We are on the cusp of a new season, one that may bring a reminiscence of the 1990s El Nino (1997 to be exact) to the new millennia. Maybe we’ll see more sea snakes (we hope not), or people snakes (ditto!). Regardless, the South Bay culture of Los Angeles’ surfing community is a kind of nexus that brings surfers in all shapes, sizes, abilities, languages and backgrounds into a mix with a vibrant industry that supports and invigorates it.
From shapers, to artists, craftsfolk, photographers, shop owners, skaters, body surfers, boogie boarders and water craft riders of all kinds, surf camp people and the surf media, the South Bay has always had the potential to bring out the best in people in the water.
As I develop these categories in my pages more, I’ll try to include people that I’ve met and/ or heard really good things about. If you’re one of my customers and you have good ‘surf story’ about the local surf actors as they relate to what I’m putting together, please let me know, and to the best of my limited computer ability and time, I’ll throw up some information (link, contact information) about them and maybe a photo or two.
Jeff is a terrific photographer who shoots the likes of Brazilian ‘Wag’ (Wagner Debrau) as he does aerial maneuvers and so forth. Jeff slowed down a little for this shot, getting a nifty snap of one of the El Porto longboarding crew who surfs with Senior Le Wag on many an occasion. Jeff is an established photographer who takes his camera into the water with him whenever possible!
Mr. Weldon, or you can call him Dave (as long as you call him) is a life-long Manhattan Beach resident and photography enthusiast (and we would argue ‘stellar professional’). Starting his craft with landscape and wildlife, he moved into the wild kingdom of surfing photography. He has put a lot thought (and gelt) into his current tool set, which includes a Canon 5D Mk3 and Canon 500mm Mk2 f/4.” Like many before (and many to come, we hope), you’ll find him chasing down good shots at Porto, usually for an hour, on any given Sunday morning (Saturdays, too) — this just after the sun hits the waves (he’s a veritable fan of morning light and dawn patrol contrasts). He also shoots at the Manhattan Beach Pier, 26th St. and 31st Street, often donning a photographer’s outfit and a Linus blankie.
One thing he looks for is stoke regardless of beginner, intermediate or expert status. In the above picture is one of our favorite surfers. He often comes down with his Dad and brother. Everyone (including the dolphins) loves his infectious smile. Sometimes he borrows one of the local’s boards (a 9’12-ish Anderson Farberow model). Below, Dave is setting up shop (I mean his camera et al.) for another stellar shot. Keep on truckin’ Dave!
Lucio, a long time nature photographer, fell in love with surfing photography after thumbing through his new surfer roommate’s copies of Surfer magazine. He lives just up the road from El Porto, and comes down to take those”money shots” when a big swell moves in. On one of the smaller waves on a fairly big Thursday summer swell day, Lucio captured a local longboarder going backside. You’ll ll find lots of nature photos, as well as a few of his amazing surfing shots on his website — click here for this really great gallery of images.
Captured Surf Photography
On any given day (hopefully a good swell day!) Mike Witt of Captured Surf will be at Porto. Look for him in the water, with a big hat and smile to match. Also talk to Mike about his love of Mexican food (El Tarascos?) when you have a chance to! And Mike’s got a kind of bloggie section under forums — every few days there are observations, reflections and photos — definitely worth a gander at. Now that being said, we are still awaiting an El Porto category at his site (check back one day for that one!)
Marc is one of the neatest, most articulate and respected craftsmen (and surfers) of the South Bay. Before shaping a board, he spends a good amount of time with his customers, deciphering how to make that “magic buddy” that has both aesthetic and functional quality. His glassing is just phenomenal. He has also shaped in the now famous Carl Ekstrom’s ‘Sacred Craft Surfboard shaping contest’, an invitation only event for the best shapers in the world.
Often times, his business partner and wife, Sheryl (and a fellow surfer), will remark how Mark’s glassing lasts and lasts and lasts! They have a wonderful family owned business just East of Aviation in Redondo Beach. And — they also carry a great line of skateboards including the amazing loadedboards. In addition to surf boards both custom and off the shelf, Mark stocks kite boards, all kinds of surf gear, clothing and more. There’s also the chance to learn to surf from his team, and to get private shaping lessons from the master himself. Another great Brazillan, Mauro works there too!You’ll see Mark’s boards at Porto by those in the know. Also, Mark is not a Brazilian — thought you should know! Another fun fact, Wayne Rich and his crew nicknamed Marc “Brogmeyer” many surf moons ago!
Contact information: 2215 1/2 Artesia Blvd | Redondo Beach, CA 90278 | 310-370-1428 |firstname.lastname@example.org Tues.-Fri. 11:00am – 6:00pm | Sat. 11:00am – 5:00pm | or by appointment for custom orders
Ryan and his boards are well known at 45th Street. He usually brings with him a great sense of humor and a quiver of ‘hot off the presses’ boards. His innovations and color choices are appreciated by the local parking lot crew as his (and his crew’s) focus on eco friendly materials.
