- Shop By Category
Posted by Ted Rich on 15th Mar 2019
Information on this mostly ‘70s and ‘80s surfboard brand is hard to come by. In the mid-‘70s and through the ‘80s, I was living in Northern California and skiing whenever I could. Occasionally, when I’d come home to San Luis Obispo to visit family and friends, I would always stop by a local surf shop to catch up on the surf scene. That shop was a Canyon dealer…I remember thinking the shapes looked clean, and I’ve always liked the design of the Canyon logo.
I’ve learned a few things about the Canyon brand over the years, but I found an interesting article written by a San Diego Union newspaper staff writer in October of 2006. It filled the holes in my understanding of how Canyon Surfboards began.
According to the article, John Durward started Canyon Surfboards in 1973. Born in 1946 in Middletown, Connecticut, he spent his childhood summers at the family cabin in Maine. He became an avid sailor and surfer, and even ran a small surfboard rental concession at York Beach, Maine.
After high school, John attended Colgate University, graduating in 1969 with a degree in art – which explains the very cool Canyon logo designs. With his long-time dream of moving to California and with intentions of pursuing a graduate degree, Durward ended up in San Diego, where is younger brother was going to school. He began shaping surfboards out of his garage, then for Gordon and Smith Surfboards – alongside guys like Rusty Preisendorfer (who ended up doing some freelance shaping for Canyon). In 1973, John opened the Canyon Glass Shop in the Rose Canyon area of San Diego, then added a surf shop of the same name – and Canyon Surfboards was born.
As the brand grew in popularity, Durward was able to put together an impressive surf team that included the likes of Shaun Tomson, Peter Townend and Dave Parmenter. During this time (from 1983 to the early ‘90s), John also became a well-known local radio personality in the San Diego area. Under the alias of “Juan Grande,” he would both entertain his listeners and provide detailed surf reports, always signing off with his familiar “Gotta Go – bye!”
In the early ‘90s, the colorful John Durward saw the surf culture changing and sold his shop. Sadly, he was diagnosed with cancer in 2003, and succumbed to the disease in September, 2006 at the age of 60. Since then, the Canyon name has remained popular thanks to the guys at Rockaway Beach Surf Shop in New York.
I couldn’t find any cool info that connected the subject of surfing to the Presidents Day holiday, but I couldn’t resist writing a little something about its history. I guess everyone knows that is was originally meant to honor George Washington, the first U.S. President. He died in 1799, and for most of the 1800s, the observance was not an [...]
In 1961, Dick Brewer opened the first Surfboards Hawaii shop in Haleiwa, Hawaii. At the time, it was the first retail surf shop on the North Shore of Oahu! Needless to say, a lot has changed since then…Born in Minnesota in 1936, Dick’s family moved to California in 1939. He started surfing in 1953 at the age of 17, [...]
Veterans Day is this Sunday, and since we’re fortunate to have a fair number of veterans as customers, it’s fitting that we honor those who have served - and are serving - in our military.In 1938, Congress declared November 11 of each year a legal holiday to “honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to [...]
The term “station wagon” was coined right around the turn of the 20th century. Train stations were usually located on the outskirts of town, but hotels and restaurants were in downtown areas. So the “wagons” used to carry travelers from the “station” literally became known as “station wagons.” They were first referred as “depot hacks” because train stations were originally [...]
The Central California coastal town of Santa Maria has always been known for cattle ranching, farming, and barbeque tri-tip. In the 1960s, it was typical small town where teenagers danced to rock ‘n roll music and cruised Broadway on Friday and Saturday nights. But the sleepy community was transformed by the influx of aerospace engineers and their families who [...]
Last Wave Originals has become great friends with the Save The Waves Coalition! Based in Santa Cruz, California, the Coalition’s mission is to protect and preserve worldwide coastal ecosystems with a focus on the surf zone. Save The Waves (STW) is the only nonprofit dedicated exclusively to conservation of surfing coastlines on an international scale. Its vision is a world [...]
Last month, an article appeared in our local Central Coast newspaper, prompting me to write a little something about interesting developments in artificial wave technology. The article reported that this past September 19, 11-time World Champion Kelly Slater hosted group of about 300 people from around the world to “witness the future of surfing in the middle of California’s [...]
As a freshman in high school, the late Rick Griffin was charging 50 cents to draw surf characters on t-shirts. Now, some 60 years later, Last Wave is stoked to offer a t-shirt featuring Griffin’s famous Murph the Surf!Rick Griffin influenced both modern surf art and the revolutionary music scene of the ‘60s. After meeting Surfer Magazine founder John [...]
Americans celebrate the 4th of July to commemorate U.S. independence from British rule in 1776. But why is it known for fireworks, barbeques and hot dogs?Some say it started with a letter written by John Adams to his wife on July 2, 1776…“The day will be most memorable in the history of America.I am apt to believe that it will [...]