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October 08 2017


Malcolm Gault-Williams substituting at KTYD-FM, Santa Barbara, California, spring 1981. - Length: 47:35 - Audio quality: Fair, one channel low - Notable: the Yoko Ono set.

October 04 2017

Volume 1 Ebook

Volume 1 of LEGENDARY SURFERS is now available in ebook format.

This first book in the LEGENDARY SURFERS series covers the very beginning of surfing's history, 2500 B.C. to 1910 A.D., through the life of "The Father of Modern Surfing," Duke Kahanamoku.

Total pages: 358. Total wordage: 145,950. Black and white historical images: over 50. Originally published in 2005.

Chapters included:
 The First Surfers
 Traditional Hawaiian Surf Culture
 Ancient Hawaiian Surfboards
 Legendary Polynesian Surfers
 Mo'ikeha and Sons
 The 1800's: Surfing's Darkest Days
 The Ka'iulani Board
 Surfing's Revival
 Bronzed Mercury: George Freeth
 Duke Paoa Kahanamoku

This ebook is a fabulous resource (I'm trying to be modest, here) and is being sold at a reduced price ($4.99) to make up for formatting inconsistencies that made their way in during conversion to ebook format. Because the file used is old (first edition published in 2005) and wasn't originally formatted to be an ebook, the table of contents is somewhat of a mess, paragraph separations are sometimes inconsistent, and footnotes are at the end of each chapter, rather than at the bottom of the page or end notes in the back of the book, itself. My apologies for that, but I've tried to make it up to you in the form of a reduced price.

The ebook is shareable to friends and family within two weeks of sharing.
To order the ebook or just browse a bit of it, please click on the cover, below:

October 03 2017


When I think of Thai ghosts, firstly, I am reminded of the people who plaster their faces with talcum powder during the New Year . Secondly, I think of the young girls usually in high school or college or older who religiously apply whitening cream to their skin -- not only ruining the natural sheen of their skin, but causing a distortion to their overall beauty.

You can't talk them out of it. The appeal of white skin to Southeast Asians has a long history. It goes back to the time when the white skinned Chinese dominated commerce in this part of the world. The Chinese themselves are hung up on white skin and this was passed down to the locals. In order to be beautiful (read: successful), one must be white. So, everyone wants to be successful like the Chinese. This is another reason why Westerners are looked up to: the color of their skin; as if it were confirmation of perceived Falang success.

Girls, especially, think they will look more beautiful with white skin. Unfortunately, due to the “wonders of modern science,” it is now chemically possible to achieve the color, if not the beauty.

But, the subject of ghosts in Southeast Asia is a serious matter. I’m not talking about Songkran partiers or young girls and whitening cream. I mean: the ghosts of living beings long dead. In this part of the world, mysticism is ever present and it is not a long jump between mysticism to superstitions. Everyone here believes ghosts exist and are active. When my wife touches on the subject, I am careful to be attentive. Should I dismiss the subject in an off handed way, I would just be showing my ignorance and my credibility would be diminished. So, I pay a certain kind of lip service to the subject of ghosts.

To be sure, ghosts are a problem. But, it is the fear of ghosts, really, that cause the problems. One case in point occurred recently. Thip was regularly riding our farm road back and forth to the temple for evening chanting. That was until her niece started talking about all the ghosts in this area (as if she knew). Thip hasn't been on our dirt road at night since.

Spirit houses used to be prevalent in our area of the Isaan, almost as much as home Buddha altars . A Thai spirit house is “the house of the guardian spirit.” They are found not only in Thailand, but also in Lao, Cambodia and Mynmar. They are placed in an auspicious spot, most often in a corner of a property. The house itself is in miniature in the form of a house but most often a temple. It’s mounted on a pillar or dais. It’s main intention is to provide a shelter for spirits who could cause problems for the people residing at that location, unless otherwise appeased (by food offerings, chanting, prayers, burning incense, etc.). The shrines often include human and animal figurines.

Kamattan Buddhist leaders have discouraged the installation and maintenance of spirit houses in recent years. As an example, when I first met my wife 18 years ago, her family house had a well-maintained spirit house and now they have none. My wife has never asked me if we can put up one, ourselves.

You still see many spirit houses throughout Thailand and Southeast Asia, however. They are especially popular with places of business who want to show they are appeasing the local spirits.

The main Buddhist ceremony connected with ghosts is Boon Khao Sah , where the dead are remembered and their spirits honored. During this time, as if they were living entities themselves, the spirits are allowed to move around and, in fact, encouraged to do so -- as if they’d been caged up for a year.

I can't say that ghosts don't exist. I also can't say they do. Although I've heard many stories of people who have claimed to see them, I never have.

September 27 2017

Hugh Bradner: The Wetsuit

Hugh Bradner is generally credited with the invention of the neoprene wetsuit in 1951.

For more about Bradner and the invention of the neoprene wetsuit, please go to:

Hugh Bradner - Wikipedia

(images courtesy of the University of California, San Diego and the Atomic Heritage Foundation)

September 24 2017

September 23 2017

Communication Technology

When I retired to the Thai countryside from California, in 2012, I was an active multi-player gamer . I had friends who I’d never met face-to-face scattered around the world. We would meet up at a set day/time and play together in a virtual environment in real time. First, the game was Call of Duty , then I moved to Battlefield .

I wasn’t sure if I could continue to play “video games” once I was in Thailand, due to the importance of not only download spped, but upload as well. It turns out that it never became a problem. We bought a plan to deliver a cellular signal to the provincial hub and it worked fine. A couple of year later, we upgraded to fiber optic. Can you imagine having a fiber optic connection in a Thai village of 500 people?

Having first the cellular and then the fiber optic connections enabled us to create a wifi hotspot that gives all our Internet-capable devices access. There’s my computer, the Playstation gaming console (also used for movie watching) and both Thip’s and my cellphones. It used to be that we’d get visits from family just so they could use our connection, but that doesn’t happen much, anymore, as more and more people are buying and daily using data plans for their cellphones.

Of course, Thip and I also have data plans for our cellphones, so that when we are not near the wifi, we can also access the Internet -- basically, from anywhere in Thailand. It comes in handy out at the farm. Thip likes to watch YouTube videos -- instructional videos, Buddhist teachings and Chinese historical drama. Me, I use the phone primarily to keep an eye on the weather radar, but at night sometimes I’ll watch a Netflix show or movie. Staying in contact with each other and our friends and family is also an important aspect. Both Thip and I can be on the go, but we’re easily reachable -- as long as we have our cellphones turned on!

