by Corky Carroll
With the big Vans U.S. Open of Surfing set to pounce on Orange Counties most famous surfing spot, the Huntington Beach Pier, from July 27 to August 4, the eyes of the surfing world are upon us. One of the more prestigious of the events that go along with the big competition is the annual induction ceremony for the SURFERS HALL OF FAME. This years inductions will take place on Friday, August 2nd at 9 A.M and will be held at the Surfers Hall of Fame Plaza on the corner of Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway, under the statue of the great Duke Kahanamoku in front of Huntington Surf ‘n Sport.
The three honorees for 2019 are. NSSA director, Janice Aragon, incredible all-around waterman Kai Lenny and local legend Sam Hawk. Last week I told you about Janice Aragon. Today I want to talk about Kai Lenny, and next week I will finish up by covering Sam Hawk.
It’s hard to describe Kai Lenny without saying that he is probably the greatest “all around surf waterman” of all time. This is a short list. The only three surfers I can think of that truly fit into the discussion would be the late great Mike Doyle and big wave king Laird Hamilton. There are people that have excelled in more than one facet of surfing, but I can’t think of anybody who has excelled in ALL of them. Other than Kai Lenny. This dude can do it all. World Class big wave and small wave surfer, longboard, shortboard or any board. World Class Stand Up Paddleboard surfer and racer. Same for Windsurfing, Kite boarding, Skim boarding, Boogie boarding, Prone paddleboard racing, Foil surfing and any other kind of surf related activity known to man. Probably a few that are not even known yet, the guy is that advanced.
O.K., when I say, “World Class,” I mean with the elite of the elite. He wins stuff. Seven time Stand Up Paddleboard World Champion. Winner of the Molokai to Oahu paddleboard race. Runner up in the Professional Kite Board World Championship. It goes on and on. And here’s the kicker, Kai is only 26 years old. His parents put him in the water near their home on the island of Maui when he was less than a week old. Both of them were water people and had moved to Maui to be a part of the Windsurfing and Surfing culture over there. Kai was doing it all before he ever had his first nap time in Kindergarten, blowing minds in all sizes of surf in his early teens and now standing almost peerless in his mid-twenties. It’s just crazy how good this kid is.
SURFERS HALL OF FAME founder, Aaron Pai, calls Lenny “one of the most progressive and amazing big and small wave surfers on the planet.” Followed up by, “We are so stoked and honored to have Kai becoming a part of the Surfers Hall of Fame, it’s a thrill of all of us here at Huntington Surf ‘n Sport.” Lenny follows both Mike Doyle and Laird Hamilton into the SHOF, along with other amazing all-around watermen such as George Downing, Mickey Munoz and Rabbit Kekai.
I have been a fan of Kai for a number of years although I really don’t know him, other than briefly meeting at one of the “Battle of the Paddle” events in Dana Point where I was an announcer and he was racing. I started seeing videos of him surfing big waves at “Jaws,” on Maui. My first thought was, “Wow, this kid can really surf. He is not just a SUPer.” And I do not mean that as a knock on SUPing at all, just that I was surprised at what a great prone board surfer he was as well as being the great SUP racer that I had seen at the BOP. As time went on I kept seeing more and more footage of him doing pretty much everything. Shredding small surf on a shortboard and equally shredding monster surf doing tow ins. One of my favorite videos of him shows him jamming off the bottom and up into the lip on a monster, like zillions of feet, wave at Jaws. He explodes through the lip and free falls a few stories down the face of the wave, lands it and races it out the end. One of those “WOW,” kinda deals. The dude is just a really great surfer, PERIOD.
Stay tuned next week for my take on Huntington Beach’s own Sammy Hawk. And plan on showing up for the induction ceremony on Aug 2nd, its free to the public and a totally cool event.
by Corky Carroll
The big Vans U.S. Open of Surfing is coming back to Huntington Beach, Orange Counties famous “Surf City,” from July 27 through August 4th. Along with the surfing competition there are numerous other activities including Skateboarding, BMX bicycling, beach festivals and the annual inductions into the SURFERS HALL OF FAME. As a more than less Surfing Historian, of sorts, I like to focus on this aspect of the week each year and leave the blow by blow coverage of the surfing competition to others.