Apropos, this year, Ryan was invited to a really important division of Sacred Craft, “highlighted in the Sustainable Craft Showcase, a shaping bay and laminating area dedicated to the manufacture of surfboards using more environmentally friendly materials such as wood, recycled foam and low-VOC resins. Shapers include Pat Rawson, Larry Mabile, Stretch, Ryan Lovelace, a Brian Syzmanski/Rob Machado collaboration, Ryan Harris, Gary McNeill.”
Y. NB: Todd Patterson and Chana Alvarez are also attached at the hip with Eco Boardworks, Todd joined Ryan last year and each dropped their own labels to come collaborate at Eco Boardworks.
These days, Ryan recovering from a bit of a spill, and is (therefore?) on a self shaped multi-colored (green and yellow) SUP. Note how he shares waves with his newfound love, a model for the El Porto SUP crowd along with Charlie! You can reach Ryan at 310 944 7234.
You’ll see Craig at El Porto often and almost always on one of his own boards. Somewhat newer to the the shaping scene, yet shaping as if an old soul, if not an old hat, Craig has been delighting his customers with quality, hand shaped boards. He puts a lot of thought into his shapes and works with surfers on their own design and color scheme ideas too!
Contact: Craig Ferré email@example.com 310.210.5996
Kip “Kipee” Jerger – Waterman / Kanoa creator
Kanoa is of word of Hawaiin origin meaning ‘the free one.” Bringing freedom to experience our beaches safely has been has been the vision of Los Angeles County Lifeguard, professional Surfer, beach water sports competitor and businessman, Kip Jerger. For fourteen years, Kip led famous Kanoa as its Executive Director. He believes that community building and beach safety and fun go hand in hand. Kanoa has serviced over thousands of kids and adults both directly and indirectly through partnerships with such non profits as P.S. I Love You Foundation and the Sand Piper Foundation. Kip’s own professional credentials as Kanoa’s director are unparalleled and outstanding. Kip has now retired from Kanoa — he’ll be dearly missed for sure! In the mean time, he’s guarding and giving private surf lessons.
Speaking of which….
Not too long ago, Kip made over 40 rescues off of one of the most difficult Lifeguard Towers in L.A. County at 42nd street. Knowing Kip, this is no surprise: he has been an all around top notch water competitor (professional surfing, paddling, ocean swimming, water polo, etc) and educator for close to forty years. One of the most celebrated accomplishments that stands high for so many of the South Bay’s beach culture is having won the 32 mile Classic Catalina Paddle Board Race. Kip as well is a highly decorated Los Angeles Lifeguard; he has received numerous awards and acknowledgement and the Hermosa Surfing Museum has part of Kip’s story on exhibit as a living waterman legend. Yet one really stands out (if that is even possible), and that was when he was honoured with Lifeguard Medal of Valor. On a day of extremely large surf, and in treacherous conditions (off of San Pedros’ Whites Point jagged rocks), he selflessly risked his life to save someone caught in big surf. Every year Kip is recognized for some form of excellence: Captain Lee (of the L.A. County Lifeguards) recently awarded him with an ‘outstanding rating.’ Among professional lifeguards he is known for not only his safety record, but as well, for how he mentors the younger crew and on busy days, and how he volunteers to assist in rescues during off duty time.
Kip’s educationally minded surf camp / training has been located in Manhattan beach at 45 street for well over a decade. All of Kip’s staff have been mentored, coached and are highly qualified as both water safety (CPR, etc.) and recreation instructors (i.e., surfing, body surfing, body boarding, etc). In fact his directors have themselves been graduates of the Los Angeles County’s Junior Lifeguard program. In the past, all of his staff have exceeded the Department of Beaches and Harbor’s own staffing requirement protocols (even when not required, his staff was CPR trained and so forth).
One of the most significant community gifts Kip has been involved with during the past several year is his help in teaching surfing to almost 300 battered children from the inner city. This is in coordination with the PS I Love You Foundation. And he has worked with the Sand Piper’s Foundation in bringing 60 children to the beach that likewise did not have beach access and training resources. Along the same vein, Kanoa, under Kip’s guidance has provided thousands of scholarships to the surf training summer camp for those from lower social economic backgrounds with a special focus on kids from single parent families. His vision of free and safe access to the beach by way of bringing the inner city program participants to our beaches is both highly laudable and unmatched. He also has an international presence, and recently taught children from war torn Afghanistan as part of an emotional social healing effort. Contact Kip at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tyler consistently makes some of the top long boards in the South Bay that have an international following and his words — ‘advance traditional design.’ And quite arguably, his surfing advances traditional surfing vernacular as well!
The beautifully volan glassed boards he puts together at his new shop are collectors items meant for surfing. If you haven’t ridden one yet, befriend the likes of Danny or John Clark (of Lookingla Designs) at Porto and ask for a try. Not that they’ll acquiesce, but it will just make you long for one even more.
From the Point, 305, Z-chip, mini-Zeke, Deuce, Magneato, Jetty, Northsider and Double Step Deck, Riddler and so on, you’d be hard pressed to carry a quiver of such boards on one shoulder. But that shouldn’t stop you from spending your lottery winnings on such a quiver and board room to display them as they are drying off. His new shop is a treat too, and you can find him and or the crew there on a regular basis: 212 Eucalyptus Drive, El Segundo, CA 90245, United States (310) 322-6861.
