Sunday, October 7, 2012

Dewey Redux

On my way down to The International Surfboard Show in Del Mar, I stopped off in San Clemente at the Surfing Heritage Foundation, the closest thing we surfers have to the Smithsonian Institute. I had wanted to visit for quite sometime, however, with the recent opening of their Dewey Weber exhibit, the timing was perfect and I couldn't pass it up. I met some nice folks there, particularly Linda Michael and Bolton Colburn, and definitely got a sense for their passion in what they do, which is basically to preserve and celebrate surfing's rich heritage. This made it even easier for me to donate some Dewey artifacts I had held onto for several years, namely a program from his memorial paddle out and the original L.A. Times obituary.

I'm by no means an expert on Dewey and I look forward to reading Gerald Derloshon's biography "Little Man on Wheels" so I went into the exhibit expecting to learn something new. I wasn't disappointed. I knew Dewey was revered in the surfboard industry, both by amateur surfers (a.k.a. the consumers that made the Weber Performer the most successful selling longboard of all time) and manufacturers, but there's a lot more to his story.

Nat Young's Weber (that's him carving on this
very  board in the picture to the left)
A Performer, Team jacket, and Hermosa
nose ride - all Vintage Dewey

I was pleasantly surprised to see how much of an impact he had on his team riders. Dewey worked with some of the best: Nat Young, Mike Tabeling, Gary Propper, David Nuuhiwa and Randy Rarick to name just a few. It was clear he was both a coach, a sounding board and a mentor. The latter is all the more impressive when you consider the individual accomplishments of his riders but reflects just how influential he was. 

Can't wait to see this in larger than life size!
I was also happy to learn that he was a strong family man which couldn't have been easy given the daunting constraints of being a coach, business owner, and surfing ambassador. But as much of a mentor he was to his riders, he must have been equally so to his kids. His sons Shea and Corey in fact have kept the Dewey Weber legacy and business alive. Even the city of Hermosa Beach has taken notice and will capture in bronze a famous Leroy Grannis photo of Dewey. 

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Dewey's demise was tragic and premature. It's a shame he isn't still around to enjoy these celebrations of his contributions. Regardless, I look forward to reading the biography and I look forward to seeing the legacy of this great surfer and his accomplishments, both in the water and out, continue to attract the recognition they deserve. 

Thanks to my new friends at the Surfing Heritage Foundation and keep up the great work. Until next time, may your waves be head high and glassy.
Fins so famous, they made them into trophies
Decorative Weber Performers

Lineup of Webers