The Nineties

The Nineties was an era of growth, celebration and revival. While the previous decade had kept the flame alive, this one was marked by a new found energy that produced a resurgent pride and productivity.

The explosion of long boards brought a renewed set of members, while the economic affluence of the era created a welcome sense of comfort and collective optimism. The Hawaiian Surf Club of San Onofre was founded in January of 1990 by a group of transplanted Hawaiian surfers that wanted to share the Hawaiian culture and the Aloha spirit in surfing.

“The surf Club was founded in honor of one of Hawaii’s legendary surfers, Mr. Raymond Leialoha Patterson, one of the Patterson Brothers,” says Club President Paul Strauch.

The 1989 Desert Storm Parade was started as a lark by Don Craig and his large, extended gang at the north end of the beach. Responding to complaints by Viet Nam era vets that there was never a parade to honor military men from the era, Don announced that there would be a full military revue complete with General Shwartzkoff. Then with the help of the Point Crew, they threw together a 1971 Cadallac convertible, some vintage jeeps and other military vehicles and dressed up in combat uniforms of every branch of the service. With Doug’s brother Rod played General Shwartzkoff and Joe Weaver’s dad handled the role of General Colin Powell, they started down the beach at the announced hour.

The parade was a sensation. By the time they reached the south end of the beach, a crowd of several thousand had lined the roadside, creating one of the most well attended and successful spontaneous events in the history of the Club.

The Point crew, a sub-tribe of individuals who generally surf their point break exclusively, have always considered their area as a somewhat independent territory. It was not surprising that after a number of spots along the State Beach have become identified by their architectural structures (Pink Pole, the Shacks at old Man’s and Dog Patch, the Volleyball Courts, the Showers at Four Doors) that the Point would want a statement of their own. In 1995, the Point crew created their own unique sculpture sign denoting “The Point”, using recessed concrete and glazed blue tile.

While the Club has no particular interest in promoting contests at San Onofre, the State Park has allowed a small number of events to take place on an annual basis. The Hobie San Onofre Classic is one of these, and it is often attended by Hobie Alter himself. A frequent competitor in the early years at Nofre, and a long-time Club member, Hobie is still a local hometown favorite. The event, started in 1995, has continued to flourish, adding a “Concours De Elegance” classic board display featuring some of the most outstanding examples of rare boards found outside an auction room or private collection.

The Roxy Wahine Classic, first run in 1996, has been a very popular girl’s contest that is also one of the few allowed by the State. Produced by Alan Seymour (whose Club membership dates back to the early 70’s) it attracts a huge contingency of younger girl surfers who use the event as an introduction to contests, or to cut their teeth for other more intense competition.

In 1997 Steve Gibby produced the documentary surf video Surfer’s Mecca – San Onofre in collaboration with LongBoard Magazine. A fairly comprehensive documentary, it caught a good deal of the flavor and feeling of the Club as well as some unique water footage rare for San Onofre. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the film was the hot footage of so many well known surfers – from Hawaiian legend Rabbit Kekai, and former World Champ Joyce Hoffman to top pros Steven Slater and Jeff Kramer, to current longboard maestro Joel Tudor and his mentor, David Nuuhiwa.

Colin McPhillips, a long time member, began training for the World Longboard Championships, which he eventually won. He would be the fourth Champ to have used San Onofre for his training grounds, joining Joyce Hoffman, Corky Carroll and Rolf Arness, three of the most dominant and impressive surfers of their respective eras. Colin has followed suit, capturing the 1998 World Longboard title and then winning again in 2000 and 2001 for two titles in a row.

About the same time that the Club was producing the 1972 yearbook, it also produced another smaller classic: the San Onofre Surfing Club Cookbook.

In 1999, the Club produced a new edition with updated recipes from many of the younger members as well as the tried-and-true standards of their elders. Illustrated by surf artist and Surfer Magazine creator John Severson, it contains such classics as Polly Buckingham’s Emergency Potato Salad, Dianne Jappe’s Evening Glass Off Guacamole, and Egg Foo Young by Pop Proctor (who at 91 was considered the oldest surfer in the world). It also includes recipes unique to San Onofre such as the world-famous Middle Beach Pit Barbeque by Chuck Joyce (used for large events in every decade) the legendary Shark Steak and Subgum Stew by James Arness (passed down from a recipe of Whitey Harrison in the Thirties) and the and Guard Gate Special contributed by Steve Pezman (cooked on your surf mobile’s engine manifold on the drive to the beach.)

Next: The New Millennium

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