Dewey Weber, Hotdog Jesus

At just 17 years of age, Dewey Weber became the show. Red trunks, bleached-white hair, blinding foot speed. “People stood on the beach and pointed,” Weber once said. “You could actually see them pointing."

Surfing's performance standard in the mid-'50s was being reset almost month to month at Malibu, and the surfer doing the most to push things along was a flashy half-pint peroxide-blond high school wrestling star named Dewey Weber. Like Velzy, Weber came from a blue-collar Hermosa Beach family; his father drove a truck, and his mother was a factory worker. By the time he completed his first year of...

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