Porter Vaughan, more familiarly known as Melonhead, was a Malibu regular; Dave Rochlen Sr. got his first board about that time; Bob Butts came back from World War II and the Navy Underwater Demolition Team with his contagious laugh intact to ride his V-bottom, skegless, mahogany-decked balsa board. Kuke Larsen would come up from Laguna Beach on his motor scooter and slide a few between bouts with his ukulele. A skilled mold maker in the Laguna Beach pottery industry, Larsen was greatly in demand, but his one cardinal rule, in a life singularly free of them, was never to work more than two weeks at a stretch. And there was the clear moonlit night when Joe Quigg went out for about an hour, looking like a golden ghost against the black curl of the waves.
That was in the '40s. Now I live in a small pueblo outside of Guadalajara, Mexico, and San Bias, one of the world's surfing meccas, is more than 250 miles away. But I get down there once in a while, and sometimes a surfing-history buff asks me about Bob Simmons, Buzzy Trent, Dave Rochlen Sr., Melonhead or some of the other figures from surfing's past. I remember them and many others who were a little hooked on surfing. They were just some of the guys around the beach then, when 20 boards at Malibu was a crowd.