A calm set hits the Huntington Beach Pier on the morning of Saturday, June 21, just one day after the mark of a century of surfing at the iconic shoreline spot. A familiar Australian accent sounds over the loudspeaker, announcing the long-awaited event and the day's first two surfers. It's the morning of "When Men Were Men & Boards Were Made Of Wood," the first-ever wood surfboard exhibition in HB honoring the centennial of George Freeth's epic ride at the pier on June 20, 1914. Freeth surfed the first wave at the pier, setting into motion the Southern California lifestyle that famously identifies Surf City USA.
Surfing legends Peter "PT" Townend and Rick "Rockin' Fig" Fignetti served as entertaining event MCs, announcing the brave men and women who left their foam and fiberglass at home and opted instead for wood. Limited to 50 surfers, the event saw nearly a dozen participants, including Hudson Wise, Dave Reynolds, Dillon Joyce, Duke Aipa, Ryan Hurley, Bartholomew "Bart" Genovese, Eric Ching, Terry Carmadella, Jake Ray, Diana Sullivan and Kim Hamrock, aka Danger Woman. There were two rules on Saturday: surf wood and no full wetsuits.
Although the event was not a competition, two $500 checks dangled in front of participants for best rides on old and new wood. The awards ended up being quartered, with Genovese and Ching splitting the money for old, and Hurley and Hamrock taking home the green for new. Hurley definitely impressed during the event, riding a replica of Freeth's 1914 board, shaped by Sam Hann.
Here are some of our favorite moments. And here's to doing it again next year.