by Corky Carroll
It’s that time of year again where the water and air are getting colder and Orange County surfers are taking measures to stay warm. One of the common problems with being in, and on, the ocean and exposed to wind and weather is the growth of what we call “surfers ear.” Luckily right here in Newport Beach we have one of the most renowned Ear Doctors and the leader in the field of treating surfers ear. Dr. Carol Jackson. She is THE go to person if you are having issues with your ears. She has taken great care of me, I can testify to that. Each year at this time I ask her to give us an update on the latest in ear care for surfers. She just sent me the following.
““I can’t get my ear to unplug or stay unplugged!” is the familiar expression of surfing enthusiasts when benign boney nodules called exostoses enlarge over years to block over 80% of the eardrum. They interrupt the ear’s normal self-cleaning and protective wax mechanisms. Instead, infectious material, sand, and dead skin plug the ear by clinging to the exostoses and won’t flush off. This scenario can progress to an acute infection, “swimmer’s ear,” that can cause the severe pain that makes a grown man cry. That’s when it’s time to see an ear doctor for removal of the material, treatment, and stepped-up prevention. When blockage is over 85%, it’s time to consider getting them removed.
Laser-assisted microsurgical excision is minimally invasive and outpatient. It’s now more complete and safer than ever and it’s essentially painless. External skin incisions are no longer necessary so there are no visible scars. Gone is the postop period of the ear protruding and numbness of the pinna. With eighteen-year follow-up, exostoses do not re-grow to require repeat surgery at all. It’s a permanent solution to put “surfer’s ear” in the rearview mirror. Usual non-water activities can be resumed the next day. Usual return to water with precautions is in four to six weeks.
Exostosis can be halted or prevented altogether by use of ear plugs while surfing. Shallow plugs or disposable silicone ones at drug stores and sporting goods retailers work well if they fit comfortably and keep most of the water out. The forcible rush of cold water in the ear is the main stimulus for exostosis. Best are custom plugs made from a mold impression of your canal. Now they can be ordered with a tiny membrane-covered vent that allows sound through. They last years, float, come in bright colors even with glitter, and can be on a lanyard. Rarely are they lost in the surf!
If you sense plugging or it seems like some people mumble, you could have reduced hearing related to surfer’s ear or unrelated such as prior loud sound or head trauma. Surfers with ringing in the ear or dizziness may have unrelated ear issues needing separate tests and treatment such a benign acoustic neuroma or elevated inner ear fluid pressure, called hydrops. You can have more than one cause of ear problems at the same time, 17and they can be different in ear each.
Learn about the severity of your exostosis on camera and receive an ear checkup. It’s wise to see an ear doctor who uses an office microscope and can show your ear image for you to see and understand. Have a hearing test by a hearing pro in a sound booth.
At home, if you want to try to ease mild itching, discomfort, or plugging you can try instilling and massaging in a few drops of original plain baby oil while lying on your side with the affected ear up twice a day keeping the ear clean and dry. Don’t use over-the-counter preparations, swabs or flushing due to the risk of pushing material deeper or causing more swelling from irritating chemicals. Isopropyl alcohol can sting and make inflamed skin dry and crack, making matters worse.
It's clear that keeping unhealthy ears dry is key especially when you suspect water in the ear canal or get moisture or drainage. Remove water by evaporation; not swabs or Kleenex which wick out protective skin oils. A hair dryer for three minutes is helpful yet there are special ear dryers online. They’re portable, plug into vehicle power ports and work on batteries. Germs cannot live in the ear without water. No water, no bacteria or fungus!
Just as with eyes and vision, your ears and hearing need conscientious care, too”
To contact Dr. Jackson’s Ear & Balance Clinic and for more info visit www.myeardoctors.com
by Corky Carroll
Yep, it’s that happy time of year again where we are starting to think about what super cool and appropriate gifts to get for those special someones in our lives. And I am here to help those of you who are looking to get just the right thing for that surfing special someone, in the event that you yourself are not a surfer and have no clue as to what would be a good gift. Or, if you are a surfer but just need a little help with some good suggestions.
In years past I have always tried to suggest ideas for gifts that I might want to receive myself. But, seeing as how I am older than your average dinosaur, this year I am going to try and be broader minded and think of things that a wider spectrum of surfers might enjoy, age wise. There is somewhat of a difference between what the fifteen-year-old wave warrior would dig than the surf senior citizen. Some of these ideas will be ones that I have suggested in the past, but they are still valid and there is also the fact that some of you might be reading this gift idea column for the first time.
