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August 14 2017


Malcolm Gault-Williams filling in at KTYD-FM, Santa Barbara, California, April 28, 1981. -- 37:57 minutes - Audio Quality: Fair; channels imbalanced and the tape is slow for the first several minutes; cleans up after a while. -- Playlist: -- Station ID -- Blind Faith: "In The Presence of The Lord" -- Malc backannounce: "... in the presence of the Wide Tide." -- Burger King: Jim Morales tag -- King Bisquit Hour -- Sunday Sonata: Gary Tegler - Pharoah Sanders and Ann Connors: "Casino Latino" -- Malc backannounce: "... amazing stuff!" -- Sixties Revisited: Gerry DeWitt -- Station ID at 11:30pm - "... with Malcolm, sitting in for Zeb Norris." -- Temptations: "Ball of Confusion" -- Isley Brothers: "Young Girl" -- Weird Al Yankovich: "Another One Rides The Bus" -- Queen: "Another One Bites The Dust" (partial, fade out)

August 08 2017

Lao Trip 16.0 - Preparations

Soon after returning from my annual trip back to the USA to visit family and friends , I made preparations for my 16 th trip to Lao (Laos). This was to be my fourth visit to Savannakhet to obtain my one year, multiple entry Thai visa based on marriage to a Thai national . I could have gotten my visa in California, but it’s easier, cheaper and more fun for me to go to Savan. Even so, by necessity, I had to be well organized ahead of time. I had to have all my documents in order:

· application form
· two passport pictures
· passport
· original marriage certificate
· one copy of marriage certificate
· one copy of my passport page, dated and signed by me
· one copy of wife's Thai ID (front and back), dated and signed by wife
· one copy of wife's blue book ( tabian bann ), dated and signed by wife
· 5k baht
· letter from my wife showing we are still married

Thip and I had pretty much had this stuff already. It was just a matter of putting them all together, signed and dated...

July 29 2017

Velzy's Shack at SHACC

The The Surfing Heritage and Culture Center (SHACC) [formerly the Surfing Heritage Foundation] plays a key and expanding role in preserving our history and culture as surfers.  Among the many other things it is and does, it is the official repository of my collected surf writings, thanks in large part to good friend Dick Metz

During my visit to SHACC in the Summer of 2017, longtime friend Darin McClure of RTGit took some photo synths (360-degree virtual reality images) of SHACC's replica of Dale Velzy's shaping shack. It is posted below. Use the rectangle to move around, the compass to rotate, and the +/- to zoom in or out.

Some still shots from my visit:


Mahalo, NeoN!!!!

New Bungalow

For their 17 th wedding anniversary, most women would ask for a diamond ring, gold, exotic vacation or at very least a costly weekend shopping spree. Not my wife. All she asked for was a small bungalow near Ban Nah for her aging mother and also her sister, who has been their mother’s primary caregiver these past six years.

As you can guess, if you’ve read about my honeymoon being over , I did not really want any members of my wife’s family living in close proximity to us, out on the farm. But, how could I deny my wife? I was so proud of her for thinking of her mother and sister so much, rather than herself. But, that’s not unusual for Thip. That’s the kind of jai dee (good heart) wife I have.

We hired Thip’s cousin Summai and his two helpers to do the work for us. As usual, I assisted with staining, painting and morale maintenance (beers at end of day). Back in 2013, Summai had helped us fix up our village house downstairs and put a new roof on the ground floor section .

The most interesting thing I learned during the bungalow construction was about old windows. They sound bad, but there are several reasons why old windows -- windows and window frames salvaged from torn down traditional Isaan houses that are still in good shape -- sometimes are superior to new ones: they’re cheaper, most of the time better constructed, fully constructed (windows and jams already put in) and made from better wood. It was Thip’s idea to help keep costs down and still have plenty of windows for good air-flow and light. I was actually surprised they were so much better... and a coat of stain dressed them up just fine.

Turns out that Thip’s mother -- Khun Mae -- is so fragile, Khun Paw and family thought it better not to move her out to the farm with us. At first, I was a little mad because of the money invested. But then I realized the decision was a good one. Reasons: 1) last thing we needed was for Khun Mae to die out here. We would certainly be blamed. 2) Since she’s in full dementia, probably better to keep her in the same house where she spent most of her life and raised her family. 3) Certainly easier to take care of her in the village. 4) This way, Thip and I get to maintain our privacy.

July 20 2017

Songkran 2017

Getting back to our lives in Northeastern Thailand, in the beginning months of 2017...

After the Boon Pakwet warm-up, we -- along with the whole country -- celebrated Songkran during the hottest part of the year -- April. It is based on the Buddhist lunar calendar, not the solar. In Thailand, it is called the Thai New Year; in Lao, it is called the Lao New Year; in Cambodia it is the Khmer New Year. I’m not sure about other parts of Southeast Asia, but I’d bet their new year is the same time, too.

Technically less than a week long, Songkran goes on for a full two weeks during which numerous Buddhist ceremonies are held. It is the time of year when all families come together.

There are so many ceremonies and rites that I can’t remember them all. I leave it to my wife to be my scheduler and even then, I’ll opt out of them if I feel I’v gone to too many in too short a period of time. I’m careful not to get “ templed-out ,” something to which my wife will never be afflicted by.

My strategy in dealing with Songkran is basically to keep off the roads as much as possible and stay away from public places or gatherings of people celebrating -- Attendance at wat ceremonies not necessarily included in my personal travel ban. Riding even on back roads, you might be weigh laid by groups of kids throwing water on vehicles -- and especially effective -- riders on motorcycles. They might even ask you to stop so that they can apply baby powder to your face and chest. As for staying away from groups of people and -- to a further extreme -- dropping out of sight, well, some people get absolutely drunk they’re not much fun to be around.

So, if you’re looking for me around the Southeast Asian Buddhist New Year, you’re gonna hafta do some detective work.

July 16 2017

Monterrey Pop Music Festival 1967

My tribute to the famous festival, inspired by recent postings by Podcaster Extraordinaire Mike Pell.

July 13 2017

Jack O'Neill (1923-2017)

Jack's kicked out and has been sent along his way with the largest paddleout in history:

Image courtesy of KSBW TV.

Jack O’Neill

If ever there was an appropriate home for the overused word “iconic,” it’s snugged up close to the name Jack O’Neill. This pilot, diver, skier, surfer, sailor, balloonist, windsurfer, businessman, innovator, marketeer … well, he changed our world. Before Jack, you didn’t see many surfers north of Point Conception, but when he created the neoprene wetsuit for surfing, back in the mid 1950s, well, that changed.

Jack was a presence at Santa Cruz beaches since the early 1950s, when he and his wife Marge would come down from San Francisco on weekends; but he really became a presence when he opened his first surf shop down at Cowell’s Beach in 1959, and then his enduring shop and wetsuit factory at 1071 41st Ave., about a mile from his unique home at Pleasure Point, on the water side of East Cliff Drive.

Since the 1970s Jack made a home there, watching the surface of Monterrey Bay rage and go calm, ripple with the wind and turn slick as glass, glow with morning sunrises and evening sunsets, and brood under cloud and disappear altogether in muffling fog. Meanwhile his wetsuits, in untold numbers, opened the world’s oceans to divers and sailors and swimmers and surfers, too. In the process, the O’Neill brand became one of the most well known on the planet, from Norway to Tasmania, from Japan to South Africa, from Chile to Canada. But the heart of it all was here in Santa Cruz.

Jack has left the scene now. His home is still there on East Cliff Drive, but Jack’s not in there, gazing at the waves, the surfers, the boats out on the bay. But his influence continues, especially with the O’Neill Sea Odyssey program, which has already shown thousands of kids that the ocean isn’t just water, it’s alive with brilliant little organisms that are key to life on earth and the air we all breathe. Making sure that the next generation understood that enormous truth was the pinnacle of Jack’s work on behalf of the oceans. That, above all, is his living legacy.

© Drew Kampion, 2017


Drew wrote Jack's biography, published in 2011. It is still in-print and can be borrowed at a number of locations:


Additional links:  Jack O'Neill and his Legacy


The last in a series of writings that my wife did when she was studying English in Santa Barbara, California, during the first half of the new millennium:

By Thiphawan Gault-Williams

Buffy was my dog's name. She was born in 1996 and she was an American Eskimo. She had a litter of puppies in 1998, while staying in the Santa Barbara Humane Society in Goleta.

In June 1998 Buffy joined my husband's family until I came to the USA in 2000. She and I became fast friends and she was my first new friend in the USA. She would become my best friend. In fact, more than anyone Buffy spent most of her life with me.

Buffy liked to eat watermelon and I sometimes feed her with food. For example, I fed her barbecued beef and chicken soup. I mixed food or soup with her food. She was so happy on that day and ate more than what she was [used to]. Buffy liked to follow me when I moved around the house. When I was in the kitchen I usually dropped food on the floor for her.

Buffy was always the first to greet people when they visited. She was always happy to see people and always wanted people's attention. When she was happy or excited she always moved her tail around, up and down, or side to side. She made a little noise, "E e" to let people know that she was happy to see them and needed some attention.