The SURFERS HALL OF FAME will be held on Friday, August 2nd at 9 AM at the Surfers Hall of Fame Plaza on the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Main Street in Huntington Beach. This is directly in front of Huntington Surf ‘n Sport, which is owned by Huntington Beach local surfer Aaron Pai. It was Pai who came up with the idea and established the Surfers Hall of Fame back in the 1990’s. Since then many of the greatest names in surfing have had their hand and footprints embedded into the famous concrete squares laid into the hallowed ground under the shadow of the big statue of Duke Kahanamoku that watches over the plaza. Among them are the likes of Phil Edwards, Mike Doyle, Linda Benson, George Downing, Gerry Lopez, Shawn Tomson, Tom Curran, Tom Carroll, Margo Oberg, Joyce Hoffman, Mickey Munoz, Jericho Poplar, Wingnut Weaver, Frieda Zamba, Bob Hurley, David Nuuhiwa, Lisa Anderson, Kelly Slater, Andy Irons and many more. I am proud to have been inducted the first year, along with fellow Huntington Beach High School alumni Robert August.
This years inductees lead off with Janice Aragon, winner of the ISA World Surfing Games, the NSSA Nationals and current executive director of the NSSA. Next up is Sam Hawk, local standout and incredible North Shore power surfer during the 1970’s. And followed by the amazing Kai Lenny, probably the versatile and boundary pushing surfer of our generation
Today I am going to focus on Janice Aragon and will follow up on Sam and Kai in the next two weeks, leading up to the inductions on August 2nd. Janice began surfing at age 16 and didn’t win her first surfing event until the age of 29, a very late start in a sport such as surfing. But, since then she has been one of the most influential people both in and out of the water that the sport has seen over the past thirty years. She first became a judge for the NSSA in 1986 and was the first female to be hired to judge a Professional World Tour event the following year, the OP Pro. She became the Executive Director for the NSSA in 1989 and was instrumental in separating that organization from the old United States Surfing Federation in 1993, bringing about a more polished and organized competition format for Scholastic surfers all over the country. She calls Huntington Beach her home and is one of the real bright spots in United States surfing, her work having influenced thousands of young surfers over the years.
In the words of organizer Aaron Pai, “Janice Aragon has dedicated 30 years of her LIFE to being the Executive Director of the NSSA, is an ISA World Women's Surfing Champion and is greatly responsible for raising the level of competitive Surfing in our amazing USA!”
The induction ceremony is open to the public and is free of charge. It’s a great way to see these, and many other surfing celebrities, up close and personal, get photos and autographs and mingle with some of the greatest surfers in the world. Bring a hat and wear sunblock, the August sun is strong in Surf City. Afterwards you can walk out on the pier and catch some of the action in the surfing event, see what the top surfers in the world are doing at this minute. Great sort of past and present kinda day.
by Corky Carroll
In the early 1960’s surf clubs became popular along the Southern California coast. Many towns had them. Some of the more well-known were Hope Ranch, from Santa Barbara, the Malibu Surfing Association, Dapper Dans, from Manhattan Beach, Bay Area, from all over the South Bay, Seal Beach Surfers, the Hole in the Wall Gang, from Huntington Beach and the Newport Beach Surfing Association. The two biggest would have been the Long Beach Surf Club and the San Diego based Windansea Surf Club. The Windansea Club being the most famous and long lasting, in fact still going today.
I was a member of the Long Beach Surf Club in 1963 and on the team that competed in the big “Malibu Invitational” that year. The top clubs were invited to a contest held at Malibu and everybody wanted to be on a team. This was the only way you were ever going to get to surf the point at Malibu with only you and five other people in the water. We were pretty sure we were going to win the event as we had, at least what we thought was, the strongest team at that time. What we didn’t know was that Chuck Hasley, a notorious San Diego surfer and party animal, had thrown together some of the greatest surfers, and party animals, in the world and had gotten an invite to the event. This was sort of a surprise to everybody. He hired a bus, which left Maynard’s Bar in Pacific Beach at closing time, to take the crew up to Malibu. They had a band in the back, plugged into a generator, and reportedly at least one keg of beer onboard. There is rumor of them hanging Pat Curren out the window naked, so he could pee. This was because the bus driver refused to stop. The team was loaded with the likes of Joey Cabell, Bobby Patterson, Mike Hynson, Skip Frye, Mickey Munoz, Butch Van Artsdalen and a total all-star lineup to fill out the 10-man team.
