Surf spots with history

Dawnpatrol

Well-Known Member
May 7, 2006
1,511
563
PNW
Great thread Sky, et. al. that contribute.

Pt. Grenville, WA; The State of Washington is not known for surf. What spots exists lie mostly on tribal reservations with the tribal councils dictating access to non-tribal members via permits and fees. Currently, most of the spots in the State are closed to non-tribal members due to Covid and will remain so indefinitely. That being said, perhaps the first spot that was surfed with consistency and dating back to the late 40’s/early 50’s was Point Grenville on the Quinault Indian Reservation. Those early years saw a few “Coasties” from the Loran Station that sat on the Point grab the goods when the waves dictated. The halcyon years for Point Grenville were the 60’s when undoubtable Gidget hit the screen to be followed by the Ventures (a Tacoma, WA band) pumping out their iconic 60’s surf rifts. Grabbing the attention of WA youth at the time, folks hunted near and far to find a surfboard to mimic the California life style. Word was out that Point Grenville was the spot to hit up a surf. Rumor's have it that the Whittakers of Everest fame sold popouts at their Mountain Shop in Parkland, WA at the time. The true Grenville Era took place in the early 60’s when a Boeing Engineer by the name of Ray Walters (RIP) from West Seattle took his California roots and established himself as the Godfather of Surfing in WA. A young lad who was his next door neighbor by the name of George South bugged Ray to take him out to Grenville for surf and Ray being Ray and tired of being bugged acquiesced. If there is a Godson of surfing in WA his name is George South. George and Ray stayed inseparable over the years until Ray’s stroke and passing. George would take his stroke ridden and old mentor to the beach in his old Cadillac where we all would gather to hear Ray’s Grenville stories in the parking lot at the Jetty. But I digress, George as a young lad was hooked on surfing so much so he moved his young and meager belongings to the beach at Grenville into an old beach shack and later to tents, a 46 Hudson and finally an old milk truck where he rented out boards. The Point Grenville beach consisted of 10 or so breaks all being soft longboard cruzer type waves. All my friends who surfed the place in the 60’s said it was a great place to be, it was their Malibu scene for WA. Just tent camping, bonfires, kids on the beach exploring tide pools, a total family scene. George was kind of the unofficial beach “Park Ranger”. The beach was a tribal beach where they would conduct their ceremonies and commercially harvest razor clams. In and around 1966, some off Rez developer started harvesting sand off the beach for building lots and dumping root wads taken from the lots onto Grenville Beach. In addition, beach goers were littering the beach and driving on the clam beds. The tribe rightfully saw this as desecration and becoming pissed off felt enough was enough closing off the beach in 1966 to all non-tribal members. George and the “Washington Surfing Association”, a loose group at best, intervened on the surfers behalf and took on the duty of trash collecting and disposal and were able to gain the tribe’s permission to regain beach access to surfers. In 1968, George went off to Vietnam leaving his beloved Grenville, its surf and friends leaving no one to haul the trash off the beach. His departure coincided with the arrival of the drug culture finding its way to the beach. Kids partying on the beach, writing FU with a Peace sign on the Tribe’s Sacred rock on the beach and again driving on and destroying the clam beds and a source of income for the tribe. This was the final straw. Point Grenville was closed to non-tribal members on Labor Day 1969. Because of the irresponsible behavior of a few, a world class camping-family beach was lost to future generations to enjoy. Again it remains closed ‘cept for a day/year if and when the Tribe decides to open it.

When I first arrived in WA in the Spring of 1974, I drove directly to Point Grenville clueless to the tribal closure. An O’dark thirty escapade for surf culminated on an empty beach break with me trying to shag a few 4’ soft mushers on my 6’9” Michel Junod winger pin. I got back to my rig truck after a few fun ones as the sun rose on the Point and after years of surfing my home waters of California I thought I found gold in the solitude and beauty of the place. Needless to say as I drove off the beach I was flagged down by a Quinault Tribal policeman asking me what I was doing. I said surfing and he read me the riot act explaining the beach closure and history behind it. Seeing my Cali plates he let me off with a warning. Over the years I have had the rare privilege of surfing Grenville by invitation and even judging a tribal surf contest but it remains an ache in my heart that as I go into my 70’s I can’t enjoy a true gem of Washington , Point Grenville.
 

Sky

Active Member
Aug 30, 2020
183
179
Southern California
Great thread Sky, et. al. that contribute.

