6310 West Coast Highway.
It’s just a small, nondescript building that you may pass every day on your way into or out of town.
It now houses the Big Belly Deli, and that could be a story in itself because they make great sandwiches. The vibe is always positive and the beer is very cold, but the real story is about its past.
In the early ’60s Dale Velzy lost the rights to his surfboard label, Velzy surfboards, in a dispute with the IRS and was forced to start fresh with a different label. Dale chose to call his boards by the name, Surfboards by Dale, and resumed selling at this location in Newport.
Dale is renowned as one of the premier craftsmen in all of surf history and his presence in our town was an inspiration to many other shapers in our area. When Velzy ultimately moved to San Clemente, the vacancy soon was filled by Ramey Jay Surfboards with the young, new hot-shot shaper Mike Curtow (sorry about the spelling Mike) who after a couple of years moved to Santa Cruz and has been successfully building ever since.
Natural Progression surfboards moved in and had a good run for about four years or so before moving off to Hawaii and enjoying many more years of making great boards.
Huntington Beach mega personality Chuck Dent filled the void at 6310 West with his fun-loving ways and over-the-top pranks. I still remember Chuck sitting out front in his chair with his girlfriend, Star. They looked out of place, not being on Main Street HB where he had reigned as the king of surf for so many years.
Jerry Moe retailed his South Shore Surfboards at the location for a long time until a move to Oregon to build wind surfers and emjoy a more laid-back lifestyle took him away.
After that, I think it was Denny Smith and Sea Ski surfboards that continued the tradition for a couple years and then shut down.
I just thought this history should be remembered by the new surf generation, and I recommend that while you enjoy your food at Big Belly Deli, if you listen carefully, you might just hear the ghosts of surfers past in these hollowed walls.
Thanks for reading.