When I came back home and opened the door Buffy was always waiting for me and would run around me like she was happy to see me. If I didn't give attention to her, she always made some noise like "E e" to let me know she was around me and needed attention from me too.

Malcolm's son Senyo showing Buffy lots of attention, 
with cousin Barry and Joyce along.

Buffy loved to run the length of the parking lot of my condominium. My husband Malcolm had to take this out of her routine in the last years of her life because she could not see well. She was beginning to run into things and could have easily clipped the side of a building going at high speed!

She really made me laugh for all the little things that she would do that were just so innocent. If she knew I was mad at her she would look away from me and then after a while she would start to look at me again. If I said, "No", or continued in the same tone of voice, she would look away again.

Buffy was so sweet and sensitive. When I was sick she would sit by me as if to take care of me. Sometimes she would lick my hands and stay near me.

A couple of months before she passed away she always kept walking and walking like she was meditating. She did exactly the same thing that I did when I would do walking meditation. She kept walking day and night and when she fell down she just slept. When she had energy then she got up and started walking again. I had never seen an animal walk like that before in my life, just my dog did that.

I was so proud of her, no matter whether she understood when I listened to the monks on CD or no matter is she knew about meditation or not. I still hope her life will go to heaven.

On October 26, 2009 it was the last day of her life. I hadn't said goodbye to her on that day and I knew she was sick and had a little pain in her leg. She couldn't get up and stand up straight. I went to school in the morning and I didn't know that was the last morning for her. When I came back from school in the afternoon she had already passed away. Only my husband Malcolm was with her and had said good-bye to her without me. It was hard for me to let her go with no returns.

I just thank you Buffy for making my life so much richer. We'll always remember you and love you! Thank you, my best friend.

June 29 2017

KTYD Funnies, 1979-80

Fun stuff from Santa Barbara's KTYD-FM, circa 1979-80. I first began subbing at K-Tide at this time and was aware of the programming changes being made. I feared this stuff would be lost forever, so I recorded every cart (cartridge) I could find that wasn't a real commercial.

June 28 2017

"My Life in the USA"

My Life in the USA

By Thiphawan Gault-Williams
Written in 2010

I began my new life to be a housewife at first.  After my husband went to work I stayed home with our dog Buffy.  At first I had only one Thai girlfriend.  Her name was Tana.  Tana and I like to cook and we like to eat and talk.

In the fall of 2001 I was a housewife and student.  I went to study ESL classes at the Eastside Library from Monday through Friday.  On Saturday I went to the Farmer's Market in downtown Santa Barbara.  I studied for a couple of months before the weather got cold.  I went to visit my family in Thailandfor the first time since I came here in the year 2000.

In the summer of 2002 I went to study at Santa BarbaraCityCollege.  I took ESL classes and I began with writing level one, reading level one, and grammar level two.  It was so exciting for me, no matter the classes were a little hard for me.  I still liked to study and be back in school again after my 6th grade in Thailand.

I studied very hard and spent my free time on lab hours.  I had to study more at home because I always picked teachers who love to teach more than talk to wait their times.  I always look forward to having a good grade and I did very well on every class I took.  During my school term I always enjoyed my bike ride to school at the EastBeach.

After I had studied up to level five my grade was dropped down.  I had to drop basic math two weeks after fall 2004 began.  My level five writing was A+ but my reading was a D, including homework and the final test.  I was so upset and stopped studying.  I started look for jobs.

After fall 2002 besides being a housewife and student, I started working for myself.  After school hours sometimes I did Thai traditional massage.  I like to do Thai massage because I can help people who are tired to relax. Not just Thai traditional massage but sometimes I did foot massage with a wooden sticks and oil.

In the school term my health was not good.  I had different problems like migraines, stomach aches, acid reflux, and heartburn.

After I had lived in Santa Barbara for a couple of years I had more Thai friends.  Sometimes I invited my friend to come to my house.  We would cook Thai food and enjoy it together.  I sometimes went to my friend's house on Christmas for the parties.

During my school break in summer time I went to visit my family in Thailand.  I went almost every year until my daughter came from Thailandto live with us.  In the summer 2005 my daughter came to stay with us.  I was a housewife, a mother, and a working woman, but I still wanted to study, no matter I couldn't.  During this period I worked at three jobs.  I worked at a grocery store named Scholari's.  I stood next to the cashier bagging groceries for the customers.  My second job was working at a restaurant.  I was a runner, giving food to the customers.  I would sometimes help the waitress refill the water glasses and clean the table.  My last job was during the supermarket and the restaurant.  It was Thai massage and food massage with wooden sticks and oil.

Sometimes my husband took my daughter and me camping.  We went to Mutau  Flat above Ojai.  Another place we went was Anza Borrego desert inland from San Diego.  I like to camp a lot. When we went camping I liked to barbecue chicken, shrimp, and squid.

In the fall of 2009 I went to take a class at Santa Barbara City College Adult Education at the ScottCenter.  I went to prepare for the GED but the class was so hard for me because my English was not good.

In the winter of 2010 I changed my mind about the way to prepare for my GED.  I got the brochure from Adult Education room 16 on how to get help from a tutor.  The program had been going on for a long time at the Santa Barbara Library and around town.  I called up Beverly Schwartzberg, a person who organizes the program.  It took her a couple of weeks before she found one of the teachers to help me for reading, writing, and grammar to prepare for my GED.  Her name is Gwen and she has been helpful for me.  I love to study with her a lot.  The program is free.  No matter I can take the GED test or not because of my English.  I still like to learn more English no matter what.  I really thank the people who run the program.  It is helpful for me to learn more English and prepare for my GED.

I have lived in Santa Barbara for ten years now, from the year 2000 until now, the year 2010.  My daughter lived with us for five years and now she has moved back to Thailand to go to college there.  I miss her and look forward to visiting her in November 2010.

Another sad thing for our family was when my dog Buffy died last fall on October 26, 2009.

Many things good or sad happen to me but I still have my husband who loves me so much and my family and my friends who stay beside me.

June 15 2017

"My Jobs"

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My Jobs
by Thiphawan Gault-Williams

My first job was hemming jeans. I was thirteen years old at that time and I worked in Bangkok, Thailand. I had to be careful hemming the jeans because the machine had a knife to cut the fabric. If I was not careful it would cut my finger more than the fabric. I could make $10 a day if I could hem around 1,000 jeans. Hemming the jeans was not too difficult and not too easy either. The hard thing was carrying one hundred pieces each time from downstairs to upstairs. It was too heavy for a little girl like me. I worked six days a week, but sometimes I didn't have any day off or sleep because I had to finish my work before they could pack the jeans and send them to the boat. All the jeans that we made were sold outside the country to Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Now when I think back to that time I am very proud of myself hemming the jeans no matter what. It was not too safe because there was so much dust and the way a knife cut the fabric. I am still proud of myself because some of the money I made was sent back to support my family.

My second job was working at a restaurant at a hotel. It was a Chinese restaurant and I was a waitress. I had to serve food and take care of customers and I had to encourage the customers to order the food we had to sell out on that day before the food would go bad. For example, if that day the restaurant had too much pork barbecue we told the customers, "The pork barbecue is so good, tasty, and fresh," no matter that it was not that way. We served pork barbecue with sweet chili sauce, cucumber, and onions.

I tried to do the best I could to take care of the customers because the better service I did, the more tip I could get. It wasn't just how much of a tip I could get from the customers, I still wanted to take care of the customers by giving them good service and being happy. We wanted them to come back again soon.

My work at the hotel was challenging for me every day. For example, I'm the kind of person who always wakes up late. For the hotel job my morning started at 7 a.m. and went until 10 or 11 p.m. In the morning after I woke up I took a shower to prepare myself for work. I ran to the bus stop and then kept waiting and waiting. I had no idea when the bus would come. Sometimes it took me an hour waiting for the bus. I sometimes had to take a cab, not matter cab or bus I still had to get out and run or walk to work because the traffic in Bangkok was so bad. Running and walking was faster for me in the morning before work. Another challenge for me was when a customer complained about the food. They might say the food tastes too salt or too sweet and was not good. I had to take the food back to the chef and deal with him in the kitchen. Sometimes the chef did not do anything to the food. He would just say, "I tested it already. It still tastes good. The customer is just wrong." I had no idea what to do. I waited a while and then brought the food back to the customer, smiling. I said, "We are so sorry. The food is OK now." They smiled and ate it. The chef didn't change anything in the food but the customer still smiled and said, "The food was good." I sometimes wondered what happened in their minds.

[When I moved to the United States] My third, fourth, and fifth job was working at the supermarket, doing Thai massage, and being a runner at Your Place restaurant. I worked at Scolari's supermarket [in Santa Barbara]. I started work at 6 a.m. and went to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. My job was to stand next to the cashier and bag the groceries. I bagged groceries for six months and then I got promoted to the non-food department. The job I worked was staking. For example, I stocked medicine, decorations, and shampoo. I got paid $6.35 per hour.