The bus rolled up to Malibu in the morning, just before the first heats were called. Guys were staggering out and passing out at the same time. We were all in shock. Somehow, someway, that Windansea team put 5 out of 6 guys in the finals and Joey Cabell won it. Butch Van Artsdalen lost his trunks in the paddle relay race. This did nothing to stop him and he completed his leg of the race without them. The Windansea Surf Club won going away.
I was 15 at the time. After seeing this whole thing, I started thinking “now THESE guys are having way more fun than we are.” I wanted to be on THAT team. The next week I jumped ship from the Long Beach club and joined Windansea.
A guy named Thor Svenson, who was evidently a talent agent of some sort, got involved with the Windansea club at that time and did his best to “clean up the image.” This was sort of at that time when there was a big push in surfing, as a whole, to do that kind of thing. Surfers had a bad reputation. I always kinda gravitated to that side of it. Not doing vandalism or anything like that, just the parties and chicks and the whole romantic bohemian kinda vibe. But there were those who felt that if surfing was to ever become any kind of “sport” it needed to have what they thought of as a “better” image. Thor was that guy for the Windansea Surf Club.
Probably my favorite thing about being a member was having my club jacket, t-shirt and patch on my trunks. I was young and proud to be a part of it. Also, it enabled me to surf at Windansea, the La Jolla surf spot, without any grief from the locals. I was an Orange County guy and if you weren’t from San Diego you were not all that welcome to surf there.
By the 1970’s surf clubs sort of faded away, not totally but they certainly didn’t have the charm that they did in the 1960’s. In recent years I see they are slowly making a comeback. This is very cool, I always thought they were a good idea.
by Corky Carroll
I get a ton of requests for stories about people and places from when I was a surf gremmie growing up here on the beaches of Orange County. So, with that mission in mind, I thought I would talk a bit about one of my favorite places to hang out back in the early 1960s, when I was first getting mobile enough to get around to places other than in front of my house in Surfside.
Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, also known as “Doho,” was a very popular place to surf in the afternoons, especially during the summer. Due to the way it faces, the westerly winds, which are common in the afternoons here in Southern California, blow straight offshore. This makes for excellent conditions to surf when everywhere else is “blown out,” choppy and sloppy.
My first time surfing at Doho actually came in the late 1950s when the mom of my neighbors Mike and Marc DeCheverous loaded us in the back of her Buick station wagon and drove us down there, and then later in the day to San Onofre. The waves were great and I instantly loved the place, super cool vibe with all the eucalyptus trees and long fun rides.
Shortly after that I got a girlfriend who had moved to Dana Point from Seal Beach, where we had gone to school together. Her name was Theresa Thompson and she surfed. We used to walk along the rocks below the cliffs from Dana Cove to Doheny and go surfing. Her best friend was Marianne Harrison, daughter of Lorrin “Whitey” Harrison. From meeting him I got to know pretty much the whole local crew at that time. One of them was Mickey Munoz, who would later become a mentor and one of my best friends for life.
There were some very cool people and surfers hanging out there during those years. Bob Moore and Peter Van Dyke were the lifeguards. Some of the names I remember that were regulars were the Patterson brothers, Daryl Diamond, the Ashower twins, Tom Sylstra, Danny Estrada, Joey Hamasaki, Gary “Flash” Blash, the Fly, Ron Sizemore, Allan Seymour, the Sanchez sisters, and, of course, the beautiful “Banzai Betty,” who would later take over girlfriend duties.
I used to ride the Greyhound bus down there in those days to visit Theresa — it used to cost 50 cents each way. Most of the time I would spend my return fare on Theresa and wind up hitchhiking home in the late afternoons.
