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The forecast called for some big waves, so it was crowded, unfortunately the swell only delivered small waves, but fun waves nonetheless.

A lot more shots from this morning in the Sunset - Saturday 7-9-2016 Gallery

Dusters California and the California Locos stayed true to their identities with a product launch event in Venice Beach last Saturday night. With roots steeped in graffiti, surf, skate, punk rock and the contemporary art world, the California Locos displayed their work at The Rose Room. More than 700 skateboarders, art lovers, friends, media and locals enjoyed a short film revealing the new collection of skateboards and a documentary on John Van Hamersveld titled “CRAZY WORLD AIN’T IT – The Life and Times of John Van Hamersveld.”

Dusters’ roots lie in the cradle of surf and skate culture in the golden haze of California. Bred from the same spirit that was born in the 60’s and 70’s when skateboarding, surfing and music defined themselves against establishment. Dusters California is built by a team that understands the functionality of these boards with more than 25 years of experience in the industry. Throughout the years of skateboarding and manufacturing, we learned the importance of the fit and finishes of a skateboard, which can be seen in every single detail of Dusters’ boards.

by Michael Warshaw .

Jay Adams was my first surfing partner. Starting in the summer of 1969, when we were pretty much inseparable, until around 1972. We both lived in Venice. My family, by the depressed 1960s standards of this warm, grungy little beachfront surf-hippy-barrio, was well off. Jay’s family was poor. Every morning that first summer, in 1969, Jay’s mom, Philaine, drove us two miles north to Santa Monica pier, dropped us off, then came back for pick-up around 4:00 in the afternoon. Jay was eight. I was nine.

The two of us were ridiculously mismatched. I was a bookworm, the son and grandson of bookworms; not withdrawn, but happy to sit alone for hours, reading or building a model. Jay was 75 pounds of ADHD energy and charisma and misdemeanor destruction. He never slowed down. He rarely backed down. He mouthed off to teachers, and spent lots of time sitting outside the Nightingale Elementary principal’s office. Totally without warning, he’d pick up a rock and throw it at something, and all of a sudden I’d be running after him, away from the sound of breaking glass or screeching car brakes, pissed off and scared and excited,.

There were a few aggro kids in Venice, and a few others who were for one reason or another attractive or popular, and in the overlap between the two—Jay owned that space. Completely. Hanging out with him wasn’t really an option, you just did it automatically, even while you were confused, or even a little freaked out, by how he behaved. “Swagger” wasn’t a word any of us knew, but Jay had it in spades, and you wanted to be around just to see what would happen next. Like when a group of us Venice kids, Jay included, got an audition for a Band-Aid TV commercial (“I am stuck on Band-Aid,” the jingle went, “cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me”). Every other kid got nervous when it was their turn to get up and perform; we shuffled a bit, mumbled the lines, and were politely dismissed. Jay grinned and vamped, got the gig. Then blew off the actual shoot. No reason, just decided he wasn’t going to do it.

What Jay and I had in common was that we surfed and skated more than anybody in the neighborhood. By a long shot. In the water and on the sidewalks and driveways—this was where Jay’s crazy energy and my single-mindedness came together. The two of us spun ahead of our little crew. We took turns winning the Bay Street surf contest. In Santa Monica we got to be mascots to older surfers and their girlfriends. Then we did the same thing at Malibu.

I followed Jay’s lead, and learned how to perform. During surf movie nights at the Santa Monica Civic, when everybody was standing in line to get in, Jay and I were the opening act, skating back and forth across the smooth broad cement walkways, dropping down for tight-radius, clay-wheel-destroying turns. This was years before the Zephyr-Dogtown thing took off. Jay was the star, I was the sidekick—which worked out great for me. Everything I’ve done in surfing, and in my career, has been fueled by trying to catch up to people with more natural talent than I’ve got.

Jay and I had three or four years of that. Then I moved to Beverly Glen, and Jay moved to Santa Monica. A year later I moved again, to South Bay, where I started high school and picked up a new group of friends. By 1975, when Jay and Zephyr blew up, we were more acquaintances than friends. Pretty soon we dropped out of touch completely.

