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Dick Dale, whose pounding, blaringly loud power-chord instrumentals on songs like “Miserlou” and “Let’s Go Trippin’” earned him the title King of the Surf Guitar, has died at age 81.

Dick Dale, whose pounding, blaringly loud power-chord instrumentals on songs like “Miserlou” and “Let’s Go Trippin’” earned him the title King of the Surf Guitar, has died at age 81.

His former bassist Sam Bolle says Dick Dale passed away Saturday night. No other details were available.

Dale liked to say it was he and not the Beach Boys who invented surf music — and some critics have said he was right.

An avid surfer, Dale started building a devoted Los Angeles fan base in the late 1950s with repeated appearances at Newport Beach’s old Rendezvous Ballroom. He played “Miserlou ,” ″The Wedge,” ″Night Rider” and other compositions at wall-rattling volume on a custom-made Fender Stratocaster guitar.

“Miserlou,” which would become his signature song, had been adapted from a Middle Eastern folk tune Dale heard as a child and later transformed into a thundering surf-rock instrumental.

His fingering style was so frenetic that he shredded guitar picks during songs, a technique that forced him to stash spares on his guitar’s body. “Better shred than dead,” he liked to joke, an expression that eventually became the title of a 1997 anthology released by Rhino Records.

Dale said he developed his musical style when he sought to merge the sounds of the crashing ocean waves he heard while surfing with melodies inspired by the rockabilly music he loved.

He pounded rather than plucked the strings of his guitar in a style he said he borrowed from an early musical hero, the great jazz drummer Gene Krupa.

“Dale pioneered a musical genre that Beach Boy Brian Wilson and others would later bring to fruition,” Rolling Stone magazine said in its “Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll” adding “Let’s Go Trippin’” was released in 1961, two months ahead of the Beach Boys’ first hit, “Surfin.’”

The magazine called Dale’s song “the harbinger of the ’60s surf music craze.”

Although popular around Southern California, Dale might have remained just a cult figure if surfing had not exploded in worldwide popularity during his peak creative years.

When the first of a series of “Beach Party” movies made to cash in on the phenomenon was released in 1963, it included Dick Dale and the Del-Tones performing “Secret Surfing Spot” as teen heartthrob Annette Funicello danced on the beach.

Dale had released his first album, “Surfer’s Choice,” a year earlier. He followed it with four more over the next two years while appearing in several “Beach Party” sequels and other surfer movies.

Other popular Dale songs included “Jungle Fever,” ″Shake-N-Stomp” and “Swingin’ and Surfin’.”

His star dimmed after the Beatles led music’s British invasion onto the pop charts in 1964 and his record label dropped him. His career also was sidelined by a battle with cancer in the 1960s and a serious foot infection in the 1970s that was the result of a surfing injury.

His musical influence was profound and included guitar virtuosos Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan and movie director Quentin Tarantino, who selected Dale’s “Miserlou,” as the theme song of his 1994 film “Pulp Fiction.” That helped pull the guitarist back into the pop-culture spotlight. Dale himself had begun to launch a comeback with the 1987 film “Back to the Beach,” which reunited Funicello and her co-star Frankie Avalon as a middle-aged couple returning to their old surfing haunts. He teamed up with Vaughan to record the classic surf instrumental “Pipeline” for that film, earning the pair a Grammy nomination.

In 1993 he released “Tribal Thunder,” his first album of all new material in nearly 30 years. He followed it with “Unknown Territory” the following year.

Dale continued to tour into his 80s, in part he said to pay the medical bills that advancing age was saddling him with. Having beaten cancer in the 1960s, he suffered a serious recurrence in 2015.

Born Richard Anthony Monsour in Boston on May 4, 1937, Dale moved to Los Angeles with his family in 1954, where he immediately fell in love with surfing and the electric guitar.

As a child, he listened to Lebanese and Polish folk tunes played by his parents. Eventually he graduated to big band, swing, country and rockabilly.

Self-taught on guitar, the left-handed Dale couldn’t afford a custom-made model, so early on he played a standard right-hand guitar upside down and backward. That ended after a meeting with legendary guitar builder Leo Fender, who offered to make Dale his own left-handed model if he’d test a line of guitars and amplifiers Fender was developing.

“I became Leo’s personal guinea pig,” Dale told The Associated Press in 1997. “Anything that came out of the Fender company, I played.”

He played so loudly that he blew up one amplifier after another until a frustrated Fender built him a “Dick Dale Dual Showman” doubled-sized amp. It was a model that would become popular with aspiring Los Angeles guitarists.

