Saturday, June 4, 2011

James Arness the Surfer

One of our beloved folk heroes died last week. James Arness, known for his epic portrayal of Matt Dillion in Gun Smoke and father of World Champion Surfer Rolf Arness, passed away at his home. He was 88. One thing all the Hollywood obits missed, is that Arness was a surfer, and a pretty good one at that!

He was a regular in the '60s at Sano, and he could be spotted at all the good breaks on a good swell. I ran across him (not literally) at Rincon in the mid-1960s. It was an overhead day and just a pumping NW swell. It was a who's who in the water that day with the likes of Phil Edwards, Paul Strauch, Bob Cooper, John Peck and more.

I remember seeing "Marshall Dillion" catch a bunch of waves and he was good for an old guy. Back then "old guys" were anyone over 30. He was in his 40s and hanging in there. Big smile on his face going backside at the Con. Anyway, he was a legend and a true waterman. Haven't heard much about Rolf over the years, but I hope he's doing well. Arness was a man to look up to. RIP Marshall!
Herb Torrens

No comments:

Post a Comment