It was on one of those days that I got picked up by none other than the legendary Mike Doyle. I was in shock — Mike Doyle himself — giving me a ride home. I blabbered the whole way and I am sure he regretted pulling over that day. In fact, I know he did, because he told me years later, when we had become pals, that it was the last time he picked up a surfer with a thumb out that wasn’t a girl.
When they put in the Harbor at Dana Point it kind of changed Doho — it didn’t totally ruin it, but it didn’t help it either. It’s still there and still a fun place to surf. But the real glory days were pre-harbor.
by Corky Carroll
A week or so ago I put a post on my Facebook pages asking for questions that people might want to ask me about surfing. Normally I have a pretty good stockpile of them on hand to feed my “ASK THE EXPERT” column here in the OC Register, but the pile was starting to get low and I wanted to replenish. As a result, I got tons of great ones and am now stocked up really well. One of them that was asked a number of times concerns how to get oneself into “surfing” shape. This mostly comes from people who surf but have been out of the water for some time. Some are people getting ready to take a surf trip where they will be in the water much more than usual. And others are people who are getting ready to learn to surf and want to be ready. So, today I am going to touch on this and throw out a few ideas that I have on preparing your body to ride ride ride the wild surf.
First off I have to tell you that the most urgent thing you need to address is getting into “paddling” condition. It’s that part that really wears you out. So, lets’ start there. Other than just paddling, which you can do in a lake, river or flat water anywhere, the very best thing is to swim. A lot of swimming will get your arms, body and breathing tuned up, along with your endurance. It also gets your body into the type of “fluid” shape that is good for surfing. You want to be loose and flowing, not stiff and rigid, when you surf. Pumping iron and going for that kind of body is not as good for surfing as just plain swimming, in my opinion. Body builders tend to be stiff, swimmers not.
There is also a technique that I came up with years ago that you can do in a pool other than swimming. You can attach your surf leash to something on the side of the pool, like the handrail to the steps or anything that is not going to move, and then get on your board and paddle. You won’t go anywhere because you are tied to the side, but this is really a hard workout and is super good to get you into paddling shape. One more thing is that your paddling technique should be very much like swimming. Use your whole body to paddle, not just your arms. An example would be that you can dance all night, but if you stand still and wave your arms up and down they will feel like they are gonna fall off within minutes. Think swimming when paddling and you will last a lot longer.
For standing up from a prone position I have found that doing push-ups helps with that, especially if you can do those kind where you clap your hands each time. And just practicing popping up over and over. If you can be on a slight downward incline when you do that it helps a little, that is the way your board will be most of the time when you go to stand up.
Lastly, but very important, is breathing. If you have your breathing down then your entire surfing experience will be better. If you learn to breathe into your diaphragm, and not your chest, you will take in much more air. This lessens the amount of energy your body needs to breath, slows done your heart rate and also allows you to concentrate more clearly under extreme situations. If you are getting sucked over the falls on a big wave, and your board is falling out from below you, if you can channel your thoughts into how to find your board in the explosion and get your feet back onto it, rather than just the obvious “I am gonna dieeeeee” thing, you will find that a lot of things are possible that you might not have thought if you were not thinking clearly. You can go online to find exercises on how to breath. This will also help you stay calm when you are being held down for longer than you would really like to be held down and enable you to hold your breath longer. Good breathing will also just improve the quality of your life for the same reasons it will help your surfing. This is coming from Zen Corky Guru, slayer of waves and eater of many donuts. But, it’s all true and good stuff.
by Corky Carroll
I am constantly getting requests to write about the late Mickey Dora, also known as “The Black Knight” of surfing. I have written about him before, but it was mostly many years ago and probably most of you have not read me back that far. So, I will revisit Mickey today and try to add some new stuff I didn’t cover before. The dude was definitely one of the most controversial surfers ever to ride a board.
