Gordie Duane died recently at the age of 81.
Gordie was a surfing pioneer in Huntington Beach. In 1956 he opened one of the first surf shops in town at the foot of the pier, later to move it to Coast Highway. And Gordie was also proud recipient of the city’s first ticket for illegal surfing — back when surfers were just “bad kids” and before HB realized the profit potential from surfing and turned itself into Surf City.
His shop was and always has been a hangout for local surfers. Many considered Gordie to be their mentor.
Gordie was a supreme craftsman and his shapes were better than most. In the late-’50s he was known as “King of the Abstracts,” which was what the multicolored abstract resin-flowed designs running the length of the board were then called. Gordie would flow yellow and red and blue ribbons out of black fields creating the most dramatic effects. On the other hand, he signed his tails “Gordie Surfboards” over “Huntington Beach” using crude charcoal sticks; he misspelled “Huntington” on one of mine.
From the L.A. Times obituary:
As a surfer, he was a member of the Hole in the Wall Gang, a Huntington Beach group that was the hottest team in amateur surfing in 1977. At the time, members ranged in age from 23 to 54 and had won about 20 Western Surfing Assn. contests in a row.
“Our mean age is mean,” Duane, then 46, told The Times in 1977.
Gordie was no Mr. Nice Guy. He was known as gruff at best and downright nasty at worst. But no one denied his talent, his ability, his creativity, and his love of the sport.
Gordie Duane was 81. Rest in peace.Share on Facebook