A- Team Big Wave Charger, Adrian Reef.
The name Adrian Reif ring a bell? Should it? What about Pacific Ocean Park or Zephyr? How about Zboys? What more can be written about the Zboys you ask. Pullout the lens cloth homeboy and wipe off your bifocals you about to tap into the source. Don’t nobody get at it like yours truly.
“Surfing besides giving me a great amount of pleasure fostered an interest in science. I’ve always been interested in science and Skipper Engblom had a big influence on me as to learning weather and weather patterns. The Santa Ana winds intrigued me” Delving into the subject of Zboys, Reef continues pointedly. “There has been a lot of the history rewritten as far as my view of some of the legend of the Zboys. For instance there was really not a Zephyr shop, it was Jeff Ho Surfboards. The emphasis was on surfboards and surfing. The surf team was the A- team, man. Skateboarding rode in the back seat. The B-team for sure. I was a horrible skateboarder and only skated when it was flat and only for a short while, surfing was my interest.It was prestigious for sure being on Jeff Ho surf team but really, I was all about getting free boards!”
As far as POP (Pacific Ocean Park a dilapidated amusement park that was highly localized and very dangerous to surf) is concerned, I began surfing Ts on the south side and Bay St in Santa Monica. The waves were much easier to surf than the Cove. I was introduced to the Cove over on the Venice side by Phil Gyllenswan. I was instantly hooked on the wave and had to go everyday. Reef says. When asked as to his surfing influences, Reef sites San Diego legend Skip Fry, Jock Sutherland , Dora, BK and a name that continues to pop up when talking with heavies from the Santa Monica Bay, Barry Amos. “Barry was a super smooth surfer. He was U.S Jr Champ.He skateboarded well also. The POP regulars of note to influence me or I got style lessons from where Ronnie Jay, Zolton, Victor Torres, Stephan Haig, Mike Perry and Wayne Inouye .Oh yeah,I was initiated to localism by Prycon and I became a 1st class asshole.”
Nothing like a lil humble pie with your surf wax, man. Live long enough and you will be humbled no matter how tough you are or think you are.
“My surfing improved radically surfing out there and as well as up and down the California coast but was limited to So-Cal. The 1969 swell was epic and is the largest swell to hit California in my surfing experience. I surfed Ventura Overhead a lot. That wave is great training and will hold a giant swell. It can get spooky out there alone. Surfing Topanga beach was a trip! It was really scene there in the hippie days. Surfboards were wild also as Reef experimented with a lot of design(s) that were pushing surfing to new progressive heights. He feels the McTavish V bottom was perhaps the most progressive design of the era and it improved his surfing a lot. Reef mentions a 9’0 and 5’5′ Dewey Weber that stands out and Wayne Saunders and Jay Riddle surfing at Topanga as most memorable. Adrian recalls laughing a bit and a smile crosses his lips as he sinks back in his chair.
Reef bailed out in ’73 headed to Guam for a bit surfing Boat Basins and cleaning B-52s to earn sustenance cash. “When I returned, the Cove at POP was crowded with Venice High School kooks. Prycon and Orlando were the tough enforcers in the bunch. It was really gnarly surfing out there. Violence was the name of the game in the water and on the beach. Well POP burned down completely by ’76 so I surfed the Venice Breakwater and Bay St on a regular basis. Sarlo began his rise but I didn’t think he was very good back then. He improved quickly. Jay Adams was just a kid but I could tell he had it.
Asking Reef to recount the not so very well-known but at the time hotly contested most rad of the Santa Monica Bay surfers, the E.T vs Jeff Ho surf contest held at the Hermosa Pier, he recalls, “It was a friendly rivalry between the North Bay and South Bay guys. I used a borrowed board and lost my heat but we won the contest and had bragging rights.” There was never a re-match. “I surfed a few more contests and I though I was hot shit. Until an H.S.A contest in S.D. I found out I was not so good and the level of surfing was way above mine.
Reif bailed out to Hawaii and relocated to Maui after a short North Shore stint getting massive Honolua Bay. “I surfed Pipeline alone can you imagine? The most radical surfing I saw was Big Ben Aipa going backside at Ala Moana upside down in the bowl. Insane just plain old insane!” he recalls excitedly. I
Adrian is know for charging big surf. He began stepping his game up in Puerto Escondido, Mexico. “I moved down to Puerto in the early 90s. It was crowded but not with a lot of local surfers. Just traveling surfers. A day with Strider Waselewski, Jay Adams, and Carlos Cabrera come to mind as he states, “It was huge, I was really pushing it and cautious, but those three were playing with massive Puerto. Man I sure was not expecting Jay to pass away like he did.” He continues recalling a big day at the Punta Zacatela in Oaxaca, “It was at 35′ ft face for sure, I was held down under several waves, I was ready to die. That day and a huge day in Indo at Lances Rights were very frightening. I was held down on a macker and dragged across The Surgeon’s table ( a ver sharp & shallow part of the reef known to lay surfers wide open) The crew on the boat thought I was a gonner. Look if anyone says they are not afraid surfing big waves, they are either lying or crazy. You have got to be prepared and know you are gonna get worked.”
There was a short time Reef was not surfing for about 6 months. He had joined the U.S Air Force. “I had a family and needed to support them so the service seemed like a good idea at the time. I scored real high on the aptitude test and the Army and Marine Corp recruiters tried to lure me away with a promise of rank and Officer Cadet School but I stuck with the Airforce. I picked Vandenberg AFB so I could surf Jalama and be in California but the Airforce wanted to send me to San Antonio Texas to learn Slavic languages and be based in Turkey spying on eastern block nations. I pulled out my contract as it stated I would be stationed in Califronia or any Pacific Ocean base and long story short, got out on a technicality, a breach of contract, what a trip! Reef smiles a little slyly.
So what and were is Reef surfing nowadays you ask? Homeboy has a little slice of heaven, I will call Reef and ‘s reef in Samar, Philippines. “I am not disclosing more than that. Reef says. “If you find me you are welcome to hang out and surf and I got a shady spot for you. The waves are not the best in the world but good enough. It is not crowded at all, in fact I surf alone most of the time. The older I get, the size of the wave I’m willing to paddle into decreases. Im pushing 62 so I aint got nothing to prove. But I will tell you this, when the waves are good I’m not going to school, work or anything that does not involve surfing. That is just the way it is and always will be with me.” Reif concludes with a big smile.
Catch him if you can. More than likely he will be going left.