Ten or 12 years passed before I saw Jay again. On the North Shore, around 1990, I was in a pizza joint across the street from Sunset, when Jay darted in through a side door, saw me, sat down. We talked for 10 or 15 minutes, but he was wired, jumping out of his skin almost, and like a shot he was back through the side door and gone. A few years later I waited in line at the San Diego ASR trade show booth where Jay was signing autographs, but when I got to the front he was too wasted to recognize me.

Now and then I’d read something about Jay, or hear about him from a mutual acquaintance, and the news was never good. Drugs, prison, and, incredibly, a gay-bashing murder charge that got reduced to felony assault conviction. About four years ago, when Jay got out of prison, and was Born Again, and probably in NA, somebody emailed me Jay’s number, along with a message that he wanted to get in touch, but I let it go.

Last November [2012], Jay sent me a Facebook friend request. I sat there, thinking. Clicked over to his Facebook page. Looked at that ghoulish face, with the bent nose, gangster tats, and death-ray stare beaming out and doing a bit of violence to my soft, warm, quiet, upper-middle-class life. Dude had 5,000 friends. Maxed out. A few more second passed by. Hell, I could probably be the first person on earth to not accept Jay Adams’s friend request.

Nah. I hit accept. Of course I did. Just sheer force of habit, left over from 40-something years ago when I’d go along pretty much with whatever Jay wanted. That, plus the timing was right. Last year I moved to Seattle and quit being a full-time surfer. Now that I don’t check webcams or track swell forecasts, I find myself, in what feels like my geezer-in-training phase, looking back at this massive chunk of life, the surfing part, and just sort of…take it in. Walk around it, look at it, marvel at it, the sheer size and mass. I keep wanting to somehow wrap my arms around the whole thing.

And if could wrap my arms around it, the place where my fingers touch, back there at the very beginning—that’s where Jay is. We came into our respective surfing lives as fraternal twins, and all of sudden I wanted, badly, to get in touch with Jay; to acknowledge our shared starting point; to revel in our own surfing Genesis.

Facebook friends? Sure. Sunday lunch at the Del Mar Hotel at Bay Street? Better!

Matt's interview with Jay from a few years ago:

Jay Adams:
When did we meet?

Matt Warshaw: Around ‘67 or ’68. Did you go to my birthday party at POP? My 7th birthday party, I think.

JA: Mmmmmm, I don’t remember. But I went to POP a couple times before it closed, for sure.

MW: There was that one ride, it was a round room, and it spun around really fast, then the floor dropped down and you’d stick to the walls.

JA: I loved that thing.

MW: One of the kids at my party barfed on that ride. God it was disgusting.

JA: There was a roller coaster called the Mouse; that one was rad too.

MW: I think POP closed that year, or maybe the next year. Around 1968. You were already surfing then; you got a head start on all of us.

JA: Kent [Jay’s stepfather, Kent Sherwood] had the surf-mat rental place on the north side of POP. I’d hang out with him in summer, and he made me a board, like a mini-log.

MW: Red, with swirls on the bottom?

JA: Yeah. Wish I still had that thing.

MW: Didn’t Kent work with Velzy? Or Dave Sweet?

JA: Dave Sweet. The shop on Olympic.

MW: That’s right, Kent took us there one day, just a couple months after we started surfing, and I think Dave had just gotten out of retail. We’re standing in this closed-down part of the shop, it must have been the showroom, and Dave just handed us each a short john. First wetsuit. Free!

JA: You know that book California Surfriders , the really old book? I’ve got a copy somewhere in storage. It says, “To Malibu surf rider Dave Sweet,” and it’s signed “Doc Ball, 1948.” I’m not even sure how I got it. Dave must have given it to me. I’ve had it since I was a little kid.

MW: How did Kent know Donald Takayama?

JA: Kent was a beachboy. A haole beachboy, one of the only ones. He grew up in Hawaii. He worked for a guy named Harry Robello, who was maybe like the head beachboy. So Kent knew Donald from Waikiki, then they both ended up over here, and they stayed friends.

