Friday, November 26, 2021

Tommy Zahn (1924-1991)

"Figures like Tom [Blake] and Duke [Kahanamoku] are really historic figures... Had they never existed, the sport wouldn't be quite the same. And where can you find guys in this game who led such exemplary lives? These were the real contributors and innovators. I did none of these things... I surfed, paddled and swam for the pure joy of it all. I was successful in some of my ventures... all more or less forgettable. I tried (not always succeeding) in living an exemplary life. It was my pleasure to have been personally acquainted with figures like Duke, Tom, Pete [Peterson], Rabbit [Kekai], George [Downing], Joe [Quigg], Wally [Froiseth], Gene [Tarzan Smith]; but I have no desire to beome a 'professional-grand-old-man-of-surfing.'" -- Tom Zahn, November 5, 1989 

 "You will get your day of recognition when the long boards come back." -- Tom Blake to Tom Z., August 1967 

 My unedited biography of Tommy Zahn -- part of which was published in the Surfer's Journal, Volume 9, Number 2, Spring/Summer 2000 -- was available in printable ebook form for purchase for many years and was very popular to those in the know.

This 24,792 word chapter in the LEGENDARY SURFERS series -- over 50% longer than it's shorter brother printed in the TSJ -- is now included in the collection free for the reading and sharing.

Link location of the PDF file:

When prompted for a password, enter: marilyn 


Aloha and Thank You for Your Interest in My Writings! 

Malcolm Gault-Williams 

 Chapter Contents: 

 Boards, Boats & Lifeguarding  As A Kid  Tom Blake  Pete Peterson  War Years  Pete's Plastic Board, 1946  Hollywood & Marilyn  The Islands  Haole Treatment  Island Influences  George Downing  Rabbit Kekai  1947 - Zahn, Quigg, Kivlin, Rochlen & Melonhead The Darrylin Board, 1947-48  The Malibu Perpetual Surfboard  Paddling ChampMolokai to O‘ahu, October 1953  Diamond Head Paddleboard Race, 1954  "Bounding the Blue on Boards"  Catalina-to-Manhattan Beach Paddle Races  Catalina-to-Manhattan, 1955  Catalina-to-Manhattan, 1956  Sculling  Australia, 1956  The Kivlin to Dora Connection  Late 1950s, Early 1960s  Catalina to Manhattan Beach Paddleboard Race, 1958  Catalina to Manhattan Beach Paddleboard Race, 1960  Catalina-to-Manhattan Beach Paddleboard Race, 1961  Diamond Head Paddleboard Race, 1962  The Lifeguard's Lifeguard  Skin Cancer, 1979  1984's Almost Forced Retirement  Paddling Mentor  Jim Mollica  Mike Young  Craig Lockwood  "Recollecting Zahn" by Craig Lockwood  First Encounter  Second Meeting  Making Time  Zahn's Other Side  End of an Era  Waterman Memorial  Design Guru  One For Pete  Taplin Talk 

Tommy listed "A few significant extracts" from his "Aquatic Sports Activities." In his order, they are:  2 times winner - Surf Life Saving Association (SLSA) of Hawaii Rough Water Swimming Championships  4 times winner - Diamond Head Paddleboard Championships, Honolulu, Hawaii  5 times winner - Catalina to Manhattan Beach Paddleboard Race  Winner - 1956 International Rescue Board Race, Surf Life Saving Association of Australia  2 times winner - Hermosa-Manhattan 2 Mile Roughwater Swim (age group)  CIF Swim Finalist - High School  US Navy Swim Team - San Diego  First Senior Olympics 1 Mile, Run-Swim-run & Relay, 1980-82 

And, in "Related Work Experience," in the order Tommy listed them:  24 Years skipper of rescue boat Baywatch Santa Monica. Second highest rescue count of all 8 Baywatch stations.  7 Years as Training Officer for the Lifeguard and Harbor Division, Santa Monica  Part time Training Consultant for the California State Lifeguard Service, District 5, 1961-62  Captain and Training Officer for the Honolulu City and County Lifeguard Service, 1959; Reorganized the service 

Also noteworthy, but unlisted by Zahn:  Pacific Coast Dory Championship, twice

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