Iconic California surfboard maker Rich Harbour dies at age 77

When Wealthy Harbour’s surfboard – read more on Surfing LA – was once stolen from his backyard, the Seal Seashore youngster had no selection however to construct himself some other one.

It wasn’t lengthy ahead of Harbour Surfboards was once born, with its proprietor throughout the a long time molding his approach into changing into some of the iconic surfboard – read more on Surfing LA – makers in historical past, sooner or later staking declare to having the longest running surf store in its unique location.

  • Wealthy Harbor works within the shaping room of Harbour Surfboards in Seal Seashore in 2010. He began the store on Major Boulevard in 1962, which nonetheless exists nowadays. (Document photograph: MICHAEL GOULDING/SCNG)

  • Wealthy Harbour, who started Harbour Surfboards on Major Boulevard in Seal Seashore in 1962, stands within the retailer retaining {a photograph} of himself shaping a surfboard – read more on Surfing LA – within the early 1960’s. MARK RIGHTMIRE, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

  • Wealthy Harbour, of Harbour Surfboards, is commemorated on the Seal Seashore Founder’s Day birthday party in 2013. Harbour Surfboards is at 329 Major Boulevard and has been open since 1962. (SCNG Document photograph)

  • Wealthy Harbour, left, who started Harbour Surfboards on Major Boulevard in Seal Seashore within the early 1960’s, stands with retail store proprietor Robert Howson. MARK RIGHTMIRE, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

  • Wealthy Harbour of Seal Seashore died on July 11, 2021. The surfboard – read more on Surfing LA – maker thru his 60-year occupation created greater than 32,000 forums below the enduring Harbour label. (Document photograph by way of MICHAEL GOULDING/SCNG)

Harbour, 77, died on Sunday, July 11, surrounded by way of friends and family at his Seal Seashore house.

“I feel he would say he lived a whole existence without a regrets and (he was once) glad he completed the whole lot he may,” mentioned longtime trade spouse Robert Howson, who purchased and operates the Harbour Surf Store retail operation.

Harbour began using waves in Seal Seashore on an inflatable surf mat; it was once his mom, Alice, who steered he take a look at a surfboard – read more on Surfing LA – .

And as soon as he did, he was once hooked. However after that first board was once taken from his backyard, Harbour requested his father, who labored within the aerospace trade, for assist development a brand new one.

Quickly, buddies sought after forums and he began his trade, buying a license for $15 from the town of Seal Seashore on June 30, 1962. Simply 16, he needed to put his dad’s call on it.

Harbour incorporated a 1 on his first board, and each one he constructed over the following six a long time were given a bunch – the ultimate board he created in 2019 offered to a fan in Japan, who were given quantity 32,680.

Harbour was once one of the most early board-makers who began out with heavy picket and transitioned to foam when the lighter subject matter began rising in popularity.

In the course of the a long time, big-name shapers similar to Mike Marshall, Dale Velzy and, extra just lately, Tim Stamps, formed below the Harbour label ahead of branching out on their very own.

“I feel he was once one of these dad to everyone, now not simply his personal circle of relatives. He was once one of these father determine to everybody who got here in right here, everybody who labored for him, everybody who knew him,” daughter Melissa Harbour-Hennessy mentioned. “I didn’t understand till later in my existence, I shared him with such a lot of other folks. Everybody repeatedly mentioned how they seemed as much as him for steerage and recommendation and route, in existence, and he gave it to them. That was once actually particular, and that’s dwelling on with everybody. All of them have a work of him.”

Howson mentioned Harbour was once a shockingly giving guy – of his time, his experience and his common wisdom. Sizzling-doggin’ surfers from the Lengthy Seashore, Seal Seashore and Huntington space turned into a part of his elite surf group within the ’60s and ’70s, proudly dressed in the group jacket and representing the store in contests.

“He actually did mentor a large number of those other folks, those children,” mentioned Howson, himself as soon as a Harbour group rider. “I don’t suppose any considered one of them will ever fail to remember coming involved with Wealthy Harbour, ever.”

Harbour was once one of the most few of his time who withstood the waves of exchange within the surf global: enduring the shortboard revolution that despatched competition and buddies into retirement, the unexpected closure of clean producer Clark Foam in 2005 that crippled the trade and a number of other financial downturns.

Harbour had enthusiasts all over the world and a cult-like following amongst surfboard – read more on Surfing LA – lovers, some who amassed through the years at Harbour Surf Days to trip waves at Bolsa Chica State Seashore and sharing tales about his forums, each historical and new designs.

Prior to well being problems began taking a toll, Harbour would display up along with his digicam, a surf celebrity sitting in his seaside chair at the sand, taking pictures of other folks playing his creations.

“He was once greater than a surfboard – read more on Surfing LA – shaper, he gave again to everybody,” Harbour-Hennessy mentioned. “Everybody seemed as much as him and cherished him for that.”

Good friend Eric Lewis knew Harbour from outdoor of the surf global, calling Harbour a self-made engineer who made up our minds to make surfboards for his occupation.

“He at all times took me below his wing once we had tasks to do, we discovered issues from every different,” Lewis mentioned.

“He repeatedly sought to innovate,” Howson mentioned. “He at all times sought after to make a greater surfboard – read more on Surfing LA – .”

Plans for a paddle-out birthday party of existence are pending. Harbour is survived by way of spouse Helen Harbour, daughters Melissa Harbour-Hennessy and Carrie Harbour-Nolan, son Paul Lawler and 5 grandchildren.

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