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Those Nicknames

September 10, 2021

When I was surfing back in the 1960’s, I was a member of a tightly knit surfing club called the Rising Sons. Looking back I suppose we were a motley bunch but we loved the ocean and each other in varying degrees.

I honestly don’t know why but we each adopted nicknames that were given to us by our surfing companions. Maybe it was because some of the greats of the day had nicknames such as Mickey “Mongoose” Monoz.

In fact I may have been guilty in starting some of the monikers myslef. I remember that one of our friends, Pete Siegrist, used to paddle furiously in an odd flapping fashion to catch a wave. I named him the Pelican as he seemed to resemble that bird somewhat when he paddled. The name stuck but he didn’t like it much. We used to shout “flap, flap, flap” when he entered the waves. It was all in fun of course!

Another friend, Ray Sheehan, we called the Ant. It was probably due to his small stature on a long board. It wasn’t a slight in any real way as he was very good on the waves. Ray came back at me with the nickname Migilla Gorilla. There was a cartoon of the same name back then and I guess I fit the format; I really don’t know. Anyway it stuck!

We had nicknames for everyone in our group, some of them not entirely flattering. Most are lost in time. A few still poke out from the covers of the years occasionally: ‘The Beav” was the moniker for Jay Eddy who wore a wetsuit with a beaver tail. We teased him so much that he finally bought a new wetsuit, sans the tail. (That tail was supposed to snap-up under the crotch but was so uncomfortable that most of us just let the damn thing flap or we cut it off.) Kenton Morse had a nickname too but I can’t remember what it was; probably something kooky to fit his wave massacring and crazy manner. Most of the others just won’t come to mind as well but we all had a nickname over 50 years ago.

Magilla says: “For more surfing stories, read my book: Fifty Years Ago – A Surfing Trilogy: And Other Surfing Stories from the 1960’s

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From → America, History, Surfing

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