Palos Verdes Surf Club

PVSC. Photo: Doc Ball
Palos Verdes Cove. Photo: Doc Ball
PVSC cofounder Doc Ball
PVSC dinner

Surf club membership wasn’t mandatory for California surfers, but by the late 1930s you could have driven a Packard Super 8 from San Diego to Santa Cruz and had a hard time loading it up with nonaffiliated surfers. Unlike the surf-based organizations in Hawaii and Australia, these new clubs were focused on surfing, and a bit of paddling, and nothing else. California’s best-known and best-organized group was the Palos Verdes Surf Club, founded in 1935 by a surfing dentist named John “Doc” Ball...

Six months after one of Palos Verdes Surf Club's top riders dropped out of college to spend more time on the beach, he was called to clubhouse floor and told to return to class or face expulsion. There was the occasional clubhouse booze-up, but PVSC members mostly all walked the line.