The electronic technology has been there for a while, it just took me time to figure it out and how to use it to maximum benefit. Actually, I was a little resistant to heavy use of cellphones having noted how it has negatively affected inter-personal relationships. But, I had to remind myself of my longtime attitude toward television. It’s neither good nor bad. It just depends on how you use it.

(A favorite shot, Spring 2017... look closely and you'll see Thip watering plants and... viewing her cellphone screen!)

September 14 2017


Malcolm Gault-Williams substituting at KTYD-FM, Santa Barbara, California, 29 April 1981 - Length: 46:34 - Audio Quality: Good PLAYLIST: Joni Mitchell: "California" (partial) Marshall Tucker Band: "Can't You See" Malc back announce: "... on The Tide!" Commercial: Tony Rose Camera Joe Redford Toyota Cat Stevens: "Fathers and Sons" Buckingham Nicks: "Long Distance Runner" Fleetwood Mac: "Sisters of the Moon" John Stewart: "Midnight Wind" Malc back announce PSA: Seniors Day Commercial: Suzuki (Jim Trapp VO) Promo: "Jazz Network" with Joe Collins Forward promote: Dave Heffner Dire Straits: "Skateaway" Bob Dylan: "Serve Somebody" Tom Waits: "Better Off Without A Wife" Malc back announce: "... rice marks all over her face?"

A Bit Like Camping

When my wife and I are out at our 9 rai farm , it’s a bit like camping.

In my experience, there’s three basic ways to camp. One is what I consider pure: where you head out with a pack on your back and hike to a location where you set up a temporary camp. A second type is what my sons and I call “car camping,” where you park in an area or campgrounds and pitch your gear within sight of your transpo. You can even sleep inside it, if there’s room and you’re set-up for that. A third, I guess, is “RV camping,” where you have your own self-contained living unit that you take with you to a campground specially made to accommodate recreational vehicles.

Well, out at the farm, it’s a little like Car Camping. Our campground is the area around Bann Nah (the farm house), all outdoors. Of course, we sleep upstairs in a very nice teak walled bedroom, but otherwise, we’re outside.

Even though she likes being out at the farm, I know this camping aspect wears on Thip a bit -- especially rainy days, some of which if they are too heavy, cause us to retreat to our village house. I’m a lucky guy to have a wife with me on this adventure, who puts up with living so basically and without so many comforts.

The other day we were talking about the many problems people have with each other and the general turmoil that churns all over the world. Thip said we are fortunate to be able to live so simply, in the figurative shadow of our local temple.

As usual, she’s right.

September 13 2017

Early Surfing in the British Isles

This chapter in the LEGENDARY SURFERS collection is free for viewing here and also available as an ebook for $2.99. To purchase, please go here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075FRGWZ8/. The advantages of the ebook over the online edition is that it is portable, you don't need an internet connection to read it wherever you want to on a PC, tablet or phone. Additionally, it is shareable with friends and family for two weeks after sending and it is a file for yours to keep.

Whether you read it here or in ebook form, I hope you enjoy learning about the earliest days of prone and stand-up surfing in the British Isles!


You are about to read about  the earliest days of surfing in the British Isles, including prone surfing on body boards as well as stand-up surfing. In collecting all I could about the subject, I am greatly indebted to the work of Peter Robinson, founder of the Museum of British Surfing; Roger Mansfield, author of “The Surfing Tribe” ; the Museum of British Surfing; and J. M. Ormrod, author of “Middle class pleasures and the safe/dangers of surf bathing on the English South Coast 1921-1937.”

For images, my thanks to the Museum of British Surfing and Jeremy Oxenden.


Surfing along the coasts of the British Isles is far older than most people realize.
It used to be that we thought of surfing in this part of the world as beginning in the 1960s. There is an element of truth in this belief as stand-up surfing did not really catch on in the British Isles until then. However, there had been stand-up surfers long before then, as well as the far more numerous “surf bathers” who rode wooden body boards prone off the coasts of many resort areas.

Fact is, Hawaiian surfers first rode at Bridlington, in 1890; a local Briton in North Devon in 1904; numbers of vacationers in Newquay in 1921 and St. Ouen’s Bay in the mid-1920s. At Newquay, surfing on body boards has continued to present day.1

Piikoi Brothers, 1890

After introducing surfing to Santa Cruz during the time they were going to school in California in 1885, Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Piikoi and his brother Prince David Kahalepouli Kawanaankoa Piikoi took a trip to the British Isles to further their formal education and surfed there briefly, on vacation. They were in company of their English guardian on holiday in Bridlington, Yorkshire, September 1890.

A letter, believed to be the earliest report of the sport in Great Britain, was uncovered by Hawaiian historian and author Sandra Kimberley Hall in 2011. Pictures of the trio and details of their vacation are part of the growing historical collection housed at the Museum of British Surfing.2

The fact that not only do we now know that Hawaiian royalty surfed while being educated in England in the late 1800s, but also t hat they chose a relatively obscure surfing destination like Bridlington on the east coast to paddle out and catch a few slides is just fantastic,” declared Peter Robinson, founder of the Museum of British Surfing.

“This is the earliest proven instance of surfing in Britain so far – previously we had thought it was the 1920s in England and the Channel Islands – but this blows our history right out of the water.

“The Victorian locals must have been incredulous at the sight of these Hawaiian princes paddling out, and riding back into shore most likely standing on large wooden planks, their dark skin and hair glistening in the North Sea waters.

“I only wish I could have been there to see it.”3

In a letter to consul Henry Armstrong from Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Piikoi, the prince wrote that he and his brother, Prince David Kahalepouli Kawanaankoa Piikoi, were allowed by their tutor believed to be John Wrightson – to holiday in Bridlington.

The pair were given the reward for good work in their studies at colleges around Britain. They had been in England studying for almost a year.

On September 22, 1890, a joyful Kuhio could not restrain his enthusiasm in his letter to Armstrong:

“We enjoy the seaside very much and are out swimming every day. The weather has been very windy these few days and we like it very much for we like the sea to be rough so that we are able to have surf riding.

“We enjoy surf riding very much and surprise the people to see us riding on the surf.

“Even Wrightson is learning surf riding and will be able to ride as well as we can in a few days more. He likes this very much for it is a very good sport.”

