Magical Times with Fred Van Dyke
By Jay Jansson
Over the past two weeks Peggy and I have had the pleasure to spend quality time with Fred Van Dyke and his lovely wife Joan Marie. We’ve shared dinner and good times with them as well as Joan’s sister, Carol Florence and her significant other, Michael Cripes.
One of our evenings was spent at the San Luis Obispo Film Festival, which was honoring 95 year old Bud Browne for his pioneer contributions to surf film making. Fred along with Gerry Lopez, Peter Cole, Bruce Brown, Linda Benson, Jack McCoy, Joel Tudor and other surf celebrities were there to honor Bud Browne for his contributions to the sport and lifestyle that we love so much.
Browne’s “Surfing The 50’s” movie was shown to a full and hooting house at the Fremont Theatre in downtown San Luis Obispo. Peggy and I had the pleasure of the company of Jim Erb, Tim Smith and Scott Negri for the evening. They are the charter members of my SLO Surfers tribe and some of the most stoked people you would ever like to meet. In 2000 Jim and Tim surfed for the PPSC in the Big Bad & Ugly and along with Scott are proven chargers in the water.
The following week another of my good surf buddies from SLO, Bruce Magnusen, invited Fred, Jim and I to go down to a special Santa Barbara spot with him for a day of surf and sunshine. The drive to and from was spent listening to Fred talk story including the first day that Waimea Bay was surfed as well as the early days of surfing Santa Cruz and Pedro in the late ’40’s and early 50’s. Fred recounted surfing Hawaii in the 1950’s at Makaha, Haleiwa, Laniakia and Waimea. It was a day of surf history and stoke shared by all.
While Bruce and Jim surfed, Fred and I enjoyed a nice walk on the beach. Along the walk I found some beautiful sea shells that now have a new home in our garden. We found a big rock sticking out of the sand right in front of the surf break that they were riding.
It was a perfect place to sit and enjoy our special friendship, our love of surfing and his first visit to this sacred spot in 50 years. His last visit there was with John Severson, the founder of Surfer Magazine. Fred told me again of how proud he is to be a member of the PPSC, and all the contributions the club has made to Pacifica, the coastal environment and the community.
We talked about how I coaxed Fred into surfing Pedro in the ’90’s on a board that Dick Keating had made for him, and about the time that Jason and I turned him onto surfing Sand Island in Hawaii. It was coincidental that Fred hadn’t surfed Pedro in some forty years and that he had lived in the Islands for forty years and had never surfed Sand Island before. It was one of my special (semi secret) spots that I had surfed when I was stationed on a Destroyer at Pearl Harbor in the early ’70’s. It’s now a beautiful park and still a somewhat uncrowded surf spot.
After Jim and Bruce’s surf our ride through the gated ranch was like floating on clouds. It was such a beautiful day of sunshine, crystal blue ocean and snow white foam from the breaking waves. The drive back to SLO was effortless with our big smiles leading the way.
When we got home Peggy and Joan had a fine dinner waiting for us and Carol and Michael made it over too. After dinner, Joan and Michael were in the hot tub and I entertained them with some of my motorized fleet of model ships. It sure is fun to make people laugh!! Don’t know if they enjoyed the U-Boat or the PT-109 more, but it topped off the evening with a bit of an old sailor’s humor. Damn the torpedos and full speed ahead!!
Just thought you all might enjoy these ramblings and the pictures. Every day in our life is special and I hope that you can feel the stoke of these magical times spent with Fred, his family and friends.
Mahalo and aloha,
Jay “El Presidente” Jansson