After I got off from the supermarket I went back home, had a rest, and then did another job. I did Thai traditional massage and Thai foot massage. In this job I was the boss of myself. Many of my clients who came to me always complained about their bodies. They were tired, sore, and achy. I was so happy that I knew how to do massage because I like to help people and see them happy after my massage. For example, one of my clients was 65 years old. I did foot massage on her. I usually used oil and wood to do massage. I would rub and put pressure on the skin. After I finished my work, my client always said, "I feel like I have new feet." Not just my client said that to me, but my husband said the same, "I feel like I have new feet." I made more money doing massage than working at the supermarket. I charged the customers $60 an hour for massage. I didn't just help people with their bodies, but I made money too!

Around 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. my other job started. After my dinner I started working at the Thai restaurant at 6 p.m. My job was to be a runner. For example, I bought food to the customers, refilled water glasses, and cleaned the tables. This job paid $14 an hour. This job was easy for me because I was not a waitress and I didn't have to deal with the customers. When the customers complained about something I always sent a waitress over to the table to deal with them. After I finished my job I rode my bike back home and that was the end of my day of work. I would start my jobs again the next day.

I like every job I have had, no matter that sometimes I had to deal with difficult people. I like to do different things to learn more about something and to have more experience. I was so happy to be working, no matter that sometimes the job was hard for me. I am proud of myself for every job I have done. I sent some of the money I made back to support my family in my hometown in northeast Thailand.

June 01 2017

John Severson (1933-2017)

Drew Kampion wrote an obituary for John Severson... for John's family:
John Hugh Severson
December 12, 1933 – May 26, 2017

John Severson, the artist, filmmaker, and founder of Surfer Magazine, died on Maui last Friday morning after an accelerating battle with a rare form of leukemia. 

Louise, his wife and lifelong companion, wrote: “John died here in Napili, in the house he loved, at the surf spot he loved. It was a beautiful sunny morning and four of his girls were around him.”

And so John’s planetary journey came to an end, peacefully and with apparent acceptance, but probably wishing for more of what he loved most: life.

His life was full, and full-on, right from the start. As a Southern California kid who grew up at the beach and lived to surf, a conventional life was probably not in the cards. His academic career curved towards the arts and, finally, to Long Beach State, where he earned a Master’s degree (’56) in Art Education. That was where, following the advice of a perceptive instructor, he began to paint the world he knew: the beach, surfers, and waves. He found voice in a bold, bright, modern style that somehow seemed all his own. He embarked on a career as an art teacher.

However, he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1957. He was bound for Germany when an unexpected shift in assignment sent him instead to Oahu, the birthplace of surfing. There, his mastery of pen and ink got him assigned to map-making, and his skills in the ocean put him on the U.S. Army surfing team.
 John Severson, image courtesy of Encyclopedia of Surfing

John had been taking pictures of his friends at the beach and in the water since his father moved the family to San Clemente in the late forties; now in the right place at the right time, armed with a 16mm Keystone movie camera, he turned his attention to the exploits of the rag-tag crew of young men who were drawn to the North Shore’s big winter surf. The footage from that first winter became his first film, Surf! The film’s showings in Hawaii and back in California (thanks to big-wave surfer Fred Van Dyke, who toured the film) earned enough to exchange his Keystone for a Bolex and buy more film for another movie, Surf Safari, which led to another, Surf Fever. Using enlarged frames from his films, he created a 36-page booklet to promote the shows. He titled that booklet The Surfer, which became The Surfer Quarterly, and then Surfer, a bi-monthly then a monthly magazine, known as “the Bible of the Sport.”

By the mid-1960s, John was at the helm of a successful business, with a full magazine staff and plenty of advertisers, plus two daughters and a home at the beach in a gated community at the southern end of Orange County. And then Richard Nixon bought the house next door.

It was the peak of the national crisis precipitated by the Vietnam war and a counterculture that had been building since the fifties, back when those North Shore surfers were very much a part of a growing rebellion against conventional living & societal norms. So it made sense that, amidst this generational shift in consciousness, John’s life took a turn. He returned to his cameras and pulled together a team of polite revolutionaries to create the first environmental surf film, Pacific Vibrations, which soon made its way to the big screen as a Warner Bros. release.

After that he sold Surfer Magazine and the house and bought land upcountry on Maui. He built a home, planted a garden, and set out with the family on a Swiss Family Robinson journey through the South Pacific before settling down, back on Maui, to build, garden, and paint. The word “transformation” would apply.

Back at Surfer, in 1969, John had titled a two-page spread of his paintings “Surf Art,” perhaps coining the term, and certainly defining his ongoing life path, which was always about creating a unique and engaging beauty. On Maui, in the seventies and eighties, he built his own homes, and those creations were every bit as imaginative and beautiful as the art works that began to issue from his studio. John’s paintings of island beauty, depicting the balance and drama of ocean waves and the thrill of surfing, remain as powerful testimony to the artistic vision and joy that was fundamental to everything he created.

By following his own love of life, and expressing it in whatever media he put his heart and hands into, John became one of the most positive, affirmative, inspirational people of our lifetimes. He felt, understood, and translated the magnificent power of ocean waves into food for all our souls. What a great gift to humanity!

One of John's greatest goals was to spread awareness about protecting the ocean and restoring its coral reefs. We all need to be aware of the toxic products that run off into our oceans. We can start by using "reef safe" sunscreen in the water, so we can revive the reefs that have been bleached by the chemicals in the creams we put on our skin.

In addition to Louise and his daughters, Jenna and Anna, John leaves one brother, Joey, and his grand-daughters: Jenna’s children Alizé, Luna, Kea, Aleia, and Anna's daughter Zoë (all girls!) to carry on the positive power.

– Drew Kampion

May 29 2017

"My Trip to the USA"

<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:ApplyBreakingRules/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument></xml><![endif]-->
<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles></xml><![endif]--><!--[if !mso]><img src="https://img1.blogblog.com/img/video_object.png" style="background-color: #b2b2b2; " class="BLOGGER-object-element tr_noresize tr_placeholder" id="ieooui" data-original-id="ieooui" /><style>st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } </style><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]><style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style><![endif]--> One of two excerpts from my wife's writings about first coming to the United States in the year 2000, written about ten years later:

My Trip to the USA
by Thiphawan Gault-Williams

On April 4, 2000 I flew from Thailand to the USA on China Airlines with my husband Malcolm. The plane stopped at Hong Kong International Airport. We transferred to another China Airlines flight, from Hong Kong to the USA. On that day the weather around Hong Kong Airport was so foggy and I couldn't see very well around the outside of the airport. We waited in Hong Kong Airport for a couple of hours before we boarded our flight from Hong Kong to Los Angeles International Airport [LAX]. It took us about 21 hours including the transfer flight from Hong Kong.

LAX was so big. People spoke English, Spanish, and some other languages. I didn't understand what it was meaning because I spoke Thai. After our flight arrived at LAX we had to transfer to a domestic flight. Again we had to wait a couple of hours before we boarded our flight from LAX to Santa Barbara Airport.

The plane we flew in from LAX to Santa Barbara was smaller than China Airlines. When we arrived at Santa Barbara Airport it was twilight. After we arrived at the airport Malcolm drove back home. At the front door, written in Thai, was a sign that said, "Welcome home." It was so great for me to see those words. It has been my new home and my new life.

May 26 2017

Japan's Early Surf History

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I am indebted to Nobuhito “Nobby” Ohkawa -- 大川信仁 -- for helping to preserve the early history of Japanese surfing, making it more widely known throughout the world, and allowing me to draw from his research.[1]

Nobby’s website is a cultural resource for learning about Japanese body boarding, the boards that were used and the locations where it was practiced. I encourage you to visit the website at: http://www.nobbywoodsurfboards.com/20.html. It is rich with images as well as text both in English and in Japanese.

This chapter in the LEGENDARY SURFERS series is a follow-up to my original posting made in July 2012 at: http://www.legendarysurfers.com/2012/07/early-japanese-surf-history.html

Certain beaches in Japan have a tradition of body boarding that’s nearly two hundred years old and possibly a little older.

From the mid-Edo Period [aka Tokugawa Period, 1603-1867], Japanese style wooden boats were crafted due to the then-new technology of timber processing. Previously, fishermen had used canoes made by hollowing out and shaping logs.

Most Japanese-style milled wooden boats had removable floor boards that were called Itago. When the boats were beached after fishing, the children of the fishermen took the Itagoout of the boats and used them as kick boards and body boards. This practice was commonly known as Itago-nori, meaning “Floor board riding.” It is also called Itakko at Oiso Kanagawa, Setsukashi at Niijima Island on the Izu island chain, Senoshi at Yamagata, Northeastern Japan, and Sebuta at Tokushima Shikoku. These different names -- such as “Itakko” or “Itago” – are due to the different regional nomenclature.

The oldest written documentation of Itago is the diary of Dokurakuan Kanri, a haiku poet who lived in Sakata, in Yamagata Prefecture, Northeastern Japan. He visited nearby Yunohama Beach in 1821, where, seeing children playing Senoshi, he wrote:

“Perhaps ten children of 12 or 13 are there,
taking the boat's planks they go,
embarking and diving into the racing sea,
further and further out they go,
then riding the waves they come back to shore,
fast, like an arrow, so many times they go.”

