meeting corky carroll
Cast your mind back to the early sixties, put yourself in Laguna, California after a couple of long weeks on the road from New Jersey via Florida in a two door Ford Falcon .. picture yourself hungering for a surf especially as it’s a year since you last had one and a day after two cops in a patrol car rousted us, me and me mate, out of a San Diego phone booth when all we were doing was looking for where Hobie Alter sold his boards from.
So, here we are walking into his Dana Point surf shop all grubbed up from travelling, already some attitude courtesy of San Diego’s finest, hair too long, New Jersey plates on the car, unshaven, unwashed, no suntans, on the nose, clothing stained and wrinkled, barefoot, and there’s a bloke behind the counter with a shaky smile on his face. ‘Hi,’ he says.
‘G’daymatehowyezgoinorrite?’ We sez back.
Meet Corky Carroll, American surfing legend. Goofyfoot. Hobie’s ace salesman but by the look on his face, someone who never learn’t how to understand the King’s English.
‘Pardon,’ he says.
‘Wooden mind abitofasquiz at some secondhand stuff you might have handy, ok?’
‘What?’ he says.
California girls are righteous beauties we were always told, so when two of them walked into the shop during the above exchange, both wearing bikinis, a man had to cease negotiations with the champ and pay a little attention to the ladies. Who both glanced at us, stopped in their tracks, turned as one then went back outside, got into their pink Cadillac convertible and vacated the immediate area.
Meanwhile Corky’s figuring out if we are in the shop to buy something or pull out a gun and tell him to empty the cash register. Then the other one of the two of us wandered over to a standing rack of second-hand boards, lifted one out then ran his hands down both sides checking for thickness, flipped it horizontal and rested its nose on Corky’s counter-top then looked down the board’s length to check how much lift was built into the nose and tail, turned it upside down and examined it’s bottom for any mis-handling or bruising. This is what Australians did with their surfboards in the sixties, treated them with the same degree of attention as we did women.
There is a broad reciprocal relationship governing this apparent untoward ‘woke’’ relationship between virile men and half-dressed women in that surfers are long to have been thought to be the mere playthings of the opposite sex, and given the gradual decline in sexual identification, vis-vis gay versus straight, not to mention the trans-gender determinations of individuals engaged in competitive sport, a man must be prepared to be judged by his primal instincts, which, in this case is the desirability of getting to know babes in bikinis better.…
… as we were …
Pity the two babes never stayed a while and got to know us better, and a little later on Corks sold me one of his old boards and pointed us to Mexico which was an ok stay for a while until a couple of yanks threw our boards off a cliff onto the rocks after shitting on them.
Lesson being don’t ever surf America’s west coast if your car has NJ plates … so years later when I moved to Avalon from Warriewood I was ready for them.
There you go, Mike, the stuff’s coming out my ears.