Old Surfer's Party
April 10, 1999
Frayne Higgason's 65th Birthday Party at the Big Yellow House in Summerland
there I was sitting at the table after eating a 20 dollar dinner and downing 2 tequilas neat
next to the guy next to me is this guy named larry.
so i haven't seen this guy larry for a long time
and here he is with long hair talkin to this guy i've known for years
like ray kunze who happens to 'work' at the ranch
ya the hollister ranch
so me being bright (an all)
reaches over ray with my hand out saying
"larry?.... bill's friend?
I'm bill's friend, tom"
so like he looks at me and shakes my hand and says, "ya-ya, like tom ya'....?"
he's tryin to put the whole thing together
not believing i'm the guy who knows bill and
here i'm sittin next to a guy who knows me and who he knows really well
and we're all just sittin there throwin the bull and shovlin the shit
and we all know each other and have some cross links in there too.
so later i'm sittin on this couch next to ray's girlfriend
and i ask her to dance with me and she says sure
and gives me her hand and we like dance.
it ain't great and i'm tryin to show off
hey this 60 year old can still move
but i forget to breath and pass out.
like can you believe it?
I pass out on the dance floor!
so the next thing i know i'm wakin up on the couch
my face all wet and someone says, "you OK?'"
well duh. I'm here aren't i?
of course i'm OK
so like let's dance and away we go
and then the band stops playin
i go and say goodnight to those I know
and so the party's over and I drive home
an now i'm goin to bed
p.s. Lary Bennett has a great 16mm surf film he's put together called "Inspiration". It's available for showings. Contact me.
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April 1999 From: Tubesteak - Hero's hero. Sabrina wrote:
Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. Last weekend Velzy had his annual Easter barbacoa here in San Clemente. The only person I remember was Gordie, the rest I don't remember, but they were all tanked. The week before they had the Annual San Onofre Cookoff with every knumbnut on the beach, so I feel your pain with all those party people. The emergency room thing was used figuratively not literately. Mysto should revamp his name to Stoic George. He had a memorial for his wife at the house beside Farold Head's up Malibu Canyon Peter Proportions was there along with Don Wilson and his phart bag, so I feel your pain.
I'm pleased that I'm Kemp's hero; better I than Eddie Sullivan. That stunt you pulled while dancing with that woman was hilarious. Maybe you should live close to the ER. Did you ever figure why they have those warnings on prescription bottles for mixing the contents with alcohol? I'm sorry about the price for the dinner, he told me it was free food. I received that great photo and the check will be in the mail
Dear wallflower, Ya, Life's pretty funny. No big deal about the dinner money. It was worth it and since I was an uninvited guest I figured I'd help defer the cost since Frayne was paying for his own party. I learned my lesson several years ago about drugs and alcohol. The ride to the ER cost $600. The ride home in a cab cost $35. Next time I'll call a cab if I need to go to the hospital. Yes stoic is certainly Georges' name. He was the first to recognize me at the party. I saw Ray Kunze first. Deetzie and Hurst didn't show. Harry Stonelake and Art Neuman were there. The rest were simply unknown. In a way I wish I hadn't gone . Kemp was the funniest (good sense of humor). Steve from Hawaii says M.Dora may come back to challenge J.Fain to tennis. Lord help us all. Tom the well-wisher
Mon Apr121999 Robert R. Feigel <firstname.lastname@example.org
So why - I ask - do you get to go to all the best parties? But at least I get to hear about them thanks to you. How's your head? Speaking of great parties, I'll never forget the big one in South Bay in the winter of 1960. Guess they'd call it a riot now. But it was just a typical 'rent breaking' party back then. Some huge Hawaiians were slamming each other over the head with frying pans when I went out to my car to get another pack of cigs and passed out head first across the front seat. Woke up a few hours later and found the party had shifted into a new gear. The Hawaiians were now slamming everyone over the head with frying pans. Just as someone broke a table in half and started punching out a wall, my pal Kenny McWilliam said, "I think this might get nasty." So I went out for another pack and passed out till morning. When I woke up it looked like a tornado had hit the place. Broken bottles, glasses, paper plates, underwear, shirts, pants, shoes, beer cans etc up and down the street. Turns out the police had put a cordon around a two block radius of the party and picked up people when they left. I heard they gave up any attempt of closing the party down when Wayne Miyata tore off his shirt... raked his fingernails across his chest ... licked the blood off his fingers ... went into one of his wild-eyed Ninja stances started screaming at them in Japanese. We'll never know. I could handle hangovers back then and never went anywhere without a 'family size' bottle of Bayer. Bob
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To Paul Strauch Jr.
