My first surfboard was given to me for five bucks by way of my oldest sister’s boyfriend. I was nine years old. It was 1965 and the board was big and heavy. I only surfed on it a few times that summer. After having my face meet the deck of that beast trying to go over a wave, well you could say my mom was afraid I was going to kill myself.
So I waited until the summer of 1966! My mother demanded I complete my Junior Life Guard Training at Avenue C in Redondo Beach before I could ever go surfing again. She meant it – I was under restriction for using my board until after I went through the whole course. Of course I didn’t tell her much about what we did at JG’s. Little did she know my instructor Gary Crumb would let us free surf sometimes! So I was in it, right in the thick of that surfing lifestyle.
Redondo, Hermosa, and Manhattan Beach were the epicenter of the whole surfing scene in the South Bay. Luckily for me, I had legendary waterman Ward Baker – pioneer member of the Surfer’s Walk of Fame, Hermosa Beach – living four doors up the street from me. Ward had 3 boys; Steve, Dave, and Brad. Steve was my age and my best friend. Dave was only a little older and was always cool to me. But Brad at that time was the big boy on the block and I don’t think he said more than a couple words to me. He paid me no attention unless he was practicing his wrestling moves on me!
The 70’s mindset was to surf as much as you could. Surfing came first and everything else was second. It was then that I took my first trip of many trips to Baja, Mexico. The 80’s followed suit with the motto “surf as much as you can.” Work was very much in second place. That year I took my first trip to Hawaii. Then the 90’s rolled around and it was kids, kids, kids, work, work, work. Surfing was not first on my list, but I did take my first but not last trip to Costa Rica.
My life now is a lot like it was in the 90’s but now I get to add the benchmark of making some of the best surfboards of my life!
– Jim Adair
The first experience I remember having to do with surfing was when I was around 6 years old. We were at Huntington Beach and dad gave strict instructions for neither me, or either of my two younger brothers to go out in the water. There were undertows and deep holes that were dangerous.
Yeah, whatever….. the next thing I remember, just before what little of my life I had lived passed in front of my eyes, I felt a hand grab my hair and pull me up out of certain death and next to his surfboard. I had my arms around the nose of his board when dad told me to come around and get on top of the board. That sounded way too dangerous so I said no way as only a six year old could. When he pushed me off the nose and back into the water I learned two very important things. First, I needed to get back to air and get on top of the goddamn board like dad said. Second, when dad says jump, he means it.
Pioneer member of the Surfer’s Walk of Fame in Hermosa Beach, my father is Ward Baker. Christ, no wonder I need therapy….. get in those shoes????
So my partner in SurfableArt is Jim Adair. He lived down the street from me when we were kids and he hung out with my younger brother Steve. When I got my driver’s license, I was the kind and generous conduit to the beach. I didn’t think a 25-cent fee per person was unreasonable. It’s just a quarter. (So what, gas was 23 cents a gallon? I drove a 58 Chevy station wagon and it ate gas like a mo fo.)
Over the years , Jim’s path and mine have crisscrossed numerous times. Surfing Torrance beach and the Cove later on, Jim and I have had our share of run ins on mother earth’s waves. Of course, being the “big boy on the block,” I’m pretty sure I got the best of that.
These boards we’re making…… very cool with all the different types of wood I can get a hold of, and pretty cool working with my friend. Plus, it’s his garage we’re destroying. Jim’s two great daughters, Shea and Olivia, are following in Jim’s footsteps as water people…. So I think it is only fitting that they should participate actively in the sanding phase of SurfableArt. but there are difficulties persuading them, as you can imagine….
Stupidly cool to be able to do this right now and with so much fun….
– Brad Baker