"Not just the Boogie Man"
by Corky Carroll
2021 has been a very hard year on the surfing community, losing many icons and legends as the months have rolled by. On October 14th one of the brightest minds, coolest characters and smoothest surfers pulled out, Tom Morey. Most of you will remember him as the inventor of the “Morey Boogie,” or more simply, the BOOGIE board. Tom was 86 and still smiling.
This one hit me hard as we had been close pals for going on 60 years, having first met in the early 1960’s. Rather than going into a bunch of historical stuff I would rather share a little story about a few months I spent surfing with Tom in Puerto Rico, Jan thru April of 1968.
At that time surfing in that part of the world was still fairly new. I had been there a couple of months before to surf in the first Puerto Rico International Championship and liked it a lot. There was a movement to try and get the island established on the surfing map and the next years World Championship was scheduled to be held there in November of 1968. I was thinking spending some time down there prior to that would increase my chances, so I packed up and, along with my then pregnant with our son Clint wife Cheryl, took off for an extended stay.
Upon arrival we rented a small cabin on the hill overlooking the surf near Rincon, the main surf break. And, to make things even better and more interesting, Tom Morey and his wife had also just arrived and rented the cabin next door. Over the next few months we surfed and hung out together, shared countless stories and thoughts on surfboard design, jokes, lies, ideas on space travel, time travel and more cosmic craziness than I can describe here. We also did a lot of yelling out, “Aguaaaaaaaaa,” to the owner of the cabins, who lived just above us, to turn our water on. He liked to turn it off when he didn’t see our cars there. It became a thing that over the years when Tom and I would see each other, or talk on the phone, we would always start off the conversation with a loud and long rendition of the aforementioned, “Aguaaaaaaaaaaa.”
Three things stand out in my mind from that experience with Tom. One is us paddling out on a huge day at a spot called “Tres Palmas.” It was just us and it was big. As we got to the lineup Tom, who had not really surfed giant waves before that, looked at me and said, “So, do you think this is 20 feet?” I looked back and seriously replied, “Are you kidding? It’s at least 80 feet.” We should have laughed but were both so scared that we just left it at that.
The next was one day when we had been spearfishing and I was swimming in holding the bag of fish we had nailed. It was always the guy that got the less amount fish that had to hold the bag, and that was always me. On the way to the beach I ran eye to eye into an enormous octopus, like the size of one of those Krakens in the movies. Scared me so bad I still have nightmares about it. Tom was mad at me for not trying to spear it, “ya know kid, that’s good eating.” I asked if he was talking about the octopus or me?
The last, and most profound, was one day we were sitting in the water at a very remote spot with nobody else around for miles. Surf was good and it was a nice day. We were waiting for a wave and talking when far off in the distance we spotted a fish about two feet long just skipping on top of the water coming our way. Right behind that fish was another fish about three or four foot long skipping on the water at exactly the same pace as the smaller one in in the lead. They came racing past us going really fast. I was glad they didn’t hit us. And they sped off towards the horizon with the big fish in chase of the smaller fish as far as we could see. I looked over at Tom and asked, “So, do you think the little guy is gonna get away or will the big one eat it?” Tom, in his perfect scientist mode, says that the big fish is gonna eat the small one. Saddened, I asked why he thought that. He says, “The little fish is spending more energy to get away than the big fish because he is smaller, so the little fish is gonna be lunch.” I was obviously not happy at this conclusion. Tom looks at me and matter of factly just states, “Corky my boy, that’s life in the food chain!!!” This is when I decided that I didn’t like the food chain concept too much. Visions of the octopus flooding my now terrified mind.
I am gonna miss great chats with him, listening to his ideas on music, surfing and the universe, and just his great wit and sense of humor.
Tom Morey, one of the great ones.
