So here's the story, I'm trying to finish as many "half-done" projects that I can before the end of the year. This is a blank given to me over 6 years ago. It is a Chinese walker foam blank. 11'2" longboard blank. Stringer was separating. Couldn't pass on a free blank. Easy fix right? Well no. I decided to make it a gun instead. I have been obsessed with the 10'10" Jose Angel gun pictured in Greg Noll's surfboard book. Just love the lines and the color job. So I set out to make a tribute board. So I finally scored a 12' balsa plank from Mitch at Exotic Tropical Hardwoods in Carlsbad Ca.
It sat nearly 4 years in my shaping room almost finished. Hated the stringer I had glued in there. So I cut it out and put the Balsa in its place.
Due to a "mishap", (DAMN-IT!) nose came out narrower than I wanted. When boards are this big, no matter how many years handling surfboards, I totally F'd up the nose. Aaarrgggg!
Painted the foam, glassed, made the fin from leftover Balsa. Sanded, Painted on Hot Coat. Red, black band and pinlines.
That's really nice work. Opaque resin for the red? Kind of like building a Bonneville streamliner bike that I can put in my living room and sit around and look at whilst sipping cognac and wishing I had sack enough to use the thing for it's intended purpose. Maybe we can go to the pier and clear out the line up of kids on Channel Islands with that medieval weapon screaming "Freedom!". Then we'll take the bike down the 101. Don't forget to paint your face blue.
So here is the inspiration for the above build.
Jose Angel (September 2, 1934-July 24, 1976)
For most of us, our elementary school principal was a dork. He was almost always pale and overweight, and aside from chasing kids down the hall, his only physical exertion came from plopping out of his golf cart to whack his ball out of the rough. He certainly wasn't any kind of action hero.
But for students at Haleiwa Elementary in the '60s, there was no more fearless waterman than their commander Jose Angel. At a time when North Shore machismo was all that mattered, Principal Angel was a man among boys.
Raised in San Francisco, where he was active in swimming, boxing, scuba diving, tennis and school, Angel made it to college before surfing took hold of his life. At San Francisco State, he met a female surfer named Mozelle Gooch who sparked his interest in riding waves. When Gooch moved to Hawaii, Angel followed, and the couple was married in 1955. They raised four children before splitting up during the mid-'70s.
Surfing still wasn't central for Jose until the Angels relocated to the North Shore in the late '50s. The Waimea curse had just recently been lifted and a subculture was forming at the Bay. It was a coming out of sorts for Angel, who thrived in the challenge.
Backside at Waimea, he would sit outside on the biggest days and wait for the nastiest waves that no one else wanted. When the avalanche would annihilate him, leaving the rest of the lineup concerned for his safety, he'd invariably come up laughing. It was all fun for Angel; wipeouts were just part of the experience.
Not interested in organized competition, he enjoyed the natural challenge of riding big waves and even refused to leave the water during a contest. The first cover of Surfer magazine in 1960 featured Angel's fearless backside attack at massive Sunset. Greg Noll, considered one of the boldest of the North Shore's pioneer watermen, called Angel "the gutsiest surfer there ever was."
Surfing wasn't the only forum for Angel's bravery. He was a peerless diver, routinely going beyond 200 feet without the aid of scuba gear. While the winter beckoning came from the surf, summer was a time for freediving. In 1974, Jose was diving off Kauai when a severe case of the bends left his right leg partially paralyzed. Since the injury hampered his surfing ability, he began diving deeper and more often to avoid having to face his handicapped status. He briefly remarried a girl from San Francisco in 1975, but he clearly was a shadow of his former self.
On July 24, 1976, Angel was diving at a spot called Shark Ridge off Maui. More than 300 feet below the surface, he never came up. His body was never recovered. Since he stayed out of public view after his earlier injury, he is remembered as he once was -- the sculpted waterman, family man and big-wave legend. Not for money, fame or glory but for the thrill.
There are so many heros that never get mentioned.
People need to read into our very colorful past.
Before safety crew on Jet-skis in the channel.
Before self inflating wetsuits.
Men rode mountains bravely.
Not for fame. Not for internet glory.
Because they could.
Check out Surfline.
They are advertising the new documentary film about Eddie Aikau.
yeah, I heard of his story. He along with Greg and Eddie needed a wheel barrel to carry around their heavos. They don't come around very often and of coarse they are surfing hall of famers...great board btw....
that is a great looking board, Barry. And the nose doesn't look out of proportion or f'd up.
And the history you've written about Jose is outstanding. Especially liked the reasons you wrote about --those guys did what they did, without the leashes, safety crews, videographers, etc. "Not for fame", unheard of today!