Before going any further check out www.bluemangosurf.com. You might just find everything you need right there.
Ok, starting with the least expensive. The small items that any surfer can always use are things like surfboard wax (check to make sure you get the right temperature mix), ding repair kits, videos, sunblock, hats, surf leashes and t-shirts. T-shirts are great entry level gifts. Just make sure you get the right size (we like em big).
The next level would be things like sunglasses and books. I love the idea of both giving and getting a book. Probably older surfers will like this one more as they are more prone to appreciating the history and lore of surfing than the younger more hard core gremmies. This year there are a number of great books available. A few suggestions: 500 Summer Stories by Greg MacGillivary. This is an incredible coffee table type book with fantastic photos and stories of Greg’s adventures from the making of great surf movies to becoming the head dude in the filming and production of IMAX movies. Steve Pezman has an entertaining collection of short stories he has written over the course of the 50 years or so that he has been in the surfing publication game, from SURFER magazine to the SURFERS JOURNAL. It’s titled TURN AND GO. And, here it comes….. da daaaaaaa… that great autobiography by me, NOT DONE YET. Hey, my column …I can plug my stuff. Yay.
Stepping up in price as we get into the range of wetsuits. These kind of fit in area between coffee table books and surfboards. All surfers who live in Southern California need wetsuits. Especially in the winter. It’s cold. Not as cold as many places, but still not warm. This is a harder item to buy as you need to know exactly what style of wetsuit your surfer wants and needs, plus his or her size. If you are not sure about this, then I would suggest a gift certificate.
Another great idea is Art. Original paintings or even nice prints make great gifts. This one hits close to home as I do original art myself and sell my paintings. And there are a number of other really great surf artists that have works that most any surfer would love to have on their walls. Art is a gift that lasts a lifetime.
And, of course, there are surfboards. This is obviously a very special gift to a very special surfer in your life. And the same issue holds true for board buying. You need to know what they want and need. So, you either need to find out, or go the gift certificate route. Stand Up Paddleboards fit into this category too. You need to be sure if your surfer is a prone or stand-up style of rider.
Kind of a side note here is that there are also boogie boards, knee boards, paipo boards, surf skis and other types of wave riding vehicles.
Ok, now moving into the super special gift ideas. The most common would be a surf trip to somewhere they really want to go. Hawaii always comes to mind. But there are many other great surf destinations for the more adventurous. The South Pacific has many options, as does the Caribbean. Central America is a treasure trove of great surfing areas. If you are spending this kind of money I am sure that you know your surfer well enough to have an idea of where would be the spot that would thrill them the most.
These are just a few basic suggestions. I hope I have helped you at least a little bit. Happy Holidays.
Ocean Therapy Rocks!
By Corky Carroll
Alright, I just want to warn you at the get go here that todays contribution to serious literature and global knowledge could be a tad rant-like and possibly semi discombobulated. (side note: wow, I wasn’t sure discombobulated was an actual word until just now when I looked it up….who knew? Way more syllables than I am used to giving up.). But stick with me because I think, in the end, I have a good point to be made and somehow, hopefully, it will become clearer as we go on.
Let me start out be telling you a little, semi well known, fact about me. I am super obsessive. When I was younger my pal Allan Seymour used to say that I had total “tunnel vision.” I would become Laser focused on one thing and not see anything else that was going on…..the “big picture,” so to speak. And he was right, it’s true. With me it always has been that way and still is.
Pretty much my whole life has been focused on surfing and my craving to be able to do it as much and as often as possible. Music has taken up a lot of my attention too. I remember one time when I was focused on learning how to play the violin. I went into the garage one morning about 8 AM to practice. I knew I was in there a long time and when I came out my wife asked where had I been all day? I looked at my watch and said, “it’s only 10 o’clock, wasn’t all day.” She looked at me dumbfounded and said, “it’s 10 o’clock at night!!!” Oops.
Lately it’s been that way with art. I have fallen in love with painting and just can’t put down the brushes. Most of my life I have looked for waves in all the t.v. shows and movies, but now I see paintings in them. Dream about ideas for new ones. I wake up and make the coffee and disappear into my corky-cave (office, music studio, art room and closet all in 9’x9’). Can’t paint enough, finish one and got idea for the next. Thank goodness people are buying them because there is no room in here (am in there now) for any more and the income is really helping to put tortillas on the table.
So, all this brings me to what I really want to say to you today. Back to surfing. Surfing is a good thing to do for many reasons. It’s super healthy right off the top. It’s also mentally soothing and clears the mind of unwanted clutter. If I have problems and things are getting me down the one thing that has always helped was to paddle out and let the vibe of being in the water relax and take my mind off whatever it was that was bothering me.
There are so many bad things going on in the world, right in our own neighborhoods too, that our kids need good things like surfing to keep ‘em going in a good direction. And I am talking about the actual act of going surfing, not just hangin’ out at the beach with the surf crowd. In the water physical surfing.
I really don’t like watching the news anymore. It’s dark. I always said they should break the news up into two different shows…. The good news and the bad news. You get your choice. Wanna be bummed out and scared to leave your living room? Ya got the bad. Wanna be happy and encouraged that the world is actually a decent place to live? Ya got the good. The weather and sports can go either way, depending on if it’s stormy or your team lost. I am a firm believer in good vs bad. Am a huge fan of good.
Back to our kids. My pal Tom Morey, the guy who invented the “Boogie Board,” hired me to do a radio commercial way back when “boogies” first came out. He wrote a song for it that had the verse “Buy your boy a boogie and send him to the sea. Initiate the lad into the moving wall fraternity. Teach your kids to read and write then let them surf all day. Learning how to surf through life is learning that will pay.”
I think he was right. Too many kids are doing nothing and that is not good. We live in a great place and it has an ocean, with good surf. If your kids wanna surf, let them do it. They will not only be healthier for it, they will also be happier.
by Corky Carroll
I recently picked up a copy of a fantastic book that I want share with you today. It’s called “TURN AND GO!” Fifty years of surf writings by Steve Pezman. There are some fantastic stories in here and most of them brought back my own memories of the particular people and events that Steve talks about.
But, before I get into the content of the book, let me give you some history on Steve Pezman from my perspective. I first met Steve when I was a young surf gremmie growing up in Surfside Colony, just south of Seal Beach. He was one of a small crew of surfers who came down from Long Beach and hung out and surfed at the spot called “Water Tower.” This was by the big water tower at the south end of Surfside and the north end of Sunset Beach. I am guessing I would have been maybe 13 years old at the time. I got to know these guys from surfing and hanging out listening to them tell stories. They had been to Hawaii and surfed all over, plus knew stuff about chicks that I was only guessing at that point. At times they would take me and my pal Mark Martinson surfing with them at Trestles or Doheny, normally cramming us in the trunk of the car holding onto the boards and gagging on exhaust fumes.
Years later Steve was hired by John Severson to work at Surfer Magazine, and in fact took over as Publisher when John sold the mag and moved to Maui. Shortly after that I was hired and became Advertising Director and occasional comedy writer. I was there ten years and working with “Pez” was always a complete joy. He is a very sensitive and thoughtful person and that is how he lives his life and how he ran the magazine. It was obvious that he cared about every detail of how he did things and it showed. I am pretty sure my hiring kind of scared the daylights out of him. He knew me as the obnoxious motor mouth teenager who could very well be a source of embarrassment to him and the magazine.
And I certainly could not blame him for that, it was a reputation that I had earned fully and lived up to on more than one occasion. But by 1976, when I got the job there, I was in my late twenties and fairly well, maybe not totally, settled down and in the early days of mellowing out. I think I did a more than creditable job of organizing and running the Ad Dept and did my best to not splash around in the pool too much. I think he was always a little leery about me being there, but he tolerated me as best he could. I did my best to go beyond what was expected of me hoping to set his mind at ease.
Eventually he and his wife Debbie left Surfer Publishing and started their own surfing publication called “SURFERS JOURNAL.” SJ was miles beyond anything that had been done in surf related print before. Beautiful photos and amazingly written stories and only a couple of ads. Every issue was like a coffee table book.
Thru all the years that Pez was working in the surf publication business he wrote stories. Always great and written with a tremendous amount of humanity, with a lot of feeling if you will. The dude can spin a yarn, in other words. He really put a lot of thought into what he wanted to say. I could appreciate that, a trait that I have never really got a good grip on myself. I tend to just blurt out whatever is on the top of my head and run with it. Yeah, sometimes later I will look back and let out the occasional “oops,” but hey. It’s an adventure.
