On a month-long coast highway road trip with mother and brother and dog from southern California to the Canadian border, recording it all with my spring-wound 8mm movie camera. Note John 'Bam-Bam' 'The Terminator' Parmenter in the passenger seat, vibing hard...
Newport Point 1974
18th Street on the Newport Peninsula in the early 70s -- not Echo Beach but the Newport Pipeline
Cayucos Pier 1979
Cheater-five on a 6'4" Lance Collins Wave Tools twin-fin, senior year at Coast Joint Union High School in Cambria. I worked the entire summer of 1978 in Costa Mesa at a friends landscaping company, room and board included, to buy that surfboard in the wake of Mark Richards' bombshell twinnie. And each fall us Cayucos 'Onlies took our hard-won savings down to Al's Sporting Goods at the foot of the rickety wooden Cayucos Pier and purchased new 1/4-inch thick O'Neill Animal Skins, which we rarely doffed during daylight hours over the next year.
Big Sur Rock Garden 2004
'Yakkin it up! When the sit-on-top rotomolded seakayaks came out in the mid 1980s we immediately adopted them on the rugged coast north of San Luis Obispo, to explore for surf, camp on deserted beaches, and seek out epic firehose sluices in rock gardens like this one in lower Big Sur.
1977 - Coyote Lines
Backpage ads were inexpensive .. well, free ... back in the 1970s when you are the publisher of a surfing magazine and the circulation of said periodical is 1. ...And production design involves only a black marker pen and half of 6th period Constitutional Seminar class.
2003 - Makaha Beach
Buffalo's Big Board Surfing Classic is held each February out in Makaha, and features surfing forms seen only there, such as the Two-person Team Surfing Division. My partner in all the team events was Brian Keaulana, one of the greatest innovators of all time in ocean sports and water safety. More importantly in these demolition derby heats where two surfers must ride closely together in synchronized surfing, Brian is a Hollywood stuntman: Most of the events at Buff's meet, whether in the enforced silliness of the Team Bodyboard event or the chariot race lethality of canoe surfing, require the participant to be part waterman, part stuntman, and part rodeo clown.
1987 - Baja California
Larry "Flame' Moore (who shot this photo) was a classic character and indefatigable instigator of expeditions. Todos Santos, shown here. Cortes Banks. Offshore islands a Boston Whaler couldn't reach in a month of Sundays. This 1987 surfari to Todos included Mike Parsons and Tom Curren. Tom and I rode single fins. This one was a pre-Rusty Rusty, a Canyon 7'10" that would have been right at home in 3rd reef Sunset in 1975.
1979 - Cayucos, California
Still in high school, still trying to mimic Mark Richards' unique body torque, on a 6'4" Wave Tool twin fin (the same length as MR's bombshell twinnie). Matt George shot the photo during one of his many skate or surf injury periods of dry-dock. I was into photography long before him, however, and in the school lab were I was on the publications and newspaper staff, I rolled all my own film rolls, developed the negatives, and printed them with all sorts of experimental methods on the school's enlarger. As can be seen here, I was very fond of grain, and used Tri-X exclusively even in bright daylight.
2009 - Makaha Beach
The canoe surfing event is the highlight of Buffalo's Big Board contest, which has run every winter since 1976. Out in the Bowl, at size every canoe wipeout is like an automobile accident. There are injuries in every contest. An Hawaiian steersman reverts to full warrior mode. No one holds back or gives quarter in positioning and wave possession. I was Brian Keaulana's ama guy -- my job was to balance the canoe so the ama (outrigger) stayed light so he could steer big sweeping turns, but also to dive on the ama if a huli (capsize) was imminent. This crew was one of the best we ever had. Brain steering, me in No. 3 seat, and Keone Downing in No. 2, with Kaipo Guerrero in No. 1.
1980 - Cayucos, California
6'2" Wave Tools twin fin with the very first large Central Coast Surfboards "CCS" logo airbrushed on the bottom. The wetsuit is an O'Neill LD3, which we derisively referred to as Lipton Flo-thru tea bags, as the icy central California seawater gushed unimpeded through the 4,025 overlock stitch seams. The photo was snapped from the Cayucos pier by my high school surf and filmmaking partner, Craig Comen.
1974 - Santa Barbara
On surfari in junior high school with one of the other Newport Point gremmies, Brett L'Ecleuse. It was considered de rigueur then to sport a Russell Surfboards Hi-Cru Tee until it literally frayed and decomposed into rags off one's shoulders.
1980 - Cayucos, California
Cayucos Pier, and the whole of Estero Bay, used to get a whole lot better back in the Early Years. The 1982-1983 mega-storms moved so much sand so far offshore that even now over 30 years later most of the breaks haven't recovered their former glories. None of us kids had heard of Surfer's Ear and we pulled into closeout barrel after closeout barrel trying to imitate Shaun Tomson at Off The Wall. If anyone straightened off or kicked out we cited them for FIrst Degree Tube Evasion.
1995 - Hawaiian Islands
Getting '10' on a thin, flat-decked Nat Young-ish 9'4" single fin at some sharkwater reef along leeward Maui.
1999 - San Luis Obispo, California
This 11'0" Makaha Machine was shaped for Flippy Hoffmann, as described in the essay "Shaping Flippy's Board" in the Biblio page of this website. "Fan-DAMN-tastic!"
