How long will I have to live in order to finish posting onto Encyclopedia of Surfing all the various competitive surfing organizations? All the myriad and cascading offspring from the USSA, ASA, IPS, so on and so forth, spilling into present-day groups whose acronyms haven’t yet swum into my ken. It’s a trick question! I will never live that long. Elon Musk will perfect cloning, and in 2,000 years my downloaded nanotech self will be EOS-posting about Romanian serfs just to avoid having to parse the vagaries of the Pacific Surfing Association of America and its relationship to the Pacific Surfing Tour of America.
No, not really. I’ll get to it. All of it. In fact, I dipped a toe in this week with the Western Surfing Association (which includes a nod to original president Hoppy Swarts—now there was a true surfing gentleman), and followed up with this WSA-infused video of what I’m pretty sure is the 1970 Hermosa Beach AAA event. There was an art to competing on those amateur contests, and I’m sure this holds true today, which was: you really want to win, yes, but don’t let it show. If you win, laugh it off. If you don’t, laugh it off. It was possible to try really fucking hard, and want it really bad, but not let it show. Or at least not be an asshole about it. Joey Buran, when I was a kid, was a masterful competitor in that respect. A killer, but gracious when he won, and able to shrug off a loss. I never minded losing to Joey, which was a good thing, because it was an every-contest occurrence.
Here is shaper John Bradbury’s long-over EOS page (RIP to a handsome, generous, extremely talented man), and I’d like to take a moment to talk about John’s car, which I remember going bug-eyed over in 1987 during a board pickup at John’s house. My dad had a Porsche 356 when I was a kid, and the older models are the only car I’ve ever really lusted after. I knew on sight that John’s 356 was a beauty. Not till this week, though, while zooming in on the pic you see above, did I realized just what a rare gem he was holding. See that handwritten logotype below and to the right of the sleeping kitty? It says “Continental.” The 356 Continental was a high-end Porsche, and was only made for one year, in 1955. Ford had retired their own Continental model a few years earlier but was planning to bring it back, and thus sued Porsche over the name rights. Porsche wisely backed down, yanked the Continental nameplate, and in 1956 rolled out the 356-A. But get this: only 200 Continentals total, give or take, were ever made. Two years ago, Bonham’s sold one for 288K. You’d never see a Continental outside of a car show these days. John, salty to his core, had a pair of Aloha racks bolted onto his and drove it to Rincon, and while two-thirds of me admires that kind of no-fucks-given lack of materialism, the other third wants to bang my head on the desk and curse his deceased soul. (If you like the 356 even half as much as I do, geek out on this video for a few minutes.)
Finally, a big EOS “thank you” to Avra Kouffman for turning me on to a 1925 comedy short called No Father to Guide Him, in which Duke Kahanamoku, surfing’s noblest figure, gives us a quick look at his pratfall skills—which aren’t bad! Watch the whole 19-minute film here.
Thanks everybody, and see you next week!
[John Bradbury photo by Matt George]