Bohemian Beach Boys and Water Nymphs

Yesterday I talked with Marilyn Reed about the surfers of Santa Monica. Our friend, Bryan McLean, of the rock group ‘Love’ was a surfer and did drawings of cute Surf Bunnies in art class where we sat next to each other. Bryan called me ‘The Painter of Trucks’ because of the painting I did of the Jack London produce market that was chosen to tour the world. Bryan’s Bunnies had full pouting lips and freckles. I dare not say they looked like my schoolmate who went to Europe with the Bryds as their Roadie. Consider the Woody, a Bohemian vehicle.

Marilyn went to Europe with the son of famous movie director on a ocean liner after we broke up. She lived in Paris France with her sister. For two summers Marilyn and I would go to Santa Monica Beach and rent rafts which we rode the waves to shore on. At fifteen and sixteen, her long beautiful blonde hair was like a banner on the beach, but, she was not one of them. We talked about the surfer cult at University High School. Surfers bleached their hair a white-blonde, drove Volks Wagons, and wore German Iron Crosses. I took note of these Aryans when I moved from Oakland. At a rally, my schoolmates rose, held out their arm and gave a V for Victory sign – to our school song which was similar to the German National Anthem. Today, the are surfer Wolf gangs Surf Nazis who defend their territory – the Fatherland of the Water Nymphs – who gathered on shore wearing the latest Bikini from France. Take, take, take!

When Rena Christiansen came from Nebraska, she and her boyfriend beheld the Nereids and their Greek gods! At Muscle Beach Rena’s boyfriend called these dudes with six-packs “Fags!” They chased him down the beach towards Venus, he disappearing from her life for fifty days. Rena had no where to stay, and now way home. Then I came strolling down tVenic Pier at three A.M. in the morning. I was the Swan Knight. I was her Hero. She was a damsel in distress tied to a rock by the sea that she was afraid of, because she was sacrificed before, in another time, in another world, that was reborn again in Sunny Califoria.

The Beach Boys are coming to Eugene. Rena would have made a great Surfer! Now that the world has gone bust, it is time for the Bohemian Prophets to return and show us The Way – again. I invite Carla Sarkoszy to come take her road trip on 66.

Jon ‘The Painter of Trucks’

Copyright 2012

Aspects of 1960s surf culture in Southern California, where it was first popularized, include the woodie,[2] bikinis[3] and other beach wear, such as boardshorts or baggies,[4] and surf music.[5] Surfers developed the skateboard to be able to “surf” on land;[6] and a number of other boardsports. Of these the most popular being snowboarding and skateboarding, in addition to other spin-offs that have grown out of the sport ever since.[7]

Some locals have been known to form loose gangs that surf in a certain break or beach and fiercely protect their “territory” from outsiders.[1] These surfers are often referred to as “surf punks” or “surf nazis.” The local surfer gangs in Malibu and on Hawaii, known as da hui, have been known to threaten tourists with physical violence for invading their territory. In Southern California, at the Venice and Santa Monica beaches, local surfers are especially hostile to the surfers from the San Fernando Valley whom they dub “vallies” or “valley kooks”. The expression “Surf Nazi” arose in the 1960s to describe territorial and authoritarian surfers, often involved in surf gangs or surf clubs. The term “Nazi” was originally used simply to denote the strict territorialism, violence and hostility to outsiders, and absolute obsession with surfing that was characteristic in the so-called “surf nazis.” However, some surfers reclaimed and accepted the term, and a few actually embraced Nazism and Nazi symbolism. Some surf clubs in the 1960s, particularly at Windansea in La Jolla, used the swastika symbol on their boards and identified with Nazism as a counter culture (though this may have just been an effort to keep out or scare non-locals.) The “locals only” attitude and protectionism of the Santa Monica surf spots in the early 1970s was depicted in the movie Lords of Dogtown, which was based on actual events.

Surf gangs often form to preserve cultural identity through the protection of beach towns and shorelines. If known territory is trespassed by members of another surf gang, violence usually occurs. Long Beach is home to one of the oldest and biggest surf gangs, called “Longos.” Some surf gangs have been known to not only claim land territory, but also claim specific surfing waves as territory. Surf gangs have gained notoriety over the years, especially with the production of Bra Boys.

The Wolfpak is so named “because we run in a pack, working together. When you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us.” –Kala Alexander”[13]
The Wolfpak was originally composed of a few select surfers from Kauai, Hawaii who believed in respecting localism.[14] Kauai, according to a Wolfpak member, is a place where one is raised to honor the value of respect. If you don’t show respect, then you can’t expect anyone to return the favor.[15] This value is what led to the group’s effort to manage the chaos associated with North Shore surfing. Some of the members of this group are pro surfers Andy Irons and Bruce Irons, as well as the reality show 808 star and Blue Crush actor, Kala Alexander.[13]