It is thought the Hawaiian princes, the orphaned nephews and heir to Queen Kapiolani, would have made their surfboards from timber acquired from a Bridlington boat builder.4

The princes were cousins of surfer Princess Victoria Ka‘iulani, the half-Hawaiian, half-Scottish heir to the Hawaiian throne who was educated in Brighton a couple of years later, in 1892.

Sandy Hall pointed out that it is possible “She [Ka‘iulani] may have been the first female surfer in Britain, but the only tangible evidence – so far – is a letter in which she wrote that she enjoyed ‘being on the water again’ at Brighton.”5

Surfing did not spread from here. It was an isolated event and it was not until three decades later that body boarding became popular at some beaches along the British Isles.6

Prince of Wales, 1920

Edward Windsor-- the Prince of Wales and future but brief king Edward VIII -- surfed at Waikiki, Hawaii, in 1920.7 To Edward Windsor and Earl Louis Mountbatten go the honor of being the first Britons photographed surfing; Edward the first one to stand.8

He had gone to Hawaii in April 1920 on HMS Renown and was taken out by Duke Kahanamoku on an outrigger canoe, told Peter Robinson. He had a surf lesson and did OK, but absolutely loved it. He later [in July] ordered the royal yacht to go back to Hawaii so he could surf for three days. Duke was out of the country when he returned so David Kahanamoku took him out and these pictures were taken then.

According to an interview with David Kahanamoku in a Hawaiian canoe club newsletter in 1950, the two young royals surfed for two hours every morning and three hours every afternoon during their July stay.

“The prince learned quickly to ride the board standing, although he did have some spills,” Kahanamoku recalled. “Louis Mountbatten never mastered the art but was content to lie prone.”9
Despite their enthusiasm for the sport, there are no known efforts by either Edward or Louis to foster surfing in Great Britain.10

Agatha and Archie, 1922

Two years after Edward Windsor surfed in Waikiki, in 1922, his friend and famous crime novelist Agatha Christie became one of Britain’s earliest stand-up surfers while visiting Cape Town, South Africa, as well as Waikiki.

Christie spent her teenage years on the south coast of England, around Torquay, where “sea-bathing ” -- body boarding prone on a short wooden board -- was, by then -- a seasonal activity of young vacationers.

After the First World War, Agatha’s husband Archie was offered a position to help organize a world tour to promote the British Empire Exhibition scheduled to be held in London in 1924. The couple left England in January 1922, leaving their baby daughter in the care of Agatha’s mother and sister. They arrived in Cape Town, South Africa in early February and soon took to “sea-bathing” at Durban. There, they were introduced to prone surfing at the popular Muizenberg beach. Two years later, she wrote about her surfing experience in her novel The Man in the Brown Suit .

“Surfing looks pretty easy,” Agatha Christie wrote. “ It isn’t . I say no more. I got very angry and fairly hurled my plank from me. Nevertheless, I determined to return on the first possible opportunity and have another go. Quite by mistake, I then got a good run on my board and came out delirious with happiness. Surfing is like that. You are either vigorously cursing or else you are idiotically pleased with yourself.”

Agatha Christie and Archie continued their promotional tour to New South Wales, in Australia, and New Zealand before arriving in Honolulu on August 5, 1922. They quickly hit the beach and were soon stand-up surfboard riding at Waikiki, as Prince Edward had done two years earlier.

The larger boards and real surf were difficult for them to handle, at first. Also, like most Westerners, they were prone to sunburn. Cut feet from standing on coral also proved a limitation. At one point, Agatha’s silk bathing dress was almost swept off her by the Waikiki surf. To protect their feet, they bought soft leather boots. Her flimsy bathing suit was replaced by “a wonderful, skimpy emerald green wool bathing dress, which was the joy of my life, and in which I thought I looked remarkably well!”

Waikiki beach boys would swim the couple out through the break, help them select a wave to ride on and then retrieve their boards when they got away from them.

“I can’t say that we enjoyed our first four or five days of surfing –” Agatha wrote, “it was far too painful – but there were, every now and then moments of utter joy. We soon learned too, to do it the easy way. At least I did – Archie usually took himself out to the reef by his own efforts.”

“Most people, however, had a Hawaiian boy who towed you out as you lay on your board, holding the board by the grip of his bit toe, and swimming vigorously. You then stayed, waiting to push off on your board until your (beach) boy gave you the word of instruction. ‘No, not this, not this, Missus, no, no wait – now!’”

“At the word ‘now’ off you went and oh, it was heaven! Nothing like it. Nothing like that rushing through the water at what seemed to you a speed of about two hundred miles an hour; all the way in from the far distant raft, until you arrived, gently slowing down, on the beach, and foundered among the soft flowing waves.”

“It is one of the most perfect physical pleasures that I have known. After ten days I began to be daring. After starting my run I would hoist myself carefully to my knees on the board, and then endeavor to stand up. The first six times I came to grief, but this was not painful – you merely lost your balance and fell off the board. Of course, you had lost your board, which meant a tiring swim, but with luck your Hawaiian (beach) boy had followed and retrieved it for you.”

“I learned to become expert, or at any rate expert from the European point of view. Oh, the moment of complete triumph on the day that I kept my balance and came right into shore standing upright on my board!”

“In fact, on a rough day I enjoyed the sea even more.”

Agatha and Archie stayed in Honolulu from August until October, 1922.

It’s not known whether she continued surfing or not, upon returning to the United Kingdom. She had a writer’s retreat built at Burgh Island, Bigbury, South Devon, in the 1930s and that spot overlooks some small but very beautiful surf.11

Surf Bathing

In the Barnstaple and North Devon Museum there is a photograph, dated 1904, of Hobart Braddick, founder of Braddick’s Holiday Centre, and his surfboard. It is not known to what point he surfed on it. What little surfing there may have been at the beginning of the Twentieth Century, at least until 1921, was very rare.12

It is believed that surf bathing -- body boarding prone -- was introduced to Great Britain by Australian lifeguards, during or after World War I.13

J. M. Ormrod, in a paper titled “Middle class pleasures and the safe/dangers of surf bathing on the English South Coast 1921-1937,” wrote that “Surf bathing was a leisure pastime enjoyed along the south coast of England in the inter war years and up to the early ‘60s when its popularity waned in favour of the stand up surfing which we know today... Surfing was associated with swimming and... became known as ‘surf bathing’. ‘Surf bathing’ was conflated in the 1940s to ‘surfing’. Surf bathing was also known as ‘Cornish surfing’ in North Devon, [and] ‘Surf Riding’ in Cornwall...”14

Surf bathing in the early twentieth century was an activity supported and promoted by a developing tourist infrastructure, howev er, it was quite different from modern surfboard riding. First, the surfboards were: flat and made from plywood, squared at the body end and rounded at the other end, sometimes this end had a slight upward curve. Second, one did not stand up on the surfboard: The expert rider takes off lying prone on his surfboard on the crest of a wave that is just breaking, and providing his timing is correct he will get a run of anything up to a hundred yards, at a speed of ten to fifteen miles an hour. Third, the surfer did not surf in deep waters. This aspect of surfing is emphasized in most of the guidebooks, ‘Surf Riding makes a particular appeal to non-swimmers as it is never necessary to go into deep water’... this aspect of surf bathing is of crucial importance in its longevity and promotion as a holiday activity. Last, it was not a subcultural activity and was enjoyed by everyone: ‘…most people surfed – it was just the normal thing to do and accepted by all.’”15

1921 is the date usually given for the first native “surf bathing.

