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If everybody had an ocean

Girl surfers, San Diego's first surfers, New York surfers, UCSD surf camp, obsessive surfers

Kahanamoku surfed the OB Pier, and when he did, he asked a teenaged lifeguard named Charlie Wright if he could store his board in Wright's beach shack. Wright asked if he might try the board. "So Charlie surfed the board and also got the dimensions and later copied it."
  • Kahanamoku surfed the OB Pier, and when he did, he asked a teenaged lifeguard named Charlie Wright if he could store his board in Wright's beach shack. Wright asked if he might try the board. "So Charlie surfed the board and also got the dimensions and later copied it."
  • Image by Tom Keck

Surfer Girls

Female wave-addiction pioneers.

Some women have always surfed. Three hundred years ago, Hawaiians of both sexes rode the waves, and when the sport moved beyond the islands, when the Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku in 1915 traveled to Australia to promote surfing, historians say his first pupil there was a 15-year-old girl, who passed on what she learned to others. Decades later, when surfing began to shape a Southern California subculture, most of the participants were men. But not all. Even in the 1950s, there were women in San Diego County who loved surfing so much it consumed them.

By Jeannette DeWyze, July 3, 2003 | Read full article


90 Years of Curl

Who caught the first wave?

There's a good chance Ralph Noisat caught the first wave in San Diego. He died in 1980, and as he wasn't a man to brag, his pioneering role might have been lost were it not for his board. He made it himself when he was a boy, and it was still in the Noisat family home in 1998 when Ralph's daughter, Margie Chamberlain, was preparing to sell the Mission Hills residence. Chamberlain realized the heavy wooden board might have historic value, so she called the California Surf Museum in Oceanside. No one there knew anything about Noisat, but the museum staff was thrilled to accept the board when they heard what Chamberlain had to say about her father.

By Jeannette DeWyze, Dec. 14, 2006 | Read full article


Elemental, Little Fish

It is 8:00 a.m. The first day of surf camp. At 22, I'm the baby of the group — a surprise, but not unusual — the only recent postgrad among vacationing professionals. Adrenaline hums through my morning grog. I'm excited but dodgy, unsure if my Queens sea legs will carry me. The waves are different beasts here, I am certain, not the occasional, clumsy rollers of Far Rockaway. My on-again-off-again year of lugging my nine-foot monster onto the A train for an afternoon of paddling around may not suffice in a place where some kids can surf before they learn to read. But as the old adage goes, ready or not... Here I come.

By Rosa Jurjevics, Nov. 16, 2006 | Read full article


In 2000 I bought a board from South Coast Surf Shop across the street, a machine-shaped CR3. The total cost, $550.

In 2000 I bought a board from South Coast Surf Shop across the street, a machine-shaped CR3. The total cost, $550.

I Finally Got Skip Frye to Make Me a Surfboard

This story begins ten years ago in the year 2000. My transition from Northern California to San Diego, specifically Pacific Beach, specifically one block up from a great surfing beach, was complete. The beach is called Tourmaline Surfing Park, and it was the first officially designated surf park in California. No swimmers or bodysurfers, and no Boogie boarders, either.

The important part of this story is that I surf at Tourmaline, and there is a monument at the park to the great local surfers from Pacific Beach, and on the top of the monument is a photograph of the most famous local surfer who made the big time, which of course is Skip Frye. And this is a Skip Frye story.

By Russell Goltz, Oct. 13, 2010 | Read full article


"I caught that one! And I nailed the turn too! I am so stoked!"

"I caught that one! And I nailed the turn too! I am so stoked!"

Mushballs!

Contrary to popular belief, there is surf to be had off New York City. Just as one can purchase a bagel (or passable facsimile) in San Diego, one can ride a wave off Queens. It's not the six-foot, sun-kissed, dolphin-dappled roller found on the West Coast, just as the California bagel is not a boiled, hand-stirred circle of dough imbibed with centuries of Talmudic mumblings as are those on the Upper West Side. But it is a wave. A short, choppy ride with a fat lip to get over — one the upper echelon of surfers can carve to pieces with fantastic results — but the thrill is there.

By Rosa Jurjevics, Feb. 16, 2006 | Read full article


Devon Demint

This Selfish Pursuit

Caleb Crozier hates school. At ten years old, he’s already been deeply afflicted with the surf-bug, a potentially irreversible illness that destroys tolerance for time spent on fifth-grade fractions or capital cities. As far as Crozier’s concerned, the only activity worth pursuing when not surfing is skateboarding, and that holds a distant second place.

Although he would rather pursue “tasty waves” (as described by Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High) than go to school, Crozier’s no dummy. His head is full of surf-knowledge, which he shares with me on a hot Wednesday morning in early August.

By Elizabeth Salaam, Oct. 3, 2012 | Read full article

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