by Corky Carroll
I have to shamelessly admit that I spend a lot of time on social media. This is not only for entertainment purposes but also to promote whatever it is that I am in need of promoting at the moment. Be it my new book “Not Done Yet,” or newest album, “Blue Mango,” new surfboard line, “Blue Mango Surf,” or my surf adventure package to come and surf with me. (yeah, that was plugging, I also shamelessly admit. Gotta eat.). Another reason is to interreact with other surfers and keep up on stuff that I might not hear of in my local neighborhood.
In the course of this interaction, and also as a result of my “Ask the Expert” column, I constantly get asked, “what ever happened to….. fill in the blank.” So today I thought I would enlighten those of you who wonder this stuff with some info on exactly what did happen to some of the more well-known surfers of the great yesteryear that kind of faded out of the limelight. Starting with popular surf people from my childhood era, 1950’s and 60’s.
Phil Edwards was widely considered the top surfer in the world in the late 50’s and early 60’s. He won the first SURFER magazine reader poll and was also featured on the cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. This along with having the very first signature model surfboard with Hobie Surfboards. In the later 60’s and onward he became involved with designing and sailing catamarans with the Hobie Cat Company. Phil still lives in southern Orange County although doesn’t surf as much as he used, but from all reports is healthy and happy.
Paul Strauch Jr. was also in the conversation for best surfer in the world during the early 1960’s. He won many events throughout that decade and was highly respected for his great style as well as being one of the nicest dudes you would ever wanna meet. We all revered him in the water and as “the Gentleman surfer.” Cool thing with Paul is that he is still a great surfer, still has great style, lives in Orange County and can been seen at San Onofre Surf Beach all the time. And still an amazing great person.
Mark Martinson was United States Surfing Champion as well as one of the top competitors in the world in the 1960’s. He moved to the North Shore of Oahu and made a career out of shaping surfboards with Robert August Surfboards. He is still there today, surfing and playing a lot of golf.
John Peck was one of the most respected surfers and surfboard designers of the 60’s. He gained fame from his amazing back-side surfing in the early days of surfing “Pipeline.” His unique surfboard design, called the “Peck Penetrator,” was ahead of its time and even today is highly sought after for collectors. John is alive and very well living in Newport Beach, still surfs great and will still build you a board if you seek him out.
Ron Sizemore was U.S. Surfing champ in 1961 and became one of the top competitors and surf stars here in California during that era. He was known for riding his bike, while pulling his board behind on a homemade bike rack, all up and down the coast from Santa Barbara to San Diego as well as appearing in classic WARDY surfboards ads in SURFER magazine. Ron still lives in his hometown of Laguna Beach and surfs the southern O.C. frequently.
Joey Cabell is widely known as one of the greatest surfers of all time. He won many big-time events including the Makaha International, the Peru International and the Malibu Invitational. Known as a speed demon on a surfboard, on skis, in a car and/or just about any and everything else he did. He liked to go fast and did. Also known for being one of the founders of the CHART HOUSE restaurant chain. Joey is still surfing and still going fast. He lives in Hawaii.
These are just a few of the surfers I get asked about frequently. I will continue with this in the future so if you have anybody you are wondering about shoot me an email to CORKYSURF@AOL.COM and I will do my best to bring you up to speed.