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The Way We Were

It seems that most of us started our love affair with the beach at an early age.  On this page we share some photos from "back-in-the-day" when it all began...


Here's our dear Vanette circa 196? sitting on a very cool Honda 90 parked behind an even cooler '58 Chevy Station Wagon.  Vanette assured us the beer was only a prop but said she did play the guitar while riding her Honda barefoot to the beach.  Ride-on Vanette...

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Movie star handsome Jim Kelsey circa mid 1950's.  It was during those days that Jim attended UCLA and among other things (like surfing, lifeguarding, playing water polo) he taught future 1960 Olympic medal winner Rafer Lewis Johnson how to swim.  It was also during those days that Jim declined to go on a year long surf adventure with his friend Bruce Brown who had an idea about making a surf movie.  Jim elected to stay in college and became an eye doctor, Bruce Brown went on to make the seminal 1966 surf movie "Endless Summer"...

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This photo and the one below were sent to us from Kevin who grew up surfing and skating right here in the Riviera and at Torrance Beach.  Here is the note Kevin sent along with the photos:  "Here are some skate shots from 1975 taken at Riviera School. Around that same time, the crowd hanging out in the Torrance Beach parking lot in the afternoon got into 'shooting' the ramp. The start of the run was up on Via Riviera by Parkway School. Straight down the hill, run the stop sign, duck under the chain that blocked the entrance then straight down the ramp. About 80% of the time
the skater would crash on or before the rough patch of asphalt at the bottom. If they made the drop then it was a bail-out into the sand.  This lasted only a few months; lots of broken bones, road rash and wild entertainment for the crowd watching".

Here is the second photo from Kevin.  'Dig those little hard wheels on the skateboards and absence of helmets and pads.  The gear was different, the stoke was the same.  A big "Mahalo" to Kevin for taking the time to forward and share these photos along with his anecdotal note, way cool...

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Kevin sent this great photo to us taken in the Torrance Beach lot in 1975. That's Kevin making a surf check in his cool Volvo Surf Wagon...  Thanks Kevin!

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Our surfing friend George circa 196-? That is one sweet board, George...

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Mid-1960's, the Dominator ship wreck on Rocky Point in the background; some of the time's hottest surfers including from the right Dewey Weber and Mike Purpus.  Leroy Grannis photo

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1986, the location is Manhattan Beach and the event is Baxter's Open Volleyball Championship.  Going up and spiking the ball in the teal and white stripe shorts is Steve Fisher...  Thanks for the photo, Steve

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"Shredder" Eric circa 1990 in front of his surf pad on Vista Del Mar...

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The year was 1995, our photog didn't have his surf cam yet but he was already posing on the nose...

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"That's affirmative command, I'm calling for an airstrike at...".  "Got back-up"?  We could go on and on, but the fact is this is Steve in 2002 paddling at Hermosa Beach.  The Elliot was visiting and one veteran got so excited he tried dog paddling from the beach out and around the warship.  Steve saw the fellow in need of help and managed to borrow a cell phone and call for the Lifeguards...

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The year is 1949 and here is John Gonzalez on the beach with his beautiful mom in Catalina...

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The year is 1946 and here is John Gonzalez with his mom, dad and sister at Hermosa Beach.  We think we see John trying to say:  "Want to play volleyball mommy"...

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Manhattan Beach Open Championship Volleyball, 1970.  Our very own John Gonzalez is in the polka dot white shorts in the right of the photo and has just set the ball for his partner who is spiking it over the net.  Right-on, John...

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Wow, check-out Chad in his multi-colored wet suit with his cool Aipa board.  The year is 1987 and Chad is 15 years old.  Thanks to Chad's folks for unearthing this treasure and thanks to Chad for sharing it; very cool...

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The year is 1978, the location is San Diego, CA and the cool surfer dude in the "Seagull Surfbords" T-shirt with his first car is our very own Christian...

