Hole in the Wall Gang "2011 Honor Roll"
One of the "hottest surf teams in amateur surfing"
The “West Coast Surf Championships” started in 1959 at the Huntington Beach Pier. The name of the contest was changed in the mid-60’s to the “United States Surfboard Championships" Huntington Beach was recognized as the surfing capital of the world.
During the late 60’s and 70’s, The Western Surfing Association started a surf team competition on the west coast of California. There were about a total of 75 competing surf teams in WSA at the time. These teams were part of the surfing contest circuit.
The Hole in the Wall Surf Team turned out to be one of the “hottest teams in amateur surfing”, according to Bob Pace, director for Region 5 of WSA. It was all about having fun in the sun without going professional.
The Hole in the Wall Surf Team won 20 contests in a row and remained unbeaten for approximately four years. There were around 25 surfers on this team with an age range from 20-55 years. The Hole in the Wall Surf Team had their own team shirts and jackets paid out of their own personal expenses as well as entry fees, travel and lodging with no sponsorship support.
The Hole in the Wall Surf Team was named for a hole with a huge drain pipe in a retaining wall at a sea cliff on the beach. It was across the street from the “Gordie Shop” located on 13th St and PCH. The team would simply cross the street to go surfing near the pipe.
In April of 1977, Nancy Katin started a 6-man pro/am team event. It was called “Katin pro/am Team Challenge”. The HIWG placed third over-all and first place in the amateur division in 1977. In 1979 they took 2nd place over-all. In 1980 the HIWG competed against 40 teams with some of the best talent in the world, and again placed 2nd over-all in the amateur division. In addition, they received the Walter Katin Memorial Trophy.
From 1976 to 1980, the HIWG surf team competed in:
WSA, California, HSA, Hawaii, GSA, Gulf Coast in Texas and ESA, East Coast.
In 1977 HIWG made a clean sweep and won the National Team Trophy at San Onofre.
The International Surfing Museum in Huntington Beach, recognizes the HIWG as an amateur surfing team that won many contests. Thanks to Natalie Kotsch “founder” and Ann Beasley “Ambassador”. Thanks go to the Museum Board of Directors. There are memorabilia photos of the team on permanent display. Also, thanks to Nancy Katin for providing trunks for the HIWG Surf Team.
George Farquhar, owner of the Huntington Beach news, took photos of the HIWG. Contest wins and results were published into the HB News as well as a picture of the HIWG with their pit bull mascot, ‘Chopper’. He ate a Frisbee a day!
Norma B. Gibbs, former mayor of Huntington Beach at that time, was impressed with the team. She wanted the city to recognize them with a Gold Certificate of Recognition and acknowledged each member. A small ceremony was held for that honor in 1977.
Many residents believe that the HIWG Surf Team was an important part to the beginning of the “Surf City” image. The HIWG brought major recognition to our city and to the sport of surfing.
HIWG pictures are on display in Duke’s Restaurant, The Sunset Magazine, July, 2010, HB Visitor’s Guide booklet, HB lifeguard book by Kai Weisser, Photos:Leroy Grannis, and Surf Contests by Ron Church. HIWG is on local channel 3 as part of the HB Centennial Celebration. Huell Howser visited the Surf Museum and the Hole in the Wall Surf Team was highlighted on his show.
It is important to preserve the memory of the entire Hole in the Wall Gang Surf Team for their contributions to surfing and the ‘Surf City’ image. Maybe one could say that the late 50’s and 60’s dudes really paved the way for future generations in the sport of surfing.
HOLE IN THE WALL GANG SURF ROSTER