Peterson, Pete

Gruff and durable surfer/paddler/ lifeguard from Santa Monica, California; four-time winner of the Pacific Coast Surf Riding Championships (1932, 1936, 1938, and 1941), and tandem division winner in the 1966 World Surfing Championships. "He was muscular and lean, but didn't look like anything special," one of Peterson's contemporaries said. "But when he got in the water he was the best."

Peterson was born (1911) in Rockport, Texas, and moved with his family to Santa Monica in the early '20s,...