Celebrate Black Surf Culture on June 1
Surfing pioneer Nick Gabaldon (1927 - 1951) embodied the quintessential qualities of the California wave-rider. The first documented surfer of African-American and Mexican descent, Gabaldon continues to inspire surfers of color to this day.
To commemorate his legacy, Heal the Bay's Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, the Black Surfers Collective, L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and the Santa Monica Conservancy, among other groups will offer a day of activities and free surf lessons for all ages on June 1 near the Santa Monica Pier.
That day we'll also commemorate the heritage of the historical African American beach site, formerly known as the "Inkwell."
The Bay Street/Inkwell site was a popular beach hangout for African Americans during the nation's Jim Crow era, from the 1900s to 1960s.
Gabaldon had his first experiences with the ocean at the Inkwell.
In 2008 the City of Santa Monica officially recognized the "Inkwell" and Gabaldon for their cultural significance in local, California and American history.
To learn more about him, watch the trailer for the documentary film 12 Miles North: The Nick Gabaldon Story, which appears below.
The morning's scheduled activities will include an ocean blessing ceremony, a memorial "paddle out" with the Los Angeles County Lifegurads and surf lessons from the Black Surfers Collective and Surf Bus. The afternoon will feature screenings of 12 Miles North as well as White Wash, a documentary that explores the history of black surfing.
Consult the day's schedule for more details.