Newport Stories

Wed. Dec. 29th, 2009

Toxic Gas!!

One sunny summer day in the early 1970's the Newport Beach Lifeguard Department rolled up to the bayfront beach where we lived and ordered everyone on the beach to evacuate. Word was a toxic cloud of gas was possibly heading towards Newport. The beach was pretty full that day and people were pretty freaked to say the least!

My parents did what they always seemed to do, immediately help out. They opened up our home and started inviting families into the house to ride out the disaster. And once our house was filled with families, my dad shut all the windows, wetted towels, and lined the bottom of our outside doors. And we waited, for what we didn't know.

Now my dad was big time into gambling back then. He regularly had card games that would start mid day at a large round table he and his buddies placed on the sand out front, and they'd go late into the evening at the kitchen table. So when all the families were settled in the house that day, it was only natural for my dad to break out the cards and gambling chips, and go to work.

For hours us kids ran wildly around the house, while the moms chatted in the living room, and the dad's gambled their family's beach vacation money away at the kitchen table. And late in the afternoon, when it was obvious that the toxic gas cloud was not to be, and the radio noted it was all clear, we bid our good-byes to the families... My mom exchanged phone numbers with the other ladies, I said good-bye to my new friends, and my dad smiled wide, and counted his large pile of money.

For some reason, late yesterday morning thick billows of black smoke poured out of the Edison plant. And while the local news didn't report anything wrong at the plant... Breathing that soot can't be good for you....

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Got Change?

Parking in Newport is ridiculous. When younger I used to buy these really junky cars for a couple hundred dollars and park them any and everywhere in Newport that I needed to. In the red, during street sweeping days, at expired meters. I racked up a crazy amount of parking tickets. And when I turned 18, I went to the courthouse, threw myself at the mercy of the judge, and was sentenced to cleaning the Harbor Municipal Court judges chambers.

And with my record cleaned, I started fresh... racking up more parking tickets around town again. In fact every time I got about 25 tickets, the city would come and tow my car away, and sell it at auction. No problem though, I'd just buy another junker.

Well now days the city is more calculated, and there's no way you can play those games. Currently in Newport there is an Annual Parking Pass that allows you to park at only blue meters. And a Master Parking Pass, that allows you to park at any blue or silver meter, plus any of the city lots. The Master Pass though, at a cost of $625.00 a year, should allow you to park in the middle of the street or on the sidewalk, and should come with a valet that parks your car.

Below are the new parking pass fees for 2008...

The Annual Permit fees are as follows. If purchased during:

January 1 through March 31: $100

July 1 through September 30: $ 50

April 1 through June 30: $ 75

October 1 through December 31: $ 25

The Master Permit fees are prorated as follows. If purchased during:

January 1 through March 31: $625

July 1 through September 30: $313

April 1 through June 30: $469

October 1 through December 31: $156

These guys get hungry... in Newport

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The Oldest Bar in Newport

Sid's Blue Beet

In the mid 60's my dad and Sid Soffer, of Sid's Blue Beet, hung out together. And when Sid needed money to buy a liquor license for his new bar on 21st St., my dad loaned it to him.

Over the next decade my dad would ride his bike up to the Blue Beet around the first of every month to collect his payment on the loan. And sometimes I'd head up there with him to check Blackies.

Now my dad would call ahead to say he was coming so Sid would have the money he owed ready, but when my dad walked into the Blue Beet... Sid was never available. No problem, my dad would post up at the bar, and start ordering drinks, and if Sid didn't show soon, then he'd order lunch, and then desert, and then more drinks, My dad would sit there all day if he had to, ordering free food and drinks until Sid ran to the bank, or wherever, and got him his money.

My mom has some crazy stories about Sid from back in the day. But to sum him up, he was a strong willed individual that didn't take crap from anyone, including those that ran the city.

A minor code violation, and a look at a short stint in jail drove Sid out of town long ago, never to return. Sadly he died of cancer in Las Vegas in February of last year.

