Tag Archives: Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach surf legend Gordie Duane dies at 81

Gordie Duane died recently at the age of 81.

Gordie Duane

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.

Steve Pezman in the Surfer’s Journal writes:

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.

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Pipeline to a Cure in Huntington Beach benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

This Saturday, August 6, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will hold its 4th annual Pipeline to a Cure Gala. This major fund-raising will be at the Hyatt Regency in Huntington Beach and feature a mix of surf greats, recordings artists, and others contributing to the gala.

Greenday's Billy Joe Armstrong was at last year's gala and will be there this Saturday, too.

Greenday's Billy Joe Armstrong was at last year's gala and will be there this Saturday, too.

From the official website:

Guests will enjoy an evening of celebrity entertainment, fabulous food, and spectacular silent and live auctions, all while mingling with their favorite surfing celebrities.

This summer gala will be recognizing the positive effect that surfing has on the health of children with cystic fibrosis.

Surf legends Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama have been the honorary co-chairmen since the event began in 2008 and will continue in those roles this year. Matt Beacham from Fuel TV, himself a pro surfer, will co-host the evening along with Shawn Parr.

The surf connection is explained atTransworld Surf:

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide). A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections, and obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.

A few years ago, Australian researchers found that cystic fibrosis children who surfed had significantly healthier lungs. Doctors determined that inhaling saltwater mist has a powerful effect on rehydrating the lining of the lungs, which allows cystic fibrosis patients to more easily eliminate bacteria-contaminated mucus. This discovery led researchers to develop a hypertonic saline solution, which cystic fibrosis patients around the world now inhale every day. In essence, cystic fibrosis patients now mimic a “surf session” on a daily basis. These efforts inspired the Pipeline to a Cure campaign that includes surf and stand-up paddle events for CF families and the August 6th gala.

For more information, visit the Pipeline to a Cure website, their Facebook page, Transworld Surf magazine, and this article by Sherri Cruz at the Orange County Business Journal.

Also, be sure to visit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to learn more about this disease.

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Historic Japanese church in Huntington Beach faces demolition

Orange County church facing demolition

The former Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Church building in Huntington Beach, which dates to 1934, may soon face the wrecking ball. (Courtesy Chris Jepsen / Orange County Archives)

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that there is renewed activity from property owner Rainbow Disposal to dispose of the old church buildings on land it acquired back in 2004. The old Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Church in Huntington Beach has since relocated its congregation to Santa Ana. But the historic buildings are still standing and preservationists — including from the Orange County Historical Society — are hoping that a way can be found to relocate and thus preserve the structures.

The church was first founded in 1902 to serve the needs of Japanese men who picked celery in the nearby fields. But it later became a community focal point, as houses of worship so often do, for the local Japanese community upon returning from internment in the prison camps set up for Japanese-Americans during World War II.

Carla Tengan, a former associate curator at the Japanese American National Museum who spoke on the panel, said the church served as a beacon of support for the county’s Japanese residents, many of whom were moved to relocation camps during World War II and had trouble finding work and housing when they returned.

“The church seems to be, in people’s recollections, the main social and religious gathering point,” Tengan said.

Chris Jepsen first blogged about this at O.C. History Roundup three and a half years ago.

Wintersburg is the most important historic Asian-American community in O.C. of which there is any remaining physical evidence. It would be more than just a crying shame to see these landmarks destroyed.

Rainbow Disposal appears to be open about their plans and supportive of moving the buildings elsewhere for preservation. They are not villains here. The only real villain is our obsessive need to erase history. I hope a way can be found to avoid that in this case.

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