An Interview with BA

October 2, 2017

A Q & A WITH BA 

 

WE RECENTLY HAD THE PLEASURE OF SPEAKING WITH LONG TIME WINDANSEA SURF CLUB MEMBER AND MENEHUNE BEACH MARSHAL- BILL ANDREWS (BA) EXCERPTS BELOW- AND YES, EDITED FOR LENGTH AND LANGUAGE.  

WHEN DID YOU START SURFING AT THE SHORES?

BA:  IN THE EARLY 50’S.  MY GRANDPARENTS HAD A HOUSE IN THE AREA SO WE WERE DOWN HERE AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE.

 

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH THE MENEHUNE CONTEST?

BA – WELL, YOU COULD SAY I’VE BEEN AROUND SINCE THE BEGINNING.  I KNEW A LOT OF THE SURFERS THAT SURFED IN THE CONTEST IN THE EARLY DAYS.  IN FACT, IT WAS MY BROTHER BOB WHO TAUGHT MARGO GODFREY HOW TO SURF RIGHT HERE AT THE SHORES (MARGO WON THE FIRST TWO MENEHUNE CONTESTS 1965-66).  AFTER THE WINDANSEA SURF CLUB RE-STARTED THE MENEHUNE IN 1999, I SERVED AS THE BEACH MARSHAL UP UNTIL THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS.

 

WHY BEACH MARSHAL?

BA:   SO I COULD YELL AT PEOPLE EQUALLY, INCLUDING THE PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS, AND THE DONKEYS IN THE WATER!   HONESTLY, I DIDN’T ENJOY JUDGING AND WAS NOT REALLY INTERESTED IN THE ADMINISTRATION SIDE, BUT I REALLY WANTED TO HELP OUT SO I THOUGHT HANDLING OPERATIONS AROUND THE WATER WAS THE WAY TO GO.  HAVING GROWN UP AROUND THE SHORES, I ALSO KNEW ALL THE LOCALS AND COULD HELP KEEP THE PEACE IN AND AROUND THE SURFING AREA.   

WHAT DO YOU THINK IT TAKES TO BE A GOOD BEACH MARSHAL?

BA:  YOU HAVE TO KNOW THE LOCAL CONDITIONS AT THE BEACH SO YOU CAN SEPARATE THE PEOPLE IN THE WATER FROM THE CONTESTANTS, KNOW THE WAY THE CURRENTS GO, WHERE THE RIPS ARE, YOU HAVE TO KNOW THAT.  YOU NEED TO BE REALLY FAMILIAR WITH THE BREAK.  I COULDN’T GO BE BEACH MARSHAL AT SAY OCEAN BEACH, BECAUSE I REALLY DON’T KNOW THE PEOPLE THERE AND THE CONDITIONS VERY WELL.   YOU CAN’T JUST YELL AT EVERYBODY, THAT DOESN’T DO VERY WELL AND YOU GET REFLEXIVE ACTIONS.  YOU HAVE TO SHOW SOME COURTESY TO THE PEOPLE IN THE WATER IF YOU WANT THEM TO TAKE DIRECTION AND KEEP THE PEACE.   PEOPLE ALSO KNEW ME FROM THE SHORES AND WINDANSEA SO THAT HELPED.

ANY SPECIFIC CHALLENGES BEING A BEACH MARSHAL AT THE MENEHUNE?

BA:  OH YEAH, DEALING WITH THE PARENTS- SOME ARE HORRIBLE, BUT FOR THE MOST PART, I DIDN’T HAVE MANY PROBLEMS.  SINCE I’M OLDER THAN MOST OF THE SURF PARENTS AND I WATCHED MANY OF THEM GROW UP SURFING, I GOT AWAY WITH SOME THINGS THAT I COULDN’T HAVE AT ANOTHER BEACH.   I BECAME FRIENDS WITH MOST OF THE SURF ORGANIZATIONS AROUND SO I KNEW MOST OF THE PARENTS AND THERE WAS USUALLY A WAY TO WORK OUT A ‘TRUCE‘ IF NECESSARY.   

 

ANY ADVICE FOR THE KIDS?