Lance as we all know was one of the top riders of his time, as well as shapers. Fortunately for us, he is still putting out beautiful functional boards that smack of history as long as is long (overlapping two centuries). If you never got to see Lance surf at the ‘Bu, you could turn to the history books (i.e. Warshaw’s Encyclopedia of Surfing) to learn that Lance and Dora “all but defined [it]” — with Lance by his noseriding and “deep set turns.” Lance is also known for co-founding Surfrider.
History though is best told by its makers. Lance writes on his website’ : The only way to get a hold on a balsa board at that time (1950s) was to know one of the guys on the inside of the loop, such as Dale Velzy or Joe Quigg. Or if you could find the wood, you could try shaping your own…. So, [after a spell] I went with the flow. I got a job at one of the major surfboard manufacturers in the early 60s as a salesman. In the mid 60s, signature models became the rage. Every surfboard manufacturer had his top guy’s name on a specially designed board that was a cut above the others….
Today, I’m still producing those 60s style longboards along with a line of t-shirts and accessories. The current hi-tech materials allow us to make millennium style, lightweight, high performance surfboards. I can make these kinds of boards too, but my traditional longboards have been time tested. They reflect a style of surfing that is part of my soul. They are memory inspired and are designed, not only to help improve your surfing, but enhance your style for the type of recreational surfing that is just plain fun.”
Doug appreciating the craftsmanship of Maurice
When you come to Maurice’s on any given day, you might find El Segundo local, Doug, who reps for Lance Carson, admiring the repairs, especially as his quiver is well used up and down the coast and needs the occasional tune up. When you do speak to Doug, do ask him about Mickey Munoz, Sandra Dee, Greg Noll and Stand Up Paddling.
Several years back, Mike brought the then ‘Players’ to El Porto and introduced a price point and value level that many could really appreciate, did and still do.
He’s a true local shop owner, not only offering a great board selection (including carefully selected used ones); he also does rentals (wetsuits too!), provides surfing lessons, sells accessories (including your old boards for a nominal fee) and after a session, you can stop by the watering hole downstairs, pick up something to drink for yourself (and maybe even a sugar cane Coca Cola for Maurice!).
Contact information: 3804 Highland Avenue, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Phone: 310-545-9626 Email: email@example.com
Wayne Rich Surfboards, the short of it. That’s a mouthful if you know anything about Wayne and the history of South Bay and Southern California surfing culture. You’ve heard stories about people who have been there, done that. Wayne to a tee. There is little doubt that the people and places that Wayne has engaged with show up in the craftsmanship, utter thoughtfulness and even wording on and of his boards which are part of a larger body of work that is all things Wayne.
If the name hadn’t been taken, i.e., “Wayne’s World,” that would be an apt description, except maybe that wouldn’t go far enough: perhaps solar system, galaxy, universe, or maybe for parsimony’s sake, ‘force of nature’ might sort of suffice. His crescent shaped ending on boards are like desert for a meal that somehow define the entire experience. The quality of the glassing can be see from 100 meters away. The wicked smile will last with you for days.
In short, while Wayne is shaping up in Santa Barbara County, if you can grab one of his boards and have a conversation with one of the more or less second generation of modern shaping masters (that began to hit their stride in the 70s and early 80s), you would do yourself a supremely fathomless favor.
For your growing map of surf legends, put for argument’s sake, and as mentioned, Wayne smack in generation two — by reference, locally place Barahona, Bark, Tyler / Brog / Calvani, Jamie (Ellet), Gumby, Okamato in the wide swaths of generation’s 3 era, and Podunk’s Ryan Harris and a heck of a lot of others in 4 and looking further back in the whole scene: Quigg / Kelvin / Simmons at time 0 (aka the take off demarcation point for the modern board], Velzy / Greenbough / Mc Tavish / Brewer –> Bing, Rick, Weber, Noll, Mobly, Eaton, Carson, Phil, Grant, (Pat) Ryan, Jarvis, Zippy et al. at gen 1(cf: http://www.surfline.com/surf-news/shapers-alley-south-bay-los-angeles_69959) . Not surprisingly, Wayne has a fantastic crew that team up with him to create a masterful quality low volume production process — all of this in the magic of Jededia’s cave.
The short of it is that he belongs on Maurice’s links to South Bay resources page, because, well, the South Bay isn’t about to give him up so quickly, underground and all. The long of it, spend time with Wayne and ride one of his boards. Reach Senior Rich at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kenny, owner of Westchester Music, when not making music at the shop, can be found dancing on the waves. Kenny brings a classic style into his shop (much like in the water). On land his focus is on all things guitars including Tube Amp servicing for that true sound. Focusing on Set-ups, Fret Work and Electronics, the trifecta will do you — that is when you don’t see the sign Gone Surfn’. He’s also down the street from Maurice, so it could be well worth your while to drop off your stick at Maurice’s and your axe at Kenny’s — a two in one eco-saving fell-swoop.