With the summer of 2012 just finishing I thought it would be nice to talk about a different way to find some of this surf memorabilia. My brother Tommy and I were avid surfers and avid drinkers. We always found that a trip to the local watering hole could produce important information about local breaks, local people, and local customs. However, for myself a valuable source of Surf Memorabilia Information. My brother always attended the Laguna Beach end of summer pub crawl on Labor Day! Tommy always found a few memorabilia leads for me on the crawl! These places do not always have surf memorabilia displayed. In fact it is better they do not! Some are on the beach or across the parking lot from the beach. Some are a little inland as the case with Joe Josts in Long Beach. I must say my favorite is Blackies of Newport Beach. Tommy’s old shop, Newport Surf & Sport was two blocks away. The surf club called Blackies Classics started by the late Mike Marshal hung out there. First, alcohol is prohibited on the beach! On a late eighties surf trip Cathy and I went to Blackies Beach for sun and surf. After a super relaxing surf session I walked up the beach to my wife. She reached in a cooler and handed me a cold beer. Conversation stopped on the beach. I downed that cold beer and ask for another and said I was going to the car to get out of my wetsuit. When I got to the block wall separating the beach from the sidewalk a person came up and threw a towel over my beer in my hand. He said, “What are you doing you can’t drink beer on the beach, there are two cops coming our way”. We hurried off to my car so I could hide the beer and give him back his towel. Thats when I noticed the sign, No Alcohol, I was standing right under it! Over the years I have snagged some great surf stuff out of Blackies! The manager and friend Les knows me and most of the bartenders know me. So they pass on leads to me all the time. Remember tourist and visitors come into Blackies. You never know what they have or who you are talking too! There are many personalities in these places that knows someone who has this stuff and wants to get rid of it!
Locally two places which are no longer in business were the Hurry Back Inn. They served beer only and were about a mile from first peak at pleasure point. It was a crude little shack always full of personalities that knew something about surf. Positively Front Street was my favorite for breakfast. Charlie the cook made homemade corn-beef hash, I have never seen his matched. Charlie would always have a tip or few for me when I came in after dawn patrol for my corn-beer & hash fix. Positively Front Street closed and then burnt down. It was featured in the Dirty Harry movie.
You never want to start trying to get information at a bar with surfboards hung all over. The establishment will make it uncomfortable for you. Tell patrons not to share info with you. I have been in bars that buy a customer a drink to get then not to talk with me. You can generally get surf spot info but thats all. The place wants this stuff for themselves! They know a potential lead comes in every day! They love to trade patrons for their stuff for food or beverage credit.
The pictures I have provided with this article are places my brother Tommy loved to visit and drink at. If you been to Tamarindo Costa Rica you will recognize the Sunrise Cafe on the beach. Some are not in business anymore as previously mentioned Clancy’s of Huntington Beach and Tugs of Pacific Beach, above photo, (Another great Chili Cheese omelet and a beer deal, we Nobles like that combo for breakfast) (Tugs is now Hennessey’s). The picture of Clancy’s I have provided is in Seal Beach. On a surf trip we went to Seal Beach and went in Clancy’s for quick cold one and info. It was about 11 o’clock and we sat in the middle of the bar the bartender had just served us when a guy on a beach cruiser bike rode in through the back door and ran into the last bar stool and crashed. The bartender leaned over the bar and asked him what kind of beer he wanted. Tommy was in love with the place. The nut who ran into the bar stool was a wealth of information! Our plan worked again!
I bet you never thought about obtaining info about surfing and or surf memorabilia this way? Or maybe through a cosmic source the Noble’s idea struck you? What is a great beach bar in your area to find out surf related info? Is the place a dive? Is the place plush? Or is it a place where you better not ask anything? A picture with you’re reply is worth more than a 1000 words this time. It can be surfer/surf collector beware and save our lives!