Click the photo below for more history on "Sid's Blue Beet", the oldest bar in town...

Boosting blocks from the Blue Beet...

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If you have a story that contains a little Newport history. Feel free to send it over for the Hotshot.

Andy, River... & the Opel

Back in the day, as "Echo Beach" mania was starting to wane, River Jetties came more into focus. A lot of the Schroff, Wavetools, Line-Up and Newport Surf & Sport teams, as well as talented neighborhood surfers Dan Taylor, Scott Rabb, Terry Stewart, and a large crew of really good CDM surfers called the break home. One of those talented CDM surfers was Andy Jeffs...a polite grom who I frequently took to Trestles, where he ripped apart the long walls.

Andy's sister back then had a cheap used car for sale. An ugly rust colored 2 door Opel on it's last leg, and I struck a deal for it's purchase. An hour before I was to pick the car up however, a trash truck backed into it, and turned the ugly little Opel, into an ugly wreak, but it still ran... So for the fire-sale price of a couple hundred dollars, it was mine.

Now because the little Opel was such an extremely ugly car, I decided to spice it up a bit. We got some masking tape and black paint, and sprayed a huge Porsche emblem on the hood, and painted "Porsche Test Vehicle" on the sides... and the little Opel was ready to roll.

"Back in the Day" there was no turn around at River, no parking lots, no grassy knolls, or playgrounds, or bathrooms... and the premium parking spaces were in the hard beach sand on the side streets, that are now paved and metered. And because the little Opel was so, little, it easily squeezed into one of those prime spots, and so was always parked there. It wasn't long before the little Opel started being used as a surf look out tower... friends would jump up on the hood so they could see far out to the waves. It really didn't matter though, the hood was already caved in... but when someone (Junior) started always checking the surf from the top of the roof. Well the little Opel couldn't take it, and the top caved in.

Mid summer, I ended up winning a couple bags of goldfish at the O.C. Fair. And the next morning, with the bags of fish still in the car, someone came up with the idea that we make a pond up on the roof of the little Opel for the fish to swim in. The headliner was removed, the crushed roof was deepened, fresh water was added, and presto, there was a fish pond on top of the little Opel. The fish actually seemed to enjoy their new tank... until I got home. It didn't dawn on me that the sun would soon heat the roof, the pond's water... and cook the fish. RIP little ones.


At one time Balboa Blvd. was just a 2 lane street, in fact there used to be nothing but a 4 way stop sign at the Superior and PCH intersection a long time ago. Sometime in the 80's, the city captured the first row of houses on the East side of Balboa Blvd, and widened it to what is now a 4 lane road with a median. Prior to that widening, there was a house around 45th and Balboa that was thrushed into the news when underground oil started leaking up into it. The property was owned by local surfer David Snieder's grandparents, and the home had to be leveled, and the property sat for quite a while as an empty dirt lot.

I liked the little Opel, and was leaving for Mainland Mex for a month, but didn't really have anywhere to store it. So I parked her in a corner of that empty dirt lot, left one of the windows rolled down so it looked like someone was about to return to her, and prayed she would still be there when I returned... She was not. Long live the ugly little Opel.

Little Andy Jeffs, all grown up and still ripping. Last week, in Newport

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Twenty something years ago there was a surf company called Pirate Surf that had their roots in the area. They actually had some pretty cool stuff and looked set to do well in the surfwear market with assistance from Quiksilver. After a year however, Quiksilver chose not to continue their support of the new surfwear manufacture, and Pirate Surf soon folded.


Flash forward a couple of decades to this year, and Blackies local Greg P. is trying to decide on a name for a clothing company he wants to start. He wants to incorporate pirates into his brand, learns that Pirate Surf isn't copyrighted anymore, and Pirate Surf Company is born... again. With the continued interest in everything pirate now days, the blockbuster movie "Pirates of the Caribbean" currently in theaters and Greg having just landed his T-shirts in a few local stores, look for Pirate Surf's skull and cross board T-shirts to be making their way into the local surfwear market.

