In the summer of 1962, primarily as the result of the "Gidget" phenomenon, the California beach surf culture stormed the East Coast. This was the dawn of East Coast Surfing, particularly in the Charleston, S.C. area. The first surfboard at the local beaches was a 9'6" Malibu "popout" shared by five teenagers. Board wax was purchased in rock-hard paraffin blocks from the local grocery store. There were no surf shops or waves crowded with other surfers. These kids were stoked and it was contagious! The surfing boom had exploded.
Soon after came a demand for more sophisticated equipment. A custom shaped board from California, including shipping, cost $110.00. A summer job could earn a youngster enough money to buy a Hobie, Weber, or Noll brand longboard. These were fun boards and the pride of anyone who owned one. In the summer of 1963, a group of young "pier barnacles" conceived the notion of forming the Carolina Coast Surf Club. A logo was created (the same one we use today), some simple bylaws were adopted and officers were elected. Meetings were first held at Tom Proctor’s house on Sullivan’s Island. Surf Club trips north to Virginia Beach and south to Cocoa Beach for the first annual East Coast Surfing Championships gave us great memories we will always cherish. The image of David Nuuhiwa’s gravity-defying nose rides in two foot surf slop is indelible in our minds. We recently found some old film of those early days which supports our recollections.
Club membership peaked at about 20 surfers, male and female, ranging from age 13 to 19. However, soon college, the draft, Vietnam, marriage, jobs and careers moved people’s focus from the Club. Around the same time, the shortboard revolution of the late 1960's and early 1970's almost completely replaced classic longboard riding. The Surf Club became dormant.
However, the late 1980's saw a resurgence of longboarding with the introduction of newer, lighter, and better materials. Now what was old is new again. Nose riding, deep turns, and classic style longboard riding is popular again, just as it was over 40 years ago. Some oldtimers found the stoke they had lost. Some never quit. We are part of a movement that has returned to its roots to re-discover surfing the way it was in the beginning. In 2001, a few of the original Club members decided to sponsor a reunion. What started as casual conversation at the reunion about reviving the old Club ended with the creation of Carolina Coast Surf Club, Inc., a South Carolina nonprofit corporation. Our membership is open to anyone with an interest in surfing and preserving the beaches and oceans. Longboarders, shortboarders, young people, old people, spectators, novices and old pros are welcome. We all share several things in common-the love of surfing, the love of the ocean, and a desire to preserve these vital natural resources for the generations which will follow us.
So let’s go. Surf’s up!