I started riding skateboards when I was around 10. The steel wheeled ones. Just find a nice sidewalk on a good steep street and go! I have always loved the sensation of speed in all it’s many forms so skateboarding was a natural for me. I got pretty good at it considering the type of equipment we had when I was riding. First steel wheels, then the clay comp or Roller Derby wheels. I did stuff like wheelies, hangin ten, walking the board, 360’s, jumping curbs. Old school stuff.
In my adolescents I sorta stumbled upon my identity. I was watching ABC’s Wide World of Sports when I saw The U.S. Surfing Championships at Makaha Beach. I was mesmerized buy the surf, the speed and the danger. The sport just hit a cord with me. I went to the school library and discovered that they had two issues of Surfer magazine in the mag rack. I poured over those two issues every day at lunch until one day I asked the librarian if they were going to get any new issues in. “You really like those don’t you?” she said to me. “I love em!” “I’ll see what I can do” “Thanks!” About two weeks later I went in the library to re-read “my” mags when I discovered the magazine rack had 4 new Surfing magazines. I grabbed em all. Boy did that lunch hour fly by. I found out later that the librarian got the magazines from her younger brother who had been surfing for years, but was now in Viet Nam.
Needless to say I was not a skater any more. I was a surfer. I didn’t live near the beach or have a surfboard but I was a surfer. The hair got longer, I wore Bermuda shorts, striped T- shirts and a Maltese cross on a chain. Yeah a real poser.
Fortunately my mother really liked to go to the beach and we went alot in the summer. We even rented a house on the beach for summer vacations. I was in heaven on those trips. I imagined that we really did live there year round and that this was our own little beach house.
I started officially surfing at 13-14 years of age. I got my first board from Jacks Surf-shop in Huntington Beach California. A used 9’6″ Jacobs for $60 bucks. I was so proud to have that board. It made me a “real” surfer.
Those first trips to the beach where with my friends Ed Ritchie, Larry Sallows, Paul Zubek, and Larry’s older bother Steve who provided the transportation. We all had boards, we all were beginners and we all had a blast. 5 longboards strapped on top of a 1950 Chevy. All of us going nuts down the highway to go surfing.
About a year went by before all four of my friends lost interest in going surfing. All of them except me. There were not alot of surfers in Sunland but there were a few. It got around that I surfed and I was approached by some of these seasoned older guys about my wave riding. I was invited to go to the beach a few times with these guys. We had some really great times and some fun surfing sessions. I got in with the gang and surfed whenever I could with them.
My love for the sport of surfing has never died. It became my driving force, my destiny. To live on the beach with the surf always out my window. That was my dream. Thank God that dream came true.