Surfing During Paleolithic Times

“…Wanna see our pictures on the cover

Wanna buy five copies for our mothers

Wanna see my smilin face

On the cover of the Rollin Stone”

People of a certain, um, age will remember the song from the early ’70s by Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show.

Well, I finally made it on a cover, 61 (ulp!) years later in the just-out copy of The Surfer’s Journal. I was wearing a shorty wetsuit from the Dive ‘N Surf shop in La Jolla (pre-O’Neill). You sent them your measurements and they sent you the cut-out pieces and a bottle of Black Magic glue and some tape. You’d glue together pieces, glue tape over seams. Early wetsuits didn’t have nylon lining so you’d rub cornstarch on your body so as to be able to slip the suit on. Underneath it I was wearing on old-fashioned wool bathing suit. A 9′ Velzy balsa wood board (this was just before foam.)

This was about a 6-8′ drop to the water (at Steamer Lane), there was a ledge, and we did this when the tide was right in order to stay dry. We’d wait for a wave to hit the cliff, then jump as the backwash flowed outward.

Before wetsuits there wasn’t much of a crowd problem. I remember a foggy morning, 6-8’ at the Lane, 4 of us out. Ah, me.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

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