Many surfers combine their love of the sport with their own religious or spiritual beliefs. In Huntington Beach, California for example, a local Christian, non-denominational church occasionally meets on the beach for Sunday early-morning services. After the closing prayer, the minister and his congregation paddle out for a morning session. In addition, many surfing communities organize and take part in memorial services for fallen surfers, sometimes on the anniversary of passing such as the Eddie Aikau memorial service held annually at Waimea Bay, Hawaii. Participants in the memorial service paddle out to a suitable location with flower leis around their necks or with loose flowers (sometimes held between their teeth)., The participants then get into a circular formation, hold hands, and silently pray. Sometimes they will raise their clasped hands skyward before tossing their flowers or leis into the center of the ring. Afterward, they paddle back toward the beach to begin their surf session. Often these services take place at sunrise or sunset. In locations with a pier, such as Huntington Beach, Orange County, California, the service can take place near the end of the pier so that any non-surfers, such as elderly relatives, can watch and participate. Often the participants on the pier will throw down bouquets of flowers into the center of the ring.
The most extended treatment of surfing as a form of nature religion was written by Bron Taylor in an academic journal in 2007,[citation needed] which led to a good deal of discussion in surfing magazines. Taylor discussed surfing in more detail, as well as other spiritualities of belonging and connection to nature, in Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future.[23]
[edit] Surfing art
[edit] Surf music
Main article: Surf music

Surfin’ USA by the Beach Boys. Surfing helped popularize Surf music and vice versa
Surf culture is reflected in surf music, with sub-genres such as surf rock and surf pop. This includes works from such artists as Jan and Dean, The Beach Boys, The Surfaris (“Wipe Out!”), Dick Dale, The Shadows, and The Ventures. The music inspired dance crazes such as The Stomp, The Frug, and The Watusi. While the category surf music helped popularize surfing, most surfers at the time, such as Miki Dora, preferred R&B and blues[citation needed]. A newer wave of surf music has started in the acoustic riffs of artists such as Jack Johnson and Donavon Frankenreiter, who are both former professional surfers.

Thirty nine years ago, the biggest raid that had ever been staged in America’s war on drugs took place when a task force of state, local and federal law enforcement agencies combined to take down a secretive group of hippie acid dealers and hashish smugglers known as the Brotherhood of Eternal Love. On August 5, 1972, cops in California, Oregon and Maui arrested dozens of people, sending an even larger group scattering around the world in pursuit of an underground life that in some cases lasted decades.
By then, the Brotherhood, better known among cops as the “Hippie Mafia,” had become America’s biggest hash smuggling network, with a direct pipeline to Kandahar, Afghanistan. They were also the country’s hardest-working distributors of LSD who even had their own trademark version of the mind-altering drug, Orange Sunshine. They operated their own storefront, Mystic Arts World, in Laguna Beach, where many members lived. After befriending ex-Harvard psychology professor Timothy Leary, they lured him to Laguna Canyon and later, to a mountain ranch in Idyllwild, California. Members, including the group’s charismatic leader, John Griggs, slept in tipis and ate vegetables from their own garden – all with the aim of creating a self-sustaining utopia.

The Brotherhood’s products/sacraments did not stay free for long. Linked with (in)famous Grateful Dead-associated LSD (al)chemist Owsley Stanley up in San Francisco, and with Leary on the east coast, the Brotherhood’s operations got grandiose and risky. Cash was everywhere, ranches were bought, surfboards full of hash were made and mailed around the world, an infamously incoherent Jimi Hendrix film was financed, and at one point a tentative offer was tendered to the government of France to buy a tiny Pacific French island to become “the world’s first independent state based on LSD.” Timothy Leary’s son, at a Laguna Brotherhood gathering, torched one of many $1000 bills, and when Leary called to apologize for his offspring’s behavior, he was told “Hey, Uncle Tim, we all wanted to burn a thousand-dollar bill. It was a great thing he did, very enlightening.”

Stepping inside Hynson’s garage at his house in Encinitas is like
entering a strange world where Southern California surfing history,
1960s counterculture and Hynson’s renegade sense of humor all compete
for surface space. There’s the red pirate flag hanging over the door
with the words “Prepare to be Boarded” splashed above a skull and
crossbones. Faded portraits of Hindu swamis hang above a tray of
expired incense, next to a blown-up photograph of a 24-year-old
Hynson with a bunch of his friends­Robert August, Bruce Brown, Hobie
Alter, Corky Carroll and Phil Edwards­posing in front of a Winnebago
at San Onofre State Beach with a trio of then-wives and -girlfriends.

The photo captures Hynson on the cusp of greatness, about to embark
on a nationwide tour to promote the film he’d just starred in, Bruce
Brown’s The Endless Summer. On an opposite wall is a black-and-white
Warner Brothers production still from the acid-drenched 1972 Jimi
Hendrix “concert” film Rainbow Bridge, in which Hynson surfs waves in
Maui and cracks open a surfboard to reveal a bag of smuggled hashish.
Other photos of Hynson surfing in the early 1970s adorn the walls:
molten energy captured in freeze frame, gold locks flowing in the
wind, a pair of intensely focused eyes, arms spread out in a
yoga-style stretch.

What’s missing from this Technicolor trip down memory lane are the
past 20 or so years of his life. It’s a stretch of time Hynson
doesn’t talk about much, partly because he’s not proud of it, but
mostly because he doesn’t remember it well, even less so than the
heady days of the late-1960s, when he was dropping acid nearly every
day with his friends in the Laguna Beach-based band of smugglers
known as the Brotherhood of Eternal Love (see “Lords of Acid,” July
8, 2005). Those were strange times indeed, but a lot of fun compared
to what came next. In the early 1980s, life went downhill for Hynson
when John Gale, one of the Brotherhood’s best surfers and Laguna
Beach’s most legendary outlaws, died in a mysterious car crash, thus
ruining Hynson emotionally and financially.

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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