Real Surfers-Gnarly!


In the 1960’s my friends and I became surfers. Actually we were only body surfers, but we spent days in Santa Cruz doing our best to look like real surfers. We wore expensive Madras shirts, and blue or white round toed tennis shoes. Blond was in. My brunette friends tried to get “toe head” streaks by sitting in the sun, lemon juice running in their eyes. * Words like gnarly, raunchy, choice, bummed-out, and thongs found their way into our vocabulary.

It may have started with the 1959 movie, Gidget, but it was the music that set off the surf craze. First there was Dick Dale the King of Surf Guitar, but it was the Beach Boys with their lyrics of having fun all summer long that exemplified our lifestyle. Two of the Beach Boys, Brian Wilson and Al Jardine, will preform at the Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland at 8 p.m. Sunday the 28th.

Real surfers can be seen at the 2007 Mavericks Surf Contest.

When the perfect big 50-foot waves start to roll in, the call will go out to 24 of the world’s top surfers. They will have only a 24-hours notice to find their way to Mavericks surf spot near Half Moon Bay, California.

Mavericks Surf Contest: Sometime between now and March 31st.

* Surfer Vocabulary

Originally a difficult or large wave (He wiped out on a gnarly wave),later anything big or difficult (The Chemistry test was gnarly.), then later an expletive of approval (That custom paint job is gnarly!)

Raw, Rank, Disgusting

Really cool or bitchin. Example: “That girl with the tight sweater is really choice.”

Bummed out

In the 60’s, thongs were something you wore on your feet.

10 Comments so far

  1. TinMan (unregistered) on January 22nd, 2007 @ 9:54 pm

    Actually, the 24-hour call for the Mavericks contest will go out before the 50-foot waves roll in.

    If you’re trying to guess when it’s going to happen, read Mark Sponsler’s surf forecast on his Storm Surf website and check out the NOAA/CDIP buoy readings, particularly the SE Papa buoy.

  2. joann Landers (unregistered) on January 22nd, 2007 @ 9:58 pm

    Thanks for the info.

  3. 49Giants (unregistered) on January 22nd, 2007 @ 11:19 pm

    Does anyone know what the Mavericks competitors are doing right now? They had opening ceremonies a couple of weeks ago when the waves were ginormous, but they died out soon after. Are they kickin it in Half Moon Bay or did they all go back from whence they came to wait for the call?

    In any case, everyone should check out the Mavericks website for some nasty videos. Also, for a nice little taste of Mavericks and the other great surf locales of the world, check out Riding Giants. That documentary is niiiice.

    Big ups to all my fellow comrades who try to surf Ocean Beach!

  4. TinMan (unregistered) on January 23rd, 2007 @ 8:48 am

    Most likely, the non-locals went somewhere else.

    The local guys probably went back to their jobs (Shawn Barron owns NorCal surf shop in Pacifica), shaping surfboards (Peter Mel is one guy who does this), surfing other breaks, etc.

    Grant Washburn is often at Mavericks, even if it isn’t super-huge (Mavericks starts to work around 16 feet) and I’ve seen him doing the standing paddleboard thing on Pillar Point Harbor. I’m sure some of the other guys are around, but Grant’s easy to spot (he’s like 6′ 6″).

  5. Matt R. (unregistered) on January 23rd, 2007 @ 5:27 pm

    Body surfing is real surfing.

  6. joann Landers (unregistered) on January 23rd, 2007 @ 6:18 pm

    The body surfing we did, though very cold, was a lot of fun.

    The surfboards back then were big heavy things. I did take one out in Hawaii, and managed to stand up a few wonderful seconds.

    Was there a recent controversy about the materials and methods used in the making of the boards?

  7. TinMan (unregistered) on January 23rd, 2007 @ 6:49 pm

    Surfers are rather conservative about board construction, so controversy has followed the introduction of any new material.

    But that’s probably not what you’re thinking about. You’re probably remembering the abrupt shutdown of Clark Foam about thirteen months ago. They provided most of the surfboard blanks (these are the raw bricks of foam from which surfboards are shaped).

  8. joann Landers (unregistered) on January 23rd, 2007 @ 6:52 pm

    Thanks again. That was it.

  9. TinMan (unregistered) on January 23rd, 2007 @ 6:55 pm

    To expound further, the shutdown of Clark Foam accelerated the adoption of other surfboard manufacturing technologies as shapers struggled to find alternatives to the polyurethane blanks; Clark Foam had a virtual monopoly of the polyurethane blank market after over four decades of business.

  10. Nancy (unregistered) on January 24th, 2007 @ 8:43 am

    I’ve been listening to The Chantays, they have some killer classic surf tunes – Pipeline and Banzai, just name a few.

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