“The earliest images and references of surfing in Britain originate from photographs relating to colonial discourse, travel poste rs and guidebooks,” wrote Ormrod. ”... The earliest images discovered feature surfers at Newquay 1921-1922. The images show surfers in what was to become an iconic image in surf culture; featuring the relationship and centrality of the surfboard. In the photographs surfers stand on the beach with their surfboards either by their side, behind them or they peep out from behind their boards. Their boards, however, are coffin lids. It is not known whether these surfers rode the boards standing up or on their stomachs. The three photographs are dated 1921-22 and have been issued as postcards for sale around Newquay.”16

The seaside became the natural choice for crowds of holidaymakers to escape from inner city squalor: ‘They came not for their health, to decipher nature’s code, or for spirituality, but for sheer delight.’ By the early twentieth century England boasted ‘…a system of coastal resorts whose scale and complexity was unmatched anywhere else in the world.’ In 1911, Walton [who was the first to write about these resorts] estimates there were a hundred ‘substantial seaside resorts’ in England and Wales.”17

“Beaches in the early part of the twentieth century tended to be class specific,” continued Ormrod, ”... Cornish and North Devon beaches tended to be associated with the middle classes who often traveled from London eager to benefit from a healthy environment... Newquay and North Cornwall was a getaway resort first for the upper classes and increasingly for the middle classes at the beginning of the 20th century. The growth of the middle classes was also a factor in the steady increase of tourism.. The inter-war years was a time when stable income and continuous employment meant that middle class affluence and disposable income was growing... However, there is little doubt the most significant factor in the development of resorts was railway access.”18

St. Ouen’s Bay, Mid-1920s

Jeremy Oxenden’s family was surfing at St. Ouen’s Bay in the mid-1920s. In 2009, Jeremy wrote to me about it, attaching photographs:

Jeremy wrote of the above photograph: That is Oxo with the 5.5 prone surfboard. He surfed in Hawaii some time between 1919-1923... The Island Surf Club of Jersey UK w as formed in 1923...

“The Girls in the beach hut are Dot and Ching Martin, left and right, and Pat Oxenden in the middle. The beach hut went up in 1924. The... Army knocked all the beach huts down in 1940. My Grand Parents re-built their hut just after the war (WWII). It was their top priority. We still have the beach hut and still surf from there... Thank you for including Oxo and his surfing Gang.”19

“Snow,” 1928

Toward the end of the 1920s, Australian surfer Charles “Snow” McAllister visited England and surfed standing up at several locations.

“Snow ” McAllister is considered to be the “Father of Australian Surfing,” who not only was one of the first stand-up surfers in New South Wales, but also became a championship swimmer and surfer.
In 1928, Snow gave a demonstration of surfing on his way home from the Olympics held in Amsterdam, Netherlands, where he had been competing.

By this time, surfing prone on short wooden body boards had become popular at some of the beaches that held consistent surf.20But, like Duke Kahanamoku had done in Australia the decade before when Snow first got his start, demonstrations of stand-up surfing really captured peoples’ imagination. Not only that, but Snow had perfected a headstand while surfing, just like George Freeth had done back in Southern California.

The Daily Mail reported on September 12, 1928, that McAllister intended to “popularize surf board riding, described as the most thrilling sport in the world, at English seaside resorts.” It’s not known how many Snow visited, but he almost certainly visited Newquay. Years later, he told Tracks magazine about how, at one spot, the locals called the police when they saw him heading into sea because they thought he was going to drown, and the police escorted him from the beach for his own safety.21

About this same time, two other Australians were noted by J. M. Ormrod as surfing while vacationing at Croyde:

“Susan (Tunbridge Wells)... holidayed in Croyde, North Devon 1927-8 with her mother and sister when: ‘who should turn up but a couple of cousins from Australia who took one look at the breakers in the sea and were amazed to see no surfing. Without any loss of time they went to see the local village carpenter and supervised the making of two wooden surfboards and took us all down to learn how to surf…’ 22

Rosenberg, Rochlen and the Elveys, 1929

A year later, in 1929, Lewis Rosenberg and three friends traveled by train from London to Newquay, in Cornwall. Rosenberg had seen film footage from Australia of surfing off the coasts of that country and had carved his own homemade surf board.23

Rosenberg and his friends Harry Rochlen and brothers Fred and Ben Elvey were part of a close-knit group of Jewish immigrants who lived in London and Hove. They had reportedly been riding four-foot long wooden body boards in the West Country and Channel Islands for almost a decade. But in 1929, inspired by the Australian newsreel, they built a longboard, wrapped it in linen sheets, and took it on a steam train from London to Newquay, the most popular surf destination of that era and years afterwards.

Not only did they try to teach themselves how to surf standing on their board, they also filmed their exploits. This rare footag e laid untouched in a Cambridgeshire loft for many years before it was discovered by Ben Elvey s daughter.

When Maxine Elvey visited one of our exhibitions,” Peter Robinson, founder of the Museum of British Surfing said, “and told us she had film of her father’s surfing exploits on a wooden longboard in 1929 we were totally blown away. We took the reels of fragile 9.5mm stock to the local film archive for them to be preserved and transferred to digital tape – it’s a national treasure.”

The film is special for a number of reasons. Not only does it show Lewis and his friends attempting stand-up surfing for the first time, but it also shows what it was like being part of a group of friends enjoying life on the then-unpopulated Newquay beaches – sometimes riding the waves naked, and dancing the Hula wearing costumes made from seaweed.

Lewis even made a waterproof housing for his video camera, which was innovative for its time in Great Britain.

