Thursday, February 12, 2009
Guest Post: Randy Whited
Hi, I am Dredd Blog blogger Randy.
In the photo to the right I am the one standing up with hands on hips, with sunglasses on, but no shirt.
The photo was taken in my youth during an economic revolution of sorts. At that time the world economic headquarters of surfing was of course California and Hawaii. The west.
A couple of years before the photo was taken I had moved to Florida to finish my last year of high school. I was on a surf team out of Mission Beach, California (Challenger Surfboards), so I received respect from the Florida surfers.
I even convinced a pal Fletcher Sharpe to join our team for awhile. Before he went bigger time. Another of our team members won the US Championships in Santa Cruz as well.
We really knew and understood the art form or sport of surfing.
Anyway, after living in Florida awhile and observing the east coast scene I expected the economics of surfing to switch from the west to the east coast.
For whatever reason the east coast young Americans had not been all ablaze over surfing as the west was. But I could not help but notice how that was changing.
When that change was at full power years later, ten to twenty boards were sold on the east coast for each one board sold on the west coast and Hawaii.
I returned to Mission Beach and convinced Tinker that we should move the production to the east coast. He had been a rocket scientist at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena before I met him, and it did not take him long to figure things out.
We were the first California surfboard company to move production from the west coast to the east coast. We chose New Jersey because of its proximity to population centers and its good waves.
Dale Dobson, Jimmy Dalton, Carl "Tinker" West, and I built a surf truck that winter (later called the 'White Whale') which carried about 20 surfboards on its specialized racks. We travelled in it to the east coast, going from New York to Florida showing off our surfing skills and surfboards.
It paid off because we picked up dealers for our boards on the east coast. We decided to move our surfboard factory to New Jersey the next spring.
The photo is a picture of the motley crew that was a bit ahead of the curve. We were incredibly quality conscious, had that reputation in the industry, and worked hard at our craft.
We learned that radical waves of change can and do take place in our nation. Like the ocean waves in New Jersey or like global climate change.
During that time we also experienced a change in rock and roll music. We made friends with Bruce Springsteen, a local rocker there in New Jersey, who was about to make some changes too.
These days I paint, do software, hang with my grandchildren and children, hang with Christie and our cats, and blog with you folks.
PS, I still have a surfboard in our garage.