Louis Ros - September 1977 - Ft. Pickens The “Point” that wraps from the gulf into the bay is primarily a left, but occasionally fun rights will pop up - just before it bends into “The Bay”. Dave Skelton caught Louis enjoying one of those days. Louis is still just as fit, just as enthusiastic, and still surfing short boards 41 years later. Probably better now than he was then.
Hank Warner/Pensacola Bch. This is probably December 1973. I thought it was so cool to have a great surfer/shaper like Hank spending time in Pensacola. It was even cooler to see him catch a good swell here. San Diego is such a wave rich place with a rich history of surfing. Pensacola wasn’t even on the surfing map until Yancy and Bzr Turner started getting recognition (mostly on Hank’s boards), along with Dave Skelton / Tony Caruso getting photos published around this time. I think Hank had a lot to do with giving Pensacola surfers confidence on a broader scale - outside of just surfing Pensacola. He brought talent here. He brought stories of California and surfboard design ideas. All of this helped to elevate us from a back water gulf coast beach town to something more. Just my opinion😊. Photo by Dave Skelton
Bzr Turner and Yancy Spencer III - January 1974 in the Bahamas. Yancy and Bzr pretty much led Pensacola surfing through the 70’s. There were other good, even great, surfers. But to me these were THE Guys. This photo was taken during a trip YS, Bzr, Dave Skelton and Hank Warner took to the island of Eleuthera. Photo by Dave Skelton
Dave Skelton took this beautiful photo of Yancy Spencer in December 1973. I love how YS is crouched and ready to spring out of this bottom turn. His back hand is ever-so-casually skimming the surface, while his gaze is way down the line, focusing on where he wants to go. I could be wrong, but I think he’s riding a 6’9” keel fin that Hank Warner shaped. (Hank would probably know the details). There was an airbrushed heart on the bottom of the board with a portrait of Jesus within. #surfpensacola #surfthegulf #surfinginthe70s #yancyspencer #surfing #surfingisart @bradgerlach
Kurt Schnupp grew up surfing Pensacola Bch, in fact this photo was taken in April of 1974. Since that time he spent many years involved with the military. He was based out of Hawaii but spent time in some unsavory war zones of the Middle East, and who knows where else. Now you can find him working at the Innerlight Surf Shops. He’s often out on the dock at the beach marina helping boaters gas up, dock their boats, etc. Photo by Dave Skelton
The guy on the top became the guy on the bottom! Bruce Burton Hansel moved to Pensacola from Sarasota in the mid 70’s to attend PJC. He found his way to Hawaii and became a member of the “Pipeline Underground”, and finally ended up in Indonesia where he lives today. The top photo, by Dave Skelton, was taken at the “Rodeway Inn”, downtown Pensacola, in May of 1975. Not sure who took the North Shore surf photo.
The surf stoke was tangible throughout the 70’s in Pensacola. Roger Wood, from Jax Bch, attended UWF in the late 70’s and once observed “when the east wind starts blowing there is this electricity in the air. You can just feel it!” In my mind Yancy and Bzr were leading the pack. One of those guys in the pack was Harry Allen. I remember Harry riding Hank Warner eggs, and driving a VW van. He was good friends with Wendell Magaha and Mike Stachow. He seemed to always wear a smile. Unfortunately Harry left this earth way too early. Dave Skelton captured this shot of Harry in January 1975.
As I’ve matured a bit, I find myself appreciating friendships more, especially long term friendships - people I’ve known for decades. Here are 3 guys, in two photos that were taken 45 years apart. Skinny guys in Puerto Rico, 1973, who became fully mature guys shown here in 2018. They’ve travelled together, done business together, lived life, and have remained good friends. Brian Waters, Mike Bredesen and Dave Skelton. Three good guys who left their own unique impressions on Pensacola surfing. The 2018 photo was taken by Mark Skelton.