Pt. Grenville, WA; The State of Washington is not known for surf. What spots exists lie mostly on tribal reservations with the tribal councils dictating access to non-tribal members via permits and fees. Currently, most of the spots in the State are closed to non-tribal members due to Covid and will remain so indefinitely. That being said, perhaps the first spot that was surfed with consistency and dating back to the late 40’s/early 50’s was Point Grenville on the Quinault Indian Reservation. Those early years saw a few “Coasties” from the Loran Station that sat on the Point grab the goods when the waves dictated. The halcyon years for Point Grenville were the 60’s when undoubtable Gidget hit the screen to be followed by the Ventures (a Tacoma, WA band) pumping out their iconic 60’s surf rifts. Grabbing the attention of WA youth at the time, folks hunted near and far to find a surfboard to mimic the California life style. Word was out that Point Grenville was the spot to hit up a surf. Rumor's have it that the Whittakers of Everest fame sold popouts at their Mountain Shop in Parkland, WA at the time. The true Grenville Era took place in the early 60’s when a Boeing Engineer by the name of Ray Walters (RIP) from West Seattle took his California roots and established himself as the Godfather of Surfing in WA. A young lad who was his next door neighbor by the name of George South bugged Ray to take him out to Grenville for surf and Ray being Ray and tired of being bugged acquiesced. If there is a Godson of surfing in WA his name is George South. George and Ray stayed inseparable over the years until Ray’s stroke and passing. George would take his stroke ridden and old mentor to the beach in his old Cadillac where we all would gather to hear Ray’s Grenville stories in the parking lot at the Jetty. But I digress, George as a young lad was hooked on surfing so much so he moved his young and meager belongings to the beach at Grenville into an old beach shack and later to tents, a 46 Hudson and finally an old milk truck where he rented out boards. The Point Grenville beach consisted of 10 or so breaks all being soft longboard cruzer type waves. All my friends who surfed the place in the 60’s said it was a great place to be, it was their Malibu scene for WA. Just tent camping, bonfires, kids on the beach exploring tide pools, a total family scene. George was kind of the unofficial beach “Park Ranger”. The beach was a tribal beach where they would conduct their ceremonies and commercially harvest razor clams. In and around 1966, some off Rez developer started harvesting sand off the beach for building lots and dumping root wads taken from the lots onto Grenville Beach. In addition, beach goers were littering the beach and driving on the clam beds. The tribe rightfully saw this as desecration and becoming pissed off felt enough was enough closing off the beach in 1966 to all non-tribal members. George and the “Washington Surfing Association”, a loose group at best, intervened on the surfers behalf and took on the duty of trash collecting and disposal and were able to gain the tribe’s permission to regain beach access to surfers. In 1968, George went off to Vietnam leaving his beloved Grenville, its surf and friends leaving no one to haul the trash off the beach. His departure coincided with the arrival of the drug culture finding its way to the beach. Kids partying on the beach, writing FU with a Peace sign on the Tribe’s Sacred rock on the beach and again driving on and destroying the clam beds and a source of income for the tribe. This was the final straw. Point Grenville was closed to non-tribal members on Labor Day 1969. Because of the irresponsible behavior of a few, a world class camping-family beach was lost to future generations to enjoy. Again it remains closed ‘cept for a day/year if and when the Tribe decides to open it.

When I first arrived in WA in the Spring of 1974, I drove directly to Point Grenville clueless to the tribal closure. An O’dark thirty escapade for surf culminated on an empty beach break with me trying to shag a few 4’ soft mushers on my 6’9” Michel Junod winger pin. I got back to my rig truck after a few fun ones as the sun rose on the Point and after years of surfing my home waters of California I thought I found gold in the solitude and beauty of the place. Needless to say as I drove off the beach I was flagged down by a Quinault Tribal policeman asking me what I was doing. I said surfing and he read me the riot act explaining the beach closure and history behind it. Seeing my Cali plates he let me off with a warning. Over the years I have had the rare privilege of surfing Grenville by invitation and even judging a tribal surf contest but it remains an ache in my heart that as I go into my 70’s I can’t enjoy a true gem of Washington , Point Grenville.
Loved reading this, I’ve been to Washington once, haven’t surfed there. But its so beautiful, thanks for the share.
 

Sky

Active Member
Aug 30, 2020
183
179
Southern California
I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for sharing what little or big piece they brought to this thread. I love surf history, I feel it makes me appreciate the spots that I surf, as well as the sport itself. Being in tune with the past (even though I am far to young to have lived it) gives me great pride to be surfing where I am today. Knowledge and wisdom goes a long way, not only through stories, but through shaping and surfing itself. This thread has opened a small door into my love for surf craft and history, I thank you all for that. Continue to spread the aloha spirit by sharing bits and pieces of where you call home.

- Sky
 

TurtleTime

Member
Dec 25, 2018
69
69
San Clemente
a few weeks back I was changing and chatted w/ Herbie for a bit. Was super cool to hear stories of the area pre-harbor and pre-nukes. He spoke about the biggest day he rode there basically a wave from Lowers all the way thru Church into 1st pt. The other dude out was Mickey Munoz.
 




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