Maxine Elvey said her father Ben Elvey recalled they surfed in 1928 or 1929, but that it could have been as late as 1931. “They also saw a film called ‘Idol Dancer’ which showed Hula dancing in Hawaii – they copied this as well and made grass skirts from seaweed and danced and sung the lyrics ‘Goodbye Hawaii, my island paradise, we’re bound to meet again someday,’ on the Cornish beaches.”24

“We interviewed three of the old boys who were part of the surfing gang, and they were totally stoked on what they were doing,” said Robinson. “They were in their mid 90s when we filmed them, but as soon as we spoke about surfing and their beach lives, their eyes lit up and their memories came flooding back. It was truly emotional.”

Speaking in 2006, Harry Rochlen recalled that “We swam out and when the waves came in, my friend Lewis tried to stand on the board, like they did in Australia. After a lot of practice, we managed to do it. It was incredible, it really brings back memories. It was really thrilling, to be able to stand on the board and go on to the beach.”

It is unknown how many seasons Lewis Rosenberg, Harry Rochlen and Fred and Ben Elvey surfed together. Sadly, the eight foot board which had been lovingly shaped from a solid piece of wood was later stolen from Rosenberg’s home in London.

“I had no idea my father’s surfing would turn out to be so special,” said Lewis’ daughter Sue Clamp. “We knew the films were important but mainly because they showed the build up to World War 2 and the racial and political tension. It’s fantastic the lives of Lewis and his friends is being remembered in this way.”25

Jimmy Dix, 1937

The earliest British surfers we have detailed information about are Jimmy Dix and Papino Staffieri.
In 1936, Nuneaton dentist Jimmy Dix summer vacationed with his family on the north coast of Cornwall at Newquay. There, local people and visitors had been prone surfing on thin, flat plywood boards for well over a decade.

Jimmy liked bodyboarding, but was intrigued by an encyclopedia photo-picture showing “Hawaiians gliding shoreward standing on boards, as if Gods, propelled by the waves.

“This looked worth a try, but it needed a real board,” Jimmy recorded.

He decided to build one, himself. So, he wrote a letter to some one or some organization in Honolulu. He explained his predicament and requested the dimensions of a board that he might be able to ride standing up. It is possible he sent the letter to the Outrigger Canoe Club, but this cannot be verified.
He had a long wait for his reply. It was a time before international airfreight and letters had to cross two oceans and one continent by ships and land vehicles.

What eventually arrived at his front door in Warwickshire in 1937, was a large box containing a 13 foot long hollow wooden surfboard of the Tom Blake design, weighing 30 kilograms and signed by Blake with a hand painted map of the Hawaiian islands upon its deck.

Using this Blake hollow board as an example, Jimmy built a smaller one for his wife. In the summer of 1938, they both headed to Newquay in his Alvis to holiday and experiment with riding the two boards.26

Papino Staffieri, 1940-43

Papino Staffieri was born August 3 rd 1918, a son of an Italian family who moved to Newquay at the beginning of the century in order to pursue the ice cream business there.

“Pip,” as he was known to his friends, grew up in Cornwall overcoming a minor disabling of his left leg through polio at two years of age. He grew up to become very much a local boy in Newquay, with a love of the water and some prowess as a long distance swimmer .

He had watched the Pathe newsreels in the Pavilion cinema above Towan Beach in the mid-30’s. These had shown him the great Australian surfboats in races including epic wipeouts while being surfed to shore. He connected the surf in Australia with his own local waves; the same raw material rolling into his home beaches.

After surfing prone on the local flat surf-planers [bodyboards], Pip’s first opportunity to ride waves in a different manner came with a group of local boys who had taken to building canoes. George Old, who lived further down the street built canoes with canvas stretched on a wooden frame. Old was also the most skillful canoeist in the area. It was he who led the experimentation with wave catching among the group, which Pip managed to join for a while.

Unfulfilled, however, Pip dreamed of surfing as depicted in the picture he had seen of men surfriding off Waikiki beach, with Diamond Head in the background. This picture was from the 1929 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica which he had originally seen at the dentist’s office as a youngster.

Stand-up surfing suddenly came closer to reality for him one day as he set up along the sand with his pony and trap to sell ice cream to the holiday-makers at the Harbour. Two surfboards lay on the sand side by side. It was 1938 and Jimmy Dix and his wife had come to the beach at Newquay. He hadn’ t meet them yet, but seeing and being able to touch real surfboards stirred him into action.

He left the beach with his a mental blueprint of a working design for his own board. Pip was a competent craftsman and pursued the construction of his own hollow wooden longboard with some variations on the Tom Blake model:

His board was 13 6 long, with greater width than the Blake board. Its construction was of 3/8 ’’ Deal strips screwed to oak frames by brass screws with the whole shell sealed with a varnish finish. Dry, it weighed 112 lbs. Like all hollow boards, it had a nose drain plug to empty absorbed water. Most significantly, at a later date (circa 1941), he added a 3’’ deep fin for greater directional guidance. It’s not known whether this was an original thought or one he picked up.

Dix and Staffieri never actually surfed together. August was a busy time and Pip, the worker, spent all day selling ice cream before taking to the water in the long summer evenings. This was when Jimmy, the professional man, normally retreated to the hotel for dinner with his family.

A couple of summers later (1942), Jimmy, hearing of another man with a surfing board, visited Pip and took him out for a drink and chat. During their first time together, Jimmy showed Pip some simple box camera pictures of Jimmy and his wife standing, riding white water near the beach.
Dix and Staffieri would meet again over a few intermittent summers; but for Jimmy, his visits were only annual two weeks holidays.

Papino “Pip” Staffieri was the first stand-up surfer in the British Isles to ride for any significant length of time. Not only had he built his own board in 1940, but then learned to ride it with no example to follow, in the summer of 1941.

Pip’s favorite surfing spot was off the point between Great Western and Tolcarne beaches. Here, he would surf evenings, alone. Over time, he learnt to paddle and swim-push his board out through bigger swells to ride larger surf.

Pip continued surfing until about 1943, after which his seasonal involvement started to wane. The war had truly arrived and the world was in upheaval.

