DALE VELZY TRIBUTE
WORDS BY JAMES O’MAHONEY
The Dale Velzy Memorial was held at Doheny State Beach, June 14th, 2005. More than three thousand of surfing’s elite made this the largest gathering of the tribe since the passing of Duke Kahanamoku in 1968. The man credited for starting the surf industry opened the first surfboard shop in 1951 and was the first to put his name on his boards.
Besides the salt water that ran in his veins, there was a drop of oil that powered his hot rod side and an equal dash of gunpowder that sparked his cowboy lust. As a boy, Velzy would ride his horse to the beach and tie it to a piling under the pier. A few years later, he was shaping surfboards under the same pier. Born in Hermosa Beach in 1927, Dale was the classic “California kid”. Besides the salt water that ran in his veins, there was a drop of oil that powered his hot rod side and an equal dash of gunpowder that sparked his cowboy lust. The gathering brought out every one of the “Hawk’s” classic board designs, from the Pig, Banjo, Stinger, Swastika, etc. to his race-proven paddleboards. These historic pieces were proudly displayed.
There was talk-story from Bruce Brown, Allan Seymour, Hap Jacobs, Greg Noll, etc. All were sharing their memories, regardless of how small a piece of Velzy they had. The paddle-out of six hundred was the largest in history. News helicopters circled the huge ring of surfers and a WWII P-51 buzzed over the top of it all, getting a hoot that could be heard a mile away.
This gathering of the Hui Nalu will never happen again. The king is dead. Long live the king.