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Southern California Chapter
History
Nick Galbadon

In the early 1940's the tall, handsome and athletic Nick Galbadon first learned to surf on a 200 foot roped off stretch of Santa Monica Beach established for Negroes only, called the inkwell. As The 1940's drew to a close Nick began showing up regularly to surf the perfect waves at Malibu beach.

This is the sub-headline line of the article for the Magazine The Surfer's Path (issue #44)

EBONY PIONEER NICK GABALDON FIRST LEARNED TO SURF AT THE "INKWELL", A 200 FT ROPED-OFF STRETCH OF SANTA MONICA BEACH DESIGNATED "FOR NEGROES ONLY". BUT BY THE LATE 1940"S, NICK BEGAN SHOWING UP RGULARLY AT MALIBU, WHERE HE WAS ACCEPTED WITHOUT QUESTION INTO THE ELITE GROUP OF LOCALS. AN EXTRAORDINARY ATHLETE AND A PRODIGIOUS PADDLER, GABALDON OPENED THE WAY FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS OF "SURFERS OF COLOR"

In time Nick was accepted without question into the small and prestigious group of Malibu locals. To them Nick was known as "a handsome, well liked guy with great surfing ability". Legend has it that Nick was a particularly strong guy and would try to stay in the water all day and until late in the evening.
Nick in the Navy (left) & after the war (above)

When he was unable to get a ride up to Malibu he would often paddle the 10 miles from Santa Monica. On that fateful day when the waves at Malibu were as big as they ever get ( 10-12') Nick was proudly riding his new Joe Quigg Malibu Model Surfboard. All the locals mourned his death and attended his funeral

Frank Edwards

In the early 1960's surfing was becoming extremely popular along the California coast. Everywhere you turned a new post Gidget surf culture was springing up. Born in a small town in Alabama, Frank Edwards moved to California to live with his relatives.
Frank Edwards, a standout on the track team as well as the lineup

Being a natural athlete but unlike most blacks, living in a beach community, he excelled at surfing quickly. His tremendous surfing ability helped to make Frank very popular and although he was the only Black person in his high school, he was elected senior class president and secretary of the Bay Cities Surf Club.
Frank in action

Frank was a member of the Jacobs Surf Team and he represented us well in numerous surf competitions. Legend has it that on those big, big days at Redondo Breakwater's outer reef, that only Frank along with hall of fame surfer Greg Noll would dare to surf. Ebony Magazine printed a feature story about Frank in 1963.

Franks trailblazing spirit opened the door to many young Black surfers to follow.

Stanley Washington

 

In the late 1960's there emerged a unique individual within the California's local surf scene. His name was Stanley Washington Frison of Alabama and he was one of the Malibu's pathfinders. There was no question about it. Stanley was black, so black that he generally referred to himself as purple. Truly he said it loud "I'm Black and I'm proud". Stanley was unforgettable with a gapping hole where his front teeth had been and with the sharp wit and tongue of a poet. For twelve years, Stanley stood as a fixture of blacksurfing through the 70's. Influenced by Jimi Hendrix and Arthur Lee, Stanley styled his rock persona and was one of the stars of the Malibu surf scene for a decade. Being such a conspicuous figure, Stanley rode for the Wilken Surf Team and Con Surfboards (clubs.)

Whenever visiting surf celebrities came to Malibu, they had to first check in and pay their respects to Stanley Washington. He could surely give them the scoop on the latest happenings on the Malibu and Santa Monica party scene. As a grom, Stanley took me (Rick Blocker) under his wing. It was he, who introduced me, a skinny black kid from the inner city to many surf legends such as Mickey Dora, Nat Young, Rolf Arness, and Barry Kaniapuni.

You could always count on Stanley for a laugh, thought Steve Friedman of Friedman Flyers Surfboards of Australia. "I used to take my moms Cadillac early in the morning and pick up Stan and a few other surf brothers in the hood and we'd roll up to Malibu. Stanley would beg me to drive and I'd usually let him. He was a hard cat to refuse. Anyway, when we would arrive he would hop out and tell everyone that the car was his and he'd introduce me as his crazy white boy friend. Man did we ever score with the chicks and we got some hot surf to boot".

During the late 70's, Stanley moved to the Hawaiian Islands pursue his surfing career and develop a family. Although he rarely surfs today, Stanley Washington has made his undeniable mark on California's surfing industry.

Memories provided by Rick Blocker, photos by Rich Wilken

 

 

 

Walter "Tiger" Daniels

I used to surf with a young Black surfer in the 60's whose name was Walter Daniels. My best memory of him was at a session just north of the Pico drain after a rain (this area is what we now know was the SM Inkwell). It was just the two of us and the most perfect peaks and long walls. It was a great moment. Walter was an excellent surfer, very fluid and stylish. He was one of the few Black surfers I've known from the early days, since then I have met others surfing up in the central coast.

Memories provide by Larry Lessing

 

More stories and pictures coming soon