The book opens up with his recollection of the last part of the life of surf legend Miki Dora. “The Cat’s Ninth Life.” This sets the tone for a journey thru the years featuring some of the coolest and most colorful people and places in the surfing world. Great stuff about Pat Curren, Joe Quiqq, Phil Edwards, Mickey Munoz, Dorian Paskowitz, Paul Strauch, Greg Noll and others. There is even an interview with Timothy Leary. Great stuff.
I highly recommend this book to any of you who love surfing and love a great story. I got mine thru the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center online. You could probably order from Surfers Journal as well. Also, it would made a nice Christmas present, in case you are thinking that far ahead.
by Corky Carroll
I have been wanting to write about this guy for a long time and thankfully have gotten around to it today. Rick Blake is one of those guys who is well known in Orange County, especially Huntington Beach, as an excellent surfer and artist. Also, he is the guy who has been putting on the retro surf events held at Surfside and Sunset Beach for several years. These have become extremely popular and have turned into a “thing.” I asked Rick in an email to tell me about it and here it is in his own words.
“I had always been interested in history and that goes for surf history as well. We used to ride old longboards in the late 80s and 90s and decided to start an old longboard riding event. We had old Gordie’s and Velzy’s and Ole’s that would probably be worth a fortune now and had a few surf events we lovingly called “Log contests” in the mid 90s.. We were just having fun cruising the logs and trying the old school style and turns from the early to mid 60s… I would do the art for the posters and shirts..and it was fun for awhile.. until people started getting too serious and were bringing new modern longboards to the “log” contest so it wasn’t really what we were aiming for. My buddy Benny Bigler was the manager at Bruce Jones Surfboards in Sunset Beach and people were constantly bringing in beautiful old 1970s era Bruce Jones’ to trade in for new ones. Benny started collecting a few and we were digging the old shapes. So we were like “Lets have a 70s surfboard riding event”! We called it the Surfside 70s and hold it just inside the border at Anderson St near the Water Tower house. We started that in 1998 and just had our 24th annual this year. I do all the art every year and come up with different 70s concepts..We now have a much larger collection of boards and friends like Tony Alvarado that bring down maybe 60 or more pristine 1970s sticks for people to ride. We used to joke and put names like Gerry Lopez on the heat sheet but nowadays we have actual 70s legends show up to the event. (PT, Rory Russell, Sam Hawk, Buzzy Kerbox…etc) Each year we give tribute to a 1970s legend or shaper and I get to tell stories about the history and shaping and try to focus on things that have been lost to history so we don’t forget. We hooked up with Bud Llamas in 2014 and started the HB 80s event where everybody rides 80s boards at Goldenwest St. Bud has a surf shop called 17th St Boardshop and runs it all through his shop.. I do all the art for that event and focus on Bud or other 80s legends that we all want to celebrate. Then we started the Sunset 60s event and back to the original idea we all ride 1960s era boards and I do the art for it all and then we connected the three retro events calling it the Triple Crown of Retro Surfing sponsored by Quiksilver. We have been getting some great photographers coming down capturing the surf action like Mike Moir who comes from all the different eras which lends great visual brilliance to the whole thing. I started an instagram called Retro Surf Series where I can tell some history and show old photos of surf spots and things and write about shapers and surf shops.. so much history out there.”
Rick grew up in Huntington Beach and learned to surf at the local beaches back in the 1980’s. After graduating Cal State Long Beach with a Fine Arts degree he went to work in the surf industry for Billabong and then Hurley. His love for art overcame all else and he got a teaching credential and now works as an Art Teacher at a middle school in Orange.
I love Rick’s art. As some of you know I paint too, Rick has been an inspiration and has been very helpful with some great advice on my own art. The surf art genre has some incredible talent out there, and Rick Blake is one of the very best. You should check out his stuff at the “Surf Art Corner”, a part of the International Surfing Museum in Huntington Beach.
...and my surf career begins
by Corky Carroll
The other day I was sitting around with my neighbor and life long pal Timmy Dorsey. We were laughing about an incident that occurred about 1960, and had a lot to do with us becoming friends and my future as a pro surfer. I actually have the story documented in my latest book “Not Done Yet.” The following is taken from Chapter 3.
