by Corky Carroll
One of my favorite surfers from the years I was growing up here on our beautiful Orange County beaches is Chuck, aka “Raouuul” (ya gotta say it with a couple extra u’s to make it sound right, like Ra-oouuuul), Linnen. I have reported some of this stuff in years gone by, but his name came up today so I thought I would re-tell a little bit plus add some previously untold tid bits.
I met Chuck the first time I rode my bike, pulling my big balsawood board behind, from my house in Surfside to the Huntington Beach Pier when I was about 10 years old. I was riding some waves but was afraid of the pier. Chuck saw this and introduced himself to me as “Charles,” and gave me directions on how to “shoot the pier.” We became friends that day. In years to follow he would stop by our house occasionally, normally about dinner time, show me some stuff on our piano, and graciously accept my mom’s dinner invitation. This is when I became aware of his quest for a free meal.
On trips down to surf “Trestles” when Mark Martinson and I would get rides from some of the older dudes, such as Steve Pezman, Jim Barker and Roy Crump, I would see Chuck many times. I remember my mom would always cough up a dollar or so for gas money and would normally make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for after surfing. One day right as I got there I buried the bag with my sandwich in the sand so it would be safe for when I came in. But, low and behold, when I got back to the spot where I had it stashed it was gone. Only the empty paper bag was there. Chuck was sitting nearby, and I asked him if he has seen anybody steal my sandwich. He looked at me straight in the eyes, with crumbs and peanut butter still in his mustache, and innocently and sincerely said “no.” When I told the other guys about this they just laughed and said, “Yep, it was that dirty Linnen.” I guess he was known for this kind of thing.
Later on, when I was about 16, I was on the North Shore and a whole group of us were living in an old Quonset hut out by Velzyland. Chuck was one of them, along with Mike Doyle, Roy Crump, Billy Fury, Mike and Sherry Haley, Kent Casper and others. Everybody was noticing that little bits of their food would go missing from the fridge, and the prime suspect was Chuck Linnen. So, one morning before we all went surfing everybody, except Chuck, got together and rigged up a carton of milk with some extra added goodies as a trap, the least worst of these goodies were “boogers,” you can imagine some of the other ingredients that were put in. We put it in the fridge, and we all went surfing. When we got back everybody was busy getting the boards off the roof of the car. Naturally Chuck slipped away and hit the fridge. Seeing a Milk carton with only a little bit gone he naturally took a swig. We all howled in delight as he came screaming out of the house barfing all over the place and moaning and groaning. That dirty Linnen got rudely caught in the act and payback was not Heaven. I still laugh when I think of that. Just desert, you could call it.
Through the years Chuck has remained a good pal and one of the longest lasting and most respected locals at the Huntington Beach Pier. He is a veteran of riding big surf in Hawaii and being a successful competitor in International surfing events in the 1960’s. Why he surfs in the winter without a wetsuit on is anybody guess, the dude is just kinda loco I figure. Cool guy, just watch your food when he is around.