Surfin’ San Francisco

As we approach the official beginning of summer in San Francisco, someone will probably attempt to quote Mark Twain by saying: “The coldest winter I ever saw was a summer I spent in San Francisco.” FYI, Mark Twain never said that. But every summer some tourists do shiver wearing their shorts.

Regardless of the weather, a 1960s summer craze that swept through San Francisco and the rest of the country was surfing. Remember the Beach Boys’ songs “Surfin’ Safari” in 1962 and “Surfin’ USA” in 1963? And then came Frankie and Annette in the film “Beach Blanket Bingo” in 1965. Annette does not wear a bikini because Mr. Walt Disney asked her not to, and she agreed. Here is the opening scene.

Sadly, Annette left us on April 8, 2013 after a 21-year-long battle with multiple sclerosis. Frankie will be 74-years-old in September.

Please tell the doubters that there is surfing in San Francisco, both off Ocean Beach and off Fort Point. I interviewed a Washington High School grad, Arne Wong, and he and his friends were surfing in the mid-1960s in San Francisco.

Arne hung out with the older surfers using long, heavy wooden boards. And they did not use wetsuits! They would build a fire in a barrel on the beach and get warm before going out to ride the waves. Then they would come back to get warm again before heading out again. Now surfers have light weight boards and the protection of wetsuits.

So how does someone surf in San Francisco? Very carefully. Here are some surfers enjoying the waves in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge: