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Back in 1934


Back in 1934, the total number of surfers in California was estimated at approximately 80, most all in Southern California. "Because the number of surfers was still relatively small," wrote Carin Crawford, "in the 1930s and early 1940s, the arrival of each new participant was duly noted -- it was a period in which surfers would stop to greet each other when passing on the road." One newspaper report estimated that within ten years after World War II's dramatic ending there were, "as many as 1500 surfers in Southern California." In his History of Surfing, Nat Young wrote, "The surfing population grew to 5,000, with little colonies of dedicated surfers springing up at Windansea, Oceanside, Laguna, Huntington Beach, the South Bay, Malibu, Santa Cruz and good old San Onofre. They were all aware of each other's existence through the movement of lifeguards up and down the coast. These lifeguards formed a strong, prestigious movement which had begun with Freeth [the first professional lifeguard] at Redondo and spread to other places; they were responsible for patrolling the surfing beaches of California from towers erected every mile or so along each beach. In the early years they were State-controlled; later the county took over their administration. Because the job paid well, and it put them right where they wanted to be, most of California's finest surfers were lifeguards at some stage of their careers."