SPOT ON SPOT – A Revisionist Glance at Historic Surfing Locales: Malibu

Surfrider Beach, The ‘Bu.

From east to west it divides into First Point, Kiddie Bowls, Second Point and Third Point. First Point is a popular longboard wave, while Second and Third Points are better for shortboarding.

Notorious Locals:

These days, Malibu is ruled mostly by chaos. Because it is so easy for anyone to paddle out there, it mixes surfers of all abilities in a way that doesn't work when the surf gets big. The good surfers are outnumbered by beginners, but these days the likes of Allen Sarlo, Andy Lyon, Josh Farberbow, the Marshall Brothers, Carla Rowland try to maintain some order. But they are like the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dike.

The most notorious local of them all was Miki Dora. A Los Angeles resident who came from a troubled childhood, Dora drowned his sorrows in the perfect Malibu surf of the 50s - a time he called The Golden Years. But when the movie Gidget ignited the surf crazed culture of the 60s, Dora looked at Malibu and its waves like the American Indians looked at the plains and the buffalo: overwhelmed by outsiders. This made Dora more than a little bitter and through the 60s he became infamous for pushing outsiders off "his" waves, at the same time becoming notorious for stealing anything that wasn't nailed down.


Cape Hatteras

Ala Moana

Huntington Pier

Before Dora's time, Malibu was home and training ground to some of California's best surfers, shapers and stylists, including Tom Blake, Sam Reid, Bob Simmons, Matt Kivlin, Joe Quigg and Buzzy Trent. It was the desire to master those beautiful green walls that forced the evolution of the modern surfboard from the 11-foot, 80 pound hardwood planks of the 30s and 40s, down to the lighter and faster balsa boards and then foam, fiberglass and resin boards of the 50s and 60s.

Over the years, Malibu has produced a rogue's gallery of surfers and characters. During the 50s, Malibu was home to Kathy "Gidget" Kohner, Tubesteak Tracy, Billy Al "Moondoggie" Bengston and others immortalized by the movie Gidget.

The 80s and 90’s were perhaps the peak of localism around Malibu. Third Point was ruled by a clique of Colony Kids lead by Matt Rapf, Ian Warner and Andy Lyon. Their antics were captured in living Super 8 color by Morgan Runyon and Ray Kleiman, who bootlegged whatever music they wanted and packaged it all in the Runman series of movies.