Welcome to the Josh Hall Surfboards blog, a mix of themes from day-in-the-life happenings, to board design ideas and theory, and newly finished boards for clients. Glad you could drop in for a visit. Slide the Glide!
Marks a real historic day for me in my brief career as a surfer/shaper, almost getting ready to hit the 2 decade mark on the surfing side. But today I was reminded why it was so special, it marks my first trip to San Onofre. During my daily hubba sesh with Skip today in his shaping room, he got that twinkle in his eye and hustled me over to have a look at his calendars. Said he had been doing some July 16 day reminiscing; I think Skip has 25 years of tide calendars filled out, so there have been a few July 16th days to look out.
Today, in 1999, Skip and I went to San O for my first time. Now back then, to even go anywhere with Skip was the biggest deal ever, especially to the boys in the hood. We had the Wagon loaded up, I with my second Skip ever, a 10'2 Fish Simmons. He with his 11 and 12 foot Fish Simmons. Casually on the way up he tells me were stopping into a friends shop to say hi and see whats happening. "Sure, no worries." I say. Well little did I know that the "friends shop" was none other than Donald Takayamas shop in Oceanside. I couldn't believe it! It seemed surreal. At that time Joel Tudor was a HUGE influence on me and Donald was his master shaper. There weren't words. Donald and his ever gracious self, took me around the shop introducing me to everyone. He and Skip were right into talk story, it was unbelievable! So then we settle up after the stories. DOnald hops into his Falcon Wagon and leads the way up to San O. (enter freaking out grom excitement here).
The reason Skip was headed up that day was to meet with filmmaker Thomas Campbell to shoot some scenes for his upcoming movie "The Seedling". I had met Thomas prior while he was down filming scenes at the old Harry's Surf Shop on Felspar St. Skip thought it would be a good idea if I tagged along, especially if I had never been "San-o-tized". So we pulled in side by side with Donald and began to unload our things. Entering the water with both of them and paddling out to the left at Old Mans on our big boards remains to this day as one of the highlights of my surfing life. The surf was running 3-5 feet and glassy in the morning, epic introduction conditions. Thomas was set up with his multiple cameras, from land, close and long range, to lugging around this 40 lb. box trying to following behind Skip on a wave wrestling with it on clunker of a board. I just sat there and giggled that all this was happening.
Ill never for get my first waves, up pops a set out the back, Donald and I both being goofy footers spun around, he looked at me and said lets split it, we both dropped straight down the wave and bottom turned at the same time. Of course DOnald got the left, but on the 10'2 Fish Simmons the right peeled all the way to the beach. If that was my last day surfing I would have been totally satisfied. There were many friends up there that day as well. LJ Richards was out surfing, as well as Corky Carrol. Not only was T "formerly Tom Morey" out surfing but let Skip and I test drive an early prototype of the Swizzle. What an incredible first day at San O.
I think Skip knew something was gonna happen like that. He has a sense for magical-hubba days. I was just blown away to ride along with him that day. Little did I know until the premier at La Paloma of The Seedling, Thomas actually filmed me and put one wave in the movie of me riding my 10'2 Fish Simmons at the left at Old Man's. Crazy!!! Never did I think I would be in a surf movie...even if it was only one wave! That was another incredible night.
SO here I am 13 years to the day later living out my dream of being a surfer/shaper. Its taken a long while to get here with many different curves and bumps in the road and dues being paid, but I can't complain. It funny how things come full circle and how the foreshadowing from that day has started to become real. Thomas and I have just worked on a new label for my surfboard brand and have a few other collab things in the works as well. I also still cannot believe that my shaping room literally is steps from Skip's. Ive said it before, words can't express the humility and gratitude I feel for where I have arrived as of today. I hope to be a reflection of all those who have helped and influenced me growing up. I can definitely thank two people. My Dad for supporting my habit and taking me to the beach everyday in the early days. And well, you guessed it, to Skip Frye. with out him none of my dreams could have been actualized, and for that I am thankful. This is only the beginning....