With the gaining popularity of surfing came surfing publications. One day somebody at school told me that there was a surfing newspaper that had come out and had a killer photo of three guys on a giant wave at Makaha, in Hawaii, on the cover. The word was that they had them for sale at the Ole Surfboard shop in Sunset Beach, about a half mile south of our house. When I got home I squealed, whined and begged my mom relentlessly until she coughed up a dollar. Then I jumped on my trusty schwinn three speed and flew down the road as fast as my little legs could peddle.
The Ole Surfboards shop was an old Quonset hut converted into a tiny showroom in front with the entire manufacturing process done in the back. That was back in the days of real surf shops. You got blasted by the smell of resin right when you went through the door. And normally you would step in some and ruin your shoes at the same time, or at least get a bad case of fiberglass itch from the dust in the air from sanding the boards. It was sort of becoming a part of the whole process I guess. Be one with your board, so to speak.
When I got to the shop that day local surf star, and future legendary lifeguard, Timmy Dorsey was working in the little sales area. He was one of my surfing heroes at that time and I was happy that he was there to talk to. Timmy was one of the few local surf stars who had taken the time to be nice to me in the water and always had had a smile and a “hey kid, howsit?” for me. Of course I was probably a bit hard to bear at that time for most of them due to my zealous stoke and high energy. More on that a bit later.
So, Timmy sees me come in and gets this huge grin on his face. “I bet I know what yoooooouuuuu want,” he said with music in his voice.
My eyes lit up. There it was sitting on the counter. The object of my desires. The first surfing newspaper complete with the classic surf shot of Peter Cole, Wally Forsyth and George Downing screaming across this huge and beautiful wall of water at Makaha.
“Yeah, the paper the paper the PAAAAPPPPPEEEEEEEEEER. I WANT IT.” I bellowed with glee.
“How much money do ya got?”
“My mom gave me a dollar, is that enough?”
At first Tim sort of winced and frowned. He was looking at the ground and kinda shaking his head. I guess he could see the light go out in my eyes. Well I guess he kind of engineered that actually. “Gee kid, they want a buck and a half for this thing,” he said with just a touch of sympathy in his tone.
My head dropped.
“But for you I will let this one here, with only the small resin drip on the corner and a light mustard stain from my sandwich, go for only a dollar.”
“REEEEEALLLLY????” I came back to life.
“Yep. And not only that, I also want to tell you that Ole and I have been watching you surf and are impressed with what we have been seeing. You could have some potential.”
“REEEEEALLLLLY?????” My heart was soaring. (Note: the price on the cover was actually fifty cents.
“Yep. And Ole has authorized me to offer you a surf team deal if you wanna ride an Ole Surfboard.”
“Yep. Free color.”
“FREEEEE COLOR….OH WOW…. REEEEEALLY???”
“Yep. So, when do ya wanna order your new team Ole board amigo?”
Before those words had finished leaving Timmy’s lips I was on my bike, slightly soiled surfing newspaper in hand, and was racing home as fast as I could go. My dad should be getting home from work at any minute and I had some serious convincing to do.
And that’s how my surfing career got started.
by Corky Carroll
I was super stoked to get to hang out in Huntington Beach this year during the big week of the U.S. Open of Surfing and take part in some of the events going on. I have missed this event for a number of years, having chosen to avoid the crowds and spend time surfing in tropical locations with no traffic. This has had it's upside and its downside. The upside, obviously, is surfing in tropical conditions with no traffic. The downside is not seeing a whole lot of people that I like to see. So, this year it was really fun to be there and see, well, a whole lot of people that I like to see. My longtime pals David Nuuhiwa, Ilima Kalama, Peter Townend, Chuck Linnen and John Peck on that list among many others.
One of them was the great legendary surfer, L.J. Richards. The “L.J.” stands for “Little John,” as his name is John. When he was a kid growing up in Oceanside he got the nickname due to his small stature and to separate him from all the other “Johns” in the line up.
L.J. Started surfing while attending Oceanside High School in the early 1950’s. He was a year behind the great Phil Edwards, already well known as one of the best surfers in the world. Phil was making balsawood boards and L.J got one. He and Phil became pals and surfed the breaks around North San Diego County and also traveled up to San Onofre from time to time.
