I began the week making a 1972 World Championships video, one thing led to another, and basically I was unable to extract myself from that monumental fail of surf contest, and the people who were there, till about 15 minutes ago. So . . . can I interest you in a triple-scoop of black comedy, topped with a sprig of pathos? Here we go:
1. 1972 World Championships vid. If you’re 60 or thereabouts you’ll remember the song here, which has more bump and grind than the Baja 500. Banned in the UK! No idea how this one slipped by the American radio censors but whenever KHJ blasted it, as they did every 45 minutes in 1971, 11-year-old me had to sit down and think of baseball and grandparents.
2. Drew Kampion's on-the-scene account of the contest, which he describes as a “nine-day acid trip.” Must have been—Drew emailed a few days ago to say he doesn’t remember writing the article, so I sent him the opening spread as it appeared in Surfing mag all those years ago, and the whole horror show came rushing back. I basically PTSD’d the guy.
3. Motel Hell: Surfers Sack Local Travelodge During the ’72 Championships,” is a brief oral history detailing just a tiny fraction of the bad surfer behavior that took place during the contest. “A contest official drove a six-ton Ford truck onto the sidewalk outside the hotel lobby, collapsing a large canvas canopy and demolishing two newspaper racks and three potted palms.” And this was a fairly gracious move, given the standard of propriety that week.
4. Randy Rarick remembers ’72 world champ Jimmy Blears. Rarick and Blears surfed together as kids in Waikiki and were both on the Weber team in the late ’60s. Randy saw his friend rise (he was a judge at the ’72 world titles) and fall, and because Jimmy himself is no longer here to speak for himself—and didn’t do much speaking of any kind when he was alive—Randy was good enough to help me understand a little more about our least-known world champ.
5. Click here to see a clip of Jimmy. I don’t think we’re getting the full Blears mojo, but this is pretty much it in terms of footage, the guy was allergic to cameras.
And with that, I’m getting the hell out of 1972. Next up: Lisa Andersen.
See you next week!
[Photos: Dan Merkel, Hal Jepsen, Alby Falzon]