SURFING & THE MALIBU PIER®

The Malibu Pier® forms the eastern boundary of the worlds first surf reserve and has been witness to the sport from its earliest days practiced by a few trespassers who snuck in to Rancho Malibu to the days of Gidget trading sandwiches for surf lessons and on through the free styling of the 80's through to the revival of long boarding we see today. 

 
 

“Malibu is the exact spot on earth where ancient surfing became modern surfing" Paul Gross.

 

GIDGET

 Kathy "Gidget" Kohner on the cover of the namesake book by her father Fredrick Kohner.

Kathy "Gidget" Kohner on the cover of the namesake book by her father Fredrick Kohner.

Flashback to the summer of ’56.  Elvis owned the airwaves, and 15 year old pixy, Kathy Kohner, wanted the boys at Malibu to teach her to surf.  Trading peanut butter sandwiches for surf lessons, she earned the nickname Gidget (Girl + Midget) and quickly became a fixture at the beach.  Her father, the accomplished screenwriter Fredrick Kohner, enthralled by the subculture of surfers, adapted her surfing exploits into the novel Gidget, the Girl Who Could.  

The book was a hit and quickly were followed by a series of blockbuster films and TV series starring a young Sally Field.  More than just a coming of age story, Gidget was the spark that put surfing into the mainstream.  

If you spot a spry grandmother with a flower in her hair walking on the pier ... it just might be Gidget.  

 

MIKI DORA

He had many names, the Black Knight, Da Cat or the Prince of Malibu.  Through the 50’s & 60’s he owned the wave at Malibu.  A towering figure with catlike nimbleness walking on the surfboard, he was the epitome of the rebel surfer.  Actors liked to hangout with him to learn his swagger and he charmed many a starlet.  Notorious on the waves for challenging less experienced surfers who dare get on his wave, he was more cavalier performing as a surfing stunt double in beach blanket movies of the 60's.

As surfing became popular and his Malibu wave became crowded, Dora took off to surf the wild shores of South Africa and Namibia and avoid some legal issues back home.  Miki left us early in 1993 most likely to surf the perfect, empty waves of paradise.  

 

MARIE & BIG WEDNESDAY

In the cult classic surf film, Big Wednesday, the heroes of the film look forward to the perfect swell known as Big Wednesday.  In August 2014, Hurricane Marie exploded to Cat 5 off the Baja coast and that sent it's massive tidal energy on a bulls-eye run towards Malibu.  By the evening of Tuesday August 26, the waves at Malibu went epic.  

As dawn broke on Wednesday, the greatest day of surfing in the history of Malibu unfolded as 20 foot swells crashed through.  Big wave surfer and local Laird Hamilton began shooting the pier (riding between the pilings) to the thrill of the spectators except for taking a break to rescue a stranded surfer.  Other legends including Alan Sarlo, Andy Lyons & surf crooner Jack Johnson joined the action while most surfers watched from the safety of beach as boards broke and rescues were made.  

While the surfers got all the attention, our pier stood strong while the waves delivered punch after punch.  In the end, 13 pilings were torn loose and our landing was smashed but what's a great day of surf without a few dings?