Harold Iggy

Hermosa Beach, California, 1966
It is a form of surfing, I guess. But a surfer prefers a real wave, not an artificial one.

“This is Harold Iggy” ran in the June 1966 issue of Surfing magazine, when Iggy was 24. Editor Dick Graham recorded the interview.

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If a guy wins a contest, it doesn’t mean that he’s the best surfer in the world. Usually contests are run on a junk day, or the waves aren’t any good, you know, small and choppy. Mostly it’s luck. As far as the judging goes, they can’t really say what’s better than what. If one guy runs to the nose and cuts back really fast, then a second guy is smooth and in control all the time, how can a judge really say which is better if they both make the wave? So it is hard to say what’s good or bad in a contest. To me it’s all luck.

I thought this year’s contest was badly run. I stood on the beach and looked at the judges, and they were just packed together on one stand. There was so much confusion. They just didn’t know what was happening. I watched the surfers, watched the whole contest, and I don’t want to say who won, but I don’t think the winner should have won. Even in the preliminaries, the results were wrong. The judging criteria was biggest wave, longest wave, riding in the most critical part. I don’t know why they do it like that. It would be a good for a big wave contest, but not at Makaha, as the waves were only four to six feet. If you want to be flashy, you can’t do it. You had to go out and catch the biggest wave and just stand there.

Boards today are better than the boards we built a few years ago. The average guy can learn much faster today. But I think some of the shapes coming out now are just a gimmick or a fad. One shop does it, and everybody else does it, and that’s no good. It seems you must have something different to be up there with the other companies.

I’ve been shaping surfboards for eight or nine years, and I’ve seen the sport go from redwood to balsa to foam. The whole thing is getting bigger and bigger every day. I think this year is going to be the biggest years we’ve ever had, as far as making boards, surfing-wise, everything.

I think the USSA is a great thing. But I also think that if they want to make a success of these contests, the judging system should be a lot better. Everything else, they’re doing a great job, but the judging is falling short. The USSA is one of the first associations of it’s kind, so I guess you’re going to make a lot of mistakes, and I guess you learn from these mistakes also.

At first wake surfing was a big thing and all the surfers who tried it had fun. But they just wanted to go and try it, that’s all. It is a form of surfing, I guess, but it’s too hard to get a boat, and it’s so far to the lakes. There are probably people doing it right now, but it will die out by itself in three years. A surfer prefers a real wave, not an artificial one.

California surfers do a lot more hotdogging, with spinners and all that, while Island surfers have more control over their boards. Most of the surfers here in California don’t have as much control. The waves here are a lot different from the waves in Hawaii. In the Islands you must have control, and have to have the board trimmed. Half of the surfers from California who go the Islands have a hard time, because they do a fast turn and have no control at all. I still think Hawaii grooms the best all-around surfers.

[Photos: LeRoy Grannis]