of the Windansea Surf Club
It was surf competition in the early 1960's that gave birth to the Windansea Surf Club, as the growth of surfing spawned contests to compare skills up and down the coast. One of the biggest events in California at the time was the club competition held in Malibu. In 1963, Chuck Hasley, who had moved to San Diego and opened a surf shop in Pacific Beach for Hobie Alter, was talking to Skip Frye, Mike Hynson, and Bill Caster about the contest and they decided to recruit a team to surf under the Windansea Surf Club banner. Although they only had a loose connection to the previous club, Chuck guessed correctly that some of the L.A. guys would remember the luaus and figure that they were an established organization. Joey Cabell, Bobby and Ronald Patterson, Dave Willingham, L.J. Richards, Skip Frye, Mike Hynson, Del Cannon, Chuck Hasley, Billy Caster, Butch Van Artsdalen and Rusty Miller piled into a rented bus and arrived at Malibu to dominate the contest.
After that, word-of-mouth spread quickly, and the club recruited the most talented surfers locally and from around the state, adding world-class surfers like Miki Dora, Mike Doyle, Phil Edwards, Donald Takayama, Mickey Munoz and hot young juniors David Nuuhiwa, Corky Carroll and the phenomenal Margo Godfrey-Oberg to the roster. In 1965, under the guidance of Executive Director, Thor Svenson, the Club was incorporated as a non-profit organization with the stated goal of "promoting the sport of surfing and the positive image of surfers as athletes and good citizens, through the sponsorship of competitive surfing events and charitable community activities." They established an international presence with Hawaiian, Mexican, and Australian branches of the club. Members traveled to the South Pacific and Australia to compete in contests and star in the surf films of the day. The Menehune Contest was started in 1965, in order to give emerging talent among the local groms a venue to compete and it continued annually until 1971.
The mid 1970's saw a shift in attitudes away from competition and into "soul surfing". For a time, people were off "doing their own thing," and the club entered a period of dormancy. Thor Svenson relocated to Australia, and without the leadership, the organization stumbled. Finally, in 1981 Steve Shaw, Bill Andrews, Jeff Junkins, Dave McIntyre, and former Women's World Champion Debbie Beacham revived the original non-profit corporation and along with many of the original charter members, re-established the club in its current incarnation.
The competitive heritage of the club continues today, as the Windansea Surf Club has dominated the Coalition of Surfing Clubs contest circuit ... current membership includes many successful professional surfers and past champions, including Kelly Slater, Joel Tudor, Peter King, Joe Roper, Richard Kenvin and Saxon Boucher. The elements of charity and community involvement are still being fostered with the clubs sponsorship of the annual "Day at the Beach" events for homeless children from the St. Vincent de Paul shelter and Casa de Amparo as well as teaching the local Special Olympics athletes how to surf, providing water patrol for the La Jolla Rough Water Swim, and working with the La Jolla Recreation Center to put on their Halloween festival for local kids among other activities.
The WSC Menehune Contest was revived in 1999...
Windansea in Surf Lore
In 1963, Michael Dormer and Lee Teacher built a six foot, 400 pound version of their Hot Curl cartoon character out of cement, iron, a mop, a light bulb, and a beer can. The statue appeared on the rocks over Windansea Beach in La Jolla, holding a beer in one hand while gazing out over the ocean in search of the perfect wave.
The Windansea Shack
The distinguishing landmark at Windansea is a palm-covered shack that was originally constructed in 1946 by Woody Ekstrom, Fred Kenyon and Don Okey. "The Surf Shack at Windansea Beach" was designated as an historical landmark by the San Diego Historical Resources Board on May 27, 1998
Windansea in Literature
The title article in Tom Wolfe's book of essays, The Pump House Gang, is about a group of surfers from Windansea Beach who "attended the Watts riots as if it were the Rose Bowl game in Pasadena."
Child of the Storm: How an Angry Young Man Formed a Bond With the Sea and Changed Our Lives Forever, by Kirk Lee Aeder, is a 2012 biography of the life and times of the late Windansea surfer Chris O'Rourke.
La Jolla, CA
May 10, 1967 - Ronald Regan, then Governor of California, endorses Thor Svensen and the Windansea Surf Club for their dedicated sportsmanship nationally and abroad. Click title to read the full document from Reagan's office.
“The WindanSea Surf Club is dedicated to promoting excellence in our ocean and community, preserving and respecting WindanSea’s past, protecting ocean and coastal environments, fostering a positive image of surfers locally and globally through charity and competition, and supporting our youth for a brighter future.”