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Boomer Instrumentals: Pipeline
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Boomer Instrumentals: Pipeline

In my senior year at Leigh Highschool, I lived in the outer upper suburbs of Los Gatos. This was long before Los Gatos was a destination airport for obscenely rich tech billionaires. Then it was just a small town oozing into the Santa Cruz mountains from the burgeoning suburbs of San Jose. Its only cultural attraction was a beatnik-style coffee house that had folksingers in heavy rotation.

As a teenager in Los Gatos, just 15 miles over the mountains from Santa Cruz (before it was turned into ideological slush by the opening of UC Santa Cruz),  the finest cry I could hear was “Surfs Up!” It’s important to remember that at that time Santa Cruz was soon to be known as “Surf City.”

I heard it and I went not because the surf was up but because the girls were up… there… in Annette Funicello bikinis over the mountain and down to the beaches that ran north from the Santa Cruz pier up to Half Moon Bay and south to Monterey. 

I was a terrible surfer. I’d catch a wave, struggle to stand, totter briefly and then plank into the foam.  I made up for my lack of suave moves on waves by having, in my karass, a person of sufficient age to purchase beer. The result was that although I was skinny, awkward, and a surfing joke, I showed up with a case or two of very cheap and very bad beer and was everybody’s friend.

I don’t think Mavericks was even a thing then;  it lay to the north waiting to be discovered and promoted as “Death By Surfing.” Four-Mile was our party beach of choice and I like to think that somewhere under the shifting sands of that beach is a couple of cases of green beer we buried to avoid a bust when the cops swept the beaches looking for drunken teenagers. I would imagine that after 58 years of mellowing in its cans under the sand it would be just about drinkable.



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • GreatLakeboy March 22, 2021, 12:41 PM

    Remember movie Endless Summer?

  • Auntie Analogue March 22, 2021, 12:59 PM

    “Pipeline” is a great record from the brief era of great rock instrumentals.

    Never surfed because I swim like a rock. But I still love all those great surf & beat instrumentals, lots of which I have on a CD stashed in my car.

    One of my favorite instrumentals is on the Bo Diddlely & Chuck Berry: Two Great Guitars album – it’s Bo Diddley’s masterful rendition of “When The Saints Go Marching In” (CRANK UP YOUR VOLUME!) . . . :

  • Snakepit Kansas March 22, 2021, 4:33 PM

    I spent some time on one of those beaches near Four Mile Beach back in about 1995. I was about 30 and hadn’t been anywhere in life to speak of but my job sent me to San Jose CA for two weeks for some equipment training school. Little Mexican and Asian gals everywhere! Man I thought I was in heaven. On the weekend I went out to Santa Cruz, drove barely north up HW1 and pulled over where there were cars on the side of the road. I walked up and over the sand berm and there was the beach with mostly naked folks running around, but there was not anything to see. I kept my shorts on and noticed there were some folks in the water wearing wet suits. Man that water was cold! I’m a pretty good swimmer and swam out toward the ocean a bit until I started thinking about sharks, then got back to shore. The waves crashing against the coast outside the beach sounded like thunder. I got back to the car and changed all my clothes with a little privacy behind the trunk. Some trucker blew his horn at me just as I was trying to get some fresh pants on.

  • stephen_barron March 22, 2021, 5:13 PM

    I attended UCSC from 1973 to 1978, and Four Mile was first place I surfed with my friend Tom who had driven me to my dorm from Hermosa Beach in socal. I will never forget one afternoon we went there to surf and some enterprising rockers had moved a flat bed trailer and some generators down to the beach to stage a bit of a concert. While surfing some pretty good afternoon waves, they jammed on the beach with guitar sounds drifting out to the lineup.
    I will also remember in 1979, following Iranian hostage debacle, as I was taking steps to enter the US Air Force, I had to go to the registrar on campus to have transcripts sent to the USAF. Since I had to tell the clerk where I wanted transcripts to be sent (the USAF) he said: “I guess you want to go bomb the Iranians, huh?” I answered, “It sort of seems like they’re asking for it.”
    We know how that turned out with the Carter administration. I entered the AF before Reagan was elected, and those first years were pretty good ones, as I recall.

