60th Anniversary

April 10, 2020

DW_60_Cutback_Square (x-small)David Earl “Dewey” Weber was born in Denver, Colorado on August 18, 1938 to Earl and Gladys Weber. Not long after his family moved to Manhattan Beach, California, a sleepy little Southern California coastal town, Dewey appeared as an official Buster Brown Shoes model and spent time fishing off the Manhattan Beach pier. He watched with great interest as Dale Velzy and other early South Bay surfing pioneers made and rode solid wood surfboards. When Dewey was 9, local surfer and beach boy Barney Biggs lent Dewey a surfboard and Dewey paddled out for the first time. Dewey began to surf with confidence and he bought a used board for $35 with funds his dad gave him. Dewey hung out with boyhood friend and fellow Cub Scout, Greg Noll.  In 1952 Dewey won his third Duncan Yo-Yo National Championship and appeared on Groucho Marx “You Bet Your Life” TV show. He played frosh football at Mira Costa High and was the first freshman at Mira Costa to earn a varsity letter. The letter was for wrestling, a sport he would come to dominate. The versatile, athletic, and competitive Weber later added the title CIF Springboard Diving Champion to his resume. Dewey graduated Mira Costa high school in 1956, and was a champion wrestler all four years. He was a popular Student Body Association President and he worked as a lifeguard to fund his first surf trip to the Hawaiian Islands. He lived at Makaha with friends and rode big waves with a hotdogging style no one had seen before. John Severson would later dub Dewey, “Little Man on Wheels”.  Dewey attended El Camino College in 1957 and was on All State Wrestler. He appeared in Bud Browne’s Big Surf and a frame of Dewey from the movie was used as the logo for the United States Surfing Association (USSA) patch. Soon after, Dewey appeared in Bud Browne movies Cavalcade of Surf, Goin’ Surfing and Bruce Brown’s Slippery When Wet.  In 1960, Dewey opened Dewey Weber Surfboards with a $1,500 loan from his parents after Velzy’s business was shut down by the IRS.  Friend and surfer Harold “Iggy” joined Dewey and the two shaped boards that because of Dewey’s popularity were favorites of surfers up and down the coast.  With the business growing like a tidal wave, Dewey met and began dating Carol Killgore of Palos Verdes. He appeared in a surf film Walk on the Wild Side and married Carol in 1963. With the team of Dewey, Carol, and Iggy, Dewey Weber Surfboards soared to the top of the industry.  In 1965, Dewey and Harold designed the Weber Performer model and the innovative “hatchet fin”. They added more models lo the lineup and launched cross country promotional lours and had Weber teams surfing in California and 10 states. Dewey meanwhile surfed in the Duke Kahana­moku Invitational Surfing Classic and the company was regarded as the largest manufacturer of surfboards in the U.S. Also in 1965, Dewey won the Governor’s Trophy at East Coast Champion­ships.  Dewey later won the Senior Men’s Division at the US Surfing Championships in Huntington Beach and was inducted into International Surfing Magazine Hall of Fame along with Mickey Dora, Duke Kahanamoku and other notables. Dewey named other surfboard shapes such as the Feather, the Professional and he designed the first removable fin and the first 100 were sold with a gold plated “wonder bolt”.  Soon Dewey began to make his own fiberglass fins and opened a gluing department to expand the use of wood and foam and the design of offset stringers.  In 1968, Dewey opened a second factory/retail outlet in Hermosa Beach and soon, retail stores were opened in Honolulu, San Diego, and Florida. Dewey and Carol adopted their first child, Stacy, and Dewey signed 1966 World Champion surfer Nat Young to the company. Dewey opened retail stores in Hermosa Beach and Hawaii, adding to exclusive outlets established in North Holly­wood and Huntington Beach. 

In Hawaii in 1969, Dewey saw the first short “vee bottom” boards shaped by Australian shaper Bob McTavish and Dewey later introduced a streamlined “Weber Ski model with Nat Young at the dawn of the shortboard revolution Nat and East Coast surfing standout Mike Tabeling embarked on a nearly two month long trip through the U.S. and East Coast promoting the Dewey Weber brand. In 1970, Dewey and Carol adopted their second child, Shea, and purchased a 10,000 sq. ft commercial building on the Gardena/Compton border and moved the Venice factory there. A proliferation of short boards and “garage-based”  shortboard manufacturers flooded the market for surfboards. The market for longboards dried up almost overnight.  Dewey turned his attention to fishing and bought a Skip Jack with friends Jimmy Noll and Don Anderson; he closed all but one store.  In 1972, Dewey and Carol had a child and named him Corey. A worldwide recession hit the surf industry and shops closed all over the country.  Iggy went back to his native Hawaii and Dewey closed his factory and all the stores but one in Hermosa Beach.  He re-opened the business in 1973 and Dewey went back to shaping the boards himself.  That was the year actress McKenzie Phillips wore a Dewey Weber T-shirt in the movie, American Graffiti. Dewey brought out the first sand finished surfboard, the Easy Rider and Cadillac-molded wheels helped fuel a rebound in the Skateboard industry with Dewey once again leading the charge. Dewey bought a commercial lot on Pacific Coast Highway in 1974 and drew up the plans and built a new store and factory. Skateboards were so hot that the entire factory area was turned into a production line for skateboard assembly. By 1975, Dewey had designed a line of skateboard trucks called Energy Trucks and all Dewey’s shortboard shaping and glassing was subcontracted.  

60 T-Shirt Logo (x-small)In 1980, Dewey started building custom longboards for old team members who wanted to get back into the water. Dewey shut down skateboard production and started shaping and glassing Dewey  Weber long boards.  In 1981, with the help of team rider Peff Eick, Dewey and Carol inaugurated the Dewey Weber Longboard Classic at Manhattan Beach Pier, jump-starting a longboard revival that continues today. After struggling physically, emotionally and financially for several years, Dewey reopened a surfboard shop in Hermosa in 1991. He called it Dewey Weber & Sons and lived in a studio apartment in the back of the store. Dewey died on January 7, 1993 and his Memorial and Paddle Out was held in Redondo Beach on January 24th. The event attracted more than 1,000 people.

We celebrate the legacy & are excited about the future, but mostly, we are grateful for all of the love and support our loyal family, friends, fans, & customers have given us through these 60 Years…We would not be here without all of you!!