Remember When is a series of photos and stories of South Orange County; what it was like growing up here and the stories that shaped our lives. There is much history and individual stories that make up the fabric of the communities we live in. We welcome new stories and pictures from any of you that were fortunate enough to have grown up in an area where there was open space at the end of every street and an adventure just around the corner.
Dana Point Mafia

To meet the popularization of surfing, the "sense of 'surfer style'" not only had 16mm films other surfers were making for their fellows, but it was also reinforced by the addition of surf mags on the scene.

John Severson had started The Surfer in 1960 with an idea and $3,000. A decade later, Surfer magazine was a slick monthly with a paid circulation of nearly 100,000. In 1970, The Los Angeles Times called Surfer "the only magazine of national consequence published in Orange County."

Located between Los Angeles and San Diego, Orange County "is more well known for its right wing Republicanism and Disneyland," noted Leonard Lueras, than for its surfing. Yet, the coastal portion of Orange County evolved into an important surfing center. "Both historically and politically," wrote Lueras in 1984, "it is renowned in contemporary surfing power circles as 'the unofficial surfing capital of the world.'"

This was in large part due to the physical location of the surf publication industry. "Orange County," continued Lueras, "is the editorial headquarters (at Capistrano) of surfing's two most important publications, Surfer and Surfing." At one time, "the sport's two most successful and influential filmmakers, Bruce Brown (The Endless Summer) and Greg MacGillivray (Five Summer Stories) live there (at Dana Point and South Laguna)." The area was also home to "Gordon 'Grubby' Clark, long the world's leading manufacturer of foam board blanks, and Hobie Alter, surfing's first commercially successful board-maker," both of whom "got their starts in and have remained in the county (in the San Clemente-Dana Point area). Also based in Orange County are surfwear manufacturers Walter and Phillip 'Flippy' Hoffman and surfing's greatest 1960s 'star,' Phil Edwards."


"Because these influential businessmen-surfers were traditionally headquartered on or near Beach Road in the San Clemente-Dana Point area," continued Lueras in Surfing, The Ultimate Pleasure, published in 1984, "they became known to other people in the surfing trade as the 'Dana Point Mafia.' According to popular myth, this group of good ol' beachboys has the commercial surfing world sewn tightly into its money-filled wax pockets."

"All are friends of more than 25 years," wrote Norman B. Chandler of The Los Angeles Times. "All were among the first surfers in this country. All have beach-houses next to each other worth up to a million dollars each... they also comprise a successful group of businessmen who are leaders in exporting various components of beach living."

"All of the above surfioso were caught up in a commercial surfing swell that hit California's shores in the late 1950s," continued Leonard Lueras. "but unlike many who wiped out -- or burned out -- early on, they rode this surfy trend to personal success."

"They all recognized some magical ingredient in the Southern California lifestyle," noted The Surfer's Journal editor and former Surfer editor
Steve Pezman, and they "took a part of it, and made it their own."

If you have a story you would like to share with our readers please send the story to with a picture if you have one. Thanks goes to those that have documented this magical place.

South Laguna History Dana Cove/Capistrano Bay/Stillwater Bay
Del Mar 1958 San Clemente Pier 1927

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