During the war, Australian Air Force officers on a reprieve from active service found themselves on “R&R” (rest and relaxation) break and lodged at the Great Western hotel overlooking Newquays’ surf beaches. They found opportunities to borrow Pip’s board for paddling and wave riding. Pip, in turn, was inspired by these men from the Australian surf life-saving tradition and subsequently devoted himself to body surfing.27

Surf writer Paul Holmes wrote to me in 2009: “As kids [at Newquay in the 1960s], we used to buy ice cream from Staffieri’s van. It was the best ice cream I ever tasted, but even as he knew we were all getting into surfing, he never talked about it.”28

As a man of 85, when his story became more widely known, Pip reminisced: “I don’t want you to think I was a great surfer – nothing like all the acrobatic stuff young people do on waves today. Some waves I’d ride lying down or on my knees part of the way, in between standing.”29

Riding surf standing up definitely did not catch on until the 1960s, as Paul Holmes noted to me:

“When I grew up in Newquay during the 1950s, surfriding on plywood bellyboards was a big deal during the summer months, especially during July and August when the water was at least passably warm and hordes of tourists flocked down from the industrial cities of the midlands and north. Our local ‘beach boys’ rented out such boards, along with deck chairs, canvas windbreaks (the northwest wind could be a beach party killer even when the sun was blazing) and visiting tourists could get a ‘tea tray’ with a pot of tea, cups and saucers, mini milk jug, sugar pot, teaspoons and a plate of scones and jam with Cornish clotted cream...

“From the time that I could swim, I and like-minded friends would ‘surf’ from May through September on such bellyboards, usually plywood but (like my favorite) sometimes a single plank about four feet long, a foot wide and one quarter to one half inches thick... All had a scoop nose steamed in. Usually they were ridden in the foam, launching into an already broken wave and planing to shore... But, I guess because we did so much of it, us ‘locals’ found that on small days, when waves broke in waist or chest-high water, we could launch across the face and get at least a short ride in the ‘green water.’ By 1960-61, I and a few others figured out that on a big swell we could swim out with our boards, using kid’s size swim fins, and take off on bigger waves, getting a much longer ride on the open face, especially at high tide when waves refracted/reflected off the cliffs, giving a wedge effect. (I should point out that conditions varied rapidly and radically because of the 17-22 foot tidal range).

“It's funny to me that even supposedly well-informed people so underestimate the wave action on the coast of Britain exposed to the North Atlantic. ‘Oh, there's surf in England? It must be pretty weak!’ Not so. I grew up with fishermen who knew where to avoid 60-foot cloudbreaks. I've seen bigger seas off the coast of Cornwall than I've seen on the North Shore of Oahu.”30

4  There is a possibility that the Piikoi brothers were bodysurfing and not stand-up board riding. This is just my thought in reading the wording of the letter.
5  Western Morning News, 11 April 2012.
8  Booth, Robert. “The Prince of Wales: new UK surf museum unveils sports noble roots,” The Guardian, 4 April 2012 at: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2012/apr/04/prince-waves-uk-surfing-museum
9  Booth, Robert. “The Prince of Wales: new UK surf museum unveils sports noble roots,” The Guardian, 4 April 2012 at: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2012/apr/04/prince-waves-uk-surfing-museum. David Kahanamoku quoted.
12  Ormrod, J. M. “Middle class pleasures and the safe/dangers of surf bathing on the English South Coast 1921-1937,” 2001. Posted on the Internet in 2004 at: https://e-space.mmu.ac.uk/617588/9/Such%20a%20jolly%20holiday%20(8).pdf. Page 1.
13  Holmes and Wilson, 1994. Cited in “Middle class pleasures and the safe/dangers of surf bathing on the English South Coast 1921-1937,” by J.M. Ormrod, 2001. Posted on the Internet in 2004 at: https://e-space.mmu.ac.uk/617588/9/Such%20a%20jolly%20holiday%20(8).pdf. Page 1.
14  Ormrod, J. M. “Middle class pleasures and the safe/dangers of surf bathing on the English South Coast 1921-1937,” 2001. Posted on the Internet in 2004 at: https://e-space.mmu.ac.uk/617588/9/Such%20a%20jolly%20holiday%20(8).pdf. Page 1.
15  Ormrod, J. M. “Middle class pleasures and the safe/dangers of surf bathing on the English South Coast 1921-1937,” 2001. Posted on the Internet in 2004 at: https://e-space.mmu.ac.uk/617588/9/Such%20a%20jolly%20holiday%20(8).pdf. Page 3.
16  Ormrod, J. M. “Middle class pleasures and the safe/dangers of surf bathing on the English South Coast 1921-1937,” 2001. Posted on the Internet in 2004 at: https://e-space.mmu.ac.uk/617588/9/Such%20a%20jolly%20holiday%20(8).pdf. Page 28. Ormrod added about the origin of surfing coming from Australians: “this has yet to be corroborated.”
17  Ormrod, J. M. “Middle class pleasures and the safe/dangers of surf bathing on the English South Coast 1921-1937,” 2001. Posted on the Internet in 2004 at: https://e-space.mmu.ac.uk/617588/9/Such%20a%20jolly%20holiday%20(8).pdf. Page 13.
18  Ormrod, J. M. “Middle class pleasures and the safe/dangers of surf bathing on the English South Coast 1921-1937,” 2001. Posted on the Internet in 2004 at: https://e-space.mmu.ac.uk/617588/9/Such%20a%20jolly%20holiday%20(8).pdf, pp. 15-16 and 20.
19  Oxenden, Jeremy. Email to Malcolm, December 2009. Replicated at: http://www.legendarysurfers.com/2009/12/1920s-st-ouens-bay.html
22  Ormrod, J. M. “Middle class pleasures and the safe/dangers of surf bathing on the English South Coast 1921-1937,” 2001. Posted on the Internet in 2004 at: https://e-space.mmu.ac.uk/617588/9/Such%20a%20jolly%20holiday%20(8).pdf, p. 29.
24  “The Idol Dancer,” by D.W. Griffith; silent film, 1920. Maxine Elvey quoted.
26  Ben Marcus’ notes for an exhibit for the Surfing Heritage Foundation (renamed Surfing Heritage and Cultural Center [SHACC]), 2008. See also “Newquay Surfing, 1929,” posted at LEGENDARY SURFERS, June 2010: http://www.legendarysurfers.com/2010/06/newquay-surfing-1929.html - original source: “UK surfing history started in 1929,” SurferToday.com, May 12, 2010.
27  Ben Marcus’ notes for an exhibit for the Surfing Heritage Foundation, 2008.
28  Holmes, Paul. Email to Malcolm, March 2009. Also replicated at: http://www.legendarysurfers.com/2009/03/cornwall-beginning-1960s.html
29  Ben Marcus’ notes for an exhibit for the Surfing Heritage Foundation, 2008.

