The August family moved to the Southern California coastline from Arizona during the early part of the 20th Century. The youngest of two sons, Orall W. August was a CIF swimming champion at Long Beach High School. Since his school’s athletic facilities included an Olympic style pool, super-star Olympian, Duke Kahanamoku, (the Michael Phelps of that era,) would train there for the upcoming Games. The Duke befriended young O. W. (later to be known as ‘Blackie’) and introduced him to the sport of surfing, bestowing upon him a liberal dose of the Aloha Spirit in the process.

Orall August had to drop out of high school to help his family through the tough economic circumstances of the times. By now an experienced waterman, he would camp out at Palos Verde Cove for days on end, fishing and diving for abalone. He was able to earn a relatively lucrative living in this fashion, by selling or bartering his daily catch to the Japanese farmers who largely populated the area in those days.

Of course he always kept his trusty wooden surfboard close at hand. He and his cohorts pioneered surfing at many of today’s well known surf spots in Southern California and Baja California. Eventually he became a lifeguard at Redondo Beach.

With World War II threatening, O. W. also started ‘moonlighting’ as a welder at North American Aviation. The fit, sun-tanned apprentice raised a few eyebrows when he reported for work. Since he was considerably more robust and several shades darker than his decidedly pallid co-workers, they dubbed him ‘Blackie’. The moniker stuck much to O. W.’s delight since, for obvious reasons, he deplored his given name.

By the end of the War, Blackie was married to the lovely, raven haired Pat whom he had met and romanced at - where else? - the beach. His second child, Robert, was born in 1945. After moving around for a couple of years, the August family settled in a bungalow on the beach at 1303 Seal Way in Seal Beach, California. Due to Blackie’s generosity and well known penchant for surfing and partying, the August household became ground zero for the surfing community in Southern California during the 50’s and early 60’s.

More soon to follow...

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