Our friend Denny Aaberg recently turned us on to these classic photos taken by Jim Ganzer in 1968.
They were taken on a regular day, just walking out to surf at Hammonds Reef.
Here Denny is shown holding his Natural Progression Marty Surgarman Meth Model,
“for those who like speed”.
This beauty was shaped by Robbie Dick, on the left, and is an excellent example of a transition period
design, during surfing’s progression from long to short boards.
Robbie and Denny crossing the grass field in front of the old Hammond mansion,
on their way to surf an empty line up.
Robbie says at this time he took a break from college and started making his own label boards. About the
board he says, “No more mini variations on the longboard. All curve, no parallel lines, hard down rails nose
to tail, Hawaiian inspiration boards and life style, individually hand painted star logo by Steve Peters (RIP)”.
This remarkable mansion was built by the Hammond family in 1906 and named “Bonnymede”.
George Hammond was an avid flier, shown here in 1958. He took lessons from the nation’s first
airmail pilot, Earle Ovington, who owned an airfield on the present site of the Santa Barbara Municipal
Golf Course. In the early 1930s, Hammond constructed an airstrip at Bonnymede. He planted grass on
it to keep the dust down, so it also served as a nine-hole golf course and as a polo field! Hammond
became friends with the Lester family of San Miguel Island, and he made hundreds of flights to the
island to deliver mail and other supplies.
Robbie Dick and Denny Aaberg walking across the expansive green lawn after their session.
George’s mother Esther Hammond died in 1955 and the home was sold in 1958. For years renters drifted
in and out. Although it was designated as a historical landmark, the beautiful structure was left to decay.
In 1970 the mansion was badly damaged in a fire and then demolished. The fire is blamed on hobos or
surfers, depending on who you ask.
Denny remembers the Hammond’s mansion sat their empty for years
and lots of folks have memories of wild parties in and around the mansion.
Here’s another view of the Hammonds Meadow and Bonnymede taken by legendary surf photographer
Ron Stoner in the late 60’s. Dewey Sherman gives us more info and a Goleta link: ” Mark Hammond
paddling out at Hammond’s Reef on a Doug Roth that I shaped for him in the mid-60s. Mark (no relation
to the family that owned the Hammond’s estate at Bonneymede), was a leading surfer from the South
Bay (one of the youngest members of the Windansea Surf Club in its heyday) and was living in Isla Vista
when Stoner took the photograph.
Here’s a link to a great article on the area from Edhat.
Denny Aaberg is an author, musician and surf legend in his own right. He’s still surfing up and
down the coast and playing music with his new group, the Wrinkled Teenagers.
Here’s a little more info on Denny.
Robbie Dick is still doing his thing,
shaping boards in Oregon.
Natural Progression surfboards are now collector’s items,
valuable links to the Golden Age of California surfing.
Special thanks to- Santa Barbara News Press, Michael Redmon, SB Independent.