Take a look at: http://www.atomicbride.com/tomad.html
Remember that goofy day at the airport? I don't remember where we were
but I remember we got to keep the shirts. Never did like the shirt. I've
been in Santa Barbara - Carpinteria for the past 22 years. Body surf now
and then. Hope you're well. Sounds like you're still catching a few fairly
regularly. Have fun,
Aloha Tom! What a neat surprise to receive your email note this morning. I certainly do remember that photo session at the airport. It really takes me back to some fabulous times we all had back then.
As I related to Hugh, I was buying time on the net and came across you site by accident yesterday. You have created a unique historical reference site for all those that were there at the 'Bu first hand and those that weren't there, too. The Hermosa Beach "party" file was hysterical, especially the Wayne Miyata part. Even the best script writers would never be able to capture some of those real life adventures we somehow lived through!
I remember my run-in with Ed Sullivan in the summer of '61.
He intentionally ran me off a wave at the 'Bu and nearly fractured my left knee with his board. I told him I would be back after my leg healed to settle the score with him. That night Chubby came home and was incensed over the incident. Later in the evening he told my story to a Samoan named Reed who was living in the South Bay who had just been paroled from Levenworth. He was about 6' 2" and 290 lbs. with 21" biceps from pumping iron in the joint. Reed picked me up the next morning at 7:00 AM. He had a friend at least 6' 5" and about the same weight with him. I invited Kenny Tilton to come with us and we rode up to Malibu on the PCH from Hermosa without a word being said. When we got there Reed told me to find this guy and settle it. Then he said he would embarrass him in front of his friends before taking him with us to Malibu Canyon. Being only 17, I naively asked why. When he told me his reason, I went into total shock and couldn't hold back the tears. I figured I would spend the rest of my life behind bars for sure. Well, fortunately Sullivan wasn't there. But, before we left Reed had me walk down to the pit with him where he grabbed the biggest guy there by the throat, lifted him off the ground, and told him to tell Ed Sullivan we're looking for him. People started scattering everywhere. Henry Ford who was on duty in the lifeguard tower immediately called the Malibu Sherrif Station for help. We drove off just as two squad cars pulled up. I'll never forget this experience. Kenny has never forgiven me for inviting him to go along for the ride. Word got back to Ed, too. I never had another problem with Sullivan after that deal.
I still surf Rincon on occasion. Maybe we could get together when I come by Carpinteria. I'll drop you an email before hand. So nice to hear from you, Tom. Stay well. Aloha Nui Loa, Paul Strauch Jr.
Paul, What a great story about Sullivan. I had a run-in with Eddie one
day at the Bu too. He and I were the only one's out (one of those days).
It was 2-3 ft. nice swell and casual. A nice open door wave appeared and
I took off in front of Eddie. I thought we were there to have fun. Eddie
came up from behind me and pushed me hard in the back. I didn't lose the
wave and pulled a giant cutback, dropping down across his board. Because
of my advantage being above him as I crossed I punched him as hard as I could
in the chest. We both went flying and I was pissed and came up as soon as
I could. He popped up a minute later looked around, smiled at me and said,
"nice punch man". I didn't say anything but when I got out of the water,
guys sitting on the beach said, "way to go, Tom". I never had any more trouble
from him. Ha
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Tom - Good Lord. I've just dropped in on your 'Surf Parties' page and had a good laugh. It's truly amazing to come upon a name from the past and suddenly remember that person in the context of a particular event.