O.K., Miklos Sandor Dora III, the stepson of legendary surfer Gard Chapin. Gard was a more or less rebel kinda dude and a lot of that rubbed off on Mickey. By the way, he sometimes spelled his name Miki. This depended on the circumstance. Miki, Mickey, however you wanna spell it, was not your average kinda cat. And that was another of his nicknames, “da Cat.” He was born in 1934 and died in 2002, his glory years were the mid 1950’s thru the mid 1960’s when he stood out as one of surfings most colorful characters ever. Some people loved him and some totally hated him, some people respected him as a fantastic surfer, and some thought he was a fraud. Hardly anybody was in the middle, it was one way or the other. He was super famous, as much for his surfing as well as for a zillion capers, interviews and being seen in every “beach” movie that came out in those years. His territory was Malibu. He did surf other places and actually did fairly well in Hawaii one year, but Malibu was his spot. It was there that his catlike style shown brightest, and he did have an amazing “catlike” style. Front arm down, back arm up, super nimble on his feet and quick. The perfect style for Malibu. I remember seeing him in the early surf movies and thought that I wanted to surf like that. Phil Edwards and Dewey Weber too. But Mickeys style was truly classic. The guy was a very good surfer, without a doubt. But more so he was really an entertaining and colorful character, or villain, depending on who you talk to.
My first contact with him was one afternoon when Mickey Munoz had taken me up to Malibu, I was probably about 14. I had come out of the water and was standing on the beach watching both the Mickeys, Munoz and Dora, surf. I was a student of surfing and loved to watch the big names of the era. Dora came out of the water and I went up to him and babbled something about how great his surfing was, typical fan type stuff. He looked at me and said, “Thanks kid, hey can I use your towel?” I gladly handed it to him. He blew his nose into it, looked at it and then handed it back to me. “Thanks kid, see ya around,” and walked off. I stood there wondering if I should put the towel on my bedroom wall or toss it out.
We became friends over the years, went to Peru together for the International Big Wave Championship in 1967, skied together a number of times and played tennis too. I always liked him, he was very charismatic and had a unique sense of humor. It’s known that I am drawn to people who have that.
The other side of the story, unfortunately, is that Mickey was also a known thief. If he came over for dinner you would likely be lighter on the silverware the next day. Most of the second half of his life was spent avoiding arrest for a crime he committed while skiing at Mammoth Mountain. He had gotten caught but escaped when being transported for trial. From there he fled the country and spent most of the rest of his life in exile, mostly in France and South Africa.
So, there is the short version. Classic surfer with one of the most defining styles ever. Super charismatic and funny guy who had a million ways to make you laugh. Excellent skier and tennis player. Thief. I considered him a friend and respected him as a surfer. But I watched him closely when he would come to visit, but still I think he got away with some of my albums and a pair of trunks I had on the line.
by Corky Carroll
There is an excellent surf artist that lives in Huntington Beach named Rick Blake, who also happens to be a fellow alumnus of Huntington Beach High School. Rick is involved in a lot of the retro surfing events such as the “Surfside Seventies,” and the “Triple Crown of Retro Surfing.” I like his work and follow him on Facebook. The other day he put up a post headlined “The Lost History of Dick Barrymore.” This jarred my one remaining memory cell into at least a flickering mode, Dick Barrymore being a major part of both my early surfing days as well as the years I spent living and skiing in Sun Valley, Idaho. I am pretty sure that, for the most part, the surfing world has pretty much forgotten about this dude. He did become a very well-known and respected ski movie producer after he got out of the surfboard business. But, let me start at the beginning.
Barrymore made my first two surfboards. The first one was solid balsawood and weighed more than I did. He was one of the funniest dudes I ever met and at one time had me laughing so hard that my stomach hurt for a week, and I probably peed a little bit because he refused to stop even though I was begging him to do so. Probably the best story teller I ever knew, along with Hevs McClellend and James Arness. He helped me get set up in Sun Valley when I moved up there right after retiring from the pro surf circuit and I did some music for one of his ski movies, as well as was in it riding one of Mike Doyles mono skis (along with Mike, Joey Cabel and Roger Yates). Dick was a great pal and one of my favorite people ever.
