Surfing the Internet one day, we spotted these incredible photos of the dilapidated oil
piers at Haskells back in the 1970s.
We contacted the photographer, William Etling, and he sent us
some more great shots from the Gaviota Coast.
When he took these, William was at UCSB, writing for the school paper, taking a
lot of photos and developing and printing them in the co-op lab they had, surfing
Campus Point all the time and Sands occasionally.
He went for a long walk with the camera one day and shot the piers in black and white
partly because of the stark beauty of all that angular wood in water and partly
because he could not believe all the stuff that was abandoned on top of them, there
was even an old flatbed truck up there, sitting around for years.
What we didn’t know, was that William Etling had a lot of fine photos, and he
was kind enough to share them with us.
Here is the Biltmore Pier going off big time around 1975.
Guys were jumping off the end to get outside.
Being Goleta boys, we’re not even sure if this pier still exists…
Marco Del Masso, a natural athlete and track star at Santa Ynez High, put
some class in his dive with a nice toe touch on the way in.
This is a shot from a spot they called “The Cove” in 1971.
The surfer is his best friend Tom McCord, a sentimental favorite as he fell off a cliff at
Humboldt in 1972 and never surfed again.
William has been a Santa Ynez Valley resident most of his life, but he went to UCSB
and has always spent a lot of time on the Gaviota Coast.
And he still takes some nice surf shots….
Look at that glassy wall.
William says he still loves the beach. If he had a tail, he’d wag it when he’s near the water.
Mr. Etling is also a talented author and a long time realtor in the valley.
Click here for a link to his website.
Here are a few shots of his son, Will, enjoying a Gaviota point break.
From his book:
“The green glow of a tube at Hazard’s, rushing under the rising tide. So hard to explain a ray of
light. Standing at high tide on the promontory at the Cove, watching for the first rideable swell.
Backwash recoils from the shale cliffs, sliding like all of California into the sea, a rock at a time.
He slid backside twice, ate a drop, carved right and got caught inside. He paddled around the
break zone and back out. Limp white foam bubbles were disappearing all about, dome by tiny
rainbowed dome, in crystal invisibilities of spray. A high sheer left; paddle, one! two! leap! with
the surge as the swell walls and catches; drop, alive, alive, in the liquid explosions.
Lolling on the rocks like a seal, eating cashews and oranges for lunch.”