Just prior to the advent of the pro surfing tour in the mid 1970s there was a group of San Diego-based surfers who set the pace for the sport. They helped dictate everything from how we rode waves, to what we ate and wore. Here is a partial list of those prime movers of surf and youth culture.
As a pro surfer and a surfboard designer Mike Doyle has earned a hall of fame reputation. He currently lives in Cabo San Lucas with his wife, Annie, where he works as an artist and a realtor.
After Mike Hynson’s co-starring role in The Endless Summer, he made a big acid splash through Rainbow Surfboards and his movie, Rainbow Bridge. He currently lives in Encinitas with his longtime companion, Carol, where he continues to shape surfboards.
Skip Frye has not missed many surf days since he rode his first wave in 1958. Since the beginning, every Skip Frye Surfboard is made only by its namesake’s hands. His ten-foot plus “gliders” which can take years to get, are among the most coveted surf craft in the world.
Joe Roper made his name as one of California’s surfers in the La Jolla reefs, an act that later translated to Hawaii’s Pipeline. Roper continues to surf and run Joe Roper’s Righteous Ding Repair with his family.
By age 15 Chris O’Rourke was on his way to the top. By age 19, Hodgkin's disease had started a process that would finish his life in 1983. O’Rourke has been memorialized in articles and the 2012 book Child of the Storm by his friend, Kirk Aeder.
Margo Oberg (then Godfrey) won her first world championship in Puerto Rico at age 15. Seven years later she became the first woman to win a paycheck for a surfing contest. After a brief retirement from competition, she returned to take four more world titles. She currently lives north of Santa Barbara where she serves as caretaker for her mother.
In 1958 Larry Gordon began making surfboards in his Pacific Beach garage with his friend, Floyd Smith. Since then, few if any have had as much influence on surfing and skateboarding as Gordon. He passed away in January of 2016. The iconic label he co-founded lives on with his children Debbie and Eric running the show.
As a young teenager, Tim Bessell was already a surfboard shaper. By the early 1980s he had founded Bessell Surfboards. There, he has combined the functional craft of building surfboards with pop art and is currently making highly collectable surfboards featuring images by Andy Warhol.