Hold On To Your Board
Don't Be That Guy (Girl)
by Corky Carroll
In this day and age of mega surf crowds in the water at just about every break known to man or beast on the planet the issues of etiquette, common courtesy and safety procedures are debated over constantly. It is very prevalent here in Orange County as there are probably no unridden and not crowded surfing beaches anywhere to be found anymore.
I was thinking about this very thing a couple of weeks ago when I took a stroll out on the Huntington Beach Pier. When I was younger there were already crowds at the pier, this was in the 50’s and 60’s. But the crowd stuck right next to the pier, on both sides. If you stood on the pier and looked north or south there was nobody surfing once you got further away than about 50 yards from the pier.
Not now. Looking North and South for as far as you can see there are zillions of surfers. It looks like pepper on French fries. Packed to the max. And this is every day. Good surf, bad surf, rain or shine. Bringing me to the point of todays story. With all these people in the water there is more and more need for the aforementioned “etiquette, common courtesy and safety procedures.”
This has happened twice recently to people I know. One is the great surf legend Linda Benson. She got hit by a ditched board and spent a couple days in the hospital and was put out of surfing commission for months. The other was a neighbor of mine who had his arm broken.
The problem is that beginners are just unaware, or they just don’t care. Not long ago I saw this happen and I paddled over to the person who had let their board go and nicely told her to try as hard as she could to hold onto her board, not just let it go.
She looked at me with confusion on her face and asked me what I was talking about. I told her that it wasn’t cool to let go of her board, it almost hit the person inside of her. She glared back at me and said, “and so why is that my problem?”
I wasn’t sure what to say. That answer was so outright stupid and clueless that it sort of stopped me for a moment. THAT is the kind of attitude we are dealing with these days. Somehow, through instruction, or maybe even posted signs or something like that, these beginning surfers need to be educated about this stuff before they kill themselves or somebody else. It’s nuts out there.
This sort of brings back some classic and funny memories of growing up in the pre surf leash days, especially before boards went short. We had these big heavy logs and little or no wetsuits. If you lost your board it required a swim to the beach to get it back. In many spots there were rocks or jetties that could do serious damage to your board. Surfers would do just about anything to hold on to their boards in those days.
It was not uncommon to see some dude flying through the air holding on to the fin of his board. The boards were way too big and heavy to “duck dive,” so people would do anything to hold on when they got caught inside on a big set. There was the common “turtle” roll. Sometimes you would see somebody with their arms and legs totally wrapped around their board and glommed on for dear life.
It wasn’t so crowded then so mostly people held on to avoid swimming. But these days it is just too dangerous to let go. If you board gets ripped out of your hands by a wave then it’s what it is, you didn’t ditch it on purpose. But if you just let it go and it hits and injures somebody else, that is YOUR FAULT.
Don’t do it. Period.
by Corky Carroll
Here is part 3 of my occasional series on people that I have known in the surfing world who I have found to be more interesting than the average surf dude or dudette than you might meet. People that offer more in a conversation than just the standard surf babble and all that bla blab la. Today I want to talk about the late, extremely great, Mike Doyle.
I almost decided to not include Mike in this series due to the fact that I have written about him a lot in the past. But I just could not leave him out of this conversation due to the fact that he was really the epitome of a very interesting person. He had so many facets to his persona.
As a surfer his accomplishments have been well documented. He is legendary and generally recognized as one of the all-time greats. His overall skills sometimes tend to get overlooked, so I am going to point them out. He was as good as, or the best, big wave surfer of his era (the 1960’s). He was a top-rated competitive surfer, usually in the top 10. He was a world class paddleboard racer and also excelled in all the lifeguard water skills. He could do it all in the water at the highest levels.
He also was a first-class skier and invented the “Mono-ski.” This evolved into the modern “Snowboard.” Along with that he innovated many modern floatation devices used in lifesaving even to this day. And, of course, he was a top surfboard designer and the innovator of the worlds first soft surfboard, the “Morey-Doyle.” His surfboard designs are of the highest quality and are still marketed today right here in Lake Forest.
If that isn’t enough, then there was his art. Mike was a well-known and fantastic artist. His paintings sell in the five figure range. Before he passed away in 2019, he owned and ran his own gallery in San Jose del Cabo.
