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left to right: John Van Hamersveld, Hap Jacobs, and Henry Ford during the opening of the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center exhibit: "Hap Jacobs: Celebrating 60 Years of Shaping." Photo credit: Sharon Marshall

Surfing Community Descends on SHACC to Honor Legendary Surfboard Builder, Hap Jacobs

San Clemente CA— On November 15, Surfing Heritage and Culture Center (SHACC) hosted the opening of its new exhibit: “Hap Jacobs: Celebrating 60 Years of Shaping.” Hundreds of Jacobs’ peers, friends and team riders came out to honor one of the top surfboard craftsmen of the ‘50s and ‘60s.

“It was a very special evening and reunion of Hap’s good friends and associates that have admired his talents for over a half century.” said, Henry Ford, a former team rider and Jacobs surf shop manager who helped organize the exhibit. “Hap has always been a quiet and humble guy who never wants to be the center of attention, so this was a very rare opportunity for all of us to get together in his honor.”

A partial list of attendees and special guests included Robert August, Tom Morey, John Van Hamersveld, Walter Hoffman, Fran Hoff, Carl Ekstrom, Alan Seymour, Rich Chew, Skip Beal, Darryl Dickie, L.J. Richards, Tommy Witt, John Grannis, Mike O’Neil, Kenny Brown, John Wegner, legendary Australian surfing champion Nat Young and several Jacobs team riders, many of whom have been close friends for over 50 years.

The exhibit’s opening celebration included a panel discussion and slide show, featuring photos, letters and memories of Jacobs team riders, moderated by Jim Graham. The slide show content came from a limited edition Jacobs book compiled by Darryl Dickie exclusively for Jacobs and the shop’s team riders. Another highlight of the evening was when Skip Beale returned the trademark for Surfboards by Jacobs to Hap.

Jacobs began shaping boards after moving to Hawaii to join the Coast Guard in 1951. After a successful business partnership with Dale Velzy that lasted from 1954 to 1959, Jacobs ventured out on his own, opening Jacobs Surfboards at 422 Pacific Coast Highway in Hermosa Beach. By crafting some of the best boards of the era, Jacobs attracted a stellar team of riders that included Miki Dora, David Nuuhiwa, Lance Carson, Robert August, Paul Strauch, Mike Purpus, Rick Irons, Johnny Fane, Dru Harrison, Henry Ford, Sparky Hudson, and Kemp Aaberg.

The Jacobs exhibit at SHACC features over three dozen surfboards that showcase Hap’s meticulous and innovative shaping skills—from the 1950s balsa wood era through the beginning of the shortboard transition era of the early ‘70s. The Jacobs exhibit will be on display at SHACC through January 2015.


Surfing Heritage and Culture Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to preserving, and celebrating surfing’s heritage for the appreciation and education of current and future generations. For more information visit www.surfingheritage.org or call (949) 388-0313 x3. SHACC is located at 110 Calle Iglesia in San Clemente, California.

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