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Surfing, Fads, and St. Christopher

Surfing, Fads, and St. Christopher

This submit is for principally for my youngsters. Style types are often recycled developments from the previous. When my youngsters have been younger, canvas Converse and Vans turned common (once more). As a result of that’s what I wore, they thought I used to be cool. They didn’t know I had been sporting them for many years. Just lately I used to be close to Santa Cruz for an in a single day keep to go to a pal. Within the morning I drove via Santa Cruz and stopped to get a cup of espresso. Throughout the road was a surf store. I haven’t surfed in over 40 years, so I made a decision to stroll throughout the road and check out the present state of surfboards. I used to be shock to see replicas of classic 1960s St. Christopher medals. They appeared like one among these from an image I discovered on the web.

Within the early ‘60s they were very popular with Southern California surfers. This got me to thinking about fads and their influence on society. Not only were they popular among the young California surfers, they were part of the surfer’s “uniform.” A fad. And trend is a fad. So I assumed I’d take a stroll by means of the surf’n fad of the 60’s. A lot of the garments we wore have, once more, turn out to be in style. I’ll embrace a number of hyperlinks if you wish to purchase some ?

After WWII, a handful of troopers returned house and settled in California bringing with them the game of browsing that they had been launched to whereas stationed in Hawaii. By the late ‘50s it was a fad. A BIG one. Fads typically morph right into a parallel style tradition and the browsing fad was no exception.

St. Christopher pendants have been round for hundreds of years. He’s the patron saint of vacationers. The standard St. Christopher medallion present in a Catholic retailer seems nothing just like the colourful ones within the image above. First, the medallions are usually a lot bigger than the dime-sized “surfer” medal, they aren’t multi-colored, and they aren’t spherical. In the event you aren’t accustomed to the Catholic pendants, Catholics have been hanging them from the rear view mirrors of their automobiles for over a century.

Within the image above St. Christopher is carrying a toddler throughout a river. The legend is that St. Christopher, who was 7’5” tall, needed to serve God. After being instructed by a hermit who taught him about Christ, the hermit instructed he (given his tall peak) might greatest serve God by aiding individuals to cross a large river that always took the lives of many who tried to cross. Someday a toddler requested him to hold him throughout the river. Once they lastly reached the opposite shore, Christopher stated to the kid,

“You have put me in the greatest danger. I do not think the whole world could have been as heavy on my shoulders as you were.” The kid replied: “You had on your shoulders not only the whole world but Him who made it. I am Christ your king, whom you are serving by this work.” The kid then vanished.

— Supply: Wikipedia

How the medal turned an icon of the browsing fad is a thriller. The multi-colored medals have been so fashionable that jewellery counters in malls like JC Penny, Newberry’s, and Sears have been filled with them. They might even be present in Thrifty Drug Shops.

Though we lived three miles from the seashore, in the summertime, I “lived” on the seashore. My mother and father didn’t even know I had a surfboard, as they in all probability wouldn’t approve. As a result of helicopter mother and father didn’t exist in these days, youngsters spent most of their summer time days away from house with out supervision. And I spent my days browsing. There have been 5 fashionable surfboard corporations that had a lot of the surfboard market: Bing, Hobie, Jacobs, Greg Knoll, and Dewey Weber. You’d see the decals of those corporations plastered on automobiles that have been parked within the seashore communities. The surfboard corporations bought these decals; they didn’t give them away. Capitalism and advertising at its greatest.

Classic Surfboard Decals


Most surfboards have been “off-the-shelf” – considerably massed produced – however you would have one custom made. Within the sixth grade I used to be too small to journey the standard surfboard that was round 10 ft lengthy and even longer. I saved $125 by delivering newspapers, mowing lawns, and accumulating soda bottles. We recycled within the ‘60s. Soda was bought in glass bottles and every bottle included a “deposit” cost, often 2 cents if I keep in mind appropriately. Bottles could possibly be returned to any retailer that bought soda. The soda corporations would then clear, sanitize, and refill the bottles.

With my $125 in hand, I went to the Greg Knoll surf store in Hermosa Seashore on Pacific Coast Freeway and ordered a custom-made eight’6” board. It was in all probability the smallest board seen on the native seashores.

In the course of the week of these superb summers, every day I might lay in mattress ready for my dad to go away for work, often simply earlier than 6am. Then I might pop away from bed, stroll to my pal Steve’s home and we might hitch-hike to the seashore, boards in hand. A few of the youngsters constructed little trailers they might connect to their bicycles and tow the board to the seashore. If we had extra cash, we might lease an area at one of many native surfboard rental outlets that dotted the strand walkways alongside the sandy seashores. I feel the weekly rental was one thing like 25 cents.

