In 1962, five years before the Hippie invasion and our San Francisco “Summer of Love,” the Beach Boys took us on their “Surfin’ Safari.” The surfing craze was helped along in 1963 by Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon starring in the first of a collection of 1960s surfing movies. Here is the song from the movie, “Beach Party,” and despite surfing, their hairdos do not move.
If you think this has nothing to do with San Francisco in the 1960s, think again. In 1965, Arne Wong, San Francisco native, graduate of Washington High School and artist
started surfing at Kelly’s Cove just below the Cliff House at Ocean Beach. Writer Mark Lukach chronicled a reunion of surfers organized by Arne Wong, writing in the Ocean Beach Bulletin in 2010,“Back then (1965) there were no such things as wetsuits or leashes. Surfers would gather at the beach, using an old car tire to keep a bonfire burning all day long, and would surf in 20-minute bursts until the water became unbearable.”
Lukach explains, “This was the annual reunion of San Francisco’s surfing legends, returning to their home turf at Kelly’s Cove, where their surfing and stories have been ingrained into the history of Ocean Beach and surf culture….(they) are recognized and honored throughout the world for their contributions to surfing culture. In the rugged history of Ocean Beach, they are some of the first to form their identities around the cold, foggy and often inhospitable beach. And for surfing history, they are as important as the beat poets are to American literature, the pioneers who used their courage and longboards to burst out of the box.”
Here is a link to the whole story:
In November 2011, the “Rip Curl Pro Search” surfing competition was held at Ocean Beach. According to the organizers, this shows, “the world’s best surfers pitted against the diverse conditions offered by Ocean Beach, San Francisco.”
Watch this clip from Artifactproductions, if you dare: