Stanley's Surf Gear


Surf Stories

UPDATED 09/08/2009

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Fountain of Youth

This is a terrific story of an 'aging ripper' that was told by his doctor "not to surf" as the physical condition he had would only be made worse by surfing.

He chose not to listen to his doctor, and after a couple painful go-outs, the better he felt. He ordered a new longboard from me last year, fashioned after his old magic Fowler that I had made for his son in law, Bart, that he now had.

As Gil, a retired commercial fisherman, gained more strength from his new loongboard, he decided to go for one of my "Fountain of Youth" models: FOY's are a full high performance shortboard scaled up in size for the older surfer. It cold have just as easy been named 'The Rejuvenator'.

Gil's is a red 8'6" constructed of EPS epoxy netting a light very strong fast paddling surfboard. Everyone that has gotten one of these boards has raved about the performance these boards offer them. The sizes range from Scott Beer's 7'4" to Mitch Evans' 8'8". But they all offer the same kind of ride. A full group of these are being built for stocking at Back Door Board Shop, and a demo will be available within the next week or two. Gil's board appears in "Deep" Magazine's current Board Buyers Guide available throughout the tri counties.

Read Gils story, and how he found the fabled "Fountain of Youth".

--- On Mon, 9/7/09, <> wrote:

From: <>
Subject: fountain of youth (FOY)
To: "The_surfing_underground" <>
Date: Monday, September 7, 2009, 10:31 PM

Greetings, Bruce!

A horrible winter. A horrible summer. But it is over today. Labor day.

Yesterday I started out at 7PM for a late surf, and was stopped dead by traffic on the freeway 20miles from Ventura where I had a nice time last night on small waves. I turned around and headed home. I then decided to go back in traffic and stick it out, hoping it might let up. Nope. But Rincon came in view. A big orange flaming ball of a sun was about to set on two guys catching little waves in hopefully the same 72degree water as Ventura. I could have fun just sitting there with them; I am used to no surf.

Another u-turn and I was soon sans wetsuit, entering the amazingly warm evening soup. One guy was getting out. A set came and the other guy caught a thigh high wave. I was now so GO!

Unknown to me, there was a new brush fire a couple miles up the hill, accounting for the redness of the glowing sunset. I could still make out the weedy rocks on the sandy bottom in very clear water. I was getting drunk on the evening sights; a beach campfire, pelicans diving very close to my board, horses on the beach and a clam digger. (does he know about summer paralytic shellfish poisoning?) A pulse of waves showed up, and continued for the next half hour. This being only the third time I have used my Fowler "fountain of youth", I was amazed at how it handled. I got an adrenaline rush on a 30 inch wave! The other "old" guy got out, leaving me alone in the darkening surf with Venus rising over a fabulous string of slow moving taillights as far as I could see. A little skiff headed my way from La Conchita. I wondered what purpose its skipper had, and how he was going to land that thing in the dark. I would never find out either answer, as he was still drifting about as if waiting for me to leave.

I thought about whitey a bit, but don't much care anymore. I rode until I could no longer see the waves, and hauled out. How nice it would be, I thought, to join those in the driftwood shack where it appeared beers were being raised to lips of dark, murmuring shapes. Where are my old surfing friends? Actually, dead and dying. I am lucky just to have this extra time. Alone at Rincon in 2009 with my Fowler Fountain of Youth!

Well, today I decided to try again, same time same place. The freeway was worse, but as I passed Rincon this time, I saw a dozen surfers working waist high waves in the setting sun. I made my u-turn and saw fifteen cars in the lot. By the time I was paddling out, only 3 surfers remained! I noticed a pungent odor of the ocean that I had not smelled since I was 11 at our home near Topanga. I was becoming euphoric with the Rincon evening, which was flooding my brain with memories loved. Ahh, the fountain of youth felt ever so close. Then a wave happened that changed my whole outlook on life. My surfing experience would never be the same. I was stagnating, and broken in this terrible surf year, thinking I could never in my remaining few active years, quite attain nor acquire the pleasure of those youths who carve up the waves, build speed, then bolt through impossible sections. The wave was steep and long, chest high. I could already tell it would be sectiony and I could not expect to ride it through.

Up, drop and away! Lunging away. So fast and far with this board! I beat the first section, built up so much speed I found myself way ahead of the shoulder, cut back several times, made two more sections and soon found myself way down the beach by campfires! THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH, FOUND! I had never had more fun on a wave, and it would get even better in the rest of the evening. I felt eleven years old again, riding my innertube on my first beach- slamming wave. Thank you, Bruce Fowler for bringing your math, art and genius to my waves.

Gil Crabbe
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