Behind the Redwood Curtain

I can’t believe the response that I’ve received from around the world after my last blog post…“Small World :: Big Trees”…seems that ya’ll didn’t mind the low rez images…heck, I was lucky to have any photographs remaining after they spent years in “mold butt” (Humboldt) country with little protection from it’s perpetual high humidity…some of my slides seemed to have fared better…

The bigger issue was getting pics at all…student budgets back in the day had little room for film and processing fees…a far cry from today’s digital revolution…today’s college kids have better cameras on their cellphones…low lighting was also a plague…most of the better waves came with the fog…or, rain and low pressure systems…and, you had to get somebody to sacrifice the time behind the lens…

While I wouldn’t mind going back to the halcyon surfing days of yesteryear, you have to admit that we are living in pretty good times with the digital technology advancements…hard to believe that my new Canon EOS 7D shoots 18 megapixel images AND HD video…

Due to the response of the last blog post, I cranked up the scanner so that we can revisit life behind the Redwood Curtain back in the 70’s and 80’s, again…

Ubiquitous banana slugs…

As mentioned previously, Craig Spjut was synonymous with Humboldt surfing during this time period…he was one of the few locals that accepted the new student surf refugees fleeing the crowds and small waves of Southern Cali…as long as they could surf well…there were only around a dozen regular surfers in Humboldt during the mid-70’s…most were lacking style because of the hard core nature of the surf…and the crude homegrown surfboards…

I think Spjut was always a frustrated musician…he’d always ask me (or anyone with an ear…;-) “wanna hear my new song?”…I have one of his demo tapes around here somewhere…along with the legendary Humboldt reggae band, Airhead…

Spjut…pre-flight check…

hmmmm…interesting…

hmmmm…very interesting…

Base camp…two weeks of supplies…

Camp scout…Tosha packed in her own provisions…

Humboldt surf dog…


Kevlar channel bottom 6’2″ thruster…one of the 1st tri-fins in Humboldt…my 6’2″ McCoy was the first…if you don’t count my Bonzers…;-) I had Dave Johnson (Progressive Designs) shape this space machine at his old shop before it burned down…

Surfing in Humboldt back in the day was all about exploration…before the internet and surf forecasting services, we relied on our own savvy and luck…and the trusty little “weather or not” box…;-)

Around the next bend could lie a cold water nirvana…a perfect uncrowded wave going off just waiting to be named…

Arcata and Humboldt State University…
I graduated with a degree in Oceanography…I did a bunch of fieldwork with my surfing friend, and classmate, Tom Pratte (RIP)…co-founder of the Surfrider Foundation…

Many of the pics here and throughout the website were taken by my wifey, Deb…
She liked to mat surf at the more sharky spots, for whatever reason…;-)

Deb with Mole (MO lay)…the start of our obsession with Chocolate Labs…
Speaking of which, today is Molly Claire’s 2nd B-day…

Deb with Molly…SUP’ing in Humboldt…

Annie Mae and Molly Claire getting a little Humboldt water time behind the Redwood Curtain…

What a long strange trip it’s been…

We’re still together…and, I’m still catching waves in Humboldt over 3 decades later…the VW van has turned into a Sprinter van…still about the same mileage…but, with a little more horsepower…;-)

to be continued…SUP behind the Redwood Curtain

WARDOGBehind the Redwood Curtain

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