Pirate Surf team member Niel S., plundering the nose.

(Photo by Greg P.)

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"The Point", Blackball & Jail

You have to be tired of hearing my dumb stories. D.K., Preston Murray even Hugh Johnson I'm sure have way better ones from "Back in the day"... But I think I have the distinction of being the only grom in Newport that was ever arrested for not getting out of the water during Blackball.

During the mid 70's one of the best hurricane swells ever hit "The Newport Point", and everyone was out. Lenny Foster, Jackie Dunn, Jack Briggs, Billy Pells, John Van Ornum... These guys were barrel specialist and charged everything from Pipe to huge Mainland Mex. and they were all on it.

Back then the lifeguards used to throw up Blackball at noon like clockwork. And if it was crowded with bodysurfers, sooner. On this particular day they raised the dreaded Blackball flag at 10am, and everyone was mad as hell! I was one of the groms in the water that day, and along with a few other older surfers, decided to ignore the police and lifeguards, stay in the water, and keep surfing.

Well this did not sit well with the local authorities, and the lifeguards soon brought in the fire boat from the Harbor, cranked up the high pressure hose, and fired it at us, hoping to force us out of the water. I have to admit that thing hurt! And it wasn't long before I, along with the few others still out, headed in. I paddled up to 19th St. and caught a left that took me around "The Point", and far down by the Newport Pier, hoping no one would see me coming in. As I hit the sand this big guy in wet shorts and a tank top grabbed me by the arm. I had no idea who he was and started swinging my board and swearing at him. Bad move, come to find out he was an off duty Orange County Sheriff, and he easily over powered me and drug me to the police and lifeguards down the beach.

By now people were beginning to throw sand at the authorities, and it appeared a full scale riot would break out. They quickly tossed me and another guy in the back of a police jeep, and whisked us away to Blackies parking lot. Once in the lot they transferred us to a police car for the ride to the police station. In the car was the other surfer I'd never seen before. He was a complete wacko! He began trying to kick out the windows, while yelling obscenities at the officers. This went on all the way to the police station, and I did all I could to let them know that I was in no way associated him.

Once at the police station, the station located where City Hall now is, they put me into a little room that contained only one wooden chair and a small window. And that's when their fun began. They tired to scare me shitless! Telling me I was going to be locked up for a long time for disorderly conduct, unruly behavior, assaulting a police officer, ignoring Blackball... They even told me I had broken some law about screaming obscenities in public! And when I began shivering in my dripping wet springsuit, and I asked for a towel. They got a good laugh by tossing me a little wash rag. After a couple hours they called my dad, and he and a neighbor rode down on their bikes and got me out. No charges were filed, but needless to say when Blackball goes up now days, I'm usually the first to the beach.

And years later, when I sat down in my seat for the first day of high school driver education class. Guess who walks in as the instructor? The off duty Orange County Sheriff who dragged me off the beach that day! Damn I thought, that guy is everywhere!

Locked in a little Brown Barrel... @ 5-4.

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Do you remember your first surfboard?

Do you remember how you became a surfer?

When I was 9, my mom and dad decided to surprise me with a surfboard. I'm not sure why, I didn't want one. All us kids in our Balboa neighborhood were content on body surfing and skimboarding out front in the shorepound at 7th St.. We loved our little break and never ventured elsewhere, in fact we had no idea that there were surf breaks in Newport that had waves with far better shape. Anyway, my mom, who worked at Newport Elementary, asked an older kid at school, John Gothard, where she could get a surfboard for me. He told her about a surf shop called T&W Systems located behind where Sid's Bluebeet now is, and they went and picked out a board for me. I was happy to get the board I guess, I knew John enjoyed surfing, and I thought I'd give it a try, so I started taking the board out at 7th St... and I got hammered! I got pitched over the falls, annihilated by the backwash and continually pounded onto the sand by the vicious shorebreak, all while trying to stand on the crazy thing. It wasn't long before I decided that stand up surfing was not for me, and I threw the board in my garage and went back to taking my fins and skimboard out to the beach.