The following paragraph is from Rick Blakes FB post (with his permission), I think he tells it perfectly. “One of the first surfboard shapers in Seal Beach and one of the first North Shore chargers in the early days. Dick Barrymore made Corky Carroll’s first surfboard.. a balsa board with the words ”Barrymore Surfboards” emblazoned into the wood. Barrymore learned to surf in Waikiki while stationed there in the early 50s.. He started surfing the North Shore and all parts of the island on leave and hung out with early Hawaiian beach boys and learned to shape from them. He set up a camp he called a compound on the site that a friend Howard Hawk’s girlfriend Fay Brash owned.. that site is now the front beach site at Pipeline today (at the time nobody was surfing it)...They had a water tap and an electric outlet and set up a mosquito net with bunks with bushes all around (on a 10x10 concrete slab) and hung up a sign that read “Keep out! S.M.S.S. Marine Bacteriological Survey Station #2” .. He surfed huge Sunset with Peter Van Dyke and others. He went on to live in Seal Beach and was a Fireman while shaping balsa surfboards in his garage which supplemented his income. Selling a board a week profiting 30 bucks a board was pretty good back then. 1958-59 he was skiing in the local mountains at Mt. Waterman where he would ski for free because he was friends with owner Lynn Newcomb .. he was introduced to a local channel 13 TV host Tom Malone who did ski films on Thursday’s at 8 pm. Barrymore made up a quick lie and asked him if he needed any ski films for his show. Malone gave him his card. Barrymore quickly figured out how to get a 16mm camera and called Malone back.. “We need surf films now.. people are getting sick of skiing”. Barrymore answers, “yes I have some local surf stuff” He lies again and now had to make a surf film in one week. He shot all the local guys in Seal and edited it in one week to show live on KCOP on Thursday while he narrated the 25-minute film. (Imagine the guys that were out surfing at 13th St. on that weekend in 1959 he filmed 15 rolls. Blackie and a young Robert, The Haley’s, the Buehls... who knows all the legends that he captured and where that film may be now?) That TV show announced Dick Barrymore as “the worlds #1 ski filmmaker” on live TV and he had not yet made a ski film. He went on to make a ton of ski films and to great success through the years with a million more stories. He says in his book that he carved surfboards by using a drawknife, a plane, two sawhorses, and some balsa wood blanks glued together with strips of an old inner tube. He would eyeball the teardrop shape, tear into it with a drawknife, tune it with a plane, and sand it smooth before applying a layer of fiberglass. He says other guys were better and he seemed to always make the nose a little lopsided. The left side would have a sharper arc and he couldn’t fix it.. but nobody noticed but him.. he said maybe it turned better going left.. haha ... what a legend. He later moved to Dana Point and was longtime friends with fellow filmmaker Bruce Brown. His sons Blake and Cole lived right next door to Benny Bigler in Sunset Beach California... small world. He later built a resort in Cabo off the East Cape called Cabo Pulmo.”
Thanks to Rick for that. Dick Barrymore is a solid part of Orange County surfing history
by Corky Carroll
Last week we touched upon some of the perils of a day at the beach, protecting yourself from the sun, staying hydrated and making it home without becoming a piece of fried bacon. This week I want to go into some if the issues that you will need to deal with once you set foot into the ocean. This is aimed at those of you who are new to going to the beach and new to dealing with the Pacific Ocean. This thing is nothing like a big lake or a swimming pool, it has a mind of its own and can be extremely moody when it wants to be.
First off let’s talk about the ocean itself. Depending on the swell and surf conditions there are currents. The more surf and bigger the swell is the stronger the currents are. Even on days when the surf is tiny there are still currents. Generally speaking, the currents are going the same direction as the swell. If we are looking at a South swell, as is normal in the summer, the direction of the current will be going from the south towards the north. There are some who get all techno and want to tell you the coast goes East and West, but I am not one of those. In my mind if you are looking towards San Diego that is South. If you are looking towards Los Angeles that is North. So, on a South swell the currents go South to North. You can jump in the water and without even knowing it be a hundred yards up the beach in a few minutes. The dangerous part of this, besides losing track of where you are, is that these currents turn and go out to sea. This is called a “Rip.” Once you are stuck in one of these it’s not easy to get out. You need to swim sideways, towards the north side, to get out of the river heading out to sea. Then swim back to the beach. Do not try to swim against the current, you will wear out and then you have a serious problem. We always tell people to stay near the lifeguard towers. No matter how good of a swimmer you are, if you are not experienced in being in the ocean, you can get in trouble very quickly. If the surf is big the best idea is to have fun watching it and stay out.