I could go on and on about all the cool stuff Mike Doyle was known for, but I don’t have a zillion words to work with here. I would rather tell you about why I liked him and what influence he had on my life.
The short version. Mike picked me up hitch hiking home for surfing at Doheny State Park in about 1961. Shortly after that we began to see each other at surfing events and became friends. For a short time he lived with us at our home in Surfside while he attended Long Beach State College, during which time he took me to many surf events and on surfing trips. He was a great person to have as a mentor, super good values, and an incredible sense of humor. It’s the sense of humor part that has always endeared me to people. I like people who laugh a lot. Mike was a very funny dude. He and Mickey Munoz were my main “older guy” influences when I was a young teen and before I could drive.
It was not only with the surfing that Mike had influence on me though. He was also into art and I was interested in that. He painted cool stuff. One time he had a giant totem pole on the bottom of his board. In Hawaii he would paint faces on coconuts and leave them laying around. He was very good and helped me with some of my early art attempts, a lot of which I still use today in my paintings.
Probably the biggest reason I found Mike interesting is just the fact that he was almost always smiling when you ran into him and he had such a range of stuff to talk about and share. Plus the dude was a great chick magnet, hanging out with him never hurt in the “lets go find some chicks” part of growing up. There were so many things we did together on top of the ones already mentioned. We played tennis and music, and told a lot of jokes.
Mike Doyle, a true life surf hero.
To see more of Corky's art, click on the above painting. To get further info and pricing, contact Corky.
A DAY AT THE BAY
by Corky Carroll
As some of you might know, I have wandered into the art phase of my life in this past year. I have done paintings for many years but never really approached them with anything other than a fun way to pass some time. In the mid 1980’s I got into doing some airbrush art that I sold in a small gallery in Dana Point, those did pretty well. I was able to use some office space in the back of the SURFER magazine building to do them while I was working there as Advertising Director. I stopped doing those when I left that job to do a clothing line with Sundek.
About 20 years ago a friend gave me a small acrylics set and I dabbled with some simple paintings. I hung a few of them on the wall at our surf house and guests started buying them. This was still all in the just for the fun of it stage. During this past year I haven’t been able to surf as much as I would like due to some health issues, so I got much deeper into painting. Somewhere along the line it really captured me and has kept my stoke totally alive and burning. I post them on Facebook and thankfully they have been selling.
This brings me to this weeks story. I recently did a painting of Honolua Bay on Maui, as I remember it from surfing there in 1964. Sometimes when I post I include a story behind the painting, and I did with this one. It was suggested that I elaborate on this one further, so here it is…. The fuller story behind the “Honolua Bay ‘64” painting.
In December of 1964 I was on the North Shore doing one of those annual surf trips to catch some big waves and surf in the annual Makaha International Championship. A big swell was on it’s way and everybody was getting ready for it. A guy named Curt Mastalka, who I had stayed with the previous summer across the street from Ala Moana, was starting to make a surf movie. He came buy and asked if I wanted to fly over to Maui with him and Jock Sutherland to get some footage of us surfing Honolua Bay. I had only heard stories about this beautiful and fantastic surf spot. It only broke on big swells as it was in a position on the island where the waves had to wrap around a corner. Took a huge swell to make it happen.
I jumped at the chance, in those days hardly anybody was surfing there yet. The three of us flew over to score a day at the bay. Unfortunately, the airline didn’t bring our boards. With only a tiny window to catch the swell, we didn’t have time to wait for another day or two for our boards to arrive. So, we drove out to Lahaina and went to see Ryan Dotson, who had a small surf shop there. We could rent a couple of boards from him.
While visiting the shop I met Joanne, who would later marry my pal Billy Hamilton. She had a small baby, maybe six or seven months old, in a crib. I did the standard “oh what a cute baby,” and went to do the “goochie goochie goo” thing. As I reached in the crib to tickle his tummy he hauled off and bit me. Well, I should say “gummed” me.
This was how I originally met my longtime pal Laird John Hamilton.
In later years when Laird was maybe eight or nine and Joanne had married Billy they lived on the North Shore, right in front of Pipeline. I used to babysit Laird when they would go out. We would play checkers. If I won he would throw the checkers at me and beat me over the head with the checker board. Classic Laird. I guess this fearless attitude is what gave him the courage to ride the biggest waves known to man or beast when he grew up. We are great pals to this day, love the guy.