Then one day I left the garage open and someone stole my bike. I was devastated! My parents however thought I should be glad that my surfboard was also not taken. " I don't care" I said, "surfboards are stupid". Well my mom and dad were shocked that I had given up on surfing, and thought maybe the waves up by the Newport Pier would be better for me to try learning on.

There was a kneeboarder in the neighborhood that rode his bike up to surf the well shaped rights that used to break near the south side of the Newport Pier. And my parents arranged for me to go up there with him early one morning. Well I went, and was shocked to see long soft peeling waves next to the pier. I caught one of those waves that morning, the first wave I'd ever experienced that had no backwash and didn't end in an explosion on the sand, stood up, and rode it to the beach, ... and as my mom says, "from that day on I was hooked on surfing, and our family never saw much of me again".

The Next Generation...

Summer C., and her first surfboard.

No Tow

Around 1983 there was a guy named Marc that lived on the corner of 33rd and Oceanfront. He surfed out front occasionally, but his real passion was riding Jet Skis, and he ripped on them! Every so often Marc would pull his ski out of his garage, drag it on it's trailer across the sand to the water edge, fire it up, and race up and down the shoreline jumping waves.

It wasn't long however before other Jet Skiers in the area heard about Marc's jumping ability in the waves of Newport, and started showing up trying to do the same. On any given day there would be a crew of guys backing their jet ski trailers up to the boardwalk, pulling their skis down to the water, and then securing their trailers to the light post on the boardwalk. At times the scene at 33rd St. resembled that of a boat launching ramp.

At first the Jet Skiers ventured out only when there were little or no surfers in the line-up, or they would stay to the immediate south side of the 32nd St. jetty, where the surf was minimal. Eventually however they moved north of the jetty where the waves were better for jumping. And while I didn't personally witness it, the proximity between surfer and jet skier grew so dangerously close, that one day a Jet Ski actually jumped a wave and flew over a paddling surfer.

And then it happened... The local newspaper came down and did a feature story on the Jet Skiers and their daredevil antics in the waves. And then smack dab in the middle of the front page of the newspaper they ran a photo of local boy Marc jumping a wave and doing a huge air at 33rd.

You can only imagine the thoughts that went through the minds of the Newport City Council and the Lifeguard Department when they picked up their morning paper and saw someone doing such a dangerous stunt in the waves off Newport. What seemed like almost immediately an ordinance was passed, which is still in full effect today. Launching a boat from shore, or coming within 1000 feet (the piers are 700 feet long) of the shoreline by watercraft is strictly prohibited by law. And that's one reason why local surfers can't tow into the local waves of Newport.

Orange County residents Peter B. (driving) and Marc O. (surfing)...

Towing Into Todos.

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A Little Large Swell Nostalgia

The biggest and best shaped swell I've ever seen hit the lower jetties occurred in the winter of 1982... Back then there was no surf forecasting tools to speak of. You just woke up, looked out, and the surf was what it was. One particular morning everyone in the neighborhood awoke to an awesome sight!..... Perfect sunlit bombing lefts stacked to the horizon off 32nd St.. One of those swells that hits that particular jetty much bigger than anywhere else. Luckily the word about the swell hadn't filtered out yet, and the crowd was minimal. Now no one used to come down and shoot photos of the lower jetties back then, it was all about the Kodak Reef/Hottest Hundred Yards/Studio 54/Echo Beach surfing that was happening up at 54th. My roommate however was taking a photo class at OCC and had some borrowed camera gear in his room, so we woke him up and pleaded for him to break it out and set up on the jetty, which he did.

While not really that big of a wave, it's one of the biggest waves I've ever seen break @ 32nd St. jetty... The board is a 5'11" four fin Schroff, the surfer is the newportsurfshots.com guy, and yes... the wetsuit is pink.

