The OG's, Part 2
by Corky Carroll
Last column I shed some light on some legendary surfers who are still with us and that are at least older than I am, and that’s pretty old. I got a lot of great comments on this so today I am going to follow up by telling you about a couple more of these long livers who are beating the odds and livin’ longer than most.
This getting older stuff is not as easy as we would have liked to think when we are younger. Every day is a new challenge to overcome. Just this morning I got out of the shower and was just doing the simple task of putting on my underwear, a seemingly easy thing to do right? Well, my toes got stuck in the leg and while trying to jam my foot through I lost my balance and almost crashed into the floor. Probably would have broken a hip or something that old people do when they fall. But lucky for me I was able to get a death grip on the edge of the bed and swing myself over enough to land mostly on top and saved my frail old body from the hard cold tile floor. Geeze, what now? Gotta sit down to get dressed? Argh. I always say the only thing “golden” about the golden years is our teeth. Those who still have teeth anyway.
Anyway, the guys I am going to talk about today are surf survivors and ones who command my highest respect. Great surfers and great human beings.
First off is a guy who everybody considers to be one of the best to ever ride a board, but also to be “the nicest guy” in surfing. Paul Strauch. Born in Honolulu in 1943, started surfing in 1947 (the year I was born), won the Makaha International Championship as a Junior in 1959 and the mens division in 1969. Also won the Peru International in 1963 and a bunch of other stuff. The dude has plenty of credds. At one time Paul was thought by many to be the best surfer on the planet, a guy who had the rare ability to totally shred waves with radical moves and yet do it very gracefully and with a beautiful flowing style. With all this going for him you might think he would be a jerk, but not at all. Called “the Gentleman” surfer and deservingly so. We all love Paul Strauch. Always has a smile and is glad to see ya (well maybe he isn’t but he makes ya feel like it anyway).
I first met Paul surfing at Ala Moana on Oahu’s south shore during the summer of 1963, my first time surfing there. He and George Downing were out and were very encouraging to this young and brash hoale from Orange County, Calif. We have been friends ever since. He is still surfing great too.
Next up is probably one of the fastest guys to ever surf. Joey Cabell. Another dude born in Honolulu in 1938. Anybody that has ever known Joey will tell you that this guy likes to go fast. On a surfboard, on skiis, in a car…. in any and all ways. Rapid. Yes. he has won plenty of stuff. Like Paul Strauch he won the Makaha International and the Peru International and lots of others including the first Malibu Invitational in the early 1960’s.
Not known for tricks and show off kind of surfing he blew the crowd away by doing a “spinner” in the nose. Totally uncharacteristic of the flowing style master that he is.
He is also known as one of the original owners of the Chart House Restaurants. In Aspen, Colorado he was as fast or faster than anybody on skiis. I was a decent skier myself but would have trouble keeping up with Joey, the guy flew. In Hawaii he rode giant waves from point A to the end in a blur. There are stories about him surfing alone on monstrous days at Hanalei Bay on Kauai going so fast that people on the cliff with binoculars could not pan with him. Having first met Joey at the U.S. Championship in 1963, I have always looked up to him as a person who just did things right and with style. When you see him you have to look fast though, he is gone quickly. The guy has left me in the dust more times that I even wanna remember.