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Malibu Surfing Greats: Lance Carson

Lance on Lance
The first time that I ever saw anyone riding waves on a surfboard was back around 1950 by the pier at Malibu Cove. it was a care-free time when only a handful of lifeguards, movie stars and college students were lucky enough to belong to that select, underground group known as surfers. This was before surf shops, foam boards and the Beach Boys. The only way to get a hold on a balsa board at that time was to know one of the guys on the inside of the loop, such as Dale Velzy or Joe Quigg. Or if you could find the wood, you could try shaping your own. In my case, my dad used to take me to Malibu on weekends in the summer. At that time, he was an engineer at Northrop Aircraft Company and had been working on the original flying wing. After gathering information at the beach, he was able to find some balsa wood at LA Harbor and shape my first board in the garage...that was the way it was done.

As far as crowds were concerned...there were none. some days you would actually hope that more guys would show up so you wouldn't have to surf alone. It was a time when the water was clear and words such as ''ecology'' and ''pollution'' were unheard of. Guys never pushed you out of the way. They would allow you to drop in because it was cool to ride a wave with a buddy. And you could hone your surfing skills very quickly because surf spots were never crowded. Compared to today's technology, those early wood boards were primitive and heavy. But the long rides into the Cove enabled us to spend our summers developing our classic, erect, ballet- like styles. If I wasn't in the water, I would sit on the beach and study the surfing styles of the early hot-dog masters such as Matt Kivlin and Miki Dora. I knew then that surfing was going to be a part of my life forever.

Mike Doyle on Lance
We were judged by our surfing ability -- nothing else -- and my surfing ability had improved to the point that I rated some respect. One of my buddies at Malibu in those days was Lance Carson. We called him 'Jet Pilot' because he had a perfectly pointed nose. Lance was from a wealthy family in Pacific Palisades, and every winter his parents sent him back East to some private military school. But in the summer he spent all his time at the beach. He was at a big disadvantage in some ways, because every year by the time he got out of school, the rest of us were already tanned and surfing really well, while Lance would still be all white and educated. But by the end of summer Lance would be surfing as well, or better, than any of us.

The MSA Surfer Award
The MSA Surfer Award is presented annually to a surfer who has made contributions to the sport and to surfing at Malibu. The Award is meant to acknowledge great surfing, whether at First Point, Third Point, or places in between and is MSA's highest honor for surfing. The 2008 MSA Surfer Award was presented to Lance, a surfer intimately connected to the Golden Age of Malibu. Through his surfing, primarily at Malibu, he helped to define the style and look of modern surfing. The MSA Surfer Award has been co-presented with the Surfing Heritage Foundation.

2011: Founding members of the Malibu Surfing Assoc. (50th anniversary)
2010: Kemp and Denny Aaberg
2009: Matt Kivlin
2008: Lance Carson
2007: Allen Sarlo

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