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Don't bother looking for this wave because it doesn't exist, and probably won't again for another couple years. The great thing about it is you could read every surf report, study every surf forecast chart, and still not be sure if it's going to break. Read a little below about life before there were surf forecasters, and internet surf reports.

Life Before Surf Forecasters

Part I of II

25+ years ago forecasting a swell or finding out how the surf was throughout Newport was a primitive and crude process. During that time one of the easiest surf forecasting tools to obtain for Newport was reading the Marine Forecast in the local paper... but have you ever compared the Marine Swell Forecast in the paper, to the swell that actually arrives in Newport? Reading Tarot cards is more accurate.

During the summer months we had a little better forecasting tool, ABC News's Dr. George Fishbeck. He was an entertaining and knowledgeable weatherman, that was pretty good at predicting hurricane swells, even if he was a day or so off on their arrival. We used hang out at a house on the corner of Balboa and 18th St. back then. Like clockwork within 20 minutes of Dr. George's report that south facing beaches were expecting large surf, cars would come racing around the corner, and guys would come speeding down the boardwalk on bikes to look at the surf out front. It was like a stampede of wild bulls as they ran to the end of the bike path to see if the swell had arrived at "The Point" yet.

By far the most reliable swell forecast back then was the Harbor Department's Marine and Weather Report (675-0503). Our crew of young surfers spent many an afternoon listening to this report, and trying to figure out what a falling barometer, a combined seas of 3 to 5 feet, and a small craft wind advisory in the outer waters meant for the surf in Newport.

Then there were the local forecasting tools that had been passed down in my family. If the water in the toilet bowl is moving back and forth, it will be windy the next morning. If there's a lot of seagulls standing around on the beach, local storm surf is fast approaching. And if there's a ring around the sun in the sky, big surf is coming. These can sometimes be accurate, but I wouldn't bet a day off of school or work on them.

Admittedly, one of the dumbest ideas to forecast the local surf was mine. I came home from elementary school one Friday afternoon desperately wanting to know how the surf would be for the weekend. So I called "information" and asked the operator what the waves and weather would be like. I can still hear the operator's laughter as she explained to me that the phone company's 4-1-1 information number doesn't have that kind of information.

Newport's Surf Report

Part II

Growing up on the Peninsula the most important phone number to me and my friends was 673-3371. It was the only source of information on how the surf was near the Newport Pier, and the area where the jetties now are. The problem 30+ years ago was the lifeguard department had only one phone line for the report, and it was always busy! Rotary phones were the norm back then, and any die hard Newport surfer had a large callus on their index finger from dialing the number over and over and over again, trying to get through. Once you did get to the report however, the information on the size and shape of the surf was surprisingly accurate

Later on in the 70's the lifeguards got a few more answering machines and phone lines, and it was easier to get through to the report. This however was not good for me! My parents used to take an hour of surfing time away from me whenever I did something wrong. To them it was the ultimate punishment for a head strong surf rat. So when I owed them a few hours, and was getting ready to ride off on my bike for a surf, they'd stop me and call the report. If the report said the surf was bad, they'd send me on my way. But if it said it was good, that was it, no surfing for the day. Damn the surf report I'd curse!

Later during that same decade, the Newport surf report became a dating service of sorts. By this time there were numerous telephone lines running into the report, and it was rarely busy. The problem was that for some reason you could hear people talking on the other lines. The word spread that this was occurring, and girls from all over Orange County started calling the report and yelling out to the guys on the other lines. Then guys started yelling out "what's your number" to the girls, and soon the report became cluttered with people trying to hook up. This went on for an entire summer before it was fixed.

By far the worst part of not having really accurate surf report information like today, was in trying to find waves up and down the coast. A lot of beach cities had their own surf report phone numbers, but the reports often had day old information, or the reports were not that detailed. With a copy of "Surfing California" in hand, many blindly headed out of town expecting to find surf similar to the pictures found within the pages of the book. No swell, wrong direction, wrong interval, wrong tide... It wasn't fun when you pulled up after a 2 hour drive to find dribble. Today with wave-faxes, web-cams, internet surf reports, cell phone reports, computer satellite reports, international surf reports, international surf forecasts... there is far less chance of that occurring, and that is good !