Take Eddie Sullivan, for example. Eddie was a year or so younger than me, but his age never seemed to make as much of an impression as his uncompromising 'beserker' personality. Some people acted insane, but I don't think Eddy was acting.
One day at Malibu, when I was sitting in the 'Pit', with the faint aroma of drying dog shit and melting wax wafting in the breeze, I witnessed one of the sickest displays of Sullivan depravity I'd yet seen (and that's saying something).
A skinny young kid on crutches had slowly made his way down from the entrance and was sitting with his mother and another child near a flat rock not far away.
They were just tourists, enjoying a few moments at the beach, and the kid with the crutches was playing with a small plastic toy on the rock - pertending that it was walking & jumping around.
Then, before anyone had a chance to react, Eddie swaggered over to the little group, snatched up one of the crutches and asked the startled kid, "Like that fucking little toy do ya kid?" That was enough to make the boy huddle up to his frightened mother as Eddie swung the crutch down to smash the toy into little pieces. "Good ... then you'll miss it even more!"
The mother went ballistic and started screaming, "Somone call the police ... call the police!" Then Eddie looked at her contemptuously and said, "Ah fuck. No one has a sense of humor anymore," and left.
That was the last I saw of Eddie Sullivan and I understand that he was incarcerated for one thing or another shortly after that. I wonder if he ever became a productive human being? Anyone know? Robert R. Feigel <email@example.com
In the "Raft" (Hwy 101 at Topanga) one late afternoon I looked out the door to see Eddie Sullivan in a long black trenchcoat (pre Littleton, Colorado by 30 years). He stood stock still looking up the Hwy. As I watched, he keeled over backwards stiff as a board. In a way it was funny, but I was concerned and went out to find him laying on his back, expressionless and passed out. I left him there rather hoping a car would pull in and squash hm like a bug. He survived but I have no knowledge of what eventually happened to him.
There was another guy named Tommy Flannigan who was as mean and vicious as Sullivan and I kept as far away as possible from both these nuts. I saw Flannigan walk defiantly drunk and stoned across heavy Sunday traffic on Channel Rd. in Santa Monica Canyon at the Coast Hwy. Without looking either way, he stepped off the curb and just started walking. I think he had a death wish to put his angry mind to rest.
At a High School reunion a few years ago, I walk up to the bar for a drink and standing next to me is this huge guy named Owen Miller. He's looking ultra pumped and I say, "looks like you're keeping in shape", glancing at his beefy biceps. "Ya, there's not much else to do in Leavenworth." He was and still looks like a terribly threatening gangster, yet here he was at his High School Reunion. Go figure. Tom
Funny how things work, but my old long lost pal Paul Strauch Jr. was surfing the net and just contacted me, and we are getting together next week for some reminiscing (He wants some tips on nose riding. Haaa!) and we will definitely talk about Ernie(Tanaka). I still play beach volleyball every Saturday with Ron Kanemura "Haga" who came to Calif. with Ernie, Chubby Mitchell, and Kia. They all worked at the old 'Sip 'n Surf' in Santa Monica Canyon and were instrumental in bringing Baby Allen Gomes and Paul to Calif. My son knows Tommy Tanaka very well but has lost contact with him. Did he leave an Email with you? He is always cruising between Hawaii and the Mainland. Please advise if you have a contact location for him and thanx again for the mail. Hugo Foster
Browsin the stories. They continue to be priceless. Glad I didn't hear about Frayne's (Rapido) 65th, otherwise I would have had to show. Talked to Paul S. and we will hook up next week at Beer O clock. Hysterical 20 minute phone call about the last ten years and where they went. I was at the Bu when Leon Reed came down looking for Sullivan. He was so wide he had to turn sideways to get through the chain link gate that was there at that time. I remember everyone thinking to themselves...Geez we better not run over Strauch. Leon Reed was a cousin to the famous Ane Clan in Honolulu. Gilbert and a slew of cousins were, and still are, the backbone for Union Security, UH football, and other matters requiring crowd control. Nice people to know if someone rips off your board at "Threes" like my son's in 1985. It was returned that evening thanx to da Boyz. Hugo Foster
I remember Chubby Mitchell, Reed, Blu and Bla James. I think it was Reed who was the bouncer at a coffee house at Queens in Waikiki. He carried a gun in his PanAm handbag. Yikes. And one night sitting at the Merry-go-round bar I watched as Bla James held off the Honolulu Police Department in the middle of the street with a stick while bus loads of tourists passed by viewing the whole scene in awe.
