Thursday, November 13, 2008

Harbour Surf Day #6, Nov. 8th, 2008

WOW! What can I say, kicking off the the 50th year celebrations with the new "50th Anniversary" board on display, a new Harbour owner thanks to a raffle, an East Coast Harbour Day, and the best turn out yet...the 6th Annual Harbour Day, the best one yet!

This post is just an example of the stoke Harbour brings, we had more photos than ever, some from JB, (his work here), JDuck, Dinkum (East Coast), SumDumSurfer, Rich, and Old Surfer Dude (his work here).

And this write up, thanks to Laylan Connelly, who has a great blog keeping up with the OC Beach life:

Laylan gave me permission to re-post her story here. I've added a few of the many great pictures, from the day, I wish I could post them all, but refer to above links if you want more. Her article also appeared in the OC Register; Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Harbour lovers honor long-time shaper

Rich Harbour marks 50 years of surfboard shaping and nears 30,000 boards.

Laylan Connelly
Laylan Connelly
Beach columnist
The Orange County Register

Laylan interviews Rich

Trevor Downs gently glides his hand over the turquoise blue Harbour longboard while showing off the small details of what makes it special.

The piece of art could easily go up on his wall, he said. The problem is – it's the only board he's ever wanted to ride.

Downs' longboard was just one of about 50 showcased on the sand at Bolsa Chica State Beach Saturday for "Harbour Surf Day," a beach party with Harbour lovers who take the day to honor their favorite surfboard shaper Rich Harbour.

Harbour is celebrating 50 years of surfboard shaping, a milestone anniversary that kicked off Nov. 1 and will run through 2009.

"You know what, I'm proud of myself," said Harbour, as the 65-year-old sat on the sand taking photos of the crowded waves dotted with Harbour boards."I've never been bummed out on what I do. Every life has its lows and highs, but it's been mostly highs most of my life."

Harbour Surf Day started in 2005 when a group on a message board on the surf shop's Web site decided to get together. Only about 10 surfers showed up, but the event grew every year.

1st Harbour Day

Harbour tries to show up to each one, as well as many former employees who have worked in the shop through the years.

Many of the people who attended Saturday told stories of how Harbour took the time to figure out what they needed. When Todd Saunders came in with his father, Harbour had them give a test ride with two boards before sitting down with them to figure out what they really wanted.

Todd took over organization of the day for the 3rd event, adding t-shirts and a raffle to the fun.

"You walk into the shop, you don't feel like a customer, you fell like part of the crew," said Saunders.

Harbour, the last of a nearly extinct culture of surfboard shapers who work in a back room of the shop, said it's the love of working with his hands that keeps him going. He loves every aspect of the job, from fiber glassing to the creative puzzle-solving process of making just the right board for a surfboard rider.

"I hate changing oil on a car; I'd rather have a root canal. But get dust on me, and I can lay down in it," he said.

Harbour started making boards at a young age, after someone snagged his board, and he had to come up with a way for a new one. Knowing his parents wouldn't fork over cash for a new one, he proposed the idea of making one to his dad, who worked as head of tool and dye for Douglas Aircraft.

The first board came out "pretty pitiful," Harbour said with a chuckle. There were no instruction videos back then, and not many other shapers around to give advice to a kid.

"There were snickers …. I was the joke of the beach. That crushed me," he said.

But those laughs made him motivated to create something greater, to really take time to analyze it and figure out surfboard shaping. His second board turned out much better, and a business was born.

Of all the boards Harbour has created, his favorite is the one hanging on his wall, his 20,000 surfboard that he made for the 40th anniversary collectors series. It's all wood, made of half curly and half balsa.

For the 50th anniversary, he will make five more collectable wall-hanger legacy boards numbered 30,001 30,002… and so on. At a price of $8,000 each, two have already been ordered.

He's already gotten the wood for them, with logs that are so large it takes three people to lift them. These boards are for the connoisseurs of surfboard design who want a piece of art for their wall.

"I have to cut all this up to make surfboards out of it … oh boy," he said.

Also, the same design is available all-year long for a rideable surfboard made of traditional material for about $1,200, depending on length.

"It's not a surfboard for everyday, it's a surfboard for theday," said Robert Hownson, who took over the store in 1993 so Harbour could concentrate on building.

He compared it to a special outfit you'd wear to a wedding, for that perfect 6-foot glassy and peeling day when no one is out but you and your friends.

Harbour and former employee Mike Marshall, who worked at the Seal Beach shop from 1963 to 1968, chatted on Saturday about the early days, and how he met his wife back then, who surfed on Harbour's surf team.

"These people, I can't get rid of them," he said with a smile, humbled by the turnout. "They've become lifelong family."

By Laylan Connelly

Great story, Laylan, Thank you!

Here's some more pics from the day...great times!

Tad can work it all, big to small.

We can't thank Jeff and his family enough, beyond the call, amazing food...thanks buddy.

"I won a leash?" "I won a shirt?" "I WON A BOARD!!!!! WOW!"

Steve on the nose...

Another Steve on the nose...I'm changing my name to Steve.

And let's not forget, the first annual, EAST COAST HARBOUR DAY

From Dinkum:
The EC Harbour Day in Flagler Beach, FL went off nicely with a small turnout (about 12 people had to cancel in the week prior for several reasons). Our small
group was welcomed by the locals who knew we were coming thanks to a local surfshop who had been kind enough to give me advice on local restaurants and the

Until next time...enjoy the ride. Thanks JDuck for the new HOS heading picture.:)

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