San Diego life style

It’s the Center of the Beach World

Pacific Beach up to La Jolla Shores was my life as a child and still as an adult. After WWII my father came home with mattress covers that we used to ride the waves. You had get them wet then run along the beach filling them with air then tie a knot. Jump in the middle of it and you had a way to ride the waves. Riding the waves without anything is known as body surfing. Many learn the technique and are quite skilled body surfers. My ocean play was jumping up and over the waves. When the waves were big jumping under the waves. I loved playing in the waves.

In the fifties and sixties exciting developments in diving, underwater photography and surfing were emerging in Pacific Beach.

Significant individuals now well-known were there actively enjoying, experimenting and innovating playing in the ocean. Ron Church was developing techniques and equipment and becoming a now well known underwater photographer. Chuck Nicklin ran the Diving Locker where many well known divers got their start with Chuck. My brother hung out and worked with Chuck at the Diving Locker. I ran into Chuck a couple of years ago and in his eighties he had just returned from a diving trip.

Attending Pacific Beach Junior High and Mission Bay High School many surfers were your classmates. The surf culture was part of the life I grew up with. Larry Gordon and Floyd Smith became the owners of G&S surf boards many fellow classmates worked with them shaping boards. Garages in the beach often housed places where surf boards were being shaped. When I was young the boards were long and heavy. Few women were able to surf and manipulate those boards. Tonight I saw a great documentary called A Line In the Sand. It documented the history of surfing at our beaches. They shared that short boards developed as girlfriend boards. The guys wanted to surf with their girlfriends. Those short boards turned out to be fun for them too. The documentary focused on the battle the surfers waged to gain the right to access the beach and the right to surf in the ocean. Many tickets were issued by lifeguards due to violations for surfing in the ocean. Neighborhoods didn’t like their vehicles and activities. Surfers had a bad reputation. They managed to get the city of San Diego to give a beach to the surfers. Tourmaline Beach was the first surfers beach in the country. Tourmaline is now loved by the old surfers who still surf and those newly gaining the ability to surf. They are proud of the Aloha spirit that is Tourmaline Beach. They enjoy sharing the waves and the special tailgating times in the parking lot. There are currently two memorial benches at Tourmaline ..One for Larry Gordon. Hopefully, “A Line in the Sand” gets recognized and picked up by KPBS. All the many surfers at our beaches today have no idea of the history and struggles the surfers before them experienced. The idea that surfers weren’t wanted is unbelieveable. Yes it is true Pacific Beach has a history and those of us that grew up there were in the center of it all.

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