by Corky Carroll
I recently picked up a copy of a fantastic book that I want share with you today. It’s called “TURN AND GO!” Fifty years of surf writings by Steve Pezman. There are some fantastic stories in here and most of them brought back my own memories of the particular people and events that Steve talks about.
But, before I get into the content of the book, let me give you some history on Steve Pezman from my perspective. I first met Steve when I was a young surf gremmie growing up in Surfside Colony, just south of Seal Beach. He was one of a small crew of surfers who came down from Long Beach and hung out and surfed at the spot called “Water Tower.” This was by the big water tower at the south end of Surfside and the north end of Sunset Beach. I am guessing I would have been maybe 13 years old at the time. I got to know these guys from surfing and hanging out listening to them tell stories. They had been to Hawaii and surfed all over, plus knew stuff about chicks that I was only guessing at that point. At times they would take me and my pal Mark Martinson surfing with them at Trestles or Doheny, normally cramming us in the trunk of the car holding onto the boards and gagging on exhaust fumes.
Years later Steve was hired by John Severson to work at Surfer Magazine, and in fact took over as Publisher when John sold the mag and moved to Maui. Shortly after that I was hired and became Advertising Director and occasional comedy writer. I was there ten years and working with “Pez” was always a complete joy. He is a very sensitive and thoughtful person and that is how he lives his life and how he ran the magazine. It was obvious that he cared about every detail of how he did things and it showed. I am pretty sure my hiring kind of scared the daylights out of him. He knew me as the obnoxious motor mouth teenager who could very well be a source of embarrassment to him and the magazine.
And I certainly could not blame him for that, it was a reputation that I had earned fully and lived up to on more than one occasion. But by 1976, when I got the job there, I was in my late twenties and fairly well, maybe not totally, settled down and in the early days of mellowing out. I think I did a more than creditable job of organizing and running the Ad Dept and did my best to not splash around in the pool too much. I think he was always a little leery about me being there, but he tolerated me as best he could. I did my best to go beyond what was expected of me hoping to set his mind at ease.
Eventually he and his wife Debbie left Surfer Publishing and started their own surfing publication called “SURFERS JOURNAL.” SJ was miles beyond anything that had been done in surf related print before. Beautiful photos and amazingly written stories and only a couple of ads. Every issue was like a coffee table book.
Thru all the years that Pez was working in the surf publication business he wrote stories. Always great and written with a tremendous amount of humanity, with a lot of feeling if you will. The dude can spin a yarn, in other words. He really put a lot of thought into what he wanted to say. I could appreciate that, a trait that I have never really got a good grip on myself. I tend to just blurt out whatever is on the top of my head and run with it. Yeah, sometimes later I will look back and let out the occasional “oops,” but hey. It’s an adventure.
The book opens up with his recollection of the last part of the life of surf legend Miki Dora. “The Cat’s Ninth Life.” This sets the tone for a journey thru the years featuring some of the coolest and most colorful people and places in the surfing world. Great stuff about Pat Curren, Joe Quiqq, Phil Edwards, Mickey Munoz, Dorian Paskowitz, Paul Strauch, Greg Noll and others. There is even an interview with Timothy Leary. Great stuff.
I highly recommend this book to any of you who love surfing and love a great story. I got mine thru the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center online. You could probably order from Surfers Journal as well. Also, it would made a nice Christmas present, in case you are thinking that far ahead.