  • patvann March 22, 2021, 5:36 PM

    I grew up near there, and I’m still near there!
    I went to Camden High, and my younger siblings went to Leigh.
    -BTW, The airplane is still standing in Oak Meadow Park next to Vasona lake.

  • gwbnyc March 22, 2021, 5:50 PM

    Annette could’ve worn that bikini at Thule Airbase.

  • Casey Klahn March 22, 2021, 7:34 PM

    Once upon a time in California. I wanna go back.

    I am trippin every time I see my art on here. So grateful.

    Years ago, when I started into the rock climbing culture (which took me to Cali a few times), I tried to draw an analogy between rock climbers and surfers. Nobody bought it. Anyway, I had a great life in the mountains and, needless to say, the girls were buff.

  • jwm March 22, 2021, 8:27 PM

    It is an apt analogy. After all, there is both surf music, and rock music. 😉 But all goofin’ aside, surfers and climbers can both eventually find themselves in a very bad, and very scary situation with no rescue, and no escape. Oh, that awful moment when fun and adventure suddenly turns into life or death trouble. Being *this* far away from panic, and knowing you gotta’ just hold it in. Now, I must add that I’ve never climbed a rock, (nor do I intend to try) but I got stuck climbing up a bluff after surfing. And this was right on the heels of the aforementioned life and death encounter in giant surf. That morning dished me out more fear than I needed.
    The sunshine, and girls in bikinis part is way better.


  • Casey Klahn March 22, 2021, 10:26 PM

    JWM. I gotta admit, the bikinis and sun do sound way better than lycra, goose down, and snow. It’s all good.

    Gerard, you, me, and the gang should go find those buried cans of beer and test their quality. Fire. Oysters. Sea Bass. fukyeah.

  • gwbnyc March 23, 2021, 7:04 AM

    at that, Casey-

    grew up on the Lake Erie shore. being the first guys to sleep on the beach in “spring” was a measure of status. a fire, a driftwood wind barrier of sorts, and beer dug out of the sand where we hid it. waking early while others slept in the early morning blue hour, there were embers and the sound of sand grains blown across the beach.

    sometimes we’d arrive and find “dry holes” where unscrupulous rivals tried to find our stash.

  • Vanderleun March 23, 2021, 7:38 AM

    Younger went to Leigh? Perhaps with me it that is so. I was in Leigh’s first graduating class in 1963.

  • Terry March 23, 2021, 7:59 AM

    I loved Santa Cruz beach and the two legged scenery. My girl friend at the time (mid sixties) was a standout surfer and regular at Santa Cruz beach. She was a graduate of Oakland’s Skyline High first graduating class in 1964.

  • Anne March 23, 2021, 8:04 AM

    1966-67 Glenwood off of Hwy 17.

  • Terry March 23, 2021, 8:29 AM

    @ Anne

    Hwy 17 is another great road in a beautiful area. Forgot about it.

  • Rob De Witt March 23, 2021, 8:44 AM

    Check out Alex Honnold’s Alone On The Wall, which I’m currently reading. There’s some utube vids of him as well. Whew.

    I’m happy to report that I’ve done some crazy shit in my life for fun, but this guy…….imagine climbing El Capitan solo without a rope. I had a friend in the ’70s who lived a block up the hill from Indian Rock in Berkeley, and I watched lots of climbers bouldering – 10 feet off the ground.

    Not for this kid.

  • James ONeil March 23, 2021, 10:21 AM

    Growing up in South Florida, with maybe 8-inch waves I never got into surfing, far more fun under the water than atop it.

    One of my fun memories, free diving along the rock at Baker’s Haulover, felt a tug on my flipper. Tugged back, it tugged back. Looked over my shoulder & saw a moray eel, body locked in the rocks, tip of my flipper in his smiling, toothy mouth. Kicked off the flipper, surfaced, and waited on the rocks, hoping to get my flipper floating back but he must have pulled it into his crevice.

    Not much rock climbing down that way either with the highest point in Florida a bit over 300 feet but quite enjoyed reverse mountaineering, spelunking.

    After coming to Alaska, I played a bit on the rocks and near-vertical ice but I never got into surfing, unless you count windsurfing where I did get to the point I could almost tack, walking around the mast, without tipping over.