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OG Valley Kook

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OG Valley Kook

Postby Howly Wolf » Sun Dec 16, 2018 5:05 pm

A little bit of ink has been spilled on the early days of Oregon surfing-- Dana Williams discovering Seaside, adventures of the Agate Beach Surf Club, groovy times at the Cowabunga log Classic-- but when it comes to the OG valley kooks, not much info is publicly available. And why would there be? LOCALS ONLY!

But when looking back at where Oregon surfing began, the statement of record points to Indian Beach 1962*. It remains somewhat vague who was actually surfing there, except for one guy I know of and that's literally Homer Simpson.

Or more specifically, Homer Groening-- filmmaker, ad man, PDX weirdo, and inspiration for his son, Matt's, classic cartoon goofball. During a retrospective of Homer G's films a few years back, Matt and his sister, Lisa, spoke publicly about their father's love of water sports and reminisced that he claimed to be among the first to surf Ecola State Park back in the early 60's. From what I recall, Homer picked up surfing while traveling in warmer climates-- Hawaii, I think-- and thought he'd give it a go closer to home. Surfing ended up a significant part of Homer's life and he incorporated it into a few of his films, as can be seen below:

"A Study in Wet"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfR3wnb3Cjc

"Basic Brown, Basic Blue"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L48YJYrjVgo
(surfing at about 8 minute mark)

https://surferart.com/press/jantzen/

I wish there was a little more info about Homer's surfing on the public record, but given the timeline, there may be some truth to his claim that he pioneered surfing on the North Coast and may have been among the first wave of Oregon surfers as well. If anything, he was clearly the OG valley kook and one inclined to film, so perhaps there's some classic Oregon surf footy collecting dust somewhere in the Groening family archives.


*This is according to Scott Blackman's book, Oregon Surfing North Coast -- first sentence as a matter of fact. There was some float craft experimentation going on in Newport way earlier, but he traces the modern incarnation of surfing to Indian, then to Agate and Seaside within the next few years.
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Re: OG Valley Kook

Postby Major Lazer » Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:28 pm

Never knew Homer surfed.. To funny. Try digging up Art Spence's film.

Speaking of Indian KTU made a big deal about some footy someone sent in of two people trying to surf there yest in this "big storm". Oh my! Was just two people poping up and riding white water in 5' of wafer. Made for a good laugh at 5am-ish on a Monday morning.
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Re: OG Valley Kook

Postby X-squid » Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:18 am

Major Lazer wrote:Never knew Homer surfed.. To funny. Try digging up Art Spence's film.

Speaking of Indian KTU made a big deal about some footy someone sent in of two people trying to surf there yest in this "big storm". Oh my! Was just two people poping up and riding white water in 5' of wafer. Made for a good laugh at 5am-ish on a Monday morning.


Man I can see it happening (cue flashback dream-sequence wavy-screen thing from the 70s/80s)

Kook 1: "...I knew you wouldn't miss a 50-year storm Bodhi!"
Kook 2: "Yeah"
Kook 1: "Too bad, you finally get your waves and it's totally closed out."
Kook 2: "Just waiting for my set."
Kook 1: "Haha- awesome. Okay, now hold your board like... that. Perfect. Killer IG post!"
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Re: OG Valley Kook

Postby BOX » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:42 am

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Re: OG Valley Kook

Postby Tex » Tue Jan 01, 2019 7:30 pm

love the history on OR Surf Howly...thanks for the post!
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Re: OG Valley Kook

Postby Howly Wolf » Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:59 pm

I find it fascinating as well, Tex-- it's valuable to look back to respect the old timers, as well as appreciate the present, what with our newfangled neoprene and surf cams and whatnot. Unfortunately, while writing my little book report here, I learned that OG Agate pioneer, Scott Blackman passed away last summer. He put together some books with his wife, Sandy, specific to the region's surf history that are worth checking out. May he rest easy in the aether.

That being said, I'm curious if there are any other recommendations for learning more about PNW surf legacy?
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Re: OG Valley Kook

Postby Tex » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:20 am

Howly- far as I know- your putting together the Master List. I can fill a couple small blanks early to mid 90's but that is about it. I would love to know who started surfing the serious breaks in Manzanita if anyone has heard of claims.
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Re: OG Valley Kook

Postby BOX » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:30 pm

A few years back the maritime museum here in Newport had an exhibit dedicated to the history of surfing on the Oregon coast. It had some old vintage boards, black and white pictures of early OR surfing (like folks using 10' planks in the 1910s), old memorabilia, etc. There was also a considerable amount of pics and pieces from the Agate Beach Surf Club's heyday. I don't know who curated it, but there was lots of great history on display so someone involved had to have some knowledge.

Well, just did my research and apparently Mr. Blackman was the consultant, so I guess that just brings it back around full circle... Definitely interested in hearing more about it, though, if anyone digs up some more history.
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Re: OG Valley Kook

Postby Tex » Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:54 pm

i always wondered about starting a NW Surf Mag....if I won the lottery I would do it.
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Re: OG Valley Kook

Postby Howly Wolf » Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:24 pm

I'd be interested in a compilation of interviews with all the OSPers who apparently forgot their passwords. The collective knowledge/stoke/story has potential to be amazing.

But for the time being, I'm content talking story with random folks in random places. Knowledge drops feel pretty special when they happen and can really shift perspective in a way that clicks with what I may need, or what I didn't know I needed, in that moment.
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Re: OG Valley Kook

Postby Tex » Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:58 pm

For those with significant time on their hands, this entire forum could be mined for rich stories to compliment the historical work done by others. Of course, any miner would have to be on high alert for loads of BS.
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