As he began to become well known, he began calling himself Dick Dale, explaining years later that a radio disc jockey had suggested it was a better name for a rock star than Richard Monsour.

His surfer buddies had already nicknamed him King of the Surf Guitar, a title he said he initially resisted, fearing it would limit his audience. When the spirit of surfing caught on everywhere, however, he came to embrace the crown.

Dale is survived by his wife, Lana, and a son, James, a drummer who sometimes toured with his father.

Join THERAsurf on Saturday April 27th at 1st Point, Malibu to kick off 2019 the only way we know...some surfing, relaxing, and hanging with friends. Visit to sign up for an amazing surf day.
The North Pacific is seeing a late season active pattern — taking over after a prolonged period of poor surf in Hawaii and for much of the US West Coast the past six to eight weeks. In the South Pacific, the start of meteorological fall in the Southern Hemisphere (March 1st) has brought an increase in storm activity, which progressed from the Western South Pacific to the Central South Pacific where it currently sits. All of this adds up to improved surf for both Hawaii and California in the shorter term — with a chance for XL swell in Hawaii and for portions of the West Coast as we go deeper into March.

During the next few days, the primary reason we’ll see better surf for Hawaii and California will be due to an improvement in local winds. Both regions have seen persistent onshore flow and cooler-than-normal temps for the past month, with nearby low pressure generally the culprit behind that onshore flow. As high pressure weakens north of the Islands during the back half of the week into the early weekend, trades should relax and shift to a more east-northeast to east direction, with generally clean conditions along northern shores.

Fun to mid-size swells from the northwest prevail during that time — so whether you’re surfing or watching the cams from afar, entertainment value will be there. However, keep an eye out for a wind shift as we move through the weekend with deteriorating conditions and eventually a much more significant swell (more on that in a second).

For California, strengthening high pressure over the western US will lead to an extended stretch of mild, sunny weather and favorable wind. By the weekend, temps should be above seasonal average for the first time since mid-January — many areas seeing morning offshore flow and a mix of swells running. Mid-size northwest swell will show strongest for areas north of Point Conception, but enough energy will get around the corner into Southern California for something to ride, while the best-exposed winter breaks should be fun.

We’ll also have a modest, fun-sized southerly swell in the mix, strongest through the south facing spots of Southern California. This swell is starting to slowly filter in now from a more southwest direction and will shift south-southwest later this week and weekend thanks to storm activity in the South Pacific that happened seven to ten days ago. We’ve seen good waves at locales well South of the Border in the past couple days, which is a solid indication that the southerly swell is on the way.

SoCal beachbreaks should be a good option Friday through the weekend off the mix of swells coupled with favorable wind and pleasant weather. Be sure to pack some neoprene, though: while air temps will warm this weekend, water temps are still quite cool and breezy northwest flow along the coast Tuesday-Wednesday – and resultant upwelling – cooled things further. Northern California breaks are in the lower 50s, while SoCal breaks are generally in the mid 50s.

One thing to watch out for: there is some uncertainty on how deep into next week the favorable conditions will continue for California. Just a couple days ago it looked like it could be most of the week, especially for Southern California. However, the latest model guidance shows the potential for onshore flow and precipitation to return by the middle of next week. We’ll need to work the details out in the next few days, but the bottom line is that late this week and this weekend look good for wind and weather, so take advantage of it while it’s here.

Going into the longer range we continue to watch for a stronger storm pattern to develop in the western North Pacific and eventually stretch into the central and eastern NPAC. The climate models started to advertise this shift during the back half of February, and it’s been on the long-range weather charts for a couple of weeks now as well. Under this pattern, we expect to see solid to potentially XL swell for both Hawaii and California during the back half of the month, with these swells also more ‘westerly’ for California. Again, there is some uncertainty on the specific details for size and timing of these potential swells, but confidence is slowly increasing on those variables.

On March 23, Red Bull and 300 college students will be embarking on a unique road trip from the beach to the snow, for the ultimate “California Dream Day.”

They’ll begin the day by picking students at several local colleges, including Santa Monica College and USC, then heading down to Huntington Beach for an early morning surf, and then hop a bus up to Big Bear for a shred session at Big Bear Mountain Resort’s Red Bull Plaza.

Open to all college students, it’ll be a chance to experience something that makes Southern California such an awesome place to live: surfing and snowboarding in the same day.