1978 - Newport Beach, California
Down in Newport Beach staying at Preston Murray's house for the Katin Pro-Am Team Challenge, January 1978. I brought him a new Aleutian Juice skateboard deck made in woodshop, for which he obviously traded me the wearing of his extremely suspect Primo Sea Suits springsuit.
1985 - South Coast, NSW
Robbie Bain became my closest friend on the ASP circuit. In 1984 when he was with the Australian amateur team in southern California for the World Amateur Titles, I rescued him from Huntington Beach and took him straight up to the Big Sur coast, if for no other reason than to show a homesick Aussie that California had more wilderness and pine trees than Jack-In-The-Box clowns leering over concrete piers. Bainy returned the favor the following year in Australia and shared all his bushcraft on the fabled coast south of Sydney - proving to me that Australia had more going on than the Manly Courso. Far down the southern coast of New South Wales is a reserve where kangaroos mill about on the beach, and are tame enough to hand feed. I seem to remember they loved Puffed Rice cereal best...
2000 - Big Sur, California
The crew at Moondoggie's Beach Club, a surf shop in San Luis Obispo founded in 1986 by SLO native Randy Adler, embraced mojo and camaraderie in surfing and rejected the trog Taliban. Left to right: Jason Peterson, Matt Mohle, Zach 'Hula' Hartley, Dave Bourbon, and me.
1982 - North Coast
In the Early Years Admiral Sir Jeffrey Scott Chamberlain led all our expeditions up the coast from the docile reservations of settled parking lot surf zones. For many years it was a custom on New Year's Day to make a foray deep into the Territories and attempt to surf somewhere that had never been ridden. Here Glen Starkey, Craig Comen and me spock a lonely cove on January 1st, 1982. My Cheyne Horan-influenced single fin was shaped and glassed the day before in Comen's garage in Cambria in anticipation of Admiral Chamberlain's clarion call to hit it and hit it hard to ring in the New Year.
1990 - San Luis Obispo
My first shaping room at the Lazy Whitecap Ranch was a former tack room for the horse stables adjacent the old farmhouse. This board was a bit over 8'0", for Ryk Kluuver, and it maxed out the space ... so it wasn't long before orders for 9'0" and 10'0" guns forced a move into the garage, where I have been shaping for 25 years.
1985 - Cronulla, NSW Australia
The Beaurepaires Tyre Southside Open held at Eloura Beach in Cronulla on Sydney's south side was the beginning of my first full year on the newly-inaugurated ASP tour, in which I made the Top 16. In this event I had to surf my way out of the trials, which in Australia meant joining battle with legions of red-hot local surfers unknown to the American glossies but who to a man competed with a tenacity little seen back in the States. My run at the finals ended with a semi-final clash with Aussie wunderkind and Cronulla local Mark Occhilupo, and I had to settle for equal 3rd and a dog's eye with horse.
2006 - Kaiwi Channel, Hawaii
Brian Keaulana, Todd Bradley, and I created the sport of standup paddleboard racing out of whole cloth, envisioning the establishment of a new regatta-class open-ocean paddlesport to take its place in Hawaii alongside OC-6 and OC-1 and prone paddleboard distance races. This 2006's Molokai-to-Oahu race, 32 miles of sledding down bump and bump in the treacherous Ka'iwi Channel. My partner in the two-man relay race for 8 years was Archie Kalepa, shown here on the ski about to switch places with me and hammer home to Hawaii Kai. Archie was the first person to paddle standup across the Molokai Channel, in 2004. He did it on a rudimentary 12' EPS/epoxy tanker, solo, and it was the Shot Heard Round The World as far as forcing naysayers to take the new sport seriously. Here I am paddling one of the first 14-foot raceboards I made for myself.
1996 - Makaha, Hawaii
Riding an 8'10" thin and boxy tri-fin Makaha Machine that was one of the best all-around surfboards I ever possessed. The Makaha Machine design somehow sidesteps being a mere longboard gun, codger gun, or retro showpiece and instead burrows a deep taproot back to Dick Brewer's revolutionary 'pocket rockets' -- but adds modern jet-sled bottoms, rails, foils, rockers, and fin arrays.
August 1988 - Costa Mesa, California
Greg Mungall and me at Mung's Altra S factory with a couple of freshly-shaped and glassed customs for Tom Carroll, to be delivered to him at the OP Pro at Huntington Beach. Here we salute his Royal Thighness with our own Tom Carroll quad displays. Not sure why Tom ordered a brace of boards from a novice shaper sliding down the arse end of the ASP ratings, but suspect he was desperately looking for some homegrown juju to help him beat the "Huntington Hex" he was cursed with for much of his career.
September 1988 - Jeffrey's Bay, South Africa
The first Widowmaker (far left) was shaped at Rusty's complex in San Diego in the summer of 1988. At 6'9" X 11.75" Nose X 18.5" Widepoint X 11.5" Tail X 2.65" Thickness it was meant to cure Thrusteritis at the fabled righthand point break. When I got to J-Bay in September of 1988 it was a revelation -- for the first time since I left the Church of One Fin I could surf like myself again. While in Jeffrey's I shaped a few more Widowmakers at Larry Levin's shop, and left them behind when I left in October.