In the 1880’s, bathing beaches were opened up as locations for people’s health improvement. These beaches gradually became public beaches that Japanese visited in their leisure time. From this point on, Itago boards became more of a wave riding tool than a boat floorboard and were widely made.

The boards were used as lifesaving devices for fishermen and for wave riding by their children. The dimensions of Itago were length: 60cm -to- 120cm, width: 30cm - 45cm, thickness: 2cm - 3cm. Most of the boards were made of Japanese cedar, although a few were made of Paulownia. In some cases, surfers even used old-fashioned wood washboards as Itago substitutes.

Almost all Itago were flat with no rocker and had a rectangular outline with a handle hole in the nose. However, some surfers didn’t make a handle hole because they didn't like the water that came out of the handle hole which hit them in the face when riding.
Itago were held vertically, a riding style called Tate-nori, but, when taking off on a steep wave, it was held horizontally -- a riding style called Yoko-nori.

After the 1890’s, Itago riding skill improved with the growth of the Itago rider population. This evolution prompted an Itago riding competition that was held at Oiso in July 1909.

Itago-nori became so popular at beaches that there was a swimming instructional printed in 1914 that included descriptions of the Itago and how to use it, along with drawings. “The Method of Swimming and Practice,” by Ikuo Tsuzaki, noted, among other things, that “It’s easier to ride on the wave with an ‘Itago’ than body surfing.”
Ten years later an instructional solely devoted to Itago-nori was written in 1924 by Saburo Sato.

As Itago-nori became popular and widely used as a tool to assist with swimming, kickboarding and bodyboarding, beach houses would rent them out to vacationers. The boards were painted with the name of the beach house that rented the Itago or the name of the company that supplied the boards.

World War II arrested activity at all Japanese beaches, as it did all over the world. After the war, soldiers in the American occupation army brought surf mats to Japan. Riding Itako changed to surfing rubber mats at bathing beaches. After that, Itago almost completely disappeared with the introduction of “boogie boards” in the late 1970’s.[2]

[1] Ohkawa, Nobuhito “Nobby.” “Traditional Surfing in Japan, An Unknown History,” updated 10 May 2017.
[2] In the late 1920s, a 9-foot Waikiki surfboard was brought to Chigasaki, Kanagawa, by Shinjiro Mori. Around 1931, a hollow board was constructed that was much like a big plywood bodyboard. It was called a “Float” and was made by Kamakura, Kanagawa shipwrights. See image at Nobby’s website.

May 23 2017

"How I Came to the USA"

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Going back, again, to the writings of my wife, when she was first learning English in the United States. I've added photos from that time:

How I Came to the USA -- by Thiphawan Gault-Williams

One day I picked up a Thai newspaper. I saw an ad about seeing a man from outside Thailand to marry to be friends. I went to the agency because everything was almost for free except for translating the letter from English to Thai and from Thai to English. That cost about $4 for two pages.

At first they took my picture and then my address. They sent my picture and address to another agency called Thai American Service in the USA. They posted my picture on the Internet and then sold my address.

I had a couple of people write letters to me but it didn't work well because I didn't have much money to play for translating their letters. It took me a couple of months before I found the right one.

In June 1999 I got a letter from Malcolm, who is my husband now. We wrote to each other for about four months. He decided to visit me around my 28th birthday in October 1999.

After we had spent a couple of days together he seemed to be nice to me and we got along very well. He wanted to visit my family in my hometown in northeast Thailand. At first I couldn't say yes, because in my village if you bring a guy with you, people will think you are married, no matter yes or no.

I asked him to marry me in a couple of days if he wanted to meet my family. I don't know how I asked him to marry me either because it was the first time we had met.  At that time my English was so poor, but I did ask him for another thing. It was to pay a dowry for marrying me. He paid a dowry of about $7,000 for marrying me.

He visited me a couple of times and then we got married on March 23, 2000 in my hometown. On March 31, 2000 I got a visa to come to the United States. On April 4, 2000 I left Thailand. My trip was so long. It took me a day of sitting on the plane. It seemed to be an adventure for me because I came with a man I only saw a couple of times and only two weeks each time. Many people in Thailand talked about if you went outside the country with someone at first you had to be careful because it might be very dangerous. No matter what, I trusted him a lot.

My first day n the USA was startling. LAX was so big to me and I didn't understand the language very well. Most people spoke English, but I spoke Thai. That is how my new life in the USA began.

May 12 2017

Boon Pakwet, 2017

Considered more as a weekend of partying and a warm-up to the Thai New Year (Songkran), Boon Pakwet (aka Boon Pahwet) is traditionally meant to bless and pray for the upcoming rice growing season and its successful outcome. It is not a Buddhist observance, per se, although it does have Buddhist trappings. When it’s prayer time, monks are there to lead the ceremonies, for sure.

Village Temple gate built with funds raised during Boon Pakwet 2012.

The first day is marked by extreme alcohol consumption, a march through the village and out to nearby fields, followed by prayers and chants. Afterwards, people break up but the drinking continues in smaller groups.

Second day, food booths are organized at the village temple (non-Kamattan); live Thai karaoke on stage is performed along with impromptu dancing. Most importantly, visiting delegations from villages around the area are met and their donations in the form of money trees are accepted. Village elders count the money and Buddhist monks deliver the blessings.

Counting the donations and receiving blessings.

A lot of people look like they’re drinking soda, but the plastic bottles usually contain rice whiskey (lao khao) or rice wine. Many people get “very mao” -- “mao mak.” If the temple was a Forest Tradition temple, there’s no way people would drink on the grounds -- even disguised.

May 10 2017

Freeth, Ford and London

Geoff Cater of Surfresearch.com has detailed the relationships between George Freeth, Alexander Hume Ford and Jack London. Geoff brings up a number of little-known details, plus the idea that George Freeth may have been the first surfer on the USA East Coast. For more, please read on...

Geoff's original April 2017 posting is located at: http://www.surfresearch.com.au/sFreeth_George.html

George Freeth
IntroductionThis paper was prepared in April 2017 following comments and feedback resulting from posting a 1907 photograph of a Californian surfer by L.M. Robin on the Surf Blurb in March.

I am indebted to 
Joel T. Smith for his three articles Re-Inventing the Sport, Part 1: Jack London, Part 2: Alexander Hume Ford and Part 3: George Freeth, published in The Surfer's Journal, Volume 12, Numbers 1- 3, 2003. Many thanks to  Jeremy Lemarie, Joel T. Smith, Gary Lynch, John Mazza,  and  Cary Weiss.
Warning: Contains adult themes.

George Freeth, Alexander Hume Ford and Jack London, Waikiki, 1907.

While Jack and Charmian London and Alexander Hume Ford were touring Oahu by automobile in 1907, two surfing photographs appeared in the Honolulu press, along with an article headed Freeth Will Ride Atlantic Rollers!
Ford and the London's had 
recently met George Freeth, who was currently the surfing instructor at Waikiki's Seaside Hotel, when they began surfboard riding, identifying him as as one of the local experts.
Published on June 23, 
the photographs had been commissioned by Ford at end of May.and the copy was, undoubtedly, his work.In addition to reporting Freeth's intention to surf on America's east coast, Ford revealed how Freeth had already done so.
Although this is the only known report of Freeth surfing the east coast before 1907, 
the article's exorbitant detail has led some to question Ford's tale in its entirety.However, as Freeth was in Philadelphia in 1904 it is possible that he did ride a surfboard at Atlantic City and, given that city's life-saving brigades were firmly established by the time, that his efforts would likely have made the life-savers mad.

George D. Freeth was born on Ohau in 1883, his father, part-Irish and variously named Captain or Governor George D. Freeth, traversed the Pacific principally engaged in exploiting guano deposits.
part-Hawaiian mother, Elizabeth K. Freethdescended from a long established local family,.The family was familiar with Hawaiian society; in  February, 1892.they attended her Majesty Queen 
Liliuokalani's fancy dress Children's Ball at the Royal Palace.
, aged 9, was a very proud soldier-like Zouave in a red jacket and yellow trousers and his brothers, Willie and Charley, dressed as the two Princes in the Tower.
George Freeth, Waikiki, 
May, 1907.
The family was also involved in Captain Freeth's Pacific enterprises. In May, 1894, Captain Jameson, the British brig L'Avenier, reported the death of Hans Holstein, a German,who was employed on Laysan Island by Captain Freath.(sic)

A newspaper account of the circumstances included a sketch of a house which is usually occupied by Captain Freeth and his family when they are on the island.Then, as now, it must have been a rare for a young boy to have his own Treasure Island.

The family connection with Philadelphia dates from 1897; at the beginning of October George's older brother, Charles, left Honolulu aboard the  Miowera for Philadelphia where he has received an appointment In the Charles Hillman Ship Building Company, and by July 1900 Charlie  had secured  an enviable position in Cramp's ship yard.

