They came in droves to the island, where surfing’s past melded nicely into its present with big hugs, laughs, stories over cold beer and of course, hitting the surf.
It was all part of the Endless= Summer Galveston Reunion, which drew almost 300 surfers over the Sept. 11 weekend. Most of them began surfing in the early ‘60s, when the sport began to take off on the Texas Gulf Coast.
The lifelong surfers gathered on the beach near 43rd Street to share stories and show off the surf boards that started their love of the sport on the island. Many still surf today, while others haven’t hit the waves in years.
For a unique perspective on the surfing reunion, check out this video.
They all share a passion for the surf – folks like Sam Walker. Here’s what he had to say in a post on the Endless Summer Galveston Reunion page on Facebook:
I surfed Galveston for about the first twenty years, then Surfside for the last thirty. Surprising to me, I saw many o-l-d friends who I lost track of and made many more new ones. Thanks so much for this opportunity and hospitality. It was awesome.
One of the highlights of the weekend was a showing of Lauryn LeClere's film, "Broken Waves: Origins of a Texas Surf Cult.” The documentary focuses on the Houston / Galveston surf scene of the 1960s, as told by original members of the legendary Treasure Isle Surf Club of Galveston.
Plenty of heartfelt stories were shared at the event, like this one from Sydney Hertenberger Killough (also posted on the reunion’s Facebook page):
My Uncle, Jimmy O'Hara, told me this story: Uncle Pat built a surfboard in the early 60's I think. It was hollow core and covered with plywood. Pat worked on the board for months. He said the thing weights 300 lbs. It took both of them to carry it to the beach. They both surfed on it for a while but it filled up with water. They didn't have the money for a new board. Uncle Jimmy bought a used one and used it for a while. Both of them were drafted. Pat never came home. Jimmy was injured shortly after returning from Vietnam. They would probably both still be surfing today if they had it their way.
And this one, from Nicole Mora, executive director of the Texas Surf Museum:
The Texas Museum is just that - the TEXAS Surf Museum. We are here to share the history of ALL Texas surfing. It was such an honor to have been a part of the Endless Summer Galveston Reunion. It was wonderful getting to hear all the stories from Galveston, meet some of the guys and gals that started it all, and to see the premiere clip from "Broken Waves: Origins of a Texas Surf Cult". Texas surf history is nothing short of amazing and to be at the reunion and feel the energy of everyone and seeing people reunite after 20, 30, or even 40 years was such a beautiful and inspiring experience! Many thanks to all of those who put the reunion together, it was a truly amazing event!
Galveston.com’s Hang Ten web post lays out the allure of Galveston’s unpredictable surf:
There is a quote Galveston surfers often use - "If you can surf in Galveston, you can surf anywhere!" By this they mean it is hard to surf there because of the Texas coast's bad reputation for producing small, choppy, inconsistent surf. Surfers have long been known to try to keep the best spots to themselves … Although not a world-renowned surfing mecca, for the committed, there are definitely those perfect days that make it all worthwhile.