Known for his smooth style, L.J. was featured in many of the early surf magazines and in surf films of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. He was a top competitor in surfing events and won the United States Championship at Huntington Beach in 1963, the same year I won the Junior Mens. He was a finalist at the World Championship at Manly Beach in Australia in 1964. Always one of the top surfers in the rankings and on everybody’s “favorite” surfer list.
I first met L.J. when I was about 13. My dad had driven a couple of us down the coast on a “surf safari,” we wound up at a spot in Carlsbad called “Tamarack.” The surf was pretty good and L.J. was out that day. I spent a lot of my surf session watching him surf. He was so fluid yet did such radical turns and cutbacks. Great nose riding too. Most of the time that I wasn’t watching him I was grilling him with a zillion typical “gremmie” questions. I was a surf star’s worst nightmare in those days. I was a total “motor mouth.” Mike Doyle picked me up hitch-hiking home from Doheny one day and said that after that relentless questionaire he never picked up another hitchhiker again, unless it was a chick.
When L.J. was young he was a lifeguard. That led to a lifetime career as a fireman in North San Diego County. He has remained a full-time surfer his entire life and is well known and liked by everybody. Most will tell you that he is one of the nicest and most humble and friendly guys that you ever could meet. I agree with that. Along with Paul Strauch, he has been dubbed “the Gentleman Surfer.” The dude is the epitome of super cool and smooth.
So anyway, I was really happy to see L.J. at the event and get to visit for a while with one of my favorite surfers ever. A pal for 60 years. (How did I get this old?).
He has been inducted into both the Surfers Hall of Fame and the International Surfing hall of Fame. Currently he and his wife Kim live in Carlsbad, and on most days, he will be the best surfer in the water at local breaks.
by Corky Carroll
Ah, memories of surfing's “golden years.” Great news from MacGillivray Freeman Films is the 50 year anniversary re-release of their epic surf film, “Five Summer Stories.” If you talked to pretty much anybody who was around in 1972, and deeply involved in surfing, they would almost all agree that this was the greatest surf film ever made. And if you talked those same people, if they are still alive today, I am pretty sure that they would agree that this is still the case.
5SS is just out and out a fantastic surfing movie on all kinds of levels. The photography is incredible. The music by the great Honk band from Laguna Beach is amazing. The editing is perfect. And the underlying storyline of the massive changes taking place, not only in surfing but in the world at large, at that time is spot on. The times were “a changing.”
Greg MacGillivray and Jim Freeman were the cream of the surf movie crop at that time, both incredibly creative and expertly skilled in their craft. Jim had previously put together a 3-D surf movie in the earlier 60’s that was groundbreaking for that time. He later went on to invent a camera mount for helicopters that would enable totally smooth and bump free photography from the air. This was far pre-drone.
Greg went on to totally dominate the IMAX kingdom with such great hits as “The Living Sea,” “Everest” and many more. He is a master movie maker in every sense of the word. And, added side cool thing, he is and always has been a dedicated and full time surfer. Super cool dude too. MacGillivray Freeman Films were the first to actually pay the surfers, who took part in the movie, a percentage of the profits. This was unheard of up until that time. And, coming as one of them, GREATLY appreciated.
The film will be showing in select theaters in the United States and Canada throughout this fall. This brings back the vibe of the days of actually going to a surf film, seeing it with a live audience and the rich pageantry that went along with those wonderful nights. Going to see a new surf film was a “thing” in the late 50’s thru the 70’s. The rush of the crowd going crazy at the first deep tube ride or giant wave to hit the screen. The joyful laughter and “oh’s and ah’s” during the wipe out scenes. Everybody loves a great wipe out, as long as it’s somebody else taking it and not you. When the movies came around to your town THAT was the place to be on that night.
I still remember when 5SS had its premier at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in 1972. One of my most embarrassing moments ever. There is a scene in the film where they duct taped a microphone onto my chest and sent me out to surf at Pipeline. The deal was I had to keep talking the whole time, for me not a hard thing. But try talking while you are riding a wave, not easy. The more I talked the less I did. I yell “off the bottom,” but by the time I say that it’s too late to do it and nothing happens. A bunch of nothing happens happened. And then a guy on a boogie board dropped in on me and I did a kick out to get out of the wave. From the angle with the big telephoto lens it looked like I was trying to nail the guy, but I wasn’t. The guy thought that too and was yelling at me after the wave. Again, the camera and sound made it look like I was yelling at him. Truth was the guy was huge and was telling me if I didn’t like it he was gonna stuff me into a hole in the bottom. I was backing down big time. But it looked just the opposite. Some people were going “yeah, nail the sponger.” But most I am sure thought I was a jerk for trying to hit somebody with my board. I felt like crawling under my seat and sneaking out so I didn’t have to face anybody after the movie was over. Did I mention how not fun it was getting the duct tape off?