In Honolulu
, two months after his parents separation in February, 1900, aged 17,  George  appeared at  the second annual gymnasium exhibition of the Young Men's Christian Association; a junior competitor was Ernest Kopke who would later vie with Freeth for swimming honours. A student of the lolani College, George was listed as one of the  sub-editors. of first edition of the Ioiani College Magazine published in August 1900, and in November he played as goal-keeper for the College's:(Association) Football team; a journalist noting that Freeth is improving but does not appear to know the game.At the end of the month he played as a forward for the Iolani's,  Ah Hun  replacing  him in goal.
The next year, Freeth was listed as an oarsman in the  Freshman barge competing for the  Mrytles, one of Honolulu's premier boat clubs, at Regatta Day on the harbour By Independence Day, 1903,  George was on the  mainland's  East Coast.

George Freeth, Waikiki, 
In Chester, Pennsylvania, George Freeth, a Honolulu boy, the son of Mrs. E. K. Freeth of Emma street, and a lineman of one or the telephone companies,  won the prize for fancy and high diving, and also swam 100 yards in one minute and six seconds, beating all competitors.
No doubt visiting with his older brother in Philadelphia, 
it is during his time  that it is possible that George Freeth was chastised for  riding a surfboard, even if only a small  prone-board, at Atlantic City.

Celebrated novelist, 
Jack London , first arrived in Hawaii  in 1904  for and at the end of June, like all visitors of renown, was  given his first experience with a   surf-ride  at Waikiki by  local expert canoe-surfers, Jack Atkinson   and  Col. McFarlane By October of  that year, George Freeth was back in Honolulu, named as a member of the Healani Boat Club's swimming team to challenge the Myrtles.
In Hawaii during this period, team loyalty appears to be extremely flexible, with members often moving between clubs.
After leaving college, George Freeth excelled in athletics and water-sports.
In April 1905 he completed an 80-foot dive into Pearl Harbor, 
the distance was so great and the lights so tantalizing that water had to be thrown on the surface to stir it so that Freeth could see it distinctly before making the leap.
George Freeth, who will make the 80-foot leap April 1905

Apart from regularly appearing in swimming and diving competitions, Freeth was 
appointed the swimming instructor at the Healani Boat Club and competed for them in  boat races.
In November, 1906, he was chosen as captain of the newly formed Hawaiian Swimming Club.
On land, in October 1905 he made a home run for the Diamond Heads to beat the Makikis in baseball; he played quarterback for Maile in gridiron, and starred as a forward when the same team played Association football (Socker).
His surfing skills were first recognised in  the local press  on October 2, 1906, with a  report  that many witnessed  George Freeth performing in the surf, at the Moana, on Sunday.However,  while  Freeth  is listed in the swimming team of the Diamond Head Athletic Club  for the second Waikiki Regatta , scheduled for the end of 1906 , his name is noticeably absent from the entries for  Surf-riding on Boards

Organised by 
Jack Atkinson, many expert board riders had entered; including  Harry Steiner, Curtis Hustace, Dan Keawemahi, Duke Kahanamoku, William Dole, Keanu, Dudy Miller, Atherton Gilman, Lane Webster, and James McCandless.
A lack of swell saw the Regatta postponed from New Year's Day until March 17, 1907, where the skills of Harry Steiner and James McCandless were praised.
the three judges, E. P. Law, C. W. Macfarlane, and Olaf Sorenson, awarded top points to Harold Hustace, who stood on the board, head up and head down and as an extra turned a somersault or two.Three years earlier, in the spring of 1904, Harold and his brother Curtis Hustace were praised for using their surfboards to rescue a sailor at Waikiki; his face almost black from asphyxiation, the sailor was revived by being rolled over a barrel.About a  month later, Alexander Hume  Ford arrived from San Francisco aboard the Alameda on April 26 and booked intothe Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Honoluluthe Royal Hawaiian at Waikiki not opening until 1927.
Outrigger Surfboard Riders, June 1908.
Possibly  Atherton Gilman, Lane  Webster,  Harold  and Curtis  Hustace .
Ford was a widely travelled professional journalist  who  had  published articles based  on his travels to  China ,  Japan and Paris  and, like Jack London, had previously visited Oahu.
It appears he had planned an short stay in the Hawaiian Islands before sailing for Australia, and Ford may, or may not, have been aware of the impending visit by a party of Congressmen from Washington.

Assuming he spent much of the first week in making himself familiar with the local dignities, politicians and press, Ford was probably pleased to read on May 2 that the Jack London and his second wife, Charrmian London, had left Oakland, California, two weeks ago.Jack's organisation and planning for their voyage across the Pacific aboard his 45-foot yacht, the Snarkhad already provided considerable copy for many newspapers.

It is also likely that Ford first became 
aware of George Freeth from an article published the following day in Honolulu's Evening Bulletin
Freeth had prosed that he and (Dude) "Dudy" Miller travel to Southern California, with a surfing canoe and surf boards, to give exhibitions of their skill.As this would be one of the best advertisements which Hawaii could possibly haveideally the Hawaiian Promotion Committee could help them with the cost of passage and the transportation of their canoe and boards.Ford and Freeth may have met during that week, but their paths undoubtedly crossed after the arrival of the Congressional party aboard the US Army transport Bufordlate on May 7.
Most of the visitors stayed at the Royal Hawaiian or the Young Hotel in Honolulu, but one Congressmen, W. P. Hepburn, was booked into the Moana Hotel at Waikiki.At the suggestion of Secretary Jack Atkinson, the Promotion Committee quickly arranged that morning for two or three canoes at Waikiki, in the charge of expert swimmers, kept at the disposal of the visitors.Initially requesting two days to recuperate from the voyage, the visiting Congressmen all expressed great eagerness to visit Waikiki beach and after lunch Sam Parker and Jack Atkinson took a regular band-wagon of committeemen to the beach by the street-cars and automobiles.
The Congressmen congregated at the Moana and three and four surfing canoes were kept filled, including some of the lady visitors, all the afternoon.

The boys were also out riding surf-boards so that all hands were treated to an exhibition of sport to which canoe surf-riding is second only.The journalist observed that the grave and reverend legislators of the Nation and the Territory became boys again- you can't help it when the surf is like that of yesterday.
At Waikiki the next day, May 10, a number stayed most of the morning to try the surf riding.
It was probably during this week, sometime between May 8-12, that Ford had his introduction to surfing andGeorge Freeth was photographed at Waikiki.
Three photographs were published before the end of the year in Ernest F. Acheson's Congressional Party in Hawaii
 Souvenir, May, 1907.
Champion Surfboard RiderFreeth is shown wave riding while standing and prone, and alongside his board on the Waikiki shore line.
This board's template is distinctive in tapering from a wide rounded nose, similar to some prone boards of the era.
Freeth used almost identical design when he first travelled to California, as shown in a photograph taken at Rendondo Beach, circa 1910.
The West coast board is poor condition with 
several cross-battens affixed to repair substantial vertical cracks in the nose of the board.
To compare and contrast contemporary surfboard templates, see Board Portraits.

    Waikiki, 1907.               Rendondo Beach, 1910.

On May 13, some of the Congressional party left 
Honolulu to visit Kauai, accompanied by George Freeth and A.H. Ford, who were probably by now well acquainted; their names appear together in the (non-alphabetical) passenger list, and they may have shared a cabin aboard the steamer Claudine.Apparently, Freeth was accompanying the congressmen as a life-guard to assist the visitors in water-sports, and he and Ford continued to travel with the statesman on their tours of the large island of Hawaii, and then Maui.

The Snark was off Waikiki by 
the morning of May 20 and anchored in Pearl Lochs, west of Honolulu, by the afternoon.
This was a disappointment for many locals who had hoped the famous author would have a far more public presence by mooring at the Honolulu docks.Beginning on the morning of March 21, Charmian London's Diary, published in 1917, records that Jack had already planned to moor the Snark in Pearl Lochs, with use of an cottage adjoining the home of Albert Waterhouse.The London's spent their first days ashore recovering from the voyage, organising repairs to the Snark, and reading a range of Hawaiian related literature.
The Snark moored in Pearl Lochs with Jack London ashore, 1907.
Ford, and presumably Freeth, did not return to Oahu until the 25th, arriving on the steamer Kirau from Hilo and way ports.
On May 27, Jack and Charmian travelled to the city by rail, lunched at the Young Hotel's roof-top cafe and, after obtaining two little bay mares from Mr. Roswell, rode back to Pearl Lochs.
Incidentally, Charmian
 rode astride her Australian saddle, assured in the knowledge that this style had been readily adopted by local female equestrians, which scandalised civilised ladies, who only rode sidesaddle.
The London's attended, along with three thousand other guests, a Royal engagement for the departing Congressional party at the home of Princess Kalanianaole at Waikiki on the evening of May 29, and the next morning the couple retuned to Waikiki on horse-back.
That evening they dined at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Honolulu where 
Alexander Hume Ford introduced himself and, after being invited to join their table, dominated the conversation for the next two hours.
Probably invigorated by his most recent exploits with George Freeth, he talked at length of his most recent enthusiasm, 
reviving the old Hawaiian sport of surf-boarding.Ford's vision of himself as the saviour of the ancient art is now embedded in surfing history.
In fact, interest in surfing in canoes and on boards at Waikiki had been steadily growing since 
the formation of the Hui Pakaka Nalu in 1897.
Crewed by native owners, managed by W. W. Dimond, 
a fleet of eight canoes offered the pleasure of canoe surfing to all. for $1.00 an hour.
By the turn of the century
 illustrations and photographs of surfing were regularly used to promote Hawaii tourism and appeared in books and newspapers around the world.The first modern surfing competition at Waikiki was held in March 1905, Bonine filmed surfing for the Edison Company in 1906, and just weeks before Ford arrived,Harold Hustace, from a field of at least ten skilled competitors, won the surfboard riding event.at the second Waikiki Regatta.Hustace, like virtually in all the accounts of surfboard riders since the mid-1890s, rode standing.

