This morning I was sitting on my deck overlooking the surf and noticed a small group of guys running down the beach to paddle out. There were four of them and you could tell by the way they were moving and the looks on their faces that they were very happy and ready to get out there.
I was thinking, “Now there is a stoked surf crew.” I should mention that the surf was pretty good so there was good reason they would be eager and ready to hit it. But this little vision set off one of my three remaining brain cells that are still semi-functional and I started pondering the thought of “really stoked” surf crews that I have known over the years — groups of people who have formed surfing friendships and travel and surf together.
A whole plethora of surf crews came to mind. One that sticks out is what I would have to call the “Beach Road Boys.” I only call them that because some of them live on Beach Road in Capistrano Beach and the others are more or less part of the Beach Road surf culture. These guys are no spring chickens, Most, no all, are fairly long in the tooth. And they have been surf pals for decades upon decades.
I see these guys in the water and in airports and I am always happy when I do because they are not only really cool dudes but also surfing icons, each in their own right.
The leader of the pack, or Godfather if you will, is Walter Hoffman. Hoffman was a big wave rider in the Hawaiian Islands way back in the early days of wood boards. He surfed Makaha with George Downing, Buzzy Trent and Wally Froseith. He also is the father of former World Champ Joyce Hoffman, brother of legendary Flippy Hoffman and grandfather of Christian and Nathan Fletcher. Walter Hoffman is well into his 80s and still charges it. I see him on big days at little-known breaks in Mexico. He has a getaway home near mine down there and he and the rest of this crew are there often.
Other members of this crew include John Creed, famous for his role as “Speedo Creedo” in early John Severson surf films and as president of the Chart House restaurant chain for many years. Creed is a very good surfer and is still involved in the restaurant business in Dana Point.
Also Wayne Penn-Schafer, who is in real life THE most interesting man in the world. Another member of the crew, Joe Dunn, just wrote a fantastic book about Penn-Schafer called “Indian.” I will be telling you more about this great book very soon; I am just into about the third chapter at the…