Zahn, Tommy

Athletic and hyper-health-conscious surfer and paddleboard racer from Santa Monica, California; five-time winner of the Catalina-to-Manhattan Beach paddleboard race in the 1950s and early '60s. Zahn was born (1924) and raised in Santa Monica, began surfing at age eight, and became a lifeguard at 18, informally mentored by pioneering California surfer-lifeguard Pete Peterson.

After high school, Zahn served in the Army during the later years of World War II. He made his first extended visit to...