Corky Carroll

In honor of the unknown O.C. surfer talent

Through the years there have been many great surfers who have surfed the beauteous and wave-filled beaches of Orange County that have gone totally unnoticed by all except those in the local surf communities.

With that in mind I thought I would embark on what will probably be an occasional series on many of those dudes and dudettes that you probably have never heard of yet had some sort of impact on our local surfing culture.

In the 1960's there was a hotbed of surfing talent living in Newport Beach. Newport Beach is not exactly the surfing capital of the Pacific Coast that Huntington Beach is. It's always been a little bit "outta the way" in surf destinations vernacular.

That has always bided well for the locals as they never particularly wanted hordes of out-of-towners crowding up what there was in the way of surf there anyway.

There was a period in the mid 1960's when you had to obtain a surfing permit from the city and have it attached to your surfboard in order to surf within the city limits of Newport Beach. That was the ultimate "locals" delight. They had a surf club there called the Newport Beach Surfing Association, which was so full of mostly unknown talent that they probably could have knocked off any other surf club on the planet in a competition.

The top dog in town at that time was Herbie Torrens. H.T. was an extremely fluid surfer who became well respected in Southern California surfing circles and did well in the local contests. He was thin and light and could ride the nose forever. Herbie lived about a block from the main surfing area in town and his house was sort of like the local hang out. I used to go over there and play "Yatzee" with his parents all the time. They were like professional Yatzee players.

Another hot local was Mike Marshall. Mike was this big red-haired goofyfoot dude who surfed a lot at "Lower Trestles." It seemed like the Newport crew were the top dogs there during those years. Chris Marseille was another Newport dude who ruled that spot and could ride the nose like he lived up there. He would only walk back in order to pull out at the end of the ride.

Bob Limacher was one of the early "smooth" guys on the coast. He gained some fame and recognition with great footage in Greg MacGillivary's first surfing film, "A Cool Wave of Color."

The Chapman brothers both went on to become great big wave surfers in Hawaii. Gary and Craig. Craig wore these big glasses and could not see very well. He was nicknamed the "Blind Owl," which got shortened to simply, "Owl." To this day most people think his real name is Owl Chapman.

Gary was the guy who legendary Hawaiian shaper Dick Brewer made his first "mini-gun" for. Major honor there. Owl is still charging big waves.

One of the really hot younger dudes was a kid from Hungry named Walter Vizolay. Walter was also a hot snow skier and I used to love hitting the local mountains with him in the winter. He could blow people's minds both in the surf and on the snow. He became a super artist and has a little gallery in Laguna Beach now.

Other standouts from that hotbed of surf talent were Davey Abbot and Coy Areledge. And there were a couple of surf chicks living there, which were lovingly referred to as "the Magpies." They were both hot looking and talked a lot -- hence the nickname.

Probably one of the most talented young surfers ever was this kid named George Weaver. He became a member of the Hobie Surfing Team and was featured in a short film promoting Mac Gregor Surf Wear. This kid could really surf. George blew everybody's minds one day at the Pipeline in Hawaii carving deep backside lines in the most huge and dangerous conditions imaginable.

He is a perfect example of one of those guys with extreme talent that was a virtual unknown to anybody outside of the inner circles of the surfing world.

In fact I am gonna dedicate this first offering of my "Local Talent" series to George Weaver. He is no longer with us, unfortunately. But anybody who was around Newport Beach and also on the North Shore of Hawaii in and around the mid to late 1960's will no doubt remember this blond-haired stylish surfer who was always smiling and getting great rides.