LOCAL LEGENDS APRIL 2022 STEPHEN B. CLARK
When I came up with this concept of featuring some of the Northern New England local surf legends, Steve was right at the top of that list. In fact, he was at the very top. After all, how could I not consider Steve Clark to be at the very top? He was the very first Surfer to surf The Rocks. Just stop and think about that for a second. I mean, let that sink in. Steve Clark was the first to Surf The Rocks. Are you freaking kidding me? As he was telling me the story, I was literally mesmerized, and hung on every word. I mean this is a huge NH surf story.
It was the Fall of 1967 and Steve was driving by the Rocks when he spotted a VW bus parked on the side of the road. The bus had California plates and there was a surfboard on the roof. Inside the bus, a lone surfer sat, studying the waist to chest high waves that were breaking off the reef out in front. Steve pulled over and got out of his vehicle to approach the surfer.
The surfer looked at Steve and asked him, “Why is there no one out here?”
Steve quickly answered, “Well, there’s those rocks everywhere.” The surfer looked at Steve and said, “So what? Let’s surf it.” So Steve grabbed his board and wetsuit, and paddled out for the very first time to surf one of the most premiere left point breaks in the entire surf world. The ROCKS.
And if that wasn’t enough of a history lesson for you all, he also named LINKY’S and LUCKY’S. It’s true. Linky’s was named after Steve Lindquest. And Lucky Pierre’s? Well, I’m saving that for a future movie project. But think about it. Three of NH’s most premiere point/reef breaks pioneered and named by Stephen B. Clark. Have I got your attention? Good, because when we talk about Northern New England LOCAL LEGENDS, they don’t get much bigger than Steve Clark.
Steve Clark is 73 years old. He and his wife Susan have two sons Oakley and Nick, and one grandson Anson (Oakley’s son). They live in Rye, NH (a short 5 minute drive from The Rocks).
Steve and his brothers John and Tim and cousin David (Nezzie) started surfing in 1963. They had discovered surfing through the magazines (undoubtedly SURFER). Steve caught his first wave at Jenness Beach and they had also paddled out to Straws Point back in the day. He spoke about having to wear colored jerseys with numbers printed on the back that you had to get from the police department back then. And they had to surf in the designated surf area or else face extraction and banishment.
Times were much different back then.
Steve credits Rick Zetterburg as his “guru” when it came to pioneering the early days of surfing in NH. Together they would surf the beach breaks and eventually work their way out to the points and reefs. Those were exciting times for Steve and Rick. He recalls when Wil Somers had the Hobie Surf Team in RI and ventured up north with their Hobie boards driving a Black Hearse. Everything was so new and exciting for them. Zetterburg eventually had a shop at Rocky bend called ZETT’S SURF SHOP in 1968. While Steve had The NAHANT BEACH Surf Shop in Nahant, MA across the street from Short Beach.
And that’s where I first met Steve. The summer of 1968.
I was with a friend and we were surfing Short Beach when I first saw Steve walking down the beach with his George Greenough looking blonde hair. And he was chiseled like a well tuned athlete. He was carrying a short fish (twin fin) and he was really friendly to talk with. As opposed to that other Nahant icon who lived on Nahant. They were the yin and yang of surfing in Nahant. But watching Steve rip those Short Beach waves that day really impressed the hell out of me.
It’s funny to think back at how I met both Steve and Fred that same year.
Both had left a lasting impression on me. One good one not so good. During this time, Steve was attending Harvard University. Yup you read that right. Think about what I just wrote here. Steve Clark is a 1970 Harvard Grad. Yes that same Harvard in Cambridge MA. Steve ended up teaching Math and Science and he eventually handed the keys to the Nahant Beach Surf Shop over to Johnny Magro. *FYI Both Rick Zetterburg and Johnny Magro are on the LOCAL LEGEND list.
The Fall of 1971 Steve and Steve Zetterburg went to Nova Scotia. *I went there in June of 1971. So we have that in common. Steve ended up buying a beautiful piece of land complete with a home and barn in NS. We both have a fondness in our hearts for NS. I made two movies about Nova Scotia. The first trip in the summer of 1971 and one in 1980. I called the last one THE LAST FRONTIER. Because as Steve will attest, it is exactly that. Nova Scotia is The LAST FRONTIER. So Steve would balance his surfing lifestyle by surfing the points of NH and NS. He was living the surfer’s dream life.
I’ve known Steve for many years, and one of the things that make him unique is his choice of surfboards. He’s had several Mike Eaton boards that Eaton shaped for him personally. Those Bonzer type boards, made famous by the Campbell brothers, was one of Eaton’s fortes. Steve loved those diamond tails and the chine rails that Mike Eaton shaped. And Steve rode them well. Hell, he rode them better than well.