The $35 ticket includes transportation to/from several Southern California college campuses, as well as some food and, of course, a Big Bear lift ticket.

Students will also be joined by Red Bull athletes to further elevate this one-of-a-kind experience. The whole event is expected to last about 12 hours.

It’ll be a day for SoCal college-aged surfers and snowboarders to really push the limits of what’s possible in the Golden State.

Check out the Red Bull site for all the details about pick-up times and locations, as well as purchase tickets. They are only $35. Space is limited to 300 people.

Join Surfrider LA on Saturday for the quarterly volunteer orientation where you'll have a chance to hear from local Surfrider LA activists about their campaigns and programs and how YOU can get involved protecting our local coastal resources. The orientation will last from 10-11AM with a beach cleanup to follow from 11AM-1PM. All are welcome! Bring your family, bring your friends, and come learn about the great work that's being done to address global ocean issues right here in your own back yard. Your coast needs you and we can't wait to dial you in!

NOTE: Surfrider LA is the good Chapter of Surfrider. It's the Surfrider California Chapter that promotes a known racist, sexist individual and her scam.

Meet Tracie, a 59-year Santa Monica resident and adaptive surfer, skater, and marathoner who will be running the LA Marathon next month and raising funds to support Surfrider LA. Tracie is a total beast and hasn't let Multiple Sclerosis stand in the way of getting after what she loves best - the beach, endurance challenges, and heavy drops. Click this link to support Tracie as she enters the LA Marathon on March 24th to raise funds for your favorite Surfrider chapter.

By supporting Surfrider runners in the Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon, your gift will directly impact and help protect our local ocean, waves, and beaches for future generations. GO, TRACIE, GO!

From Surfrider LA :
As the rains have tapered off, water quality has improved at the majority of sites tested - 31 and 20 CFUs/100mL at Santa Monica Pier and Will Rogers Beach respectively. However, the Pico Kenter storm drain is still showing elevated bacteria levels of 3823 CFUs/100mL 💩😳 - it’s a good reminder to avoid entering the ocean around storm drains for at least 72 hours after a significant rain.

Questions about Surfrider LA's Blue Water Task Force can be addressed to
On Wednesday 2/27 at Patagonia Santa Monica , Surfrider LA is discussing sea level rise and the impacts to surfing in California. Members will hear an update from the Malibu Lagoon Action Committee and their efforts to address chronic erosion at First Point. Meeting is from 7pm - 8:30pm in store, and open to the public!

Patagonia Santa Monica store
1344 4th Street ,
Santa Monica , California , 90401

The North Pacific is fairly slow as we move into the second half of February. The West Coast gets a shot of NW windswell midweek, which shows largest in Northern California. . Southern California gets a smaller share but again, winds are problematic.


Surfrider LA is looking for volunteers who can assist with weekday corporate sponsored beach cleanups. These cleanups are a major source of revenue for the chapter and help fund ongoing programs and campaigns to address plastic pollution, water quality, beach access, and coastal preservation here in LA County. DM Surfrider LA on Instagram if you're available to help with the cleanup on Wednesday.

On Saturday, February 16, 2019 at 10 AM – 1 PM, Surfrider LA will be posting up on the north side of the Venice Pier to clean between the lifeguard headquarters and Ballona Creek. Come clean the beach and reward yourself with a bite and beverage at The Whaler afterwards!

Visit the Surfrider Event Page for details.

From Surfrider LA :
After last weekend’s heavy rain, samples collected at Santa Monica beaches yielded elevated levels of enterococcus bacteria BUT under the EPA-recommended threshold. Unfortunately, samples collected at Tower 15 at Will Rogers beach by the drain showed exceedances in the levels of bacteria ABOVE the safety threshold. While the LA County Department of Health lifted the water quality warning this morning, care should still be taken to avoid surfing or swimming near creeks, outflow pipes or drains for another 1-2 days. .

Questions about Surfrider LA's Blue Water Task Force can be addressed to

On Tuesday, the Surfline cam got footage of this Ford F150 smashing into the guardrail near Neptune's Net.

The video above from KTLA says an eyewitness captured the footage (but he filmed the the Surfline cam's replay of it).

Boardriders Malibu and Vintage Surfboard Collector Club are hosting the Topanga Surf Swap. Mark your calendars on February 9 - 7am to 2 pm, for some epic vibes! Whether your looking to buy, sell or trade, there will be boards and gear for everyone!