Surfboard Builders "Academy Awards"
by Corky Carroll
The 22nd Annual International Surfboard Builders Hall of Fame induction ceremony is set to go off on Saturday, October 9th. This years’ event, to honor the inductees for the year 2021, will take place at the Huntington Beach Pier Plaza, on the North side of the pier, kicking off with a “meet and greet” at 9 A.M. This will be followed by the induction ceremony itself set for 10 A.M to noon. There will be Hawaiian music during the ceremony by the Kolohe Ukulele Club and an after party following at the Huntington Beach International Surf Museum with food and refreshments.
Viewed by the surfing community as the “Academy Awards of Surfboard Building,” this is a highly prestigious and coveted award within the surfing industry. The ISBHF began back in 2000 as the brain child of local surfboard builder and real estate mogul, Bob “the Greek” Bolen and his trusty side-kick Mike “Mickey the Rat” Ester. (Just a side note: if you see these two cruising down Main Street in Rats woody station wagon you will swear it’s Cheech and Chong going surfing.)
The first person inducted was the late great Bill Holden. The idea was to honor the mostly “unknown out of the shaping room” heroes who have dedicated their lives to the shaping, designing and construction of the surfboards that we all ride day in and day out. Up until then it was mostly the famous surfers who rode the boards that got all the glory. (Another side note: in my case this was totally deserved….hahaha.) The award itself is completely hand crafted by Mickey Rat to honor each inductee for his or her contribution to the art of building surfboards.
Some of the previous inductees include Hobie Alter, Dale Velzy, Richard Harbour, Greg Noll, Bing Copeland, Mike Doyle, Hap Jacobs, Skip Frye, Gordie, Jack O’Neill, Doug Haut, Mickey Munoz and Robert August. The list is a who’s who of the foam dust eaters.
This years’ list of honorees is truly formitable. Kicking off with the man most fondly referred to as the “Godfather of the Surf Industry,” Walter Hoffman. He and his brother Philip “Flippy” Hoffman were early big wave surfers in Hawaii and extreme lovers of the bohemian surfing lifestyle. Their father, Rube, had built a fabric company and both of the brothers would find their lifetime niche designing, building and selling all sorts of fabrics to the world. Foremost for them was the growing surfwear industy. Most all of the material for the shirts, shorts and other “surf” related clothing has come directly from Hoffman Fabrics over the years. All the time Walter and Flippy were still surfing their brains out. Flippy, who was known for riding as big or bigger waves than anybody, passed away a few years back. But Walter is still surfing going into his 90’s. Every few years I have the pleasure of sharing a surf session with him and it is always a wonderful experience. The man has the stoke.
Next on the slate this year is 4 time World Champion
The True Aqua Athletes
by Corky Carroll
Through the years there have been many great surfers that more than less were specialists in a certain aspect. Some have been expert big wave riders, others expert small wave riders and some expert middle size wave riders. For instance, you have guys like Greg Noll, who was famous for fearlessly riding giant waves yet was pretty much an average small wave rider. One the other hand there was the great East Coast Champion Gary Proper, the dude could ride tiny waves better than just about anybody ever could. But didn’t like the big ones.
There have also been many surfers remembered for certain parts of surfing that they were really good at. Like David Nuuhiwa, who was the greatest “noserider” of the great noseriding era of the 1960’s. Barry Kanaiaupuni was well known for his monster bottom turns at Sunset Beach, on the North Shore. Mike Purpus was well known to have “the best Cutback in the business.” Billy Hamilton and Skip Frye were both respected to have extremely beautiful surfing styles. Gerry Lopez was the man when it came to “tube riding,” and in fact was dubed “Mr Pipeline,” taking the title from the great Butch Van Artsdalen.
There have been some that have been able to ride anything thrown at them well. These are special human beings. Kelly Slater would be one that immediately comes to mind. From tiny Cocoa Beach, Florida ankle snappers to giant Waimea Bay on the North Shore, no problemos. Also on the dance card in this category would be guys like Peter Townend, Jock Sutherland, John Peck, Michael Ho, Reno Abellira, Rolf Aurness and Jeff Hackman. There’s more but my space is limited here.