MW: Donald make you that little reverse teardrop board, it was the coolest little-kid board ever.

JA: Another board I wish I still had.

MW: Before that, like in ’68, when you had that mini-long, my brother and me and a couple other kids, we’d ride the tram to POP and try and spy on you. For some reason you didn’t want us watching you surf.

JA: That doesn’t sound like me.

MW: Then your mom, the next year, just out of the blue said she was going to drive us to Santa Monica Pier every morning, that summer, so we could really learn how to surf. [The Del Mar Hotel is about 500 yards south of Santa Monica Pier; Jay and I both turn around and look at it for a few seconds.] We rode those shitty little beginner waves all day, for months. Your mom got me started surfing. No other grown-up was going to take us to the beach every single day.

JA: We used to skate there, too. The first time I ever really skated in front of people…remember that little hill, going down from the pier to the Boardwalk?

MW: Right behind the merry-go-round.

JA: One afternoon there were maybe 50 people there, watching. Some bigger kids skating too, but I remember going down that hill, back and forth, doing turns, and all of a sudden all those people were clapping.

MW: When did you start skating? You were doing that too before we met.

JA: Kent made me a skateboard when I was, I don’t know, four or something. But I’d just ride around on my knees.

MW: Remember when my dad brought home Skater Dater, and we watched it like 10 times in a row?

JA: Skater Dater was what got me really excited about the whole thing, cause those guys were doing stuff, tricks and stuff, not just standing there. Jumping off curbs, things like that. And for me t was like, Wow, those guys are flying! And that got me so excited. Then later on, Kent took me to Paul Revere junior high to skate, and you dad took us to Pali High—remember that long parking lot? Down the first half, then U-turn and down the second half, then you’d have to walk up a dirt trail to the hill to the top.

MW: Those super low turns you were doing; everybody thinks you were imitating Larry Bertlemann, but I remember you were doing those things before we knew who Bertlemann was.

JA: Jeff Hakman and Wayne Lynch were the first two guys who really influenced me. Especially Lynch. He was the most radical of all those guys, he turned so much harder.

MW: And he was the youngest; he was like only eight years older than us. He was a kid, too.

JA: Those turns were probably me pretending to be Wayne Lynch. Bertlemann came later. Did you know Ty Page when you lived in South Bay?

MW: My mom was friends with his mom. I met him a few times, but he was a couple years older.

JA: He was actually a pretty big influence on me too. I used to hear about him a lot. I think he won the US Championships a couple of times in the groms division, or whatever it was called, and we’d hear that he was ripping at San Onofre. He was a really good surfer and skater, both, and that was the coolest thing I could imagine. He ended up being Tony Alva’s enemy, but I had respect for him.

MW: You know who surfed as good as Ty Page, and I think was the exact same age, was Darrick Doerner. Did you know Darrick when he lived in Venice? I hung out with him some, but I don’t remember the three of us together.

JA: I knew him better when we were both living on the North Shore, later. Back then, I remember watching him and Allen Sarlo surfing the [Venice] Jetty. He was one of the hot kids of our area. Maybe the hottest kid.

MW: There was a big earthquake one morning, maybe in ’71, and all the schools were closed. The surf was huge, and kind of junky, and Darrick paddled out that day at the jetty by himself. The only guy. He was I guess 13 years old, and none of the older guys went out. I remember me and you sitting on the jetty watching him. Darrick was gnarly even at that age.

JA: And he got a lot gnarlier!

MW: The Malibu crew in the early ‘70s took us in; that was pretty cool. Dave White—you were kind of his little protege. I was always kind of scared of him.

JA: Dave was sort of my big brother. He was the heavy Malibu guy back then. He got any wave he wanted, and he got into a lot of fights. He lived right there near the pier. I went to his house once, looked in, and he was messing around with some chick, smoking weed. I was such a little kid, you know, and I just ran away.

MW: Didn’t Dora sort of take you under his wing, too?

JA: No, no. There was just this one time, one afternoon, probably the first year we were surfing Malibu. Dora paddled over and said he was going to kidnap me and take me to France, and make me into a real surfer.