Aware that the London's had 
taken a cottage at the Seaside at Waikiki, Ford arranged to visit and show us how to use a board.He provided a suitably large board and after one day of instruction, both Jack and Charmian successfully rode prone on several waves.
Jack's enthusiasm,however, resulted in a severe case of sunburn and by June 4 he was confined to bed where he immediately began, with
 Charmian taking dictation, his landmark article, A Royal Sport.Published under the title Riding the South Sea Surf, this first printing was prefaced by a quotation by Mark Twain, that concluded none but natives ever master the art of surf-bathing thoroughly.
Fifty years laterLondon writes in glowing terms of the local natives' skill and style on the large waves breaking on the outer reefs of Waikiki.
Charmian and Jack London, Honolulu1907.
Integrating science and art, his analysis of wave motion theory, well known in scientific circles by 1867has been replicated, usually as chapter one, in numerous surfing books and is the foundation of modern surf forecasting services.
explanation of the basic dynamics of surfboard riding could be based on some of his research, or was perhaps collated from discussions around the beach, where it was understood that the wave lifts and pushes the board and rider slides down the glossy surface, yet never falling lower.The subject has only been reprised very occasionally, and usually with little further rigorous inspection.
Jack London relates how, with Ford's assistance, 
he learns to catch small waves on an inside reef close to the beach 
at Waikiki, and ride prone using his legs to steer.
Impressed, and envious, of the local experts who ride standing on the larger waves breaking on the outer reefs, the following day he and Ford venture out to a larger break, accompanied by George Freeth.

Whereas London accredits Ford with mastering surfboard riding in a matter of weeks and without the benefits of instruction, Ford later wrote that he learned from the small boys of Waikiki and that it took four hours a day to the sport for nearly three months.
Jack successfully rides prone on some larger waves, but now suffering from severe sunburn, the article concludes with him dictating from his bed and resolving to ride standing, like Ford and Freeth, before leaving Hawaii
While Jack London was dictating from his bed, it was announced that George Freeth was available for swimming and surfing lessons at the Seaside Hotel every day between 8:30 am.and 6 pm.Meanwhile, Ford had a long letter published in the local press calling for the produce and delights of Hawaii to be vigorously promoted to the world; the strength of his commitment to the Hawaiian cause demonstrated by undertaking baptism-by-surfboard:

Forgive me if I presume to write these lines as though I was an Hawaiian, but it is to me as though I am a kamaaina,
for I have learned to ride your native surf board, and in the memory of that victory and the toils and pains I accomplished it,
I may be fairly inscribed as one who has suffered sufficiently on your Islands to love them and sympathize with them.

Most of the Congressional party embarked for home aboard the transport Sherman on June 1 and the next day, a Honolulu reporter detailed some of the works in the Snark's library; which include the seventeen volumes London hawritten himself.
Not recorded, but most probably aboard were copies of Mark Twain's Roughing It! (1872), 
a recent book on oceanography, and Charles Warren Stoddard's South Seas Idylls (1873).

Following the piece about Jack London was reference to another well known magazine writer in Honolulu just at present, 
preparing articles for Outing magazine on surfing; this was undoubtedly Alexander Hume Ford, and the implication that he was "working" for Outing Magazine carried considerable weight, having just serialised London's latest novelWhite Fang.
In addition, to illustrate his work 
Ford had a series of photographs taken of George Freeth on a surfboard, the photographer suggested byTim DeLaVega (2011to be Edward P. Urwin.
Freeth's second appearance surfing for the camera, these can only be shot in the days following Ford's return to Honolulu from Hilo.on May 25, the first two weeks earlier for the visiting Congressmen.  

Ford was also reported as saying 
he was going to advocate is the introduction of surfing at Atlantic City, and had a picture of himself ... to show how easy it is.
However, the reporter noted that although the camera tells no lie, it failed to show the half-drowned Freeth under the board holding it steady while the bold and skilful rider balanced in a pose long enough for the photo to be taken.
hree weeks later, two of the photographs appeared in the Honolulu press, along with Ford's first article about surf riding.By June 11, Jack London had recovered enough to visit the Ewa plantation with his wife and Ford and then all three embarked on an extended tour of Oahu by automobile with a round of social events, including Jack's attendance at a boxing match.
From his arrival, Ford was aware of George Freeth's desire to relocate to California to pursue his career as swimmer, diver, surf-board rider, lifeguard, and as an instructor in all; and his
 first surfing article, apparently, served to advance Freeth's career.
Titled Freeth Will Ride Atlantic Rollers!it appeared in the Pacific Commercial Advertiser on June 23, with two photographs shot at the end of May, and was reprinted five days later by the Hawaiian Gazette.
Ford claimed that George Freeth was the only man Iiving who has ever surfed on the Atlantic coast and was now planning a return visit.
As discussed above, it is possible that George Freeth did ride a board at Atlantic City around 1904, and if so, it was then highly probable that he would have mentioned it to Ford, who had only recently announced his intention
 to advocate the introduction of surfing at Atlantic City.
However, in his re-telling of Freeth's adventures, Ford concocted a series of events that, especially for any local readers with some surfing experience, appears almost fanciful
; or, perhaps, even comic, in a misguided attempt  to emulate the style of his hero, MarkTwain.The story goes that George stowed away on a steamer to Atlantic City, shaped a surfboard from a woodpile when the cook wasn't lookingtaunted the local life-saversin a row-boats he rode standing on his head, zigzagged between the pier legs, and, for his efforts was apprehended by the police. But now, George Freeth had the support of some of the biggest athletic clubs of New Yorkthe Hawaii Promotion Committee, Jack London and Alexander Hume Ford, who has made George the central figure in the articles he has written for Outing magazine on "Surfing, the King of Sports."

Ford also stated that he had 
sent this photograph of George surfing, along with his article, tOuting. .
Copyrighted by Alexander H. Ford it had been pronounced the very best photograph ever taken of a surfer in actionFord having stood up to his neck among the breakers for days in order that he might be able to get a series of such photographs.
This was most probably one of photographs, pribably by Edward P. Urwin, that Ford arranged to be taken of George Freeth at Waikiki sometime after May 25, around the time of his first meeting with the London's in Honolulu, and before the event was noted in the local press on June 2.
George Freeth, Spinning in on a swift one, Waikiki, May, 1907

As surfing photographs had been in circulation since Dr. Henry Bolton first snapped surf riders on Niihau in 1890, not to mention the Waikiki footage filmed for the Edison Company by Bonine in 1906-7, the very best photograph ever taken of a surfer was a bold claim.
The projected article and the photograph of Freeth never appeared in Outing, although it did appear, along with some of George taken earlier, in Ford's A Boy's Paradise in the Pacificpublished (with different captions) in the, somewhat less prestigious, children's magazine St. Nicholas in August 1908.The second photograph appearing with the article, titled Surf rider balancing on the crest of a breaker, invites speculation that it is possibly the one Ford commissioned of himself to show how easy it is.
Certainly, given his involvement with the Congressional party, by the beginning of June 1907 Ford could only have been riding a surfboard for less than a monthperhaps giving some credence to the reporter's assertion that it failed to show the half-drowned Freeth under the board holding it steady.
However, a far more likely candidate is Keeping just behind the breakerpublished the next year in St. Nicholas.
While the rider appears to be probably standing on a board, he cannot be said to be riding a wave.

Pacific Commercial Advertiser, June 23 1907.

St. Nicholas Magazine, 1908.
On June 30 it was reported  that that the London's were back at Waikiki.where Mr. London has become quite an expert on the surf board. However, while it was said that they will remain there for the remainder of their stay in Honolulu, the next day they departed for the leper colony on Molokai, returning to the grounds of the Seaside Hotel on the July 7.

