Hey All,

After searching the near and far reaches of surf moviedom from the early- and mid-’60s I have come up with just 43 total seconds showing Joey Hamasaki, the She-Buddha of flow, actually up and riding. Forty-three seconds. Six waves. That’s it. But you don’t need much gold to shine, and I believe this clip makes up in soul and mood for what it lacks in length. Size matters—but not always. Hell, the entire Get Happy LP is shorter than this video. Not quite, but you take my point.

I feel about Joey Hamasaki the way I feel about photographer Ron Stoner, which is equal parts admiration for their skills, respect for their quietness, curiosity about their disappearances, anger for their being treated unfairly, and sadness that they weren’t born with more armor. You don’t accomplish what Joey and Ron were able to accomplish without raging ambition. But it nonetheless seems to me that both were in some way too gentle for the world they temporarily mastered. I did an entire book on Stoner. All I could do for Joey this week was grab and organize everything I have on her in the archive—photos, articles, contest results—which resulted in this and this. She deserves better.

Encyclopedia of Surfing
Encyclopedia of Surfing

Here’s a 1966 clip from the popular What’s My Line game show, featuring “Balsa Bill” Yerkes back when he was but a stripling of 19. Old-timers, bear with me while I explain Line to the youngsters: a guest with a slightly unusual occupation was introduced—“Sells Surfboards,” in Yerkes case; he was a shop-jockey at Keller Surf Shop in Lavallette, New Jersey. The in-studio audience and TV viewers are told the occupation, while the four celebrity panelists are not, and the game consists of the celebs taking turns trying to guess the job. This was a tame concept even for the period (Candid Camera had way more zing), but it’s fun watching the panelists cogitate their way (or not) to the right answer.

Encyclopedia of Surfing

I like the cut of Yerkes jib here: the dark-plaid sports coat and skinny tie, the basset eyes, and the smirk (1:28) that reads “surfer” without crossing over into “asshole.” What I like even more is once again seeing Tony Randall, with his friendly bird-like face and professorial diction and superb comic timing. It reminded me of how much I loved The Odd Couple as a kid, which I believe was the first grown-up show I “got.” All those years watching Skipper and the Professor on Gilligan’s Island no doubt prepared me for Oscar and Felix in The Odd Couple. Felix had some kind of sinus condition and to ease the pressure he’d pinch the bridge of his nose and make a huge honking noise; I only remember that because Jay Adams used to strut around Anchorage Elementary schoolyard killing with his Felix-nose-honk imitation, which he spiced up with a lot of F-bombs.

I also cheer up when seeing Tony Randall because I feel a little guilty about coming to the father game so late in life (49)—Randall sired his first child at age 77. Honk!

Thanks everybody, and see you next week.