Extreme old school – Surfing without a wetsuit!

Old wetsuits
Gerry and Phil Kantor on the right, wearing the old beaver tail wetsuits. This is in Carmel, May of 1965 according to the stamp on the photo above. Otis and Marc Cross’s brother to the left. Marc Cross (fantastic surfer, nephew of Dickie Cross) waxing a board in left background. Photo by Marc Cross’s mom.




The only westsuits were for skin diving, and usually were very uncomfortable and gave you a nasty deep rash in the sides of the neck and the armpits, so that you could barely move.  It was a toss up between being freezing cold in 57-58 degree waters, or pain in the sides of the neck and the armpits.

Here I am surfing first with a vest, which were the first wetsuits made specifically for surrfing.  They had no arms, and a low neck, but you couldn’t get a rash.  It was thought that the arms and neck were restrictive of movement needed for surfing.   At first I have this vest on, then on the last waves, I am without a wetsuit, having given it to my younger brother, who had paddled out.  I believe we were sharing that vest in those days.  My dad is filming in 8mm, from the jetties, which are just out of frame to the left.