For the “Revolution is not a Dinner Party” History of Surfing section, I posted an Art Brewer shot of Gerry Lopez doing his zen-pimp walk at Pipeline, in 1969, holding a Hansen diamond tail (Lopez was a team rider at the time) that looks more like a bayonet than a surfboard. Here it is again, see below.
Sixteen inches, as I recall, was about as narrow as it got. I myself had a Blue Cheer 6' 10" around that time that was just over 16" wide, and for some reason it didn’t allow me to ride Venice Beach closeouts the way Barry Kanaiupuni rode West Peak Sunset. I probably had the wrong fin or something. Anyway, I looked through the hard drive for more pix of ridiculously narrow boards and found two beauties. The black-and-white shot of Tiger Espere was featured in an ad, I forget for which boardmaker, and that blade beneath Tiger’s feet was proudly advertised as 16" wide. The color photo is Billy Hamilton, no board specs given, but I think it’s the prizewinner. Sub-16", maybe. Poor Bill’s not getting much drive out of that turn. Limits thus tested, by 1970 we were plumping back up to 17" or 18" wide. But I gotta say, from a purely visual standpoint, the super-narrow boards looked as cool as Steve McQueen hill-jumping his black Mustang Fastback GT down Filbert Street.
I spent all of last week in a mild state of shock as the subscriptions and donations continued rolling in, even after I announced we’d hit the 30K goal on Sunday. I’m still processing, literally and figuratively, what happened with this drive. For the moment, it’s enough to know that EOS will live and thrive in 2018 and beyond and that you guys came through in a huge way when it counted most.
I did an interview on Friday with NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and talked about Bruce Brown. I’ve had anxiety issues over public speaking for years, decades, and have turned down almost all offers to speak on camera, on radio, in person. I’m working on it, though. Because I wanted to do everything possible to help EOS, I realized it was time to do some podcasts, and ended up doing four in a row. When Bruce died, and NPR called, I said “yes” before I could back out, swallowed beta blockers like Pez, and it was both a pleasure and an honor to pay tribute to Bruce as best I could.
John Severson, Jack O’Neill, and Bruce Brown, all gone. 2017 has been the darkest year for surf legends.
Until next week,
[Photos: Art Brewer]