Then we have sea life. The ocean is a whole other world and home to all kinds of life. Sometimes I think of it as being another planet when you get underwater. Aliens live there. Monsters. And fish. You don’t really need to worry about most of the fish, they are cool and will swim away from you. But, there are a few critters that you might come across that are not all that friendly. The most common along our shores are Stingrays and jellyfish. The Stingray has been around forever and will probably be here after humans wipe themselves out. They like to hang out in the warm shallow waters close to the beach. This is all good unless you step on one of them. If you do they will sting you and there is one solid fact I can tell you about that. IT HURTS. It hurts pretty badly too, enough to make adults cry and call for their mamas, enough to make little kids say words they don’t even know, enough to totally ruin the next couple of hours of your life. It’s not serious, but it’s painful. You need to get your foot, or where ever the sting is, into as hot of water as you can stand as quickly as you can. You need to keep heating the water. It should be so hot that it is almost burning you. This lessons the pain and makes it go away quicker. The normal deal is about two hours, then you are fine. You do not pee on it, that is for sea urchins.
For a jellyfish sting you need to scrub the area with anything that will get the slime left from the jellyfish off of you as soon as you can. Wet sand works great. Or surf wax. If you have a bar of wax in your wax pocket (for surfers) this works just fine. Whatever you can find to clean the spot off will be good, just do it as soon as you can or it will leave a welt. It’s kind of an itchy burnie irritation. The stingray is more like the same kind of pain as a bad toothache. Neither are fun, but the stingray is way worse.
Sharks? Well, they have become more of an issue recently than in the past but in general they are still pretty rare in our waters. They are there though. If you get chomped by one you are probably toast, but maybe not. Best thing is to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Ok, I hope that helps you survive your first days at the beach. Remember to try and use common sense and you will probably be ok.
by Corky Carroll
Yes kiddies, this is my annual tips column on how to survive going to the beach this summer. As always, this is aimed at newbies and other non-beach-oriented people who might be a tad clueless when it comes to the hazards to your health from what would seem to be a fun day at the beach. For those of you who have read these in years past I suggest you stick with me and read this one too, just as a refresher in case you forgot any of this helpful information.
First off, and probably most importantly, that big ol' summer sun is not in any way your friend. Yeah, you are looking to put on a nice glorious golden tan and look all cool and weathered in your summer outfits. That’s all good and fine, but you need to do this without getting sunburned, and that is the issue that most people either overlook or are not aware of. Sunblock is your friend, your very very good friend. You will still get plenty tan no matter how much you use, and you should use plenty of it. Put it on at least twenty minutes before you go into the sun and reapply it fairly often. Yeah, it says it lasts all day and is water resistant and all that, but it lies. You need to keep using it, especially if you go into the water. I know that there are some of you with the opinion that you can hang out for a little while, getting “color,” before you apply any protection. This is a really bad opinion because you will burn. I cannot impress on you how important this is. Todays sunburn is skin cancer twenty years from now, trust me on that because I know all about it. Besides that, it hurts. Wear a hat too.
The next thing that is super important at the beach is having a good pair of polarized sunglasses. All those pretty sparkles on the ocean are a zillion tiny mirrors reflecting sunlight directly into your eyes, and yes kids….your eyes can get burned too. And they do. The sand is also highly reflective, just like snow. Sunburned eyes can lead to growths that your eyes form to protect themselves, I know all about that too. I have had the surgery to remove them and I can tell you right now that it is no fun at all. Well, unless you think having somebody cutting on your eyes while you are awake is fun. I, for one, am not into that kind of thing.
In short, the sun that you seek can really ruin your day if you do not know how to protect yourself from its little not so hidden hazards. Another one of these is that as the day progresses the sand gets hotter and hotter. People head down by the water and get a nice spot all set up for the day when it’s still cool. But then later in the afternoon when they pick up their gear and attempt to walk back to the car, or whatever, that stretch of beach between you and it has turned red hot. The famous “burning sands,” called that because they are actually just that, freaking BURNING sands. If you don’t have something to put on your feet you are in for a world of hurt. First you will start to hop, then run, then run as fast as you can while screaming as your feet blister right under you. This, once again, is no fun. And the total idea of going to the beach is to have fun. Getting burned is a bad thing.