So, I started my day this morning by watching the new version. Amazing how it holds up after 50 years. Gerry Lopez, Billy Hamilton and Barry Kanaipuni in particular were really surfing at an extreme high level. It was at the time when the boards had gone short and were in the “mid size” transition era. Everyday was some kind of breakthrough. The movie does a great job of showing that as well as the real need for change on so many fronts. And the music is as great as we all remember it to be. Honk is just one of the great bands of all time and this stuff proves it. They still rock.
All in all, this is really an event that you will want to take in personally when it comes to a venue near you. Be ready to hoot, holler and roll. For a listing of screenings and a preview go to www.fivesummerstories.com. AWHOOOO!!!!
by Corky Carroll
My relationship with the just completed U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach goes all the way back to the first event in 1959. It was called the West Coast Championship back then. In 1961 they changed the name to the United States Championship. Thru the years it morphed into the current title of U.S. Open.
In 1959 I was an eleven-year-old stoked gremmie surfing in my first contest. My dad drove me down to the pier and I gave it a go. First win was in the Junior division in 1963, then Men’s in ’66, ’67 and ’69 along with the Overall title in ’66, ’67, ’68, ‘69’ and ’70. I had a good run.
Thru the years I have watched as the event has grown from those early times of two-day events, always on a weekend, to what has become an enormous surfing extravaganza. Along with the surfing there are all kinds of other events going on and it’s pretty much nonstop entertainment for 9 days.
In recent years I have not been able to go as many times as I might have wanted as I have been spending a lot of time surfing far south along Mainland Mexico. As I have entered the battle with geezerdom I have found that warm water and tropical breezes suit me better than wetsuits and guys with pierced eyeballs running me over.
But this year I really wanted to go. It started with me seeing on Facebook that my favorite band, HONK, was getting inducted into the “Walk of Fame.” I said to my pretty wife Raquel, “Hey baby, Honk is getting an award at the U.S. Open, we should go. This immediately lit the “shopping” light in her head and she gladly agreed.
Our mission for the week was to attend as many of the extremely fun events as we could. Seeing the surfing is always cool, it is mind blowing these days. But it’s all the other stuff that was our quest.
We started our week with a visit to see my pal Nik at “Dirt Cheap Hawaiian Shirts,” in Costa Mesa. We loaded up some very cool gear so we could look good. My entire wardrobe consists of t-shirts and the two Hawaiian shirts I got from Nik a few years ago. Ya gotta blend in ya know. Plus, he carries triple X sizes to fit my cowish figure.
Lookin’ like we belong, our first event was the opening “after party” at Hurricanes on Main Street. As a bonus, my son Clint’s band was playing and, a proud father moment here, rocked the house. Totally blew us away.
Next event was the reception for the Walk of Fame held at Pacific City. It was our first time to go there. I kept thinking that at one time this would have been where the “Grinder” diner was and the old miniature golf course. My dad had a trailer in the old trailer park there after our house in Surfside burned down in ’65. And now, “this.” Incredible. Ran into my pal and long-time rival David Nuuhiwa. How many times did he and I duke it out in the finals at that pier? A lot. Great to see him. The next morning was the induction ceremony, and I got the honor of introducing “Honk.” I always say my favorite bands are the Rolling Stones and Honk, giving Honk the edge cause I know ‘em. In the program there was a photo of an old poster from 1971 of them headlining at the 4 Muses club in San Clemente and April Fuladosa and I were the opening act. Very proud of that.
The next day we got to go to the 25th anniversary induction ceremony for the “Surfers Hall of Fame” in front of Huntington Surf ‘n Sport. This was really sentimental for me as I had been involved with helping its founder, Aaron Pai, get it going back in 1997. This years inductions brought back a flood of great memories of all the amazing surfers who have had their hands and feet enshrined there, many of them my idols. Aaron’s entire family, which has grown into a small community, all surf and they all take part in putting this on. I was so happy to be back there, my wife Raquel said she had never seen me smile that much. Saw so many old pals. This is really one of the coolest events in surfing.