BA:   THE FIRST ONE, THE MOST IMPORTANT, KNOW THE CONTEST RULES.  YOU NEED TO KNOW HOW MANY WAVES YOU CAN CATCH, YOU HAVE TO KNOW ABOUT INTERFERENCE IF IT’S GOING TO BE CALLED, WHERE YOUR SURFING AREA IS, KNOW THE GROUND RULES.  JUST LIKE BASEBALL, YOU MAY KNOW WHAT A BAT IS AND A BALL, BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN YOU ARE A BASEBALL PLAYER.  THEN YOU NEED TO DEVELOP SOME CONTEST SAVVY, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU ARE WITH THE 13 AND 14 YEAR OLDS, SOME OF WHOM ARE ON THEIR WAY TO BECOMING PROFESSIONAL SURFERS, OR THINK THEY ARE.  THEN, IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE JUDGED ON 3 WAVES IN A 15 MINUTE SPAN, YOU BETTER CATCH 3 WAVES.   IF YOU CAN CATCH SAY 7 TOTAL, MAKE SURE YOU GET YOUR 3 THEN TRY TO REPLACE THEM WITH THE OTHER WAVES.  THAT’S THE STRATEGY. IT’S ALL SUPPOSED TO BE FUN, BUT IF YOU LOOK AT THE KIDS THAT HAVE WON MOST OF THESE CONTESTS OVER THE YEARS, THAT’S AN ALL-STAR LINEUP, SOME ARE EVEN PROFESSIONAL SURFERS TODAY.   THE MENEHUNE IS A GOOD COMPETITION TO SEE WHERE YOU STACK UP AGAINST SURFERS FROM OTHER AREAS.  YOU HAVE TO KICK IT UP A NOTCH. I REMEMBER A TIME WHEN THE GUYS FROM DOHENY WOULD COME DOWN AND BEAT THE LOCAL SURFERS EVERY TIME.     

 

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF  ”SURF PARENTS”?

BA:   MOST OF THEM HAVE NO CLUE WHAT’S GOING ON, BUT THAT WAS WHAT MADE IT FUN, TRYING TO DEAL WITH THEM TOO.  PLUS, BECAUSE I WAS SINGLE MOST OF THE TIME, THERE WERE SOME PRETTY HOT SURF MOMS….

 

HOW DID THE MENHUNE CONTEST START?

BA: IT STARTED AS A FUNDRAISER FOR THE CLUB, AND A WAY TO LOOK FOR JUNIOR SURFERS.  THE WINDANSEA SURF CLUB WAS THE ONLY CLUB THAT MEANT SOMETHING BACK THEN AND YOU WANTED TO PART OF IT AND IT WAS A WAY TO SCOUT FOR NEW MEMBERS.  BY 1962-63 MOST OF US WERE OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL AND OFF DOING WHATEVER WITH ABSOLUTELY NO DISCIPLINE.  IT TOOK THE JUNIORS LIKE JENNER (STEVE) AND SLATER (KURT) WHO COULD TAKE SOME KIND OF INSTRUCTION OTHERWISE THE CONTEST WOULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED.  YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT KIDS THAT WERE IN THE 8TH, 9TH, 10TH GRADE, 14 AND 15 YEAR OLDS AND IT GAVE THEM SOMETHING TO DO AND ACCOMPLISH.   

 

THINGS HAVE SURE CHANGED FOR JUNIOR SURFERS?

BA:  NO QUESTION.  WE DIDN’T HAVE SURF PE FOR ONE THING.  WHEN I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL, OUR IDEA OF SURF PE WAS DITCHING SCHOOL.    THERE ARE SO MANY SERIOUS COMPETITIONS THESE DAYS, THE MENEHUNE NEEDS TO STAY FUN.  HOW ABOUT HAVING THE OLDER KIDS SURF ON SOFT TOPS WITH NO FINS?   

 

FINAL THOUGHTS….

 BA:  JUST KEEP IT FUN. I HAD A LOT OF FUN AS BEACH MARSHAL, RUNNING AROUND AND INTERACTING WITH THE SURFERS AND THEIR PARENTS.  THERE REALLY WEREN’T TOO MANY DISPUTES AND I THINK A GOT PUNCHED LESS THAN TEN TIMES- I’VE BEEN STUCK BY STING RAYS MORE THAN I EVER GOT PUNCHED!  IT’S JUST IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE EVERYONE INVOLVED, PARENTS, SURFERS, AND VOLUNTEERS, KNOW THE RULES AND UNDERSTAND WHAT IS EXPECTED OF THEM IN AND OUT OF THE WATER.   AND HAVE A GOOD TIME….

 

TRANSCRIBED BY PR HASLEY -SEPT 6, 2017   

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