Another very bad thing is dehydration. You need to take along water or some sort of electrolyte beverage. Cokes, coffee, beer and everything like that are all dehydrators. If you get dehydrated you will feel exactly the same as if you have food poisoning or what people call “the revenge.” The thing is more times than not when people think they have something like that it is dehydration. It is dangerous too as it can cause you to have a stroke, something you really do not want to have happen to you.
So, the quick version is protect yourself from the sun and drink a lot of water. Use sunblock, wear a hat and sunglasses and take along something to wear on your feet for when the sand gets hot. I will get to “in the water” hazards next week.
by Corky Carroll
I flipped on my old computer just now and while it was warming up, it’s a steam powered Apple III, I was thinking about what I was gonna write about for todays adventure into my continued quest to wipe out the use of all grammer and long words. A semi loud “bing” sounded over my head and the idea that I should revisit some previous subjects, stories and people from time to time could be cool. So, I took a look back at a piece I did on three of our greatest local surf rats from the 1960’s that I did in 2012. John Boozer, Tommy Leonardo and Robert Kooken. These are guys you don’t hear about much but were a major part of Orange County surfing in their day. Hey, perfect choice to kick this off with. I took the following from that story.
Today I thought I would put out a little tribute to three of the best local right foot forward guys from my era, which was mostly the 60’s and early 70’s, who are not with us anymore.
First would be John Boozer. I first remember John as a freshman at Huntington Beach High School. There was a big fad at school that year with these light blue very lightweight windbreakers. Boozer was the first guy I saw with one of those and I liked it. I think that’s how I met him, by asking him where he got the cool windbreaker.
Shortly after that I started seeing him in the lineup on the south side of the pier and realized that he was a pretty good surfer. He really started to excel and become a serious competitor on the West Coast contest circuit about the time we were seniors in 1965. He won a big contest at Redondo Beach that spring called the “Laguna Masters.” It was put on by Laguna Swimwear.
John won the men’s division and took home a motorcycle. I won the juniors, as I was still 17, and got a color TV. I remember that it was Mother’s Day, which I had forgotten. I went home and gave my mom the T.V. Phew.
John did very well for a few years on the competition trail and eventually became a main guy in the Robert August Surfboards factory. Great guy and good pal. The next guy I wanna mention is Tommy Leonardo. Tom was known not really affectionately as the “Top Mouth on the Coast,” for many years. He held that title until Chuck Dent came along in the later 60’s. Tommy could really spew out a running stream of verbiage when he got on a roll. Sometimes he was funny, but mostly it was some sort of rage he was feeling toward somebody.
We were friends until he went to Hawaii one year. After that, and I never learned why, he seemed to have something against me. He went over before me and when I got there people told me he had said a lot of bad things about me. None the less I always respected his surfing skills. I still remember one day I paddled out down by Tower 5 and saw Tom on one wave totally in the barrel doing a “cheater 5” all the way across the face. On the next wave, there was Boozer doing exactly the same thing and I was thinking that these guys were really good surfers.
Tom and I were not pals, but he was one of the best goofy footers around in the early to mid-sixties. Lastly, there was Robert Kooken. I loved this guy because he was totally different surfing wise than what was popular at the time and he could have cared less. In a period when the popular direction was soulful style and grace, Robert Kooken wore polka-dotted surf trunks and totally attacked waves with an array of arm-waving, radical turns and spinners and all sorts of acrobatic-looking moves that made him look more like a circus performer than a surfer.
But in the midst of all that, he was really doing some great surfing. I would hear guys berate him for his wild style and I would always ask, “but is he a great surfer or not?” Everyone would always have to say, “Well yeah, he is really good.” He won a couple of events and was at the top of the competition scene here on the West Coast for a number of years.
I enjoyed watching Kooken surf, he was very entertaining. And he was an extremely fun dude to hang out with. One of the real rare “individuals” who have come along who just rode on pure stoke.
Yeah, I know there are a lot more. But these three guys had a big mark on surfing here in Orange County and they are gone now. I just wanted to remember them a little – they deserve it. And that kiddies is today's Blast from the Past.