There was a time when I considered Steve the King Of the Rocks. In fact, I have old super 8mm movies of him getting barreled twice on one wave during a Big Day at the Rocks. That piece of footage will be seen in the next year when I complete the documentary I am making on the history of surfing in NH. I’m calling it: SURF FREE OR DIE The History Of Surfing In New Hampshire. Steve along with many others will be in that movie.
Some of you have seen his SURF & SAW tee shirts and decals. Well that was born when Steve went out west to California to work and hang with another NH surf legend Allen Bigbee. Using a Rick Griffin type character and the Grateful Dead Wave design they came up with SURF & SAW. Another classic Clark design and name is GFU.
Which stands for GOOFY FOOT UNION.
That ingenious name and moniker was born by the current Clark family. For you see Steve and sons Oakley and Nick are all Goofyfoots. Sorry to all you regular foots, but this is an exclusive club for Goofyfoots only. The only regular foot allowed was the late John Grady. Seen here in this classic photo. Left to right: John Grady, Steve Clark, Jay Gould, and the late Rick Griffin.
Steve and John were best of friends. It’s obvious by some of these photos that they shared the love and passion for both surfing and music. This would be a good time to let you all know that the end of next month (May), I will be launching a IN MEMORIAM page where I will have a whole section of NH surfers who have since passed away. Steve has graciously offered to help me write some of the content for some of the departed that Steve knew very well. Sadly there are too many of our brother Surfers who have passed away. I think this would be a nice way to remember them and the lifestyle they loved so much.
When I asked Steve what his worse wipeout was in the 59 years he’s been surfing, he said without any hesitation. "When I fell off the roof in PR." And his wife Susan stepped out to remind him at that moment "And what did I say before you left? DON'T GO UP ON THE ROOF!" Steve looked at me and nodded. Mother knows best brother. Steve’s second home is in PR and he has been surfing there as long as anyone I know. He’s been living there for quite sometime now. He and his sons Oakley and Nick have shared some incredible days at all the name spots in the Rincon area. He is known as “El Prez” in PR and back home here as well. But that fall? It was nothing to laugh about. He received a massive concussion and broke 8 ribs in that fall. His beloved pup Petey was the only one present when he fell on that first day back in 2017. Having had a few broken ribs in my day, I can tell you that it is one of the most painful injuries the human body can sustain. But to have 8 broken ribs? That’s beyond painful. I can only imagine the discomfort he had to endure.
Suffice it to say, that was a major setback for Steve.
After a major surgery and painful PT was involved, and thanks to a GO FUND ME page that Oakley helped set up, Steve was able to get back home to NH where he recuperated and got his life back on track. Life can be a kick in the teeth. And the older you get, the harder those kicks feel.
And, as I have often said, “The older you get, the colder you get.”
So what is Steve up to these days? Well, for starters, he rides a SUP during the warmer months around here. And he and Susan head to the tropics twice a year, where he regularly gets in the water on his SUP, down in PR and joins his friends for a fun surf session. As I have said many times. Surfing is riding a wave. No matter how you do it, it’s still surfing. Standing up, kneeling down, laying down, or holding a paddle. If you can get yourself gliding along on a moving form of liquid matter, and ride it to the beach?
Guess what? That’s Surfing.
It’s not uncommon to see Steve doing just that these days. Whether he’s doing it alone, or with his sons, or with a friend or two, or even with his beloved companion “Petey.”
My guess is, El Prez will surf until he can no longer breathe the salt air.
Just remember kids, the next time you catch a wave at The Rocks or Linkys, think about those who came before you. Some of whom are no longer on this planet. And then look to the west, just a few miles up the road from these two iconic breaks, and it would be nice if you would tip your hat/hood to the man who started it all.
Stephen B. Clark AKA “El Prez”
" SURFING LEGENDS HEALS ALL WOUNDS."
*Click on the photos to see the whole Steve Clark Gallery
This is pic of 'yours truly' taken on April 18th, 2011. This was during my CATCH A WAVE FOR MOLLY Campaign. I could always count on Ed being there. It's funny people always ask me how come there are never any photos of me during these last 8 years. The answer is simple. Ed O'Connell is not on the beach anymore. Though recently Ed Moran has offered to take a few pics of me if he's around. I told him I might just take him up on that offer. Hey I'm no different than anyone else. I like seeing pics of me surfing too.
Photo by Ed O'Connell
*Click the photo above to see a larger version of Ed's Pic.
NOW FOR SOME LOCAL AND NATIONAL NEWS
The news from Ukraine continues to be depressing. I took a photo of the SUNDAY paper today. This paragraph stuck out from the entire page. Having just held our 4th grandchild who is 3 weeks old, I couldn't imagine the grief that this young mother and father have to endure. This war is inhumane. And I agree with President Zelenskyy. The Russians are Bastards.
