Legendary shaper Gordie Duane passes away at 80

August 10, 2011 | Surfing
Gordie Duane: he made Huntington Beach Surf City USA

Gordie Duane, one of the first surfboard shapers, has passed away in Huntington Beach. The surfing pioneer was 80 and will be greatly missed in Surf City USA.

He started surfing while serving in the Navy at Pearl Harbor. Duane opened a surf shop in front of the local pier, back in 1956. He was ticketed for "surfing illegally" when the sport was banned after 10am.

"Back in 1956, they didn't want surfing in this town. Man, that was a bad element," Duane told The Times, in 1997, the year he was inducted into the Huntington Beach Surfing Walk of Fame.

Soon after, Duane debuted Gordie Surfboards and started producing polyurethane foam-core surfboards with the famous wooden thin strip, also known as stringer.

"They're still like that," Duane told The Times in 1980. "I have a reputation for being a rebel, okee dokee, but history is still history. God, if I'd have patented that!"

Nicknamed "Compton Cabinet Maker", Gordie Duane was one of the best shapers in California and in the entire world.

He also enjoyed abstract designs along the surfboard. The member of the "Hole in the Wall" surf gang built his first surfboard with surplus balsa wood from Navy rafts.