Thursday, April 28, 2011

"Single Fin Memorial Swim for Rick Stoner" Remembered, by Jim Graham

Head's Up !

Here is another Fin contribution, this time from Jim Graham. Thanks Jim!

Here goes:

"Hey Will:

In the summer of 1977, while working as a JG instructor at Avenue C in Redondo, our fellow lifeguard and surfboard shop owner Rick Stoner passed away, suddenly and sadly. The Headquarters Crew (Paul Matthies, Steve Wood, etc.) circulated a flyer to all County Headquarters announcing there would be a "memorial swim" for Rick from 8th Street in Hermosa to the Hermosa Pier (Rick's daily workout) beginning around 6:00 p.m. (This was a weekday and allowed anyone interested to make arrangements to be there after their work day ended). Now it was well documented that Rick, not a great swimmer, always swam with one Churchill fin on, so, needless to say, more than a hundred lifeguards, surfers and beach friends showed up at the 8th Street tower, most all of them with one fin to swim the short distance to the Pier. (It was one of the more memorable and inspired send-offs of a fellow waterman in my memory). After the swim, where most were able to say "goodbye" to Rick during that most private time, most everyone retired to the POOP DECK, owned at the time by Steve Wood and Steve Voorhees, for an evening of celebrating our good friends too short life.

Jim Graham (Retired)
Santa Monica (1959 - 1962)
L.A. County (1962 - 1984)

p.s. Paul Matthies may have a photo of the crowd on the beach toasting Rick with Champagne prior to the swim. It was super."

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Editor's note:
Here is an excerpt from a tribute to Rick Stoner from, as well as a link to the full article:

Excerpt from

Rick Surfboards (1964)

(Photo source:

"Rick Stoner was born in San Diego, California in 1937 and grew up in Hermosa Beach. His life as a lifeguard, surfer and surfboard builder paralleled that of his good friend and former business partner Bing Copeland. Both were Los Angeles County lifeguards, both became accomplished surfboard designer/shapers, and both were mentored by the late Dale Velzy in the early '50s..."


For the complete Fin coverage on our blog, please see:

(1) GOT FINS?!...

*** And be sure to click on the "comments" section at the conclusion of this blog post for the additional fin stories contributed by some of our colleagues, including Jim Graham's story above.

(2) Are We Having Fin Yet ?!...

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Until next time.....

"County Recurrent" News

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