While relaxing on Molokai, Charmian London's Diary records 
that some one recalled a story of Charles Warren Stoddard's, where the author and Joe talked about the old times, walking arm in arm, and arms about shoulders, in Sweet Lahaina.
The story of Joe of Lahaina appeared in Stoddard's South Sea Idyls, however, the London's may have had the English edition, titled Summer Cruising in the South Seas (1874)
Illustrated by Wallis Mackay, it was the first book depicting surfboard riders on the cover; as in many of her surfing illustrations, naked females.At one time Mark Twain's secretary, Stoddard visited the Hawaiian Islands four times between 1864 and 1867, and although only acquainted through correspondencehe and Jack have called each other Dad and Son for years; their recent correspondence including a  letter by Stoddard introducing Jack to Queen Liliuokalani.
Over a century later, it is impossible to know to what extent contemporary readers were aware of the book's homo-eroticism, including Jack and Charmian London, whose marriage had included open sexual experimentation.
Joe of Lahaina has a figure so fresh and joyous that I began to realize how the old Greeks could worship mere physical beauty.
Between house-keeping, and his regular visits to church, Stoddard takes time to counsel Joe on becoming a true and unterrified American.
Drewey Wayne Gunn (2016) notes one story where his companion, Kana-ana, again and again would come with a delicious banana to the bed where I was lying, and insist upon my gorging myself.
However, he does not comment on the, now, double entendre of cruising in the English edition's title, or on Stoddard's surfing companion on Maui, Kahele, who was the gayest of the gay, and the most lawless of the unlawful. 
A week after Ford had intimated that George Freeth intended to demonstrate surfing on the Atlantic coast, the press reported on July 3 that George, now designated probably the most expert surf board rider in the world, had sailed aboard the Alamedato give swimming and surf riding exhibitions on the Pacific coast.
Whereas Freeth had indicated 
earlier that he and "Dudy" Miller would travel to Southern California, with a surfing canoe and surf boards, he was instead, equipped with a supply of surf boards and accompanied by Kenneth Winter.
It is unclear if Ford's profile, published ten days earlier, or Freeth's association with Jack London, in any way assisted in obtaining financial support from the Promotion Committee, or anyone else, for Freeth and Winter's passage, and the transportation of their boards, to California.

After less than a month in 
California, Kenneth Winter returned  on August 8, and by mid-1908 he was elected the first captain of the Outrigger Canoe Club.
He later shared 
a controversial victory with Sam Wight at that year's Waikiki Regatta; riding long, heavy boards, they won easily; defeating the 1907 champion, Harold Hustace, who turned in vain on his diminutive board.
As a result of the victory, the journalist predicted that the fashion in boards will now turn to something long, thick and narrow.

George Freeth
Honolulu, July 1907.

On his departure, Freeth was said to have
 probably done more to revive the wonderful art of the ancient Hawaiians here at home than any other one person, the title aspired by A.H. Ford.
While Freeth
 was undoubtedly an outstanding athlete, swimmer, diver and surfer, there may have been some long-term locals who quietly questioned George's recent promotion as the most skilled board rider at Waikiki.
The London's visit to Molokai was followed by visits to some of the other islands by inter-island steamer, the Snark still undergoing repairs, but they returned to Waikiki in late July, and were invited to dine with Mr. and Mrs. Frederic J. Church and their guests, Mr and Mrs. Nicholas Longworth 
Mrs. Nicholson was better known as 
Alice Roosevelt, daughter of the serving President, Theodore Roosevelt,
Her husband was a Republican party leader, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and fourteen years her senior.

Staying for a month in the largest of the cottages at the Seaside, at the start of August the Longwoth's went canoe-surfing with Jack Atkinson, with crowds of spectators on the beach watching the canoe riding the crest of the waves.
This was not a new experience;
 during their first visit with the Taft party in mid-July 1905 they, along with then Secretary Taft, had riddenin outrigger canoes, courtesy of Jack Atkinson.During the Pacific voyage in 1905, Miss Roosevelt was, obviously, not short of attention.
Although Washington gossip had Longworth as her accepted suitor, Miss Roosevelt did not let that matter interfere with her enjoymentthe Hawaiian  press also noting Rhode Island's Stuyvesant Fish Jr. and Roger K. Wetmore , also visiting aboard S.S. Manchuriaalongwith locals Jack Atkinson and Walter Dillingham, as particular admirers of Miss Alice Roosevelt. 

Alice Roosevelt, c1904.

After canoe surfing at Waikiki, Aitkinson
 had mailed a fine collection of pictures of Miss Alice Roosevelt to the President, and in Honolulu there were high.expectations that they would appear in Collier's, Harper's, Leslie's and a number of newspapers all over the country.
However, despite his best  efforts to promote surfing at Waikiki, it appears none were ever published

Alice recalled Mr.Taft pleading with photographers not to take photographs of me in my bathing suit.
It was considered just a little indelicate, the idea that they might be taken and published.
And a bathing suit was a silk or mohair dress, not at all short, high-necked and with sleeves, and, of course, long black stockings! 
At the end of July 1905, the Chicago Tribune attempted to avoid offending the President by publishing a modest illustration, from a photograph, revealing the young lady's back and, despite Alice's recollection that she was wearing sleeves, one naked arm.It is impossible to identify anybody in one photograph from the Taft party's visit in 1905, a panorama of Diamond Head with several canoes sporting in small waves, held in the archives of the Smithsonian Institution.

Alice Roosevelt Enjoying the Surf in 
Hawaii on Her Way to the Orient.
(From a photograph)
Miss Roosevelt wielding a paddle while surf riding.
She is at the end of the canoe, on the right.Chicago TribuneJuly 30, 1905.

Canoes in the Surf, Waikiki, July 1905.
Alice in Asia: The 1905 Taft Mission to AsiaFreer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Galleries Smithsonian Institution

Jack Atkinson was also a guest the 
Church's dinner, at the Turkish room of the Seaside in early August 1907, for the Longworth's and London's; the later now guests of Mr. and Mrs. Lorrin A.Thurston until the sailing of the Snark for the south.
It is highly probable that the evening's conversation included a mutual appreciation of the joys of surf-riding.
As Jack London was a renowned Socialist, politics was very likely avoidedas was the President's recent public questioning of the author's account of a fight between a bulldog and a wolf.

On August 8, 1907, the Hawaii Promotion Committee was delighted to learn that Jack London's article on surf bathing in Hawaii would probably appear in the October number of the The Woman's Home Companion, a national magazine with a circulation in excess of half a million.Three days later, Alexander Hume Ford's extended account of the Hawaiian tour of the Congressional partappeared in The World Today.Repairs were completed and the Snark provisioned before Jack, Charmian, and their new crew, sailed for Maui on August 15.

George Freeth was now in California, the Snark was sailing around the Hawaiian Islands, and 
in mid-August, Ford also left Honolulu and was now cruising around the Fiji Islands.
There he surfed with the natives on Taveuni Island, although they merely hold a small board in their hands, and have never heard of anyone standing on the board.
Travelling by inter-island steamers, Ford continued on to New Zealand.and was in Australia by the end of October, 1907.
As such, it was  probably several weeks before he became aware of a glowing assessment of his achievements at Waikiki in The Pacific Commercial Advertiser of August 26; in three months Ford had become a proficient surfer, to a very considerable extent, and had imparted his enthusiasm to the community.
Just as importantly, he had formulated instruction in it: teaching others how to teach the acquisition of the art.
This success was even more impressive in light of the reporter's assertion that 
two or three years ago the feat of standing upon the surf board survived only in the power of two or three in the whole community.

After visiting several of the Hawaiian islands, the Snark sailed from Hilo for the Marquesas Islands on  October 7 and on the same day, 
under the heading Jack London Tells Of Surfingthe Hawaiian Star heralded the publication, along with some excerpts, of his eagerly anticipated surfing article that featured Freeth and Ford.
The question posed by the Hawaiian StarDid he stick to his intention to ride a surf board standing before he left in the Snark?, remains unanswered.
Initially appearing in The Woman's Home Companion under the title Riding the South Sea Surfthe following year it was reprinted in England by Pall Mall as The Joys of the Surf-Riderwith an illustration by P.F.S. Spenceand thereafter extracts appeared in newspapers around the world. 
In 1911, it was appeared as Chapter 7 in a collection of London's writings from the Pacific, The Cruise of the Snark, under the heading A Royal Sport, by which it is now commonly known.

P.F.S. Spence:
A young god bronzed with sunburn.
Nakuina, Emma Metcalf:

Hawaii, Its People
and Their Legends.

 Hawaiian Promotion Committee,
Honolulu, H.T., 1904.

Reprinted with Jack London's
The Joys of the Surf-Rider
Pall MallNovember, 1908.

London, Jack:
The Cruise of the Snark.

Macmillan and Company, New York, 1911
No stranger to controversy, Jack London stories continued to appear in the Hawaiian press.
Not for the first time, Jack's seamanship was questioned; one of the crew on the trip from Honolulu to Hilo complaining that everyone acted as captain, occasionally the cookbut most of the time it was Mrs. London in bloomers.

And from Hilo came news that Jack's cheques to some local merchants were being returned from his Oakland bank, endorsed not sufficient funds.
While it was generally assumed that the bad checks were a simple mistake in his calculations, there was some sympathy for the Hilo men with the missing coin.

Bank of Hawaii Ltd., Honolulu,13 August 1907 
E.O. Hall and Sons, $9.96, endorsed Jack London 
E.O. Hall and Sons was a large retail store on Fort and King Streets, Honolulu.

In the summer of 1907, in less than tree months, the combined talents of Freeth, Ford and Jack London left an indelible mark on surfing history.

