I know we just sent out a Father’s Day letter a couple of weeks ago, but I thought we should let you know about the passing of one of surfing’s most colorful and recognized pioneers. If you haven’t heard, Greg “Da Bul” Noll died early this week at the age of 84.
Born Greg Lawhead in February of 1937, he later took the last name of his stepfather, Ash Noll. Greg moved with his family from San Diego up the California coast to Manhattan Beach at around age six, and started surfing when he was 10. Greg made his first trip to Hawaii at the age of 17, living at Makaha and finishing high school at nearby Waipahu High. But it was in the late fall of 1957 that launched Noll into the spotlight of the surfing world. With a handful of other surfers, he took on Waimea Bay. Word has it that a surfer from Honolulu named Dickie Cross had drowned there in 1943, and it had remained unridden since.
There is so much to write about Greg Noll and what he means to the surfing community…it’s hard to know where to start. If you haven’t read the book Greg Noll: The Art of the Surfboard by well-known surf industry author Drew Kampion, you might want to check it out. It conveys his larger-than-life personality really well while providing amazing insight into the history of surfing. And of course, Da Bull: Life Over the Edge, a book that Greg co-authored with Andrea Gabbard, is a very personal view of Greg’s incredible life.