LEFT: Me holding my daughter Nicole next to a board I shaped for the “Heal the Bay” surfboard art invitational 1990 in Santa Monica. This was a fundraiser where more than 100 artists decorated boards shaped by prominent shapers in Southern California. RIGHT: Longboarder Magazine: 1993 Surf-O-Rama article.
We arrived in California in January of 1990, not being really sure of where to settle. My mom lived in Laguna Niguel and Jodi’s folks lived in Santa Cruz. While visiting my mom in March, I hooked up a shaping job with Terry Martin in Laguna Beach and also found some part time shaping work for Brian Clark Surfboards in San Clemente. We decided to rent a place in San Clemente just up the hill from the pier. Our young family enjoyed the beach and the warm summer water. I had left a 9’6” log at my mom’s house before we went to Chile, and I spent most of my surf time enjoying numerous logging sessions at Doheny and Upper Trestles. Fortunately, this was before the full resurgence of longboarding that we see today, and it wasn’t usually that crowded. Due to the seasonal nature of the Southern California surfboard industry, by late August work began to slow down, so I thought it best to pack up the family and head up North to greener pastures. We headed back to Santa Cruz.
Da Bull Surf Team 1992. From left: Jim Lucas, Marty Weeland, Matt Tanner, Jay Moriarity, Mike Young, Mikey DeGregorio, Kevin Miske, Michel Junod, CJ Nelson.
Early fall is always a good time to reaclimate to the Northern California surf scene. The water hasn’t yet dropped into the “numbing zone”, and the fading warmth of summer still allows shorts and T-shirts while the sun shines. Santa Cruz had grown quite a bit from its former reputation as a sleepy little beach town of the early 70’s. The university had doubled in size, once vacant lots and small ag parcels had been developed into new homes and commercial space. Getting across town now took a bit longer because of the increased traffic. The surf industry had also grown considerably since the early 70’s, and new factories had popped up around town.
From my friend Greg Noll.
I hooked up a production shaping gig with Pearson Arrow Surfboards while still making custom boards for long time friends and new acquaintances. After a couple of years I was able to attract enough customers to set up my own shaping room and use local glass shops to finish my boards.
The revived interest in longboarding in the early 90’s and the resurgence of surf clubs from the 1960’s opened the doors for an expansion of longboarding to young and old surfers alike. There were a lot of second generation surfers whose parents taught them to surf at an early age and the local surf club was a perfect vehicle to bring the surfing community together. I joined the Big Stick Surfing Association and began to surf in contests up and down the California coast. The two main Santa Cruz clubs each hold yearly contests, one at Pleasure Point in April that features 60’s longboards with no leashes, and the Memorial Day event at Steamer Lane. There’s usually good participation from the clubs in Southern and Central California and even clubs as far north as Washington State. The best summer events are held at Malibu’s famous Surf Rider Beach in July and September. These contests have a special allure because the contestant can be assured that he’ll be able to ride Malibu’s perfect walls without anybody dropping in. Bringing home a trophy from one of these events means you caught some memorable rides and have a piece of hardware to prove it.
The 5th annual Surf-O-Rama program.
During the early 90’s the annual Surf-O-Rama contest at Pleasure Point gained recognition as the world’s premier 60’s longboard contest. Surfers from all over California broke out old pre 1968 logs to demonstrate their skill and style in the classic point surf at First Peak, Pleasure Point. Winners over the years have included Wingnut, Bob Pearson, Joel Tudor, Cody Craig, Jay Moriarity, Dane Perlee, and yours truly. Greg Noll and the Da Bull Clothing Company formed a natural alliance with the spirit of this contest and sponsored the event for a few years in the early 90’s. Greg also put together a surf team of Santa Cruz longboarders including exciting young surfers like Jay Moriarity and CJ Nelson, to powerhouse stylist Kevin Miske, to 60’s stylists like Bob Pearson and myself.