Later that night we went to the Huntington Beach Surfing Association’s annual reunion party. I was totally stoked to get inducted as an honorary member along with my pals Robert Highsmith, Jeff Holland and super surf artist Roy Gonzalez. What a fun night that was and what an extremely fun week that certainly was.
Now it’s gonna take me a weeklong “recovery party” in my Lazy Boy. Awhooo. Boy, 63 years sure went by quick. Seems like just the other day I was that skinny, kinda scared, eleven year old paddling out next to the pier with not the faintest idea of what was about to come.
by Corky Carroll
Wow, it’s hard to believe that 25 years have gone by since Aaron Pai came up with the idea to put together a Hall of Fame for the sport of surfing. I remember it well. He called me and asked me to come down to his store, Huntington Surf ‘n Sport, saying he had something to talk to me about. It was a cold day in January 1967 as we stood in the parking garage under the store and he laid out his plan. He had his concrete guys on hand and they got my hands and feet in a slab right then and there. His vision was to recreate the same sort of thing as was done at Graumans Chinese Theater in Hollywood.
A week or so after that I helped him drag guys out of the Action Sports Retailer Trade Show in Long Beach and into the parking lot to do more of the original slabs. These were laid into the floor in a new section of the store that had a coffee counter and was to be the “longboard” section.
In 2002 the city approved plans to move the Surfers Hall of Fame into a plaza in front of the store surrounding a beautiful bronze statue of Duke Kahanamoku. This was when Aaron began the yearly induction ceremonies that occur in conjunction with the big surfing championship held each year at the Huntington Beach Pier, directly across the street. That year the inductee’s were Kelly Slater, Laird Hamilton, Lisa Anderson and Joel Tudor.
One memory I have of previous induction ceremonies was when I used to be the Master of Ceremony. I always had these long and flowery induction speeches laid out, sincerely assuring Aaron Pai that I would would keep it G rated and not embarrass anybody. So, this one year we were inducting the great Tommy Curran. They had just got his hands and feet laid into the concrete and, while they were waiting for it to set up, I was doing my aforementioned long and flowery dedication to Tom. As he is one of my favorite surfers I was deep into a beautiful and sincere rap, all the while moving around and looking into the different sections of the crowd on hand. Suddenly, not watching where I was going, I stepped right into the fresh slab that Tom had just put his hands and feet into. OMG. One of those perfect “want to get away” moments. Thankfully it was still soft enough to quickly redo. My co M.C. that year was David Stanfield and he happily posed the question, “Gee Corky, do you HAVE to get your feet in here again?” After that they made plastic covers to go over the slabs while they were drying. Corky-proofed ‘em.
Aaron Pai describes this years ceremony as “a dream come true.” Having visited the famous Graumans Chinese Theater as a kid he reveled in the fact that he could put his own hands and feet into the concrete plaques that held the impressions of famous actors and celebrities. And now his vision of the Surfers Hall of Fame is firmly established, and at the 25th year mark he is able to share this with not only the world but also with three generations of the surfing Pai family. I love this part. EVERY member of the Pai family surfs. Mom, dad, all the kids and the kids wives and kids. How cool is that. And they are all part of this and will be on hand August 5th.
The ceremony is free to the public and a great event to witness. Tons of great surfers and surfing celebrities will be on hand to meet. If you are in the area and a surfer then this is a must do.
This years induction ceremony will take place on Friday, August 5th at 9 A.M. at the Surfers Hall of Fame plaza at the corner of Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway, directly in front of Huntington Surf ‘n Sport. The inductees are big wave charger Peter Mel, legendary surf adventurer and boat caption Martin Daly and the surfing world’s favorite mom, Michele Turner. They will join a list of the biggest names in surfing history including Kelly Slater, Andy Irons, Mike Doyle, George Downing, Linda Benson, Margo Oberg, Joyce Hoffman, Mickey Munoz, Phil Edwards, Tom Curran, Robert August, Bud Lamas, Shawn Tomson, Mark Richards, Hap Jacobs, Leroy Grannis, Gerry Lopez and more. With Peter, Martin and Michele the list will now stand at 90 members of the Surfers Hall of Fame.