30  Holmes, Paul. Email to Malcolm, March 2009. Also replicated at: http://www.legendarysurfers.com/2009/03/cornwall-beginning-1960s.html

September 08 2017

Lao Trip 16.4 - What Price?

When Mr. Loi dropped me off at Nongsoda -- after our trip to the bar girls bar -- we made arrangements for him to drive me to the border next morning, as soon as immigration opened up (8:00 a.m.) I would need the entire day to make it home late afternoon that day.

After he left, I showered up and then “made my rounds” for one last time, this trip.

I had a beer at the riverside vendors, but no food. I was still full from eating pah merk (squid) at the bar girls bar. I then walked up the riverside road and had another beer at the new “The View,” ending-up at Savan Khaim Khong .

During these three stops, I kept thinking back to that afternoon and the girls I had met . Now, as I watched Thai luktung and pop videos, my thoughts turned to a person’s price.

I wouldn’t go so far as to declare that “everyman has his price,” but I’m pretty sure most of us do. For the Lao sao I had met, they’re price is low probably due to their family situations. Most bar girls I have met sell themselves to make money for their families, their offspring and themselves lastly.

Now, there are bar girls who make a career of prostitution and, in Thailand, they’re pretty easy to spot because they’re very attractive, well made up, well dressed and -- increasingly these days -- sport tatoos. For these girls, they enjoy the lifestyle and the comparatively high income garnered by easy work.

In between professional bar girls and the ones who will be in the occupation for a much shorter time, are the college girls who attract “sponsors.” They show them a good time while they’re going to school but usually dump them once graduated.

But, back to the average bar girl: she’s just a regular attractive girl who lacks other skills that would earn her the same level of financial return. She’ll probably stay with the job until she meets a guy who has enough money to take her away and marry her, or until her attractiveness wains. Then, she’ll most likely go back to her village, often with children and a Lao husband.

Now, about price... what about me? What is my price? After all, I probably could have afforded to have any one of the girls I met today or had them all. But, I declined. Sure, I wrote about taking the High Road and that is admirable, but just how honest am I being?

While I drank Beer Lao, I mused about Nuey . What if she had been in the line-up? Or, another girl who was just so attractive to me that I couldn’t resist? I mean, could I have resisted?

Before I left my favorite Savan bar/restaurant/karaoke place, I asked my waitress if I could take a picture of her and she agreed. I forget her name, but I remember her well. Several years back, her family had her working in the kitchen and would not allow her on the floor. During her breaks, she would stand in the kitchen doorway, looking out on the scene of people eating, drinking, talking, laughing and having fun.

Well, she’s grown a little older -- I’d guess she’s around 17 now -- and the family lets her wait tables. It was my good fortune, this trip, that she waited on mine.

September 03 2017

"Sunshine Revolutionaries," 4th Edition

First self-published in 1987 under the title "Don't Bank on Amerika," this comprehensive history of the Isla Vista riots of 1970 was later titled "Sunshine Revolutionaries" (1996-2002). I changed the title back again in 2004 to "Don't Bank on Amerika," but I found many people confused between my history of the riots and the film that was done during those times, with the same name.

So, for this fourth edition (2017),  I've reverted back to "Sunshine Revolutionaries," the name under which it is copyrighted. At 224 pages, it remains the best and most detailed single resource available on the riots.

It is now available as an ebook for $4.99 at Lulu.com:


September 02 2017

"Sunshine Revolutionaries," Fourth Edition

First self-published in 1987 under the title "Don't Bank on Amerika," this comprehensive history of the Isla Vista riots of 1970 was later titled "Sunshine Revolutionaries" (1996-2002). I changed the title back again in 2004 to "Don't Bank on Amerika," but I found many people confused between my history of the riots and the film that was done during those times, with the same name.

So, for this fourth edition (2017),  I've reverted back to "Sunshine Revolutionaries," the name under which it is copyrighted. At 224 pages, it remains the best and most detailed single resource available on the riots.

It is now available as an ebook for $4.99 at Lulu.com:


August 30 2017

Lao Trip 16.3 - Bar Girls

The way they do visas at the Thai consulate in Savannakhet is they take the applications in the morning and then you go back with a number to pick yours up the following afternoon.

So, I basically laid around at Nongsoda in the morning of this third day of the trip, catching up on Internet communications and news. The day’s slow start would prove deceiving.

Mr. Loi picked me up at 1pm and dropped me off at the Thai consulate a bit early. I had to stand around and wait for the doors to open at 2pm. Luckily, I was in the shade. Usually talkative Westerners also in the line were kind of quiet today, possibly because of the heat.

After I received my one year, multiple entry Thai “O” (Other) Visa based on marriage, things started to liven up.

I mean, it was inevitable, really. Tuk-tuk drivers know where everything is. I remember Pak Lai samlor driver Lu offering to take me to “see beautiful girl.” Somehow I got out of that one, but this time, Mr. Loi didn’t bother to ask and even when we arrived and I lightly resisted, he was determined to show me a good time.

I learned several years back that it’s just best to “ go with the flow ” in Southeast Asia -- in most cases. You definitely do not want to dampen a friend’s good intentions. So, that’s how I found myself at my first-ever Lao bar girl bar on the outskirts of Savannakhet. Actually, we never made it into the physical structure. Pretty girls were hanging outside at a cement table, under the shade of a tree near the gate.

It was fun and I had a good time, but I had to learn quickly as time went on. The young guy who ran the place kept asking me “who?” I just sloughed it off each time, laughing. He knew I knew what he was talking about and, of course, the girls did, too. I just pretended that I didn’t quite know what he meant.

The four girls were attractive, ranging in age (I guess) from 16 to 26. The youngest one (I’m guessing again) was probably just “in training.”

The night I had spent with Jittzy , back in 2015, taught me that I no longer have my plumbing “up to code” nor the emotional wherewithal to deal with sleeping or having sex with another woman other than my wife. It’s an age thing, but it’s also a loyalty thing.

Irrespective of all this, I generously paid for lunch and beers for the seven of us and enjoyed myself a lot; this despite my friend and newfound friends knowing very, very little English. It was a challenge for me and I just wish that I had packed my translation gear ( book and phrasebook ). Although smart phones are the best way to go, I had not purchased a data plan after I crossed the border, so my cellphone was of little use in this setting -- at least for translation purposes.

In an attempt to keep things from getting out-of-control, I did use my phone to show the girls pictures of Bann Nah and my wife. Here was another plus for phones that have evolved into mini-computers. Nevertheless, the girls were undeterred and I could have had any one of them, including the girl I estimated at 16. Do the math. That’s about a quarter of my age. Can you imagine?

I kept to the High Road, not letting my eyes linger on any one girl too long. Eventually, Mr. Loi and I left. I let the girls know I’d be back -- gap ma -- but neglected to add that it probably wouldn’t be until next year.

August 28 2017


Malcolm Gault-Williams filling in at KTYD-FM, Santa Barbara, California, April 29, 1981. -- Length: 47:42 -- Audio quality: Good -- This recording actually contains two separate air-checks; one from this night (a continuation of MALC1981-0428-6) and the other one from the night J.D. Strahler and Steve Sellman finished up on the newly rewired control room. -- PLAYLIST 1st AIRCHECK: -- Queen: "Another One Bites The Dust" -- Fabulous Thunderbirds: "Tip On In" -- Malc backannounce: "... a Queen request, by the way"..." -- Commercial: California Mountain Company: Zeb Norris -- Commercial: Pepper's: Laurie -- Commercial: Mountaineer Sports -- Promo: The Jazz Network: Joe Collins -- Malc forward promote Eugene Huguez -- Third World: "Now That We've Found Love" -- Malc backannounce -- PSA: Isla Vista Children's Center: Wayno -- Commercial: El Encanto Hotel -- PSA: UCSB Women's Center -- Malc sign-out: "This has been Malcolm sitting in for Zeb Norris..." -- Bruce Springsteen: "Rosalita" -- Eugene Huguez "sitting in for Samantha" -- Big Brother and the Holding Company: "Summertime" -- PLAYLIST 2nd AIRCHECK (the first night of the newly redone control room): -- Jukka Tolonen: "What Went Wrong?" -- Malc back announce: "... operating out of our new studio... virgin control room... crack engineering corps..." -- Promo: Radio: Jim Morales -- PSA: YMCA -- Commercial: Pepper's: Laurie -- For Fun: KTYD joke commercial -- Soul Survivors: "Expressway To Your Heart" -- Manfred Mann: "Heart On The Street" (partial)

August 20 2017

Lao Trip 16.2 - Lao Derm Savan

I spent part of my visa fee barring, last night, so this morning I had to hassle a little bit to get the full 5k baht . The Thai consulate does not accept Lao kip , so I had to have the full amount in baht . My friend Mr. Loi helped me, providing transport. I got to see his daughter Jinta very briefly.

I submitted my paperwork and application without problems. Tomorrow afternoon, I will hopefully pick up my passport stamped with another lease on life in Thailand.

Back at the Riverside, I got caught up on my writing at Lao Derm Savan . The Nam Khong was rougher than usual, so I shot some video trying to capture it. I just couldn’t get it. Being on a floating restaurant off the banks of the Mekong after days of rain and flooding eluded my ability. Suffice it to say, I enjoyed it although the waitress clearly did not. It reminded me a little bit of that time in PL2 when the rain storm blew in as we were partying at Koun Ten.

Towards sundown, I ate some ping gai (bar-b-que chicken) at one of the Riverside vendor’s tables, stopped for a beer at both Savan Khaim Khong and the live music place which I think is called something “View,” then retired to Nongsoda, calling it somewhat of an early night -- at least not late.

Another popular video, currently: https://youtu.be/2dg9oc78Kv4

August 15 2017

Lao Trip 16.1 - To Savan

It used to be that my wife would drop me off at the highway (210) and I would catch a sawngtheaw from the side of the two lane highway to the Nong Bua Lamphu bawkawsaw . Now that the highway’s gone to a divided four-laner, Thip takes the ring road to drop me off at the bus station on her motosai .

The bus leaves Nong Bua at 6am for Khon Kaen. From there, I switch to the 9:50am going to Mukdahan.

By the end of the afternoon, I’m at the Mukdahan bus station where I board the bus for the border. The border bus drops you off at the Mukdahan immigration complex on the Thai side of Friendship Bridge II. Here you purchase your bus ticket; seems a little off, but this is how they do it. To me, it makes more sense to buy the ticket when you first board the bus at the Mukdahan bawkawsaw .

Anyway, be sure to get your ticket before stamping out of Thailand. Once on the other side of the kiosks, you show your ticket to the bus driver who has advanced the bus up the driveway a bit. The bus then takes you across the bridge and drops you off at the Savannakhet immigration complex where you purchase your one-month Lao visa and stamp in to Lao. From here, you arrange local transpo into town. Be careful of taxi or tuk-tuk prices. If they sound a bit over, then they are. Feign disinterest and you can bring them down in price. It’s actually a game they love to play.

I was quoted 200 baht into town. I laughed and said “ mak, mak ” (too much), turned away and then let the drivers that had crowded around me know I was going to call a tuk-tuk friend of mine. It was all good fun, as they realized I spoke a little Isaan and they liked that. One guy came down to 100 baht and pointed out that my friend wouldn’t charge me any cheaper. I knew he was right and agreed. Turns out, he was going home for the day, so it worked out for him, too.

I had him drop me off at Nongsoda Guesthouse, in the Riverside section of town, not far from where the old Thai consulate used to be.

I’ve been up and down about Nongsoda ever since the day I really needed a decent room and got a very poor one. But, it is my preferred place of stay as it is right next to the Mekong and within an easy walk to bars, bar-restaurants and the “Riverside vendors.” Sometimes I stay at Intha Guesthouse which is more private and right on the Kong. If I had my wife or a girl with me, this is definitely where I would go. But, the price is better at Nongsoda, so if I can get one of their sunny rooms, I will take it.

After a shower, a visit to Savan Khaim Khong is always in order. I liked the old location better, but I had one of my standout nights at the new location, in 2015, when I met Jittzy and her friends .

This late afternoon/early evening was uneventful, but I had fun drinking Beer Lao (can’t easily get in Thailand, yet), eating squid ( pah-merk ), watching Thai luktung and pop videos... and reminiscing on the times I’ve been here ( 2014 , 2015 , 2016 ).

The relatively new Korean bar-b-que place was already out of business, but next door in the location of the old Savan Khaim Khong was a bar (View) featuring singers and musicians. So, of course, I stopped in for another beer.

I was happy to see the Riverside vendors back in operation. Something had happened with the planned riverside “improvements,” so the city let things revert back to the way they had been. Fine by me. This is a part of Lao I will enjoy until I no longer can.

Popular Thai video/song, currently: https://youtu.be/zCLZL-RV1tY

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.

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