Letters to the Editor 6-29-23

Velzy the man, the legend

Dear ER:

With questions raised about the historical accuracy of a proposed Dale Velzy plaque, the Manhattan Beach City Council delayed approval, pending research and historical review. Following a month of staff work and volunteer research, and endless discussion, when compromise/consensus language was finally reached for approval, the Manhattan Beach City Council took five minutes of chitchat to rewrite the plaque language themselves and approve it, in favor of popular vocal sentiment for the unproven Velzy tale. What supposedly made Velzy’s shop different from the shops of other board shapers? Velzy knew the difference, and claimed he got a business license, plus “the first state retail number for making surfboards.” Thus was born, allegedly, “California’s first officially recognized surfboard maker” and the claim of “world’s first surfboard shop,” or the first commercial surfboard shop, or the first retail shop, as variously and repeatedly reported. In addition to being unable to prove when this happened (and with evidence disproving some stories), Velzy’s city license and the seller’s permit have not been produced. Velzy is absent from city records and city directories. He claimed he just made boards for “the guys at the club,“ and made no claims of running a retail operation in Manhattan each — only that he got a business license and seller’s permit, yet to be found. City Council had earlier challenged other cities. “Let them show that history is on their side… we’re going to claim the first until someone can prove otherwise.” But nobody can prove the Manhattan Beach claim of being “first,” or even Velzy’s story that he had a business license. Council could have written a plaque praising Velzy as an iconic shaper, and legendary surfer. Instead they went with a rehabilitative, still unsubstantiated, unproven and watered down variant of “world’s first surfboard shop.” They chose to “print the legend.”

Gary McAulay

Manhattan Beach


Makin’ It again

Dear ER:

It was a delight to see Keith Robinson’s old “Makin’ It” cartoons in Easy Reader again. I have many years of fond memories of reading those cartoons in the ER for so many years when he was writing them. (Robinson passed away in 2015). Keith was friends with my brother Chris, and thus was friends with me, too during our time at Mira Costa in the ‘70s, and then continuing through all of his other projects with Intellivision, his wonderful film-making period, his skilled photography. The cartoon reissued in the June 15 edition of ER is a great one for me because characters in the cartoon — C.J. Silverwood and his son Cyril — are actually depictions of my brother Chris and my nephew Cyril. The Silverwood name came from the period when my brother worked for Silverwoods, an upscale men’s clothing store in Los Angeles. Keith drew a lot of Silverwood cartoons over the years, and were — along with so many of his other ones – quite funny.

This is why I continue to subscribe each year…for little tinges that surface of wonderful memories of a great time and place

Patrick Helbling



comments so far. Comments posted to EasyReaderNews.com may be reprinted in the Easy Reader print edition, which is published each Thursday.