The San—O Beach and Surf Club history book by David Matusak is a limited run, immense in page count, absolutely unique, one of a kind effort about a surf cultural subject. Obviously the result of laborious research, Matusak’s ninth book establishes a stunning degree of context by actually plowing back, long before the advent of the club to track surfing’s evolution from pre-history, through Polynesia, Peru, Hawaii, then to California and world-wide, along that way finally encompassing the coastal tract that became Indian lands, Mexican rancho, cattle range, military training grounds, “surf beach”, State Park, and along that path, a benchmark of how surfing can become a centering lifestyle with all the trappings. This all culminates at San Onofre in particular as it is the rare surf destination to which you could and can drive to park on the sand, allowing one to bring along all the ideas, tools, toys, gear, instruments and accouterments as well as playmates, friends and family you can imagine with which to articulate your time, which does happen there. All the attendant aspects of getting there over the ages, and being there, who was there at various stages, where it is, how it has changed, etc. etc. etc. are presented in stupefying detail. In a sense it ventures beyond any intent, trying to grasp the overall gist of that surf beach, what it represents whether you’ve been there, or not, with nuggets of previously unknown information to startle or inform, or create context where none existed previously…it manages to capture between its inclusive pages something intangible that comes only from experiencing those grains of sand and soft waves.
The Surfer’s Journal
It’s the Bible of surfing!
—Mickey Munoz, legendary surfer
Congratulations on a FANTASTIC work. I love the book, it was beyond amazing…With my aging and damaged back I can barely pick it up and carry it around the room…It’s really a big book. That said, this also is really a beautiful work and does justice to the amazing heritage of San Onofre…The place is just loaded with surfing history: George “Peanuts” Larson riding a wave from Lower Trestles all the way through Church that was so big (some say 40 feet) that guys had to stand on a boxcar parked on the railroad tracks just to see it; Phil Edwards and Mickey Dora shredding the place in the 1950s; and Leslie “Birdman” Williams, Pete Peterson, Hobie, James Arness, Kit Horn, Eddie McBride, Benny Merrill, Barney Wilkes, Hammerhead, Burrhead (some other “heads” I can’t remember), Mike Doyle, Mickey Munoz, Dick Metz, Dale Velzy, the Paskowitz family, the Turner family, the Hopps family, Jim Irwin, Hevs McClellend, the Calhoun girls, the Harrison family, the Fly, the Flea, all the other creatures and so many more important names that it would take a year’s worth of space for me to mention. Almost anybody who was anybody in the surfing world had some sort of connection to San Onofre. This book does an amazing job at documenting that heritage and history. I mean, the thing goes so far as to mention classic surf mobiles people drove—and there were some great ones. It is just the most complete and lovingly done dedication that you can ever imagine. I strongly recommend the book to anybody who has spent any time at all surfing San Onofre or who just loves surfing history and culture.
—Corky Carroll, legendary surfer
Absolutely the most unique book on surfing I've ever seen—the ultimate labor of love—that reflected your relationship with San O' to an extraordinary degree!
—Glenn Hening, co-founder Surfrider Foundation
Thank you seems too small of a word for the size of the book. You have left no stone unturned at that famous cobble stone beach.
—Ron Sizemore, legendary surfer
I just wanted to let you know that I received your book! My goodness, I picked up the box and I thought you sent me a few copies by mistake. To find out that was only one book was staggering! In regards to any aspect of surfing, I think you compiled one of the most comprehensive collective on the subject.
I am so impressed with your ability to gather, catalog, and organize this book and to provide such a wonderful narrative for it…Congratulations! on an important history of surfing and San Onofre. I know it must have been a true labor of love.
—Dr. Carla Lane
I can go on and on about your book but I’ll just keep it short. I gotta say this book to me is incredible and the history and the way it go’s in different directions of history on all sides. it’s really a masterpiece and thanks for your big efforts and your time spent. It’s so well done and I’ll be reading and looking at the photos for a long time and thanks for including me. What a big stoke, thanks again.
—Brian Bent, retro San Onofre surfer