Guaranteed this guy has no trouble finding surf!

Surfline's Sean Collins using his years of forecasting experience to score this Tahitian gem.

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Tsunami

(Click here for link to other tsunami relief sites)

One day in the mid 80's, a bunch of us lived in a place on the boardwalk at 33rd st., when the news reported that an earthquake had occurred off Alaska , and had the potential to cause a tidal wave along the California coast. The anticipated time of arrival for the surge was to be around 11pm that evening. The advisory further stated that people should avoid the coastal area. We'll our crew did what we felt we should. We bought some cheap champagne, made some calls, cranked up the music, and had a "tidal wave" party. Now you would think the warning that went out would keep people away from the beach... but no way. As it neared 11:00pm the boardwalk became as packed with people as on any sunny summer afternoon, all of them eager to view the anticipate ocean surge. As it neared 11:00 we turned the news on, grabbed flashlights and binoculars, gathered around the upstairs windows and balcony and waited... and waited...and waited. And after a while we gave up on waiting, and went back to partying. No noticable ocean surge ever occurred.

There's no dumb story that goes along with what happened in Asia. An earthquake occurred in the Indian Ocean that unleashed 20-foot tidal waves, ravaged the coasts, and at last toll resulted in more than 150,000 deaths, with millions others left homeless. It appears Sri-Lanka, Thailand, India, Nias and Northern Sumatra were severely devastated by the wave. The surf meccas of the Mentawai and Maldive Island chains were also in it's path. Word is that Bali was unaffected. It currently is not surf travel season for the Indian Ocean area

 

The waves, surroundings and culture of the people is truely amazing. If you're ever given the opportunity to travel to that side of the globe, by all means go!! Jo -Jo Kick'n back @ Sultan's

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"The Point"

In 1887 the growing harbor entrance sandbars resulted in the the harbor becoming increasingly more dangerous to navigate into or out of. This resulted in the lumber being brought to the area, and the farm goods being shipped from the area by ship being nearly halted. The Army Corps of Engineers agreed to survey the entrance and determine if dredging it would be feasible. They decided however against dredging, based on their belief that the railroad could offer the same transport of goods to and from the area, and that the large amount of money it would take to make the harbor safe would not provide an abundance of commerce. In their report however, they noted that there was a deep water canyon off of what is now The Point/Newport Pier area, and they suggested that if a wharf was built there, that went out into the ocean, large ships would be able to navigate the area without running aground. Mc Faddens Wharf, where the Newport Pier now is, was soon built, and the area thrived with industry... When big short interval souths swells show up in Newport, they hit that deep underwater canyon, bounce around, and stand tall to produce thick well shaped pits at a place we call "The Point". The Canyon wakes up, and Josh Hoyer rides it.

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Pacific Sunwear's Chad C. steals one of the sets of the morning yesterday @ 5-4.

On Christmas Eve about 5 years ago, I got a brand new board that I was eager to try. I grabbed it, and my old one, and hurried to the beach to give it a go. Once on the beach I stuck my new board in the sand, next to the waters edge, and paddled out to warm up on my old board. The waves were small but well shaped, and this being Christmas school break, it was really crowded. I caught one wave, and then lucked into a long one that reeled quite far down the beach. As I paddled back out, I scanned the beach for my new board, but did not see it. "No problem", I thought "it must have fallen over, and was now lying flat on the sand". I headed in on the next wave eager to give it a try... only to find that someone had stolen it.

Recently one of the local crew parked in the 56th St. parking lot, and ran out to check the surf. He wasn't gone for more than 5 minutes, but when he returned, his brand new board had been stolen. When filing the police report, the officer noted that there has been a rash of thefts in the area lately. The policeman attributes it to those in nearby homes, watching for people to leave boards unattended, or waiting to see where surfers hide their keys.

