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Local Memories of Hansen’s Surfboards 50 Years Ago

RDP, Hansen's Surfboards

Living in San Diego, it’s impossible to avoid the surf culture and history from beach town to beach town. Studio 2055‘s own Richard Dowdy has fun stories to tell from back in the day.

larry templin hansens 1st glasser in cardiff

Larry Templin, Hansen Surfboards’ first glasser, takes a cigarette break on the volatile resin and acetone drums, Cardiff 1964.

In 1962, Don Hansen moved his first small surf shack from Kawela Bay, Hawaii to a larger building just across the street from California’s Cardiff Reef in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. It was here that Don’s surfboard shaping business began to grow.

Richard, who lived in Encinitas, went to work for Hansen’s Surfboards in the summer of 1963. “First I rubbed rails, and eventually was taught to glass boards by a classmate, Larry Templin (Hansen’s first glasser). Later, when the business outgrew the Cardiff location, we moved to a large building on Cedros Avenue in Solana Beach and I became a glosser during the summer season,” recalls Richard.

ryan dotson sander-cardiff

Here’s Ryan Dotson sanding outdoors at Hansen’s by the San Elijo Lagoon. Photo by Richard Dowdy, 1964.

larry templin glasser-hansens cardiff

This is Larry glassing in Hansen’s Cardiff factory in 1964. Photo by Richard Dowdy.

“While I continued to work seasonally at Hansen’s making boards, in 1967 Hansen’s manager Jim Jenks and I collaborated on creating the Stone Steps Invitational Surf Contest and Love-In.” Richard and Jim kept the contest going through the years after Richard moved to Balboa Island to work as a writer for Capitol Records in Hollywood.

About four years later, he returned to Encinitas and went back to work for Hansen’s as their design and marketing person, creating ads and catalogs. “Don needed ads done for Surfer and other surf magazines, so I took the photos, wrote the copy and created the ads. After a while, I finally set up an office in the back room and more or less became the one-man art and marketing department. I was doing a lot of work for Hansen, with dealer packages, ads in the magazines and Don’s California Surfing Products company. ”

john bugley glosser-hansens

John Bugley applying the gloss coat at Hansen’s also in 1964. Photo by Richard Dowdy.

In 1972, Jim left Hansen’s to found OP Sunwear, and in 1973 Richard joined Surfing magazine first as an associate editor, and a year later, editor and art director.

Look for the next post on the Stone Steps Invitational Surf Contest and Love-In, including pictures, video and original event posters.

Richard Dowdy, Principal, Photographer, Writer, is our walking storyteller of history, places, people, events and places to eat. His selective-retentive memory has us all intrigued and always eager to hear another story. For more pictures, permissions and stories, email







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