Richard tells classic story about paying his dues as a 'snake'
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 7 March, 2011 : - - I got an interesting 'Snake Pit' story today that involves my old pal Bob Moore, former lifeguard at Doheny State Park in Dana Point. I will get to that at the end of this story, but I thought I would reminisce a little bit first about the Glory Days at Doheny Beach.
Before they gutted the beautiful Dana Point cove and put in the boat harbor in the 1960's both Dana Point and Doheny Park were solid surfing areas. Dana Point was known for its big heavy walls on large south swells and was known in the surfing world as "Killer Dana." It was one of the most beautiful and scenic areas anywhere in the world.
Doheny was the afternoon hangout for most every top surfer in Orange County. The reason for that was the wind, which is normally westerly in the afternoons, blows across Dana Point and becomes "offshore" at Doheny, holding up the waves and making the surf good when most everywhere else in the county has become choppy and unsurfable.
The waves would be smaller at Doheny due to the fact that the swell had to wrap into the bay, but the reef setup there made for some great little waves. There was a lot of great surfing going on there on any given afternoon, especially in the summer.
There was a hierarchy of local talent that hung out there too. Mickey Munoz, the Patterson Brothers, Lorrin Harrison and his whole family, Ron Sizemore, Joey Hamasaki and Billy Hamiliton, to name a few.
There were also the two lifeguards that ran the beach. One was Peter Van Dyke. Peter was a great small wave surfer and also the brother of famous big wave surfer Fred Van Dyke, who was a teacher in Hawaii. The other was the late Bob Moore. Bob was a large, dark-skinned dude who in later life actually became a Waikiki beach boy. That was an amazing feat for a Californian.
Bob was a world-class Tandem surfer, a gifted story teller and had a set of the gnarliest-looking teeth known to man or beast. One thing that you knew right off the bat when you met Bob was that you did not want him to bite you. Not that he would, but just the thought of it was enough to make the dude even more imposing looking than he already was.
Aside from that he was a gregarious and funny person, extremely likeable and always ready with some sort of story or surf gossip. Pete Peterson nicknamed him "Newsletter," as he was always up on the latest "who did what" information. Bob was more or less an enforcer at Doheny when it came to the lineup.
Today's "Snake Pit" story comes from Richard Burton, who puts himself in the Pit for snaking Bob Moore back in "the day." "So this is my story of how a skinny young kid named Richard (me) learned not to snake at the tender age of 16 years old in 1963/1964. I am now 63 years young and still crazy for surfing after all these years. I surf mostly at San-O these days, and sometimes at Bolsa Chica.
As I vividly recall, young Richard The Snake deliberately took off on Big Bad Bob THE LIFEGUARD at Doheny on that long ago day. This was a huge mistake and a great learning experience. Bob, as many old local timers will remember, was a competitive tandem surfer and an experienced, very powerfully built waterman.
The dude literally ripped me off my trusty Harbour Banana model by grasping my scrawny neck and trunks from the back. Bob easily lifted me over his head and shook me like the skinny surf rat that I was, growling at me fiercely and showing every one of the biggest nastiest teeth ever seen in surfing.
He did not really try to hurt me, but I got a hell of a wedgie, and I will always remember being tossed bodily over the back of a nice little 5-foot peeler at good old Second Spot. This is a true story of HOW I LEARNED NOT TO SNAKE. I would advise all Snaky Snakers to learn not to snake, lest the ghost of Bob the Lifeguard come to haunt them."
Yeah, I agree with Richard. You really DON'T want the ghost of Bob after you.
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