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Submitted April 11, 2011 by Stevan, a long time Torrance Beach surfer; here is a link to a good read on some of the history of Torrance Beach.  The article is titled: "Sons of Torrance Beach and a saltwater story of a family named Irons":

http://www.ballinamalibuclub.org/newsletter/NOV2010/SonsofTB.pdf

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On October 18, 1964, legendary surf photographer LeRoy Grannis snapped this photo of the Torrance Tower at the bottom of the ramp.  The beach is still pretty much the same; only the tower, surfers and boards have changed...

Here is a 1940's photo taken in the Hollywood Riviera (before the homes were built) with the Riviera Beach Club in the background.  Dan-O's dad is in the foreground.  Dan-O photo.

This is the location of the upper parking lot at Torrance Beach circa 1958.  Dan-O is the little blond guy walking with his dad and sister.  Dan-O photo.

"Burn-Out" beach is located at the North end of Torrance Beach.  Burn-Out got it's nick-name after the Riviera Beach Club burned down in the late 1950's.  Miramar Park now resides on the old Club site.  Dan-O photo.

In the late 1980's the Riviera Village had it's own surf shop named "South Redondo Surf".  Reese Patterson was one of the operators.  Here is Reese angling a nice wave as a young Joel Tudor looks on.  Dan-O photo.

Dennis Horton sent us this early 1960's photo of himself trimmed and looking good at Burn Out.  Right-on, Dennis...

The Chad Man circa 2006 'pulling off a nice floater...

Steve F circa 1986 with a cheater five at Manhattan Beach...

1981; Carlos at 17 years old with his first new board and new wetsuit...

1986; Steve F in his red sweatshirt with his surf crew in Manhattan Beach...

1985; our photographer on the right with his brother at El Refugio beach in Santa Barbara...

The Gidget at 12 years old with her very first surfboard; nothing less than a "Plastic Fantastic".  Right-on, Gidget...

Hollywood Steve circa 1960.  Steve sent us this photo with the note that this was his first board that his dad bought him in 1958, it was a Velzy Jacobs.  After that he had a Bing and a Greg Noll before he left for the Army in 1966.  Right-on, Steve and thanks for sharing this great photo...

How sweet is this?  Circa 1962 at Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, this is Dan-O's wife Katy at about one year old.  Her mom and dad are carrying her in a 1960's "car seat" that is hung on this nice long board.  Reports are that Katy's dad surfed into the 1990's and now watches surfing...

Creaky-Tiki dug into his shoe box full of old photos and has sent us some real gems.  Here is Creaky in the late '60's to early '70's coming out of the water after a surf session.  Creaky, you were handsome then and you are even more handsome now.  Thank-you for sharing your photos and "you rip"....

Creaky-Tiki in his farmer john wetsuit top on the latest design board circa mid 70's...

Creaky-Tiki 'smacking the lip in the 70's just South of Hermosa Pier...

Chuck G. sent us this photo, that's him on the left.  Chuck says this is 1947 at Torrance Beach.  Sixty-three years later and Chuck still loves playing at the beach, right on Chuck...

Here's Chuck G. again circa 1965 surfing in Oregon.  Dig the "Farmer John" wetsuit and cool hair. Even today, Chuck still has the coolest hair in the line-up...

1966; Gidget;  on the beach in Mexico and already talking story about how cool surfing is...

1953; our photographer; before he found surfing and his camera our photographer was hanging out at Muscle Beach in Venice with his mom.  In this photo, our photog has his face in the lunch bag, some things never change...

1969; McBraveheart riding waves on the East coast. McBraveheart told us that when you grow up in a tobacco state, everything you touch has to do with cigarettes, even your surf mat.  McBraveheart is the surfer on the right...

1990; "Handsome Matt";  here he is (in the middle) already 'ripping at Torrance Beach...

1978; a teenage Steve F "jazzing the glass" at Manhattan Beach...

1971; Dan-O; on the ramp at Torrance Beach, smiling after an epic surf session...