Return of the Longboard

Ben Aipa, 1984. Photo: Craig FIneman
1979 Stone Steps Invitational. Photo: Cindy Hackworth
Herbie Fletcher, 1976. Photo: Art Brewer
Dewey Weber, mid-'80s. Photo: Tom Servais
China Uemura. Photo: Warren Bolster

The Dewey Weber Invitational Longboard Classic, a funky little one-day, no-prize-money “reunion” contest, was held at Manhattan Beach Pier on a warm late spring Saturday in 1981. Dick Dale songs blasted from the PA. Two or three vintage woodies were parked in the lot overlooking the pier. The surf was only waist-high, but David Nuuhiwa, early in the proceedings, caught a fast little left, walked to the nose, hung five, hung ten, and for a moment or two the whole beach time-warped back to 1966...

With the return of longboarding, surfing’s cool quotient took a hit. Longboarding made the sport older, slower, balder, and heavier. For a lot of young surfers, sharing the lineup with these merry middle-aged buffers was like sharing a club dance floor with your parents.