The day this particular theft occurred, NHHS was hosting a surf contest from another school @ 56th, which might also explain the theft. Regardless of who stole the board, Beware! Don't leave your board on your car, or your vehicle unlocked, even if it's just to run out to check the surf. Also, it's a good idea to place your key in your wetsuit, and not hidden somewhere on your car. And believe me, boards can get ripped off right from the beach.

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Pink wetsuits, Orange Surfboards, Lime Green Boardshorts... If you weren't into Day glow colors in the 80's, you weren't "happening". Back then Victory made the brightest wetsuits in the area, and surfboard shapers Schroff and Wavetools produced the most artistic and brightest colored boards in Newport. Should you pull your fluorescent 4 fin, and matching neon wetsuit out of the closet? Maybe not, but a little color in the water is still refreshing. ........Neon in 1984 Above, and Beau adds some color to 54th st. in 2004 Below

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Volcom Stone ? In the late 80's I was roomates at Point Loma Nazarene College with a guy named Tucker Hall. Tucker was a great guy to pal around with, always laughing, always going on about something, just a huge ball of energy. Our crew was getting ready to graduate and Tucker started telling a few of us about an idea he and Wooly, a guy I knew from home, had came up with. He showed us a drawing of this funny looking "creature" he called Volcom Stone, and said they were going to develop a clothes line around it. Well if you knew Tucker, you knew that his active mind was always coming up with some crazy idea that he wanted to pursue, and this one didn't sound like to good of an idea, so we just blew it off. 14 years later Volcom is an international clothing company, with sales in the 100 of millions of dollars, and this past weekend they held what has to be one of the most creative surf contests ever put on in or outside of Newport. Complete with treasure hunts, pirates, games, prizes, cash for all finalists, a visit from the Volcom "Sale Boat", and an authentic pirate ship that blasted the beach... Moral of the story: Be Creative, Think Big & Work Hard. It Works ! Just ask Tucker & Wooly... Alex Gray, Winner Volcom Juniors.

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In the late 70's a company near Long Beach tried to start a new fashion trend, Aqualids. They were nylon hats that you wore when you surfed, and were more about fashion, than keeping your head warm. You could order them with flames, poka-dots, multicolored, what ever custom design you could think up. The company's hope was that you'd want one to match your board, wetsuit, or personality. They also hoped that when you showed up at a contest, you'd wear the Aqualid, thereby replacing contest jerseys. Aqualids caught on in the South Bay and Orange County, but try wearing one outside of those areas, and you'd get seriously heckled. Needless to say, like other fades, Aqualids came and went. Nailing a cold winter Blackies lip, while keeping the noggin warm.

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"The Glove" In the mid 70's a few of the young Huntington Beach guys started a new surfing fashion, wearing colored latex gloves in the water. When they showed up at Blackies with them on, some of the young Newport crew thought it was pretty"groovy", so they went and bought some. Nothing looked funnier than a bunch of Newport groms surfing around town with yellow, blue or white dishwashing gloves on trying to act super cool

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The Evolution of Longboarding at Blackies / One brief perspective

In the 70's David Nuuahiwa was involved in a surf shop (TW Systems) next door to where the Bluebeet now is. They sold longboards, shortboard eggs and little fishes. And young and old rode them out at Blackies. Later in the 70's alot of the older shortboard guys quit surfing Blackies and started surfing the lefts at the newly built 56th St. jetty, and later 28th St., where the last jetty was built. This left Blackies to the younger guys and the longboarders. Then in the 80's alot of the younger guys left Blackies to be part of 54th street's. "Echo Beach" surf scene. Which then left Blackies to the longboarders...

Over the years however, with the resurgence of the retro movement and the popularity of longboarding, the surf of Blackies has been rediscovered, by Newport's younger surfers. Now longboards, shortboards eggs, and little fishes once again rule the line-up, and these young guys are ripping!

One of the many young longboarders that has been honing his skills at Blackies, and progressing quickly over the past few years. Andy, stylish as always on the nose @ Blackies.

 

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