Showing posts with label Trivia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trivia. Show all posts

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Vintage Car Takes Out Vintage Surf Shop

Vintage car takes out Vintage Surf Shop - but no fear; some Vintage CHiPys are on the scene...

A wayward car takes out the front window of 'The Greek' Surfboard Shop in Huntington Beach.
Photo Courtesy of the OC Historical Blog

Just love this classic black 'n' white image above - which shows Bob 'The Greek' Bolen's retail Surf Shop which was [in those days] located right on the Pacific Coast Highway in Surf City; Huntington Beach in the sixties and seventies.

After an automobile accident on the busy PCH, the vehicle has careered out of control and crashed through the shop's front plate glass window taking some brick work and the supporting frame work.

With his clipboard out, and in attendance on the far left, you can see the classic 'Chippy' - a member of the California Highway Patrol. [Hands up those who can remember the lightweight CHiPs crime drama on TV in the late seventies?]. In the State of California, CHiPs are responsible for patrol jurisdiction and enforcing law on California roads and highways - they also act as State Troopers.

The famous 'Surfboards by the Greek' logo
Surfboards By The Greek was a creation of a true Californian surfing legend; Bob 'The Greek' Bolen, who grew up surfing the beaches of Orange County.

Nicknamed 'the Greek' by high school buddies because of his Greek ancestry, he decided to call his brand 'Surfboards by the Greek'. By his own admission, he figured names like 'Surfboards by Bob' or 'Surfboards by Bolen' weren't going to cut it.

'The Greek', as he is known in the Surfing Industry, started surfing in 1958 and began shaping in 1959. The Greek started out making surfboards for himself and a few friends, but it was a local bicycle shop owner who gave him his first shot at building boards commercially. Witnessing the huge growth in surfing's popularity, he asked Bob to make boards to sell in his bike shop.

Bob in the halcyon days of Surfboards
by the Greek in Huntington Beach.
In 1960 Bob opened his own shop, where he manufactured and sold surfboards. The shop closed its doors way back in 1980. But thirty years after shutting the Surf Shop, Bob is still just around the corner where he sells real estate. His office, at 322 Main St, in Huntington Beach, also features a small 'Surfboard Museum'. The accident photo above came from the Huntington Beach Historic Resources Board.

Even though he shut the doors of the shop in the summer of 1980, Bob never traveled far from the beach he loved or the surfing industry he helped change with his now-famous surfboard shapes such as the The Maui Model, The Eliminator, The Liquidator, The Pickle and The Outlaw (among others). More recently he has added The Stylemaster and The Shorty to his growing list of memorable designs.

In 2011 at 68 years old, Bob 'The Greek' Bolan is still considered by many of his peers to be an all-time master of his craft. 'The Greek' has been designing and shaping custom surfboards for over 45 years. In 2006 he was inducted into Huntington's Surfing Walk of Fame.

Today: Californian Surf Legend Bob Bolan in his unique
Huntington Beach Surf Museum/Real Estate Office
To this day, you can still check-out his surfboard designs when visiting Huntington Beach Realty... a real estate office/surf outlet, where Bob is the Broker/Owner as well as the President of Surf Incorporated.

Bob says; "my office looks more like a Surf Shop than a Real Estate office". The office is located right on Huntington's famous Main Street at 322 Main Street in Downtown Huntington Beach, CA 92648.

After all these years; Surfboards by The Greek are also still available. Click here for their website.

Steve Core

AUG 2011: Check my brand new blog; Swap Surf - a blog [as it grows] that will list, detail and report on Surf Swap meets and dry land surfboard events. Click Here

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Surf School Instructor sees amazing sight in the surf...

Surf School students take a pause in their lessons to watch the launch
of the Space Shuttle 'Atlantis' last week from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

Photos courtesy of Florida Today
I am a big fan of the Space Shuttle program and I am very sad to see the program come to end. On my many surfing expedition trips to Florida over the years, I have been lucky enough to witness first-hand, three live launches of the Space Shuttle over it's 30 year history - which covered some 134 mission launches.

I have to say, it's one of the best things I have ever seen with my human eyes!

My good friend from Florida, Surf Contest Announcer and founder of Indo Boards - Hunter Joslin took me too my first ever live launch of the Space Shuttle back in 1983.

Together we had just done the commentary for the '83 OP Pro in Atlantic City, New Jersey and had driven and surfed the entire US East Coast from New Jersey all the way down to reach Hunter's home in Florida.

The Mission logo from STS 08
from back August 1983
On the 30th of August 1983, Hunter and I were standing on the beach at Cocoa Beach at 2:00am in the morning to watch the first night launch of just the eighth shuttle mission ever [STS 08] and it was flown by the Space Shuttle Challenger [that was subsequently lost in a disastrous fashion during take-off on January 28th, 1986].

I am also reminded in looking at the photo at the top, I have some really good friends who are Surf School Instructors. One of them is Cronulla's own Mark Aprilovic.

