Icon George Draper passed away
by Corky Carroll
I was sad to wake up today and hear of the passing of long time Huntington Beach surf icon George Draper. George had been in a losing battle with cancer for some time and like when most people go down to that horrible thing it always makes ya think, “if they can put people on the moon why can’t they find a way to stop this?” But anyway, it is what it is and it got our pal George this time and “Surf City” is a little bit darker today for it.
George Draper was one of the infamous Huntington Beach Georges. The first was George Farquhar. That George ran the local newspaper and was a regular in the lineup at the pier in the 1960’s. You would always see him at just about any and every thing that went on in town, camera in hand and notebook in his back pocket, the perfect newspaper guy that also happened to be a local surfer at the same time.
The next George was “Little George” Patton. He was the original George that opened Georges Surf Center. He got the nickname “Little George” because, yeah you guessed it, he was little. He was a stoked dude who loved to surf and used his baby son in all of his advertisements in the surfing publications. I still hear from him often; he lives in Thailand now and has a young and pretty wife. He is always trying to out “young and pretty wife” me, but he can’t. Mine is younger and prettier, hahaha George. Cool dude.
Then came George Draper, the first “Mayor of Main Street.” Draper bought Georges Surf Center from Patton. This worked out really conveniently as being that they were both named George there was no need to change the name of the store. It was still Georges, just a different George. One of the cool, and really smart, changes to the store was the addition of “Jan’s Juice Bar” in the back. A beautiful young surf chick named Jan Gaffney ran it and the extra people that came to get smoothies and cookies added to the sale of surfboards and the success of the business. George was a single dude and loved to hang out in front of the store enjoying the ebb and flow of beautiful surf girls passing by, cherry picking the best looking ones for maybe a phone number or at least a name. He was kinda the local surf Don Juan of the 70’s. George was also a pal of Jack Murphy, a.k.a. “Murph the Surf.” Murph told me one time that George didn’t ‘t trust banks and had all his money buried somewhere or stuffed into mattresses. Treasure map anybody?
Then came the Lambert Georges. The older one being a very popular local surfer who was the father of the younger one who became the next “Mayor of Main Street,” after George Draper. George Lambert was first the shop gremmie and then manager of the Robert August Surf Shop. Also a super good surfer and Huntington Beach High School Surf Team star. He went on to manage the longboard room at Huntington Surf ‘n Sport, along with me for a few years, and eventually has become one of the top real estate agents in town working with Bob “the Greek” Bolan at Huntington Beach Realty. Wanna buy or sell a house, George is your dude. I loved the time we worked together at HSS, two surf shop dinosaurs in a 21st century surf super store. I liked to think we added a little “soul” to the place. They could fold t-shirts there so tight and perfectly that you could cut fish with the edges, an art I never could master. George’s son, Max, is now one of the hottest up and coming surfers in town. My real name is Charles and my dad and his dad and as far back as is known were all named that. I named my first son Clint and the second one Tanner. So I can understand why George broke the chain. The big question is who is gonna be the next “Mayor of Main Street,” and will it be a George?
So here is a big Aloha to George Draper, a huge part of Huntington Beach and Orange County surf lore. May you ride the sea of tranquility and troll the streets of heaven for angel babes.