Jock and I got to surf a beautiful day at Honolua Bay, only us in the water. It wasn’t big but it was perfect and the whole thing was pretty magical. What a beautiful spot and a beautiful wave. A friend of mine had sent me a photo of another pal, Mark Martinson, surfing there back then and asked if I could paint that. I did, and when I got done I did another one of just the wave itself with nobody around. Exactly the way I remember it from that day in December of 1964. Pristine and perfect.
And that’s the story.
PAT CURREN, a Surfers Surfer
by Corky Carroll
Last Sunday I wasn’t feeling great so I decided to stay in bed all day and watch the stream of the “EDDIE AIKAU BIG WAVE INVITATIONAL” surfing event. This is an extremely prestigious surfing competition that is held at Oahu’s famous Waimea Bay on the North Shore. They only hold it when the surf is very big, so many years go by without the running of the “Eddie,” simply because it doesn’t get big or good enough.
The event honors the great Hawaiian big wave surfer, the late Eddie Aikau. I was a judge for the very first running back in 1976 and have always felt close to this competition as I was also very good friends with Eddie and his family. I always try to watch it if I can.
Somewhere in the commentary they mentioned that the also legendary big wave charger, Pat Curren, had passed away. Wow, I was thinking how….well, I am not sure of the correct term… it was that Pat would die on the day of the first running of the Eddie in many years. Erie maybe, or perhaps fitting?
Pat Curren was one of the very first true “big wave riders.” He was raised in La Jolla and learned to surf at the powerful surf spot called Windansea. His first trip to Hawaii in 1955 changed his life. After that he dedicated himself to surfing and that was that. One of the reasons I relate to him so much, it was the same for me. In 1957 he was among the first crew to surf Waimea Bay.
After that he began to design and build the first surfboards specially made to ride giant surf. There were called “Big Guns,” or “Elephant Guns.” The whole purpose of the design was to be able to catch the giant waves and make it from point A, the take-off spot, to point B, the channel, as safe and secure as possible. Not an easy feat in those days, or even now.
As I was watching the event, I couldn’t help to think to myself I wonder what Pat would have thought about all the jet skis pulling the surfers out to the line up, plus the use of leashes and television coverage going on. In my day we didn’t have any of that, but there were other people out there with you and they did rescues with helicopters. In his day there was just him and a few other early risk takers and that was it. Death was a much realer reality. (did I just say “realer reality”? Haha, I like that).
Pat was considered the top big wave rider of the first crop of big wave riders. He was named one of the top 20 surfers in the world by the first SURFER magazine Poll in the early 1960’s. His was what you would call a “big name.” But he was not comfortable in the limelight and kept to himself. He married and moved to Santa Barbara. In 1964 his first son Tom was born. Everybody that knows anything about surfing will know that Tom went on to win three World Championships and become one of the greatest and most respected surfers of all time. He also shares his fathers’ resistance to the limelight and even with his enormous fame has remained a very private person in his own right. Super good musician too.
In the early 1980’s Pat left the family and moved to Costa Rica to live a quiet life dedicated to strictly surfing. More of why I relate to him, the dude wanted to surf and that was it. So that’s what he did. He later moved to an area called the “East Cape,” near Cabo San Lucas on the southern tip of Baja. He lived out his last years surfing there in warm water and uncrowded waves.
As I was watching all these new chargers taking off on these giant waves that Pat Curren had pioneered, I couldn’t help but wonder how many of the people watching would even have a clue as to who Pat was when they announced his passing, let alone his contribution to what was taking place at that moment.
He was 90 years old, a true “surfers SURFER.”
by Corky Carroll
Today I would like to carry on with my “surfings most interesting people” series. These are profiles on people whom I have met over the zillion years that I have been involved in surfing that I have found to be more interesting than most for one reason or another. These are people that were great to sit down and have a conversation with that didn’t center around current surfing events. The late Dr Timmothy Leary once told me, “We are all surfers riding different waves. Ocean waves, cosmic waves, radio waves….(and he went on to name a whole bunch more, ending with ‘permanent waves.’). People that I have found the most interesting always had a lot more to talk about than “I got a big one yesterday,” kinda stuff.
John Severson was one of those dudes. For those of you who don’t know or are too young to remember, this is the guy who first published SURFER magazine back in 1960. He was a leading surf movie producer and incredible artist. He was a guy who had all the creds to talk surf all day long if that was what you were looking for. But the dude was a lot deeper than that.
