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A real “start-up” Surfing in New England 1964-1968 - Chapter 2

“She got her Daddy’s car and she cruised to the hamburger stand, now.  She forgot all about the library like she told her old man, now.  Then with the radio blasting she goes cruising just as fast as she can now, and she’ll have fun, fun, fun ‘til her Daddy takes her T-Bird away.”

Words and Music © Brian Wilson and Mike Love, Universal Music, Performed by the Beach Boys, 1964

Chapter Two – The Swell Builds
As of the Winter of 1964-65, we had a shop, a following, a key vendor and some great people.  What was needed was a “buzz,” with publicity, a contest schedule and teams (Since we certainly couldn’t afford to advertise) as we headed into the spring and summer of ‘65.  Also, we needed, and were thankful when we had gotten, some competition.  When opening a new market, the more the merrier. Enter Goldie’s Surf Shop from Cranston, Rhode Island.

Howard Goldsmith, the proprietor of Goldie’s, was the son of a Providence politician.  He had learned to surf himself, and opened a shop in the spring inland in Cranston, a Providence suburb.  “Goldie’s” was a better competitor than we could have invented.  Howie featured Dewey Weber surfboards.  He was an aggressive promoter, with a little bit of a “bad boy” image.  What that did for us was to allow us to be the “good guys,” supporting the sport.  Also, when we created the Hobie team, we now had a Weber team to compete against.  What could be better?

So, for the team, we went out and looked for the best local surfers we could find.  This was a pre-drug era, but we still wanted each candidate not only to be a good surfer, but to have a good image and to be well respected.  Once again, circumstances blessed us with a “few good men,” and ultimately some great women as well.

Since I was living in Massachusetts, some of out first candidates came from the Boston suburbs.  We chose them when we saw them in the water and on the beach, using the criteria above.  Most had had some surfing experience in Hawaii, California or elsewhere.  Here are a few names; some are still around. It has been a pleasure to become reacquainted with them.  As of 2010, several still go out in the water (more power to them).


“Ditto” Cornuelle –

Jim Gilbert -

Dave Falardeau – South Shore

Mike Foss – from Lynn on the North Shore (Boston, not Hawaii)

Steve Dame – Melrose, inland, North Shore

Peter Dube – Salem on the North Shore

Of course, Fred Silton from Brookline and I from Watertown surfed too, and we all had team jackets (Hang Ten Blue Sateen with a white horizontal competition stripe).  

As skills developed in Rhode Island, we added the following:

George Pitts

“Chippy” Chappell

Mike Davis

Jon Caswell

Guy Lister

Mike Tobin

Dennis Tully

Charles “Pudge” Thomas, who became our shop manager in Narragansett, was a good surfer as well, and contributed significantly to the team as he did to the business.

So now we had fifteen or so men, juniors and boys, but competition was tough.