I love it when I get to write about something really cool and positive instead of the passing of a surfing icon or other topics that need to be covered but are sometimes hard to write.
This week is a good one, and it’s about a friend: Orange County surfboard shaping legend Richard Harbour is being honored with an exhibit that opens Saturday, June 24 and runs through Sept. 24 at the Surfing Heritage and Cultural Center in San Clemente. There will be an opening party from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday that will feature Harbour himself and many team riders, surfing icons, family members and friends.
You should go cause it’s gonna be a cool event and you will probably see some surf coolsters you never have never met before. This would include Harbour, as he has never been one to step much into the spotlight, yet has been a constant pillar of quality work for the past almost 60 years and one of the most respected surfboard shapers in the world.
My relationship with Harbour began in the early 1960’s when I was a raw gremmie just starting to show some promise. Harbour had been making boards in his garage and had just opened his shop across from the Bay Theater in Seal Beach. Both Ole Surfboards and Surfboards by the Crow had given me what they called “team deals” in the few years before that. What this amounted to was getting a board “at cost,” or “free color.” Harbour offered me my first real sponsorship, free surfboards. I was about 13 at the time and was completely stoked.
While he was in the process of making me a custom board I was able to borrow a used board out of the rack. I remember one afternoon he came down to Surfside to surf with me out in front of my house. Back then the homes on the ocean side of the street were on pilings and the waves would actually go under them when the tide was full. This particular afternoon the surf was good and the tide was in and I got a ride close to a house. A little too close, as I ran into one of the pilings.