I first met John at one of his movie showings at Laguna Beach High School in the early 1960’s. I had sent in a photo for the “Photos from the Readers” section in SURFER that he had run. That night I won the door prize, a poster I think, and when I went up to get it he remembered my name and we talked for a while after the movie. He was urging me on to continue my photography as there was a great need for surf photos. I wanted to tell him that I wasn’t really a photographer, that I had just happened to snap the photo with my mom’s old “box” camera one day from the Huntington Beach Pier. But he was being so supportive and encouraging that I just went with it.
John was a decent surfer in his own right and had won the Peru International in 1961. And he was an excellent photographer and journalist. But his real love, and probably his strongest talent, was as an artist. His paintings go for pretty big bucks, in the five-figure range. He also was an excellent golfer, but we won’t hold that part against him.
I got to be good pals with John in the early sixties when he built his home at Cotton’s Point. That was the spot I surfed at most of the time. We would see each other in the water all the time and always were able to strike up a conversation while waiting for waves. Naturally, through surfing, we started having a lot of interaction to do with the magazine. He was the one who recommended me for the “Jantzen International Sports Club.”
Many times I would be invited to John and his wife Louise’s home for dinner, and that led to our infamous afternoon Scrabble matches on the beach. The guy was almost impossible to beat at Scrabble, plus he had the worlds most expensive and comprehensive dictionary known to man or beast. I only got to see it if I was foolish enough to challenge a word. We would set up a board on the beach at Cottons Point, in front of his house, on many afternoons when we thought the wind was going to go down and the surf was gonna get good. Normally he would beat my brains out, gleefully at that, and then we would go surfing.
When I was first getting interested in painting I asked John for his thoughts on what I was doing. His words always stuck with me and to this day I have followed his advice. He said, “Keep doing exactly what you are doing because you have your very own style and it’s not a copy of anybody else. If you stick with that it will work out fine.” My wife, the pretty Raquel, says the same thing when she see’s me looking at the work of my fav artists online. I will say, “I wanna do THAT.” She will say that’s not me and to stick with what I do because that’s how I can put the right “feeling” into the art. It was John Severson who opened my eyes to that. He did what he did and it was amazing and his words had a huge influence on me. These days where I have become serious about doing art I have thought about him a lot.
In his later years John lived on Maui and had a small art gallery in Lahaina. He surfed and painted until his passing in2017 at the age of 84. Definitely one of the most interesting people I know in surfing.
by Corky Carroll
We are at the end of another year and the sport of surfing is in a very “transitional” period as far as I see it. In the competitive arena, I guess you would call this the “sport” part, it looks like we are seeing the final days of the Kelly Slater competitive marathon. He enters the coming year approaching 51 years old, yes…. I did say 51 years old, ranked at number 17 in the world. This will be his 32nd year on the World Professional Tour and he currently holds 11 World Titles. Now, I am not saying this will be his last year either, but that is my guess. I mean, why retire if you are still top 20 in the world and making a ton of money doing it? But just think about it, how can a dude 51 years old be top 20 in the world? It is beyond amazing. I don’t have an adjective for it, there is none. It’s just a thing that is beyond a word.
We had thought that John John Florence, the North Shore phenom, was going to take over as Kelly slid out of the number one position. Due to injuries and what not, that hasn’t happened. The tour is up for grabs, the Brazilians having a bit of an edge at the moment. The competitive part of surfing is definitely in transition.
Then there is the emergence of one Kai Lenny, from the island of Maui. I, for one, never thought anybody would go beyond what Laird Hamilton was doing in giant surf and with use of multiple wave riding vehicles. Laird was riding the biggest waves with the least amount of fear and was coming up with ideas and designs for new equipment that was definitely broadening the scope of riding waves. His ideas are still valid, only might have been refined as time always makes happen. But then, along comes this wild and fearless kid Kai Lenny. And this is not exactly news, he has been taking the “giant surf” thing to a whole new level for a number of years now, although recently has been doing things on another level altogether. Arials on 80 foot waves. I saw one video of him free falling at least 40 or 50 ft on one wave and pulling it off with no problemos. The guy is just radical to the max. And, he rides everything that will float. Transitioning from Laird level to Kai level. Mind blowing stuff
And that brings us to the waves that are being ridden. On one hand you have people like Kai Lenny and others going for waves bigger and bigger all the time. Waves we never thought possible back in the 60’s and 70’s when I was still of the opinion that the waves I was taking off on where actually 200 to 300 ft, when they were only being called 20 to 30 ft. Today they are riding waves three times as big as we were. How do they survive? Don’t ask me, I just shake my head and go “wow!”