Each weekday we spent a lot of the day on the seashore. We might surf till about 10am when the waves petered out. Often round 10am, the lifeguards would shut a lot of the water to the surfers anyway. Flags with a black ball have been positioned on the seashore marking the areas that have been closed to browsing. We stayed on the seashore all day, hoping that within the late afternoon the surf would enhance and we might surf within the few areas the lifeguards had not closed to browsing. The times glided by shortly as we laid on the sand engaged on our tans, performed volleyball, and flirted with the women who would present up within the late mornings with their tiny bikinis. Appeared nobody was chubby in these days, everybody had a slender physique. Lunch, if we had any cash, was often an enormous basket of greasy french fries that solely value 1 / 4. Steve and I might share a basket.

We not often surfed on weekends. Too many individuals, and those that got here to the seashore lived distant – they weren’t surfers – they have been “Beach Bunnies,” and “Hodads.” This was a part of our tradition’s slang.

And we wore St. Christopher medals. We didn’t know why. That’s what youngsters do. They comply with fads. Not solely did we put on them, we wore them on brief chains and picked garments that wouldn’t disguise or cowl the medals. If a man went “steady” with a woman (dated only one woman), he would give his medal to her. She would put it on an extended chain. And when the couple broke up, she would give it again. Ah, youth! I don’t know if the time period “steady” is even used at this time.

On the seashore, our uniforms have been “board shorts,” a St. Christopher medal, and a JC Penny Towncraft white cotton T-shirt. The shirts have been heavy cotton, in all probability 6.5 ounces per yard and properly made. That they had a “crew neck” collar, so the shirt was near the neck. This manner, the St. Christopher medal was seen because it hung outdoors the shirt. Our T-shirts have been often a measurement or two too giant. Though these shirts are not bought by JC Penny, I nonetheless put on comparable heavy cotton T-shirts made by Professional Membership. We have been all the time barefooted. In the present day we stay in a “retro” world and should buy a few of these ’60s gadgets on Amazon and different locations.

Away from the seashore, particularly at college, once we needed to put on a extra applicable wardrobe,  we had a “surfers” uniform. It all the time included a JC Penny cotton T-shirt, whether or not it was simply the T-shirt alone or underneath one other shirt. The most typical shirt was a wool Pendleton model shirt, until it was simply too scorching. I feel I do know why the Pendleton shirts turned common. Wetsuits have been unusual, however we discovered that if we wore our wool shirts within the water, they would offer some insulation when moist. Wool is a standard base layer for backpackers and different outside sports activities in chilly climate. Some guys (not many ladies surfed in these days) would lather themselves in Vaseline petroleum jelly and then placed on the Pendleton. I by no means did that, Vaseline value cash.

With any youthful fad, there’s often accompanying music. Artists actually don’t create the fads, they only mirror the tradition. We listened to surf-music teams just like the Safaris, Jan and Dean, and in fact the Seashore Boys. Though we appreciated the Seashore Boys’ music, we seen them as a fraud. Besides for his or her drummer, Dennis Wilson, they didn’t surf. However they mirrored the tradition.

The Seashore Boys


The Seashore Boys

Word the white T-shirts and Pendleton shirts, sans St. Christopher medals. Within the prime image they’re sporting mild shade pants, in all probability Levis corduroy denims. I nonetheless have a couple of of these wools shirts. With care, they virtually final perpetually. Pendleton now markets them as “board” shirts.

Once we wore another type of shirt (in fact over our JC Penny Towncraft), it was brief sleeved. And in contrast to the Seashore Boys’ striped shirts, we often wore madras shirts just like the one under.


Typically we wore sweaters. In fact, over a white T-shirt. To point out off your T-shirt and St. Christopher medal, the just about common selection was a cardigan sweater that had a principally open entrance and a pair buttons on the backside. We often wore black.

There have been two decisions for pants. Levi’s blue denims and Levis corduroy denims if we needed to gown up.

Footwear provided many choices. Hottest have been black low-top Converse canvas tennis footwear. For gown put on Florsheim black wingtips have been all the fad, and we wore them with the usual uniform. We all the time wore white cotton socks and often our pants have been simply brief sufficient to showoff the socks. If we needed to put on a necktie to high school we might button up our madras shirt and often put on our tie with the standard uniform.

Additionally in style, and you’ll be able to nonetheless purchase them, have been Jack Purcell canvas tennis footwear, Keds canvas tennis footwear, and even the well-known PF flyers. Within the mid ‘60s Vans deck footwear began to realize reputation.

Converse Allstars


Jack Purcell




PF Flyers

Vans Canvas Deck Footwear


Being near Mexico, we might typically drive to Tijuana and purchase low cost handmade huaraches. What was distinctive about them is the soles have been made out of the tread of discarded vehicle tires.

Flip Flops

On the seashore, within the ‘60s you could go into stores and restaurants barefooted. Other places, no. In the summer we would wear cheap rubber go-aheads to go into stores and eateries. They weren’t allowed at college, so we principally wore them in the summertime when the grownup world made us put on footwear. I wrote about them right here.


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