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Seal Beach Surfing Party - 1965 - As Remembered by Bruce "Snake" Gabrielson
This was probably the best surfing party I ever attended in Seal Beach. It was held in the upstairs half of a duplex facing the beach on 10th street about March, 1965. Back then we didn't have wetsuits, so the warm water near the Seal Beach Power Plant drew many of the biggest name surfers to the area all winter long. Chuck Dent really set the party up. I'm not sure if he lived there, or was just around there every day. About Tuesday that week he started inviting a small group of surfing friends. I was living next door with a couple of roommates so we knew about it that day. The word got around and by Saturday morning everyone in the water was talking about it.
By 7 pm, about 30 surfers and friends had already arrived. It wasn't too crowded and Chuck and some friends had mixed up some punch in a washtub and put on some Hawaiian music to get things going. One of the girls there got a little carried away from the punch not long after and started hula dancing, finally taking her top off and dancing on the coffee table, which promptly broke. She hurt her leg and foot, but sort of kept on dancing on one leg, much to the delight of all the partiers. She kept stumbling all over the place until she finally stopped and sat on some real big quiet athletic type who was sitting in the corner. This guy got upset and said some things to her. She got Chuck to try to throw the guy out. Chuck wasn't exactly small, but this guy dwarfed him and nearly everyone else at the party. After some tense moments they came to an agreement and everyone sat down again. The girl really seemed upset that the party went on with this big guy still there in his corner, so she wouldn't dance anymore.
By then things were getting wild both inside and spilling onto the beach outside. About 100 people were milling around and the party kept getting wilder. Some of the Hermosa surfing crew had showed up by then, plus a good contingent of Huntington Beach and inland surfers.
There were quite a few college kids from Cal-State Long Beach who had no idea what surfing was. They were really getting into the surfing culture, especially the guy who was giving surfing lessons on an old beat up longboard on the beach in front of the place. He would lay down then stand up and act like he was weaving along the face of a wave. He was doing this in time to the music coming from the speakers on the upstairs balcony of course.
There weren't any drugs visible and no one was breaking any laws that I could see, just a big party with everyone having a good time.
About 9:00 a dozen or so police showed up and made a quick rush from the alley to the front and up the stairs, turning the party into immediate bedlam. People were jumping out of windows, climbing over the back fence, and running out on the beach. I happened to be next door at my place with a couple of friends when they arrived, and suddenly I had 20 people over the fence and inside my place as well. More police were suddenly everywhere. They came to my door and told me that if everyone didn't leave, we were going to be arrested for disturbing the peace.
When I looked outside the next morning there were still people sleeping on the beach and quite a mess to clean up. The surf was breaking but only a few surfers made it out that day. I'm not sure if anyone got arrested, but I didn't see Chuck around much after that and I didn't hear of another party in the area until at least June when I moved.
Dec 1999 - From: Dr. Bruce
The Huntington Beach Surf Party-Riot of 1970 by Bruce "Snake" Gabrielson
This may have Huntington's greatest local party, certainly it stands alone among the greatest surf oriented parties of its day. There are many people still around who attended the party (some who will see this) and each probably has their own view of what happened. I've included both the views from my perspective and also what my father-in-law, Jim Way, told me years later about the city's perspective of what happened.
A little background on Huntington Beach in the late summer will help set the stage. By that time of year the weather is hot and the beach is very popular. Probably several hundred thousand people daily are relaxing around in the sand along the city beach or the state beaches, and many of the out-of-the area kids are looking for something to do. Back then it was a big deal if you lived inland and someone who lived at the beach invited you to a party, particularly if they happened to be part of the local surfing crowd. Unfortunately for me, that's about what happened.