Besides big waves we are also seeing the construction of more and more wave pools being built around the world. Many people are of the opinion that as more of these are opened throughout inland and landlocked areas it will change the face of surfing in a number of ways. Just the sheer numbers of people surfing is bound to increase. Competitions held in pools where every wave is the same will be different. I am also guessing that the styles and techniques of those who exclusively ride man made waves will also be different. Just how, not sure, but when you know exactly what’s going to happen with the wave it has to make you look at what you are going to do in a different way. This is more transition.
Things are changing, some faster than others. It’s not a “revolutionary” kind of thing, like we saw in the late 1950’s and late 1960’s when boards changed from wood to foam and then from long to short. It’s more subtle, but it is happening. It will be interesting to write this piece again at this time next year and just see how things went down. Stay tuned.
by Corky Carroll
I get a zillion questions about my fellow surfers. Normally it’s stuff like “who do you think was the greatest, or best, surfer?” That one gets lots of variations, such as the best back in the day (I always wonder what day that was), best now, best long boarder, best shortboarder, best big wave rider, best noserider, best female surfer, best this that or the other thing. People are always curious about opinions on that sort of thing. And there is the always popular “what was so and so like?” Was he a jerk, or cool guy?” That is always a hot topic.
With that in mind I thought that today I would open up a whole nother can of worms and start a conversation about some of the people in surfing that I have met through the years that are really “interesting.” This would have nothing to do with how great or skilled a surfer they might be, or if they were a geek or good guy. Well, that last part might play into it I guess. But that is not really the basis of what I consider interesting.
I find that people who just have a great gift of gab, have personality and are easy and fun to talk to head up this list. Also, ones that have a “story.” Something going on that sets them apart and makes you want to get to know them and find out whatever it might be that draws you in.
Thru the years I have met all kinds of people in surfing including pretty much all the great ones, many of the jerks, tons of very cool ones, lots of boring ones and thankfully some really interesting ones. It is there I begin todays offering.
One of the most interesting surf people I had the joyful experience to know was the late Doctor Dorian Paskowitz. Dorian was a classic free spirit. He had a beautiful wife and eleven kids. He was a medical doctor who gave up the mainstream life that one in his profession and position in life would have to pretty much just “go surfing.” They all lived in a camper and cruised around to different surf areas and spread a lot of joy and aloha. The kids were self-schooled and all turned out kinda brilliant in their own rights. At one time Dorian scored the job of medical doctor for the nucular power plant at San Onofre. It paid great bucks and all he had to do was have a beeper that they could call him with if he was needed. He could hang out at the beach and surf and be with his family all day. When he went out in the water his wife had a blow horn she could call him in just in case his beeper went off. In like two years it never went off, yet one day he decided to quit the job because in his own words “it was just too much pressure.” He told me this. I said, “Doc, how could it be too much pressure, it never goes off?” He got all serious and said, “yeah, but it could.”
I loved Dorian. One of my favorite things to do was to go down to San Onofre in the afternoons and park by his camper. All his kids and people who attended a surf camp that they put on each year would be out surfing and Dorian would be hangin on the beach under an umbrella. I would sit by him and have amazing conversations about all kinds of stuff going on in the universe, some that had to do with surfing and many not. He love to discuss this or that or question something or just say what he thought and find out what you thought and toss it into the talk pot and see what it cooked up. Sometimes the conversation was so interesting I would forget to go surfing and it would get dark. They guy had a real joy for life and everything that it had to offer, except maybe working.
There are a zillion stories about Dorian Paskowitz and his escapades out there, some are fact and some are fiction. Whatever the case there is no doubt that this man was for sure one of the most interesting that I ever met.
I will continue with this train of thought in future columns from time to time as there are plenty that I would love to tell you about. Stay tuned.
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
Holiday Gift Ideas For Surfers
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.
LET ‘EM SURF ALL DAY
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.