by Corky Carroll
I get a zillion questions about my fellow surfers. Normally it’s stuff like “who do you think was the greatest, or best, surfer?” That one gets lots of variations, such as the best back in the day (I always wonder what day that was), best now, best long boarder, best shortboarder, best big wave rider, best noserider, best female surfer, best this that or the other thing. People are always curious about opinions on that sort of thing. And there is the always popular “what was so and so like?” Was he a jerk, or cool guy?” That is always a hot topic.
With that in mind I thought that today I would open up a whole nother can of worms and start a conversation about some of the people in surfing that I have met through the years that are really “interesting.” This would have nothing to do with how great or skilled a surfer they might be, or if they were a geek or good guy. Well, that last part might play into it I guess. But that is not really the basis of what I consider interesting.
I find that people who just have a great gift of gab, have personality and are easy and fun to talk to head up this list. Also, ones that have a “story.” Something going on that sets them apart and makes you want to get to know them and find out whatever it might be that draws you in.
Thru the years I have met all kinds of people in surfing including pretty much all the great ones, many of the jerks, tons of very cool ones, lots of boring ones and thankfully some really interesting ones. It is there I begin todays offering.
One of the most interesting surf people I had the joyful experience to know was the late Doctor Dorian Paskowitz. Dorian was a classic free spirit. He had a beautiful wife and eleven kids. He was a medical doctor who gave up the mainstream life that one in his profession and position in life would have to pretty much just “go surfing.” They all lived in a camper and cruised around to different surf areas and spread a lot of joy and aloha. The kids were self-schooled and all turned out kinda brilliant in their own rights. At one time Dorian scored the job of medical doctor for the nucular power plant at San Onofre. It paid great bucks and all he had to do was have a beeper that they could call him with if he was needed. He could hang out at the beach and surf and be with his family all day. When he went out in the water his wife had a blow horn she could call him in just in case his beeper went off. In like two years it never went off, yet one day he decided to quit the job because in his own words “it was just too much pressure.” He told me this. I said, “Doc, how could it be too much pressure, it never goes off?” He got all serious and said, “yeah, but it could.”
I loved Dorian. One of my favorite things to do was to go down to San Onofre in the afternoons and park by his camper. All his kids and people who attended a surf camp that they put on each year would be out surfing and Dorian would be hangin on the beach under an umbrella. I would sit by him and have amazing conversations about all kinds of stuff going on in the universe, some that had to do with surfing and many not. He love to discuss this or that or question something or just say what he thought and find out what you thought and toss it into the talk pot and see what it cooked up. Sometimes the conversation was so interesting I would forget to go surfing and it would get dark. They guy had a real joy for life and everything that it had to offer, except maybe working.
There are a zillion stories about Dorian Paskowitz and his escapades out there, some are fact and some are fiction. Whatever the case there is no doubt that this man was for sure one of the most interesting that I ever met.
I will continue with this train of thought in future columns from time to time as there are plenty that I would love to tell you about. Stay tuned.