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David and Goliath meet in San Clemente

This is the second in a series of articles on the Swami’s Surfing Association that is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Special to The Coast News

After the formation of the Swami’s Surfing Association, Shirley Bernard, mother to members Steve, Kenny and Brad, saw how badly the organization needed some administrative smarts.

Shirley was a real estate broker who had purchased the old Grand Pacific hotel on 5th Street in downtown San Diego with a vision for a large shopping center that would anchor the retail trade in the area.

Horton Plaza is today’s culmination of that vision.  With her business background, Shirley stepped into the role of administrator and soon made sure the club had events to attend, trips to go on and teams to send to the interclub contests.  Acting as everything from travel agent to equipment manager Shirley helped to create a well-run and fiercely competitive association.

One of the early contests was the Surfcapades in San Clemente, hosted by the Dana Point Club.

A highlight of the contest was a paddling event that saw competitors stroke their way from the North side of the pier South to Seal Rock and back.

A member of the Dana Point club at the time, and a surfer of international stature, was Corky Carroll.  Corky was the US Men’s champ in ‘66, ‘67 and ‘69, and Overall Champion from ‘66 through ‘70 (he claims he was cheated out of the ‘71 title).

He placed third in the ‘66 World Contest in San Diego and won the International Big Wave Championship in Peru in ‘67.

Corky’s reputation as a ferocious and calculating competitor was not lost on the visitors from Encinitas and in the paddle race it was game on.  Heading towards the pier on the return leg, Swami’s surfer Gary Brummet drew neck and neck with Corky.  Corky glanced over and in the “spirit of sportsmanship” suggested that the two finish the race neck and neck so they could call it a draw.  Gary glanced back and not saying a word struck out for the finish line crossing in first place.  Not only had Gary beaten Corky at paddling that day he had defeated a much tougher element of the competition, Corky’s wily tactics.

Next week the club goes on it’s first international surfing surfari and trouble is brewing when the boys are invited to a party in their honor hosted by the local Bacardi Rum distributor.