Fondest surfing memory: 1951. 1st time I caught a wave. I began surfing in Alamitos Bay, Long Beach where the soft swells would mostly feather out and die. Once, borrowing my neighbor's 15' board, a friend in a rowboat pulled me out and I rode a wave through the bridge from Long Beach to Seal Beach. Very stoked, I paddled all the way home to tell mom.
I got my 1st board in 1952. No one was really in the board making business then. In Seal Beach they had some donut rafts 12' long made out of very heavy balsa wood. I cut and shaped it into a surfboard shape, then fiber-glassed the edges to form what would now be called a San Onofre shape. It musta weighed 75 lbs! The only guy making custom boards was Dale Velzy out at the Manhattan Beach Pier. Dale didn't have a phone and you never knew when you would catch him at his shop so you had to drive out to find him. Well, Dale shaped me a balsa board, I fiber-glassed it and years later he looked at it and said "neat board, who shaped it?"
Bruce Brown was the 2nd person inducted into the Surf Industries Manufactures Association Hall of Fame.