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Sometimes It's The Gems We Lose

Portrait of Jeff taken by David Pu'u on October 16, 2008, inside his oceanfront home in Sandyland

Sadly, longtime Santa Barbara surfer/shaper/businessman Jeff White has passed away. His life touched many others. Below is his obituary written by Bruce Fowler, a longtime friend.

Jeff White - Santa Barbara Legend Passes Away

Jeffrey D. White quietly passed away yesterday. He was my partner and friend for many years and will be deeply missed.  The first time I met Jeff, was at a small wood shack of a surf shop along the two lane strip that runs along Pleasure Point in Santa Cruz.  He was a tall slender man of around 25 years of age with a building full of O’Neill Wetusits that he would rent out by the hour or the day.  It was Christmas time, and I was about 8 years old.  My family had a ritual of spending alternate Christmas times with my Uncle Brad’s family who lived in nearby Felton.  My mom rented a vest for me for around $3.00, and I can remember telling my brother I was so warm I could stay out all day!

It wasn’t until years later that I would meet Jeff again.  After owning my first surf shop at the ripe old age of 17, I was asked by Char Lockerbie, then the manager of Jeff’s “Surf n Wear” shop on Carrillo Street, to work for them upon returning from an extended surf safari in Central America.  I jumped at the chance, and became one of the three employees that, along with Jeff, and Char’s sister, Chris, would become the face of Surf “n Wear’s 1970’s history, and a cornerstone to other local surf shops to follow.

Although Jeff is well known and remembered for being the creator of “Owl Surfboards” with partner Brian Bradley in Summerland during the early 60’s, he is perhaps more noted for being a powerhouse lifeguard and dory racer with teammate Paul Hodgert.

I would watch ABC Television’s “Wide World of Sports” coverage of “The United State Surfing Championships” held every year at Huntington Beach, California.  Every year Hodgert & White would get in their dory and come out on top while battling through frequently huge surf by the pier to round the outside buoy, position themselves carefully in the lineup, then catching and riding a wave in with the dory, to finally land the unwieldy vessel, jump out and run up the beach to the finish line.  Paul and Jeff dominated the entire decade!

Jeff was never supposed to live this long.  He had been afflicted with Multiple Sclerosis previous to my working with him (1971-79), and after consulting with many doctors that presented a hopeless outlook for him, he found one doctor that offered hope through a stringent and demanding diet and therapy.  Jeff faithfully followed those instructions. As he told me, “I went from crawling on all fours in the sand, to eventually walking, then finally running”.

Jeff’s success story with MS resulted with many people stricken with the disease being brought by to meet Jeff at our shop, thereby providing them with inspiration.

Jeff will be remembered as a dear friend, a business partner that I learned much from, and a real piece of work that all those guys from the Gidget era seem to possess.  On any given day Jeff would have Char, Chris and myself crying with tears of laughter or just shaking our heads at whatever cornball stint he could come up with next   Jeff was truly one of a kind…

Long may you ride Jeffrey.
Bruce Fowler aka DS


Hawaiian Surf Club Surfboard

Club member Kenny Shue, with the board in our showroom.

The annual club photo taken on the beach at 4 Doors, San Onofre. Photo: Rick Rickman

In 1990, transplanted surfers and friends from Hawai'i and California organized and formed a surfing club at San Onofre State Beach in Orange County, CA. This year denotes the club's 20th anniversary.

Raymond Patterson, a well-known, soft-spoken surfer and noted ukulele virtuoso, was one of the club founders together with Kalani Akui, Frank and Helen Marasco, Alfred Kuhia, Sandy Kanaeholo, and John Loo.  

Their gracious Hawaiian hospitality brought more surfers together and the "Hui Ohana He'e Nalu" (surfing family) grew..

Now, every weekend club members, their families and friends meet at San Onofre, known for its casual and relaxed beach atmosphere, to enjoy surfing the mellow waves, the warm sunshine, ono "kanaka" food, Hawaiian music, and good times that only good friends can offer. 

This board belonged to club member Wayne Curtis, and was donated by his widow, Pam and the Hawaiian Surf Club. Wayne wanted to keep the board in pristine condition and only rode it a couple times. The board (shaped in 2004) is one of 60, shaped by Steve Irvin, especially for club members. Steve along with his twin brother Stan, have been shaping boards in Southern California, since 1963. 


Digital Watermarking of our images – Public Notice

As part of our commitment to protecting our image donors, the Surfing Heritage Foundation has begun using digital watermarking on ALL of our images, including those images seen on our website. This watermark is not visible to the eye, but is easily seen by many computer programs such at Photoshop and other image editing programs. In addition, we have also purchased a “watermark spider” that crawls the Internet specifically looking for any images that contain our SHF watermark. The Surfing Heritage Foundation is prepared to take the appropriate action should we find any illegal or unlicensed usage of images from our files.