporary of Marge Calhoun and Linda Benson, Shelley was a competitive surfer and learned to surf from people like Matt Kivlin and John Larronde. She was active in Surfrider for many years and competed well into her 50s and was a one-time Dewey Weber team member. She was also featured in Andrea Gabbard's Girl In The Curl, a book on female surfers; the California Surf Museum Women On Waves exhibit; and Don Wolf's 1965 film, Always Another Wave. Here's an article on Shelley from 2008 and a facebook page created for memories of Shelley.
Buzzy Bent (left) rides a balsa board shaped by Joe Quigg, as Dempsey Holder (center) and Bobby Ekstrom share the same wave in 1949. From the day Buzzy showed up at Windansea, he amazed the loclas by doing bottom turns, redirecting his surfboard at the bottom of a wave, which no one had ever seen. (Excerpt from Surfing in San Diego, by John C. Elwell. Photo courtesy of Woody Ekstrom)
"Butch's good friend and fellow WindanSea legend BUZZY BENT passed
away at 1 am this morning (Jan 4, 2015). He was a pioneering surfing stylist among the
La Jolla set, often being credited for inventing the "WindanSea bottom
turn". Dale Velzy told me that before Butch arrived on the scene, Buzzy
Bent was (in Velzy's words) "IT!"; the surfer that all the other San
Diego wave-riders looked to for cutting edge moves and inspiration. In
fact it was Buzzy who first introduced Butch to Velzy, thus
giving Butch his first surfboard sponsor. Buzzy also started the Chart
House restaurant chain with Joey Cabell, which went on to become very
One of the
great tragedies in Buzzy's life was the death of his younger brother PG
Bent (along with Pete Sachsie) in a plane accident over WindanSea Beach.
I was told that PG was always trying to measure up to Buzzy's lofty
reputation by doing daring things and that the plane crash was a result
of one such thing. The source told me that Buzzy blamed and never
forgave himself for his brother's death. I hope PG was at the gates of
Heaven this morning, giving his big brother a big hug.
I had the
pleasure of interviewing Buzzy back in the 2000s for "Remembering Butch"
and spoke with him at length during some of the WindanSea reunion
Luaus. He was a terrific guy and will be missed. Aloha, Buzzy." — Annette Lucas (Butch's sister)
"Buzzy was my
friend and I will miss him. What I will always remember about Buzz was
his positive attitude, his genuine smile and his creative ingredient.
His restaurant in Telluride, the "Cimarron" had a model of his yacht on
the wall in the bar area. In the dining room, there was a huge
photograph (like 10 feet tall and 15 feet wide) of him and Greg Noll
taking the drop at Waimea Bay on the biggest wave ridden that year (69).
Buzzy was driving down the face of a 30 footer right next to Noll. he
was never pompous or arrogant, yet he was one of the original creators
of the Chart House restaurants, one of the most famous food and beverage
chains on the planet. I believe that much of the creative aspects
regarding the interior designs were from Buzzy. What a creative man!
drove to McCall, Idaho to visit Buzz a few years back and saw the work
he had done on the restaurant/cafe he wanted to open in New Hope. He
took an old run down loggers cafe that had been closed for years and
turned it into a beautiful interior which all of us would have been
proud to have been a part of. It is so unfortunate that he never got to
was my friend and I did not get to say goodby to him. I will never
forget him and I know I will get to see him again in heaven. Rest in
peace brother Buzz." — Ed Andrews
East Coast Hall of Famer, Mike Tabeling (pictured on the left) passed away on December 20, after a year-long battle with cancer. Mike was able to make the transition from long to shortboards and inspired a generation of Right Coast surfers with his smooth stye and effortless radical maneuvers. Mike was featured in John Severson's final film, "Pacific Vibrations", riding the board seen here with artwork done by Mike himself (that's former longboard world champ, Taylor Jensen on the right). Mike spent his last year with his wife, Nancy, traveling around the US and Mexico, crossing off items on his bucket list. He and Nancy even had their wedding at SHACC a few years back. A true friend of Surfing Heritage and one of the nicest guys around (with a great sense of humor to boot), Mike will be greatly missed. You can read about some of Mike's adventures in the recent Surfer's Journal, number 23, volume 6, and for more on Mike, check out these postings on The Encyclopedia of Surfing and on Surfline.
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)