MW: I remember once we climbed up onto POP, after it was shut down, and sat on the railing and watched Dora surf by himself at the Cove.

JA: Yeah, yeah.

MW: We knew who he was from surf movies, but I remember thinking he was kind of a kook. We were so into Hakman and BK and Lopez. Dora didn’t really mean anything to us. He was okay on a shortboard, but…

JA: He wasn’t Hakman.

MW: Exactly.

JA: That was before we had leashes. I told somebody I wanted to surf there [the Cove], and the guy said, ‘You can’t, cause you don’t have a leash.” And I’m like, “What’s a leash?” And he said, “It’s this long piece of rubber, it sticks to the nose of your board with a suction cup, and the other end ties around your wrist, and they only make ‘em in Santa Cruz.” The leash hadn’t gotten down to LA yet.

MW: Our boards were beat to shit, just from surfing Malibu. You had that one board, it started out solid orange, and every time Kent fixed a ding on it he used a different color pigment. It ended up with all these different color patches, blue, green, yellow, red.

JA: Kent thought that was so funny

MW: While my dad just went out and bought me a new board. It’s funny, me and my brother were the rich kids on the block, and you guys were poor, but we were jealous of you, everybody was, because your dad surfed, and made your boards, and because your mom took us surfing.

JA: I never even knew we were poor. I think back now, it was three of us all living in a little one-room tin-roof shack, with a potbelly stove for a heater…and it’s like, wow, we really were poor. But as a kid it didn’t feel that way at all. We had food, I was loved, I was one block from the beach.

MW: Philaine was clean by then, right?

JA: Yeah, she quit doing drugs when she was pregnant with me. She became a hippy and everything, and her and Kent smoked weed, but otherwise no drugs.

MW: We had the nice house, and I had the new board, but now that I think about it, your mom and Kent were the only solid couple out of everyone we knew back then. My parents were fighting all the time. They got divorced a couple years after I started surfing. But it seems like that stuff didn’t really matter for us kids; it’s like our parents weren’t as big a part of our lives back then as parents are today. We just kind of had our own thing going on the beach. There wasn’t even any Little League or anything like that.

JA: Venice was different.

MW: A lot of people say they hated where they grew up, and couldn’t wait to move away. It’s always kind of hard for me to relate to those people.

JA: No, I know. We got so lucky, growing up in where we did, during those years.

MW: Yeah, I think about that all the time, how lucky we got.

Originally published in The Surfer’s Journal, Vol. 22, #4
Photos by Kent Sherwood and Michael Warshaw

A lot more shots from this morning in the Sunset - Tuesday 7-5-2016 Gallery

Eight weeks after a full knee replacement, the doctor gave Allen the green light to surf.

CLICK HERE for more videos.

Early morning on the day before the Fourth Of July at the Venice Pier.

A lot more shots from this morning in the Venice Pier - Sunday 7-3-2016 Gallery .

Art exhibit featuring the art of:

Drew Brophy, Joshua Ben Paskowitz, Roy Gonzalez, John Van Hamersveld John Severson, Jeff Devine, Chloe Trujillo, Nathan Paul Gibbs, Brian Frabisilio Dana Lewis and Hunter William Scott-Bartz. Also: On display Patrick Swayze’s “Point Break” Board and art.

WHAT: Surf Art Exhibit, including all new original art works being revealed by Drew Brophy and Joshua Paskowitz.

ALSO: Original Rick Griffin painting on surfboard, available for the first time ever!

On Exhibit: The surfboard of Eddie Aikau’s 1978 rescue attempt that took his life.

This exhibit is benefiting the kids of One Recovery.

WHERE: One Gallery, 1431 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401 (Located between Broadway and Santa Monica)

Questions: Call or text 949-678-8133

WHEN: Opening: Sat, July 2nd 10 a.m – 10 p.m. Opening Big Bash Party: Sat, July 9th 6:00 p.m.

Exhibit will be up from July 2nd through July 14th, 2016

Photos by SteveChristensenPhoto

There's several more cool shots in Steve Christensen's Surfing Venice - July Gallery