Alexander Hume Ford was the first to return to Hawaii, arriving 
from Australia.on March 3, 1908.
In Sydney he was aware that the local surf life-saving clubs were agitating for 
prime beach-front club-houses, which possibly prompted his enthusiasm for a similar development at Waikiki, the Outrigger Canoe Club.
Ford managed to get a few 
more of his articles accepted by magazine editors but after 1911, his work was in constant demand in Honolulu, required for the pages of his self-published Mid-Pacific Magazine.
George Freeth was rumoured to be returning to Hawaii in 1909, but arrived on September 28, 1910, and competed in water polo and swimming competitions.Although A.H. Ford made a case for keeping the highly skilled professional surfer-lifeguard at Waikiki, he soon returned to the beaches of California.
Jack and Charmian London did not return to Waikiki until 1915 when they were welcomed by Ford to the now world-renowned Outrigger Canoe Club.

Waikiki, 1915. Mr and Mrs. London (center), A.H. Ford (right).

Source Documents
1872 Mark Twain : Roughing It. 1874 Charles Warren Stoddard : Surfriding in Maui.
1907 Newspapers : Swimming and Surfing.
Ernest Francis Acheson : Congressional Party in Hawaii.
1907 Jack London : Riding the South Sea Surf.
1908 Jack London : Aloha Oe.
1908 Alexander Hume Ford : Riding Breakers.
1908 Alexander Hume Ford : A Boy's Paradise in the Pacific.
1908 Alexander Hume Ford : Beach Culture in Sydney, Australia.
1913 Martin Johnson : Through the South Seas with Jack London. 
1915 Carroll Van Court and M. C. Merritt : George Freeth.
Jack London My Hawaiian Aloha.
1917 Charmian London : Surfriding at Waikiki 1907-1917.

1921 Lyba and Nita Sheffield ::Swimming SimplifiedBoard Portraits.
InternetGeorge Freeth
Laysan Island 
Alexander Hume Ford
Jack London
Charrmian London
Cruise of the Snark
Outing MagazineThe Woman's Home Companion
St. Nicholas Magazine
Princess Kalanianaole
Queen Liliuokalani.Mark Twain
Charles Warren Stoddard
Wave motion theoryAlice Roosevelt
Alice in Asia: The 1905 Taft Mission to Asia
Theodore Roosevelt
Nicholas Longworth
William Howrad TaftOutrigger Canoe Club
Moana Hotel


A Distinctive Hawaiian Sport
George D. Freeth, Champion Surfboard Rider, on the Breakers
Acheson, Ernest Francis: Congressional Party in Hawaii, May, 1907.
Observer Job Rooms, Washington, Pa., 1907

Alexander H. Ford :
George Freeth, Spinning in on a Swift One, 1907.As accredited when published in
The Hawaiian Gazette, Honolulu, June 28, 1907, page 6.
The photograph accompanies an article by Ford extolling the surfing skills 
and, the occasionally questionable, exploits of George Freeth.
The photograph is captioned "Photo copyrighted by Alexander H. Ford," 
and the text reports Ford's difficulty in securing the shot.
However, in Surfing Hawaii (2011) page 48, Tim DeLaVega 
accredits the photograph to Edward P. Urwin in 1908.
It is also possible that the surfrider is not Freeth.
Later printed, without identifying Freeth i
Alexander Hume Ford: A Boy's Paradise in the Pacific
, 1908.

George Freeth

Rendondo Beach, California,

George Freeth and 1910-type gremmies.
Left to right:
George Mitchell, Tommy Witt, Freeth, Ray Kegeris, Garry Witt. [Hermosa]

Photograph: MR. Lemon, coutresy of Lou Martin

Stern and Cleary:
Surfing Guide to Southern California
, 1963, page17.

George Freeth
Honolulu, July 1907.

Photographs courtesy of Ray Kegeris.
Stern and Cleary:
Surfing Guide to Southern California
, 1963, page 17.

Ge o rge Fre eth ,
California, circa 1914.


George Freeth riding forwards and backwards - Rendondo Beach, 1914.

George Freeth w i th reel, high diving 
and manning the surf-boat, 1915.

Carroll Van Court and M. C. Merritt:  He Sure Can Swim.
 Outdoor World Publishing Company,  New York.
Volume 53 Number 2, August, 1915  
Hathi Trust

George Freeth, world's champion surf board rider and celebrated life-saver, teacher of swimming, diving and life-saving.
Sheffield, Lyba M. and Nita Co.:
Swimming Simplified
Second Edition
The Hicks-Judd Company,
San Francisco, c1921.

George Freeth with his mile-a-minute 
life-saving apparatus.

Return to Surfer Bio Menu
home catalogue history references appendix
Geoff Cater (2017) : Surfer : George Freeth.

May 04 2017

Winter 2016/2017

Southeast Asia’s winters go from December through February and then rapidly ramp up in temperature. March begins summer -- the hottest time of the year (April-June). There is no spring season as many people used to four seasons would expect.

This winter, we lived out at the farm for the first time. I loved it, as I knew I would -- especially the clear skies that only occur at this time of year. To my surprise and pleasure, my wife not only enjoyed it, too, but got into it. For a year and more, she’s planted fruit trees and vegetables along the perimeter of our dirt pad, elevated from the surrounding rice paddies. Every day she irrigates and likes it.

Unfortunately, I got sick again this winter for a two-month period, just like last year (2015/2016). It was another bout with the flu followed up with a bronchial infection. Next winter, I will try flu shots to see if that helps. This pattern of annually being sick for one-sixth of the year -- at my age (68) -- can be dangerous.

Steaming sticky rice in the early morn.

The season was a transition period, as we learned what we needed to be comfortable out at our larger of two farms.

Take our bed for instance. The first few years of my retirement, we slept upstairs at our village house (ban how) on the floor on traditional Isaan mats -- foldable squares filled with a local organic “cotton” that grows from large pods on a certain type of tree. This is stuffed inside sewn squares of fabric. The ones we slept on had been stuffed and sewn up by Thip’s mother years ago.

It was OK, but lumpy and the two sets of pads would separate (Thip’s and mine), so there would always be a low spot in between us. I finally looped the two pads together with string which helped.

Later on, we elevated our bed so we were off the floor and sleeping mostly downstairs for convenience. Still, the mats were lumpy.

This winter, we didn’t have enough mats to keep both our bed in the village and the one out at the farm, so we were forced to improve the situation. I mean, how long should one put up with an uncomfortable bed, no matter where it is? So, Thip bought two slabs of two-inch thick latex inside cotton slips. One slab went to the village house and the other one to Ban Nah (farm house). They are great; no rubber smell and very firm.

Temple pool between our farm and the government road.


May 02 2017

Surf Sessions, 1778-1899

Jeremy Lemarie has put together a map of all documented surf sessions between 1778-1899. To visit the latest map go to: Surf Blurb Surfing Map, 1778-1899 .

April 26 2017

Buddhist But Not Exactly

Whenever I’m asked about my religion, I tell people I am Buddhist. People in our village and temple now assume it; my wife has for some time. In reading about our lives here in Northeastern Thailand -- especially how thoroughly integrated into the daily lives of our Kamattan monks and temple that we are -- I’m pretty sure you would think so, too.

Braided fragrant flower buds offered to our monks in respect.

Yet, despite the fact that I have practiced elements of Buddhism since slightly before my wife was born 45 years ago, and well before her father got serious about the family religion, I no longer consider myself much of a Buddhist -- but, a little.

When I was much younger, I used to say “I’m not a very good Christian.” Now, I tell myself “I’m not a very good Buddhist.”

I grew up a Methodist. I was first introduced to Buddhism in 1967, while in my freshman year in college, though the writings of Jack Kerouac who greatly influenced me as a writer. Soon afterward, I got interested in Zen Buddhism and for a long time considered myself a Zen Buddhist. My sons always thought I was just an Athiest.

When I met my wife three decades later, I adopted her practice, which is the Forest Tradition (Kamattan) of Thai Buddhism.

So, why do I no longer consider myself much of a Buddhist -- Kamattan or some other form? I guess it boils down to me being like a guy shopping in a market when it comes to religion. I’ll buy what I feel I need and I’m very selective. Some of the basic beliefs of Buddhism I definitely don’t subscribe to (i.e. reincarnation). As for the five precepts of Buddhism (not harming living things; not taking what is not given [stealing], sexual misconduct, lying or gossip; and not taking intoxicating substances like drugs and alcohol), I only hit about three out of five of those. I still drink beer and I trap rats on a regular basis, killing mosquitoes on sight.

Besides, there are too many other rules to follow in Buddhism. I don’t know half of them and forget much of the half I remember. Heck, as a boy I was challenged just trying to remember the Ten Commandments. Today, I’m glad to report that I’m meeting about seven out of ten of those.

For me, I’ve just selected what I’ve felt I needed and what made sense to me. I’m fine with anyone following a different path. I really believe whatever works for you is the best religion to have. My religion probably defies a label and takes elements from not only Buddhism and Christianity, but also Native American -- which are really the only three religions I feel I know something about.

My religion -- such as it is -- is boiled down to this: Our lives now, as animals on this planet we call Earth, is the only consciousness we will ever know. This is it. Make the most of it.

Make the most of it by being happy with best intent, best thought, best words and best actions (Buddha’s Four Noble Truths).

Do your utmost to help all living creatures. Live the life you will be proud to die by.

Even as simple as it is, “my religion” is a very difficult religion to practice. It makes sense to me though and challenges me to “up my game” -- actively trying to get better and be a better human being every single day.

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