August 16, 2010

Our visit to the ASR Surf/Skate Lifestyle/Fashion Expo at the San Diego Convention Center was an amazing experience for Tracey and me. First of all, it confirmed every preconception I might have had that surfing and surf culture is not just a truly unique sub-culture in moderrn American life, but an alive and thriving cottage industry where everyone seems to know everyone, or at least knows someone who knows someone in the industry. The surfing industry is one you cannot fake your way into and last for long in – there’s so much “inside baseball” being played that the less-than authentics will be discovered very soon, and the news will get around before they knew what hit them.

The expo itself was really something – there must have been at least 60-70 surfboard manufacturers showing off their wares, as well as vendors associated with anything and everything to do with surfing and skateboarding. There were live demos of surfboards being created out of fiberglass, art work, musical instruments, exhibitions detailing the history of surfing on the west coast, and panel discussions on the state of the industry. Perhaps what brought about the positive vibe that filled the exposition hall was the diverse crowd the event attracted – teenagers, families, adults, California chicks with tattoos – it was as much fun people watching as it was visiting the booths to see who was selling what.

We almost didn’t make our connection with Mike Hynson to buy his book and get my “The Endless Summer” movie poster autographed. We walked around the entire hall and saw no booth for Hynson surfboards. Then, when we walked to front and saw the list of all the exhibitors, his name was nowhere to be found – no Hynson anywhere, not even a Mike. Figuring something must have happened and that we had made the drive to San Diego for nothing (I’ll admit I was feeling mighty disappointed), we started walking aimlessly back through the exhibits.

All of a sudden, at the very same time, we happened to see a copy of Mike’s book sitting on a low table at the Bessell Surfboards booth along with some assorted business cards. And it was then we met Tim Bessell, who, apparently, is a legend in the surfing industry – one look at his website will tell you all you need to know about why that is. Seems that Tim and Mike have been friends since junior high school, and Mike worked for a time at Tim’s shop up in La Jolla.

It’s pretty easy to see why Tim is held in such high regard, he’s friendly and outgoing, and loves to share his passion for what he does with others. On display in his booth was his 47,000th (!) surfboard – a white long board beauty with graphite geometric designs all over (it’s laying flat in the back of the picture below). We hit it off immediately, and after informing Tim of our quest, he immediately saw to we were taken care of as if we were long-time friends of his. It took a few different attempts for him to finally reach Mike (who was off demonstrating his technique for shaving foam), and Tim told us to hang on, that Mike would be by in twenty minutes or so – just enough time for us to dash downstairs and hit the ATM so we could pay Mike in cash.

Shortly after we returned, Mike’s wife Carol came by and introduced herself. Just as Tim did, she treated us as if we were long-lost friends. It’s hard to describe the excitement and joy we felt talking to Tim and Carol – literally minutes before strangers from a foreign (at least to us) California surf culture, now sharing our own stories and experiences with each other. By the time Mike showed up, it was actually kind of anti-climatic – my sense is that he’s more of an introvert and was kind of shy at fulfilling our request. Nevertheless, he signed the two books we bought and my poster (looking at it, he said, “You got Bruce’s [i.e., director Bruce Brown] signature – nice”), and seemed genuinely moved when I gave him an extra $20 for signing the poster.

I was going to ask him for a picture, but it was Carol who made the suggestion first. She had a smile that could melt even the largest of glaciers, and Mike seemed to loosen up a bit and actually warmed to the occasion:


Imagine that, The Great White Shank posing alongside Mike Hynson. Pretty cool, huh? After that, it was thanks and hugs from Tim and Carol as we said our goodbyes – not before, of course, promising to have Tim customize a surfboard we can stick into the sand by our backyard tiki bar! – and I felt like I was on cloud nine at the way the whole thing had played out. I had figured we’d walk in, find Mike’s booth, buy the books, get the poster signed, and be on our way in minutes. The unexpected way it ended up turning out was much more memorable. How could it not be? We made friends with two incredible surf legends, making our weekend trip to San Diego as exciting as we hoped it would be.

Pool temp: 94 degrees

Filed in: Treasure Hunt by The Great White Shank at 13:05 | Comment (1)
1 Comment
  1. Boy do I know the feeling of being able to stand next to a “legend” and have a photo taken…that has been my experience with Rod McKuen. Fortunately, he and I have become quite friendly and exchange emails from time to time. I recall the first time I was able to see him in concert and then meet him afterwards to get a couple of his books signed…it was magical. I am so happy this trip turned out to be magical for you and Tracey….it is a definite memory maker.

    Comment by Jana — August 17, 2010 @ 5:16 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Search The Site

Recent Items


September 2021
April 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006



4 Goodboys Only

Site Info