Surfings Real OGs
by Corky Carroll
Today I wanted to share some love for a few surfers that are older than I am and that I have great respect for. Just the fact that they are older is a great feat in itself as I am really old., Comin’ up on 75 in September, how did this happen? So many of the guys I looked up to all my life have already kicked out and are riding the great sea of tranquility in heaven. Seems more by the day. Part of living long is losing most of your pals along the way. That and forgetting stuff.
But today I wanna talk about some people that are still going and are still a part of our surfing community. Long livers, if you will.
What got me going on this was I saw that Reynolds “Rennie” Yater just turned 90. Rennie is one of the great shapers of all time and also a legendary surfer from the Santa Barbara area. They had photos of him surfing in the very first issue of SURFER magazine back in 1960. Always the coolest of people and one that we all like and respect. I first met him surfing at Rincon when I was maybe 13 or so. He was really nice to me and helped me get a few waves. He owned Santa Barbara Surf Shop in Summerland at the time. Today he is still making fantastic boards and tucking into a few perfect waves at the reef breaks in that area, always with a smile and good spirit.
Another golden year charger is Mickey Munoz. I have written a lot about him in recent years but want to include him here as the dude is still surfing extremely well in his mid 80’s. He was the first person I saw ride an SUP really well and it changed my opinion of those as legitimate surfing vehicles. He was 75 at the time and my opinion was he was surfing better then than he ever did back in his surfing prime, the dude was out and out killing it. He is still surfing all the time at his house on the east cape of baja and still killing it. He is my inspiration to keep trying to improve and staying in the water. Mickey has been my mentor for 60 years.
Skip Frye is one of the greatest California surfers ever and is still drawing the cleanest lines in the water most every day near his shop in San Diego. Another world class surfboard shaper whose boards are so coveted that you have to wait in line to get one, IF you can get one. He is 80. Known for having one of the most beautiful surfing styles of anybody and to this day still stands out in any lineup for his flowing and clean line surfing. His style was so good that he was the inspiration for a young Billy Hamilton to emulate. Billy, in my opinion, has the best surfing syle of anybody ever. He can’t be in the story because he is a year younger than me.
Bob “OLE” Olson is now 92. The legendary surfboard shaper and goofy-foot surfer who started surfing at the Huntington Beach Pier in 1946, the year before I was born, and who is still shaping boards and riding waves near his longtime home near Lahaina on the island of Maui. My history with Ole goes back to about 1960 when he was building boards in Sunset Beach, Calif. Not far from my home in Surfside. One day I was in his shop trying to buy a copy of a surfing newspaper that had just come out from his shop manager, Timmy Dorsey. Same dude is now my neighbor at my getaway casa in Mexico. Tim said Ole thought I had “potential,” and wanted to offer me a “team deal” on a new board. I was over the moon. Turned out a team deal was free color, but hey…. I was officially on the team. I saw Ole a few years ago in Hawaii and he took great pleasure into noting how much better shape he was in that I was. We were riding together to a surfboard auction, along with Greg Noll, Lance Carson and Bob McTavish. When we got to the place and they opened the door of our van Ole jumped, should say he “sprung” out, and sprinted into the auditorium. They had to pry the rest of us out, but to our credit none of us needed help walking in.
There are more I would like to mention but am out of space for this week. Stay tuned as I will probably come back to this in the near future.