Boardriders Malibu
18820 Pacific Coast Hwy
Malibu, Ca 80265
310 - 359 - 8274

Check out photos from the last event: Topanga Vintage Surf Swap

After a stormy last week, a better surf window should temporarily open up this week for parts of California. Unfortunately, not a whole lot of swell down in Southern California, yet clean morning conditions will setup plenty of options especially after the recent rains (come on, sandbars...).

WEDNESDAY: 3-4'+ sets at winter standouts. AM conditions cleanest. Tuesday's WNW-NW swell-mix decreases some, but still providing sets up to chest-shoulder high at well exposed breaks (strongest overall in Ventura and South San Diego). Likely decent shape, even the beachbreaks with a variety of periods to break it up. Light offshore wind in the AM for most areas, then just a light to moderate onshore breeze developing by the PM. Note a 5.5' high tide peaking mid-morning, which incoming tide early may be a good window for many spots. Poor water quality due to rainfall.

THURSDAY: 2-3'+ sets at winter standouts. AM conditions cleanest. The WNW-NW swell-mix eases down another click from Wednesday. Primarily inconsistent WNW sets around waist-belly maybe chest high for top exposed breaks, which will be most prominent around the best tides - Strongest overall through Ventura and South San Diego. Similar conditions to Wednesday - Light offshore wind in the AM for most areas, then just a light to moderate onshore beeze developing in the PM. 5'+ high tide mid-morning. Poor water quality due to rainfall.
Red Bull‘s WallRide contest will be held in lovely Venice Beach on Saturday, March 9. Weather has been a thorn in this contest’s side, which was originally scheduled for December and then moved to February. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for a sunny day!

Pros and ams will be invited to get creative on different wall designs, and there will be opportunities for an open class of skaters to get in via a “wild card” selection. The contest will be held at the handball courts, known primarily for OG skate antics from some beloved Venice locals back in the day.

Skateboarders 16 years or older ranging from amateurs to professionals are invited to participate, but space is limited! The competition will be judged in ten-minute jam format heats. Registration will start at 10:00 a.m. and will be on a first-come-first-serve basis. Details below:

Venice Beach Handball Courts
1800 Ocean Front Walk
Venice Beach, CA 90291

Saturday, March 9
Registration On-Site and Open Skate: 10 AM
Wild Card Qualifiers: 11 AM
Contest Begins: 1 PM
Contest Finals: 4 PM

From Surfrider LA :
As expected following heavy rain, the level of enterococcus bacteria in water samples obtained from Tower 15 at Will Rogers and in front of the Pico Kenter storm drain (in front of Shutters Hotel in Santa Monica) far exceeded the recommended EPA safe level. It's a good bet that there is widespread contamination of the water at all of our LA-based beaches near storm drains or run-off locations.

Surfrider LA advises beach-goers to stay out of the water for 72 hours following heavy rains as your risk of contracting illness from enterococcus bacteria is significantly increased during this period. Heavy rains are expected in the LA area thru Tuesday so your best chance of avoiding illness is to stay out of the water until Friday.
Check Out Torren Martyn’s New Surf Film, “Thank You Mother”. It will be screening at The Waterfront, Venice, CA, on Friday, February 8th at 8:00 pm

If you’re into cinematic surf films, have a nostalgic love of the 1970s mind-bender “Morning of the Earth” or you just simply enjoy watching beautifully crafted boards slice through flawless right-hand points, then you’d be wise to check out Torren Martyn’s new film, “Thank You Mother”.

Martyn, as you might know, has made a name for himself riding an extensive range of twin-finned boards–everything from 5’4″ to 7’9″–with enviable style and grace. The man who’s crafted each one of Martyn’s twinnies is none other than Simon Jones of Morning of the Earth Surfboards. After watching Falzon’s seminal film back in the ’70s, Jones was heavily influenced by the boards the surfers were riding in the film and remains so to this day. Jones and Falzon are now good friends and kindred spirits in a way, living lives that Martyn has always been inspired by.

Martyn explains that “Thank You Mother” is primarily an all-action surf film, but it hints at the relationship between himself, Jones and Falzon in subtle ways. According to Martyn, Jones shaped four unique boards for him which Martyn test-drives on the long points of J-Bay and Desert Point alongside Jones and his son, Dash. Falzon makes a cameo too–well, sort of. While Martyn and his filmmaker Ishka Folkwell sat down to interview Falzon, Falzon reflected on surfing and what’s important in life. Since Falzon has quite a way with words, Martyn and Folkwell decided to use his interview as narration throughout the entire film–layered beautifully over Martyn’s fancy footwork.