It was in the late summer of 1970. I had been holding smaller Huntington Beach Surfing Association oriented parties at my parent's home on Caroline Street a couple times each month since spring. Our house wasn't that big, but it had a pool table in the garage and a covered area 12' x 24' over the driveway along the left side of the house. We had walled off the covered area with plywood and painted glow-in-the-dark wave and space oriented designs along the walls. My brother put in a black light and a strobe so anyone who sat in there for a short time was dizzy before long. We also had a nice stereo set-up, plus we lived next to a field so only had neighbors on two sides to worry about.
Usually only about 20-30 club members would show up at the parties. My dad loves playing pool, so he would open the garage and basically hold a pool shootout for anyone interested while the other partygoers headed towards the back.
HBSA had a well-attended meeting on Tuesday night and I told the crew that I was having an end of summer club party at my place on Saturday. I let my parents and the neighbors know, and then got ready to enjoy.
Well, Saturday morning at the Pier everyone was saying they were going to be there, so I headed home around noon to clean the place and get ready. Early afternoon came around and suddenly I started getting calls from as far away as Oceanside, north to Santa Monica, and inland to Pasadena about directions. At first I thought some of the callers were kidding, but before long I got the message and started to worry. I began telling callers the party was just a local event and not to show up.
It didn't work. Not only was the word getting around the beach, but it made it to the law as well. My father-in-law, HB Beach Director Jim Way, told me a few years later that local and state police had been alerted by 6 p.m. that evening about the party, and they were already planning for their response.
About 7:00 p.m. the party goers started to show. First it was just the local surfing crew, Chuck Ray, Greg Duzich and company, David Van Druff and a few more. Then others started to arrive, many who lived inland and I didn't know at all. They started filling up all the parking spots along the road, then started to drive around my housing track through the field to park, and finally started parking along Garfield Ave. about a mile away. By 8:30 p.m. there were literally hundreds of kids, with no place left to park, and some kids started parking in the middle of the street slowly filling the street back towards Garfield.
About that time I was sitting in my Wave Trek Surfboard Van in my parents driveway with girlfriend Ann MacDonnald listening to music and just enjoying the party goers passing by to visit. My dad was busy with a huge pool tourney, my mom was somewhere in the back, and my brother was in the back with a wild strobe light show. Suddenly, the police helicopter swooped overhead, put its spotlight on my front yard, and announced over the speaker that a riot had been declared and the party goers were to disperse immediately. At the same time, up the open path in the street marched about 30 officers in riot gear shoulder to shoulder.
My friends were running all over the place, through the fields and who knows where else. I opened my Van door and was greeted by a flashlight in the face and two non-uniformed cops telling me I was going to be arrested and to help them clear the place immediately. I was also told not to make any quick moves or start a full-fledged riot against their authority. I stood there dumfounded while it took another minute of two for the rest of the riot squad to reach me. About that time Charley gave me a reality check by telling me that the club would stand by whatever I wanted to do. All I could say to the police was that I didn't know everyone there and why was it my fault so many people decided to show up?
Some of my neighbors who were at the party, plus my dad, stepped in and basically told them that if I helped clear everyone out, they better let me and my buddies off. After looking around at several hundred edgy kids surrounding them, many good size local surfers, plus knowing that there were still many more kids in the immediate area, the Officer in charge agreed. He said "Clear them out and that's that, just work with us."
Fortunately the surf club was a good group and they all helped me clear the area. It didn't happen immediately, but within about 30 minutes the area was clear. I had to stay on the driveway until well into the night turning late arrivals away as they continued to drive in from all over. The police let me off with a warning, but made sure I understood that I could never have another party there again.
My father-in-law told me that the party caused a third stage riot alert to be sent as far away as San Clemente. Also, after that day, parties in Huntington were always broken up early before they got very large. The city passed an ordinance against excessive party noise as well soon afterwards. Bruce "Snake" Gabrielson
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