President Zelenskyy is STILL PLEADING WITH THE WORLD for help. They NEED immediate assistance in both humanitarian aid and Military aid. He and the people of Ukraine are beyond frustrated (as they should be). My question is the same today as it has been since this war first started. How much longer can the Free world stomach watching the daily carnage on TV?
How much longer can this go on before we all (The Entire FREE World) steps up and says enough is enough. How much more?
I'm keeping this meme (above) up again this week.
RALPH'S PSA ANNOUNCEMENT
So one of my weekly readers asked me to make a PSA announcement concerning the recent crowds out in the Line up.
I told him that I've had this Posted on the Blog since 2010. But I'd be happy to post it on the front page to alert the masses that there are some RULES & TIPS here that could not only save you from serious injury, but also save you from humiliation. Click on the image below to see a larger version. Then you can right click on it and save it to your hard drive on your computer and phone. It wouldn't hurt to print one out and hang it on your wall.
My hope is that these RULES & TIPS will help you beginners.
SPEAKING OF RULES. NEVER GIVE MIKE TYSON A HARD TIME NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE. Dumb Ass!
This clown actually hassled Mike Tyson while on a flight from San Francisco to Miami. According to the reports he threw a water bottle at Tyson? Say what? I guess IRON MIKE got up in his seat and turned around and then unleashed a series of punches on this poor fool. Hello? Dude? You deserved every single punch.
CELTICS GO UP 3-0 on NETS
It's no big secret that I am a fair weather fan when it comes to The CELTICS, The SOX, and sometimes, the BRUINS. I've always been a Patriots fan and a fan of the NFL. However, in my defense, I have seen every single Play Off game of all the sports listed above. And back in the day, I was a Huge Bruins fan. So I have a basic knowledge of the players, and the way the games are played. I've seen every single CHAMPIONSHIP game played by all the Boston teams, except for the years I was in the Marines and overseas. 1969-1971. So while I have not watched every game, I know what's going on.
And this CELTICS Team? Holy Mackerel! It's been exciting.
They say that defense wins championships. Well if that's true, the Celtics are on the verge of winning one this year. Shutting down Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant? The alleged best two players in the NBA? Whoa. it don't take a basketball expert to see the writing on that wall. And I will say this. I am watching GAME 4 tomorrow night. Because I got a feeling. Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and Robert Williams have got me on the edge of my seat as of late. GO CELTICS!
SURFLINE TAPS THREE NH PHOTOGS TO SHOOT
THE LATEST BIG "SOU'EASTER" SWELL.
KSM Photoshop of the Week
Three generations of NH Surf photographers pictured above. Myself, Brian Nevins, and Braydon Rudert. Click on the photo to see the SURFLINE piece.
Dan Lanio Memorial Scholarship Fund
CLICK ON THE IMAGE FOR MORE INFO
Please Donate to this Timmy Sheridan GO FUND ME page.
THE GO FUND ME PAGE in Memory Of TIM SHERIDAN
*Please click on the image above to read more and to make a donation to this GoFund Me page in memory of Timmy Sheridan.
What we didn't know about the TYSON punch out on board the JETBLUE flight over the weekend was, that our boy Khaliddy was sitting next to Mike on that Flight. I guess Tyson was hired by the Government to bring The Sheik back from a Ramadan gathering in San-Fran when the shit hit the fan. Nobody besides the fool white boy was hurt in the scuffle. And yes you're welcome, for another absurd weekly photoshop of our favorite terrorist down in GITMO.
And so my friends, please take advantage of this weekly photo shop of the mastermind who planned 9-11 and resulted in the deaths of 3,000 innocent civilians by KSM (Khalid Sheik Mohammed).
*Note to self -must pick up a case of IRON MIKE TYSON DO'S AND DON'TS Books
Home Depot this week.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Duffy McCarthy April 9th, 2022!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Karen Evans April 8th, 2022!
HAPPY EASTER "He Has Risen!" April 17th, 2022!
HAPPY PASSOVER April 15th, 2022!
HAPPY RAMADAN April 1st-May 1st, 2022!!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Leah Grondin Piersiak May 8th, 2022!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Gabby LaBreck May 9th, 2022!
PLEASE KEEP Mr. Ritchie (father of Gary and Billy) in your thoughts and prayers.
GET WELL SOON to local surfer Mike Keefe! You'll be back in the water before you know it Mike. Just rest up and get stronger brother. We Love you!
PLEASE Keep local Surfer/Musician Pete Kowalski in your thoughts and prayers throughout the year.
Support ALL The photographers who contribute to
Ralph's Pic Of The Week every week for the last 18 years.
** BUY a HIGH RES Photo
from any of the weeks on RPOTW.
my friends... Surfing Heals All Wounds.
Pray for Surf. Pray for Peace. Surf For Fun.