Re: Jack O'Neill's First Surf Shop

01/29/18 - posted by Paul Bianchini

I remember Jack's first surf shop. In the 1950's my father would often take me fishing at Lake Merced. I always remember riding in his truck from the Richmond District going along the Great Highway and looking down towards the Lower Great and seeing this huge pole sticking up. I was thinking what is that and who and why would put that there. This was no telephone pole but a very tall and thick tree trunk. I would estimate it at least 25 to 30 feet tall and about 2 or 3 feet in diameter. As it turned out I found out many years later, that was the sign for Jack's Surf Shop.

Now for the rest of the story. A few years back I called the O"Neil office in Santa Cruz to hopefully forward Jack some information about the Kelly's Cove Reunion. When the receptionist answered I gave her my reason for calling and she said," well Jack is right here why don't you talk with him yourself." Before I could say or think anything he was on the phone with me. We talked for a while and had a wonderful conversation. At some point during our conversation I told him the story about fishing Lake Merced and seeing his pole. He just laughed and said," he found the pole washed up on the beach. He thought it would make a good sign so he dragged it across or probably under the Great Highway and set it up near his shop.

The rest is history, but I wonder what ever happened to that pole.

Paul Bianchini



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