A time exposure of a Space Shuttle launch, as reflected in
the waterways behind homes near Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Mark runs the very successful Cronulla Surf School in Cronulla. Another good Surf Instructor friend is Rick Gamble.

Rick, an expatriate Aussie, is the only fully qualified instructor on the island of Phuket in Thailand. [Yes, Phuket gets surf]. He also runs the only hard core surf shop in Phuket located in Surin Beach - the shop is called Saltwater Dreaming.

I wonder if my good Surf Instructor friends like Mark or Rick will ever see anything like a Space Shuttle being launched while giving a surf lesson in Cronulla or Phuket? Quite an amazing distraction as you paddle back out to the line up eh?

In the photo at the very top taken last week; Lauren Holland, holding the board on the right, is a surf instructor for School of Surf in Cocoa Beach, Florida points out the launch of the final Space Shuttle Atlantis to two of her surf students Sam Jannke, 10, left, and his brother Gianni Jannke, 12, from out in the surf off the end of Minutemen Causeway in Cocoa Beach.

What a classic backdrop sight to have during your first surfing lesson.
Steve Core

AUG 2011: Check my brand new blog; Swap Surf - a blog [as it grows] that will list, detail and report on Surf Swap meets and dry land surfboard events. Click Here


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Surfin' USA - Where did the lyrics really come from?

The cover of the 7" single Surfin' USA released
on March 4, 1963. A very young looking band

 [minus Al Jardine] pose in their Pendleton Madras
long-sleeved woolen beach shirts.
My good friend Damion who is the ingenious driving force behind the Board Collector blog [a great regular read I highly recommend] raised a very interesting subject this week regarding the surf spots named in the lyrics on The Beach Boys famous surfing track ‘Surfin’ USA’.

Damion, an ex-Deus employee from Sydney, recently moved to California and wrote this week about how he loves discovering all the surf spots in Southern California that he became familiar with by listening to The Beach Boy’s ‘Surfin’ USA’ song when he was a 10 year old grommet.

I have to admit doing pretty much the same thing on my early visits to California as the song was indelibly impressed into my brain too as 13 year old grom from Kogarah.

Damion’s fanciful thinking imagined the creative Brian Wilson driving along the California coast in ’62 looking for lyrical inspiration and picking out surf spots to include in the smash hit song’s lyrics.

After a little CSI Surf work by me, it turns out that the stark truth of the matter is a ‘cold war’ developed between Chuck Berry and The Beach Boys. Berry claimed that the song plagiarised his song ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’. The Beach Boys song was clearly set to the same melody as ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’.

The original 1963 pressing of the record gave credit of the lyrics to Brian Wilson. But in a secret deal, struck behind the band member’s backs, Brian’s father Murray – who was manager of the The Beach Boys at the time, after a lawsuit was raised, inked a deal that relinquished the credit and some royalties to Chuck Berry. Ever since, Berry has had sole or shared credit for composing the song.

Brian Wilson subsequently claimed at the time the song was merely influenced by Chuck Berry and Chubby Checker’s similar ‘Twistin’ USA’.

And how did Brian come up with the names of all the beaches and surf spots when he was not a surfer himself? The answer is simple...

The Surfin' USA title album reached US Gold Album
status [1 million in sales] and peaked
at #2 in the
US Top Ten Album Charts in 1963.
When the song was written, Brian Wilson was dating Judy Bowles. Her little brother, Jimmy Bowles, was an avid surfer. Brian thought "what about doing surf lyrics and mentioning every surf spot in the state? They're doing it here, there, in this city and that, like Chubby Checker's 'Twistin' U.S.A.'.

According to Brian Wilson in later interviews; "I asked [Jimmy] to make a list of every surf spot he knew, and by God he didn't leave one out".

Damion also raised the question why they threw in a mention to Australia’s Narrabeen into the song specifically titled ‘Surfn’ USA’. Good question. Don’t know really. International sales maybe? Global presence? For the final logical answer, one day I guess we’d have to ask the exquisite Mr Surf Music guru, Brian Wilson his self.

In an odd twist of poetic license, the lyric for Narrabeen in the song is pronounced by The Beach Boys as Narra-BINE, and not Narra-BEEN. Definitely indicating they were not locals, or had even visited, as that would be frowned on in Sydney’s Northern beaches. The reason they enunciated BINE instead of BEEN? – simply to rhyme with the preceding second line of ‘Ventura’s County Line’.

And International sales? As a single in 1963; ‘Surfin’ USA’ only made it to Number 3 on US Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles chart and only to Number 9 on the Australian singles chart. A lackluster Number 34 in UK where the Brits were planning their own musical assault on the world.

Did 'Surfing' USA' ever reach No.1? – yes , would you believe in snow-covered Canada of all places. Eh - those crazy surf-loving Canuks - go figure.

Steve Core