Monday, March 14, 2011

Mal-Mar Surfboards...a little bit of Island Beach, NJ history.

I  came across a forum posting looking for information about a 1960s surfboard, for sale in New Jersey...the label was "Mal-Mar Surfboards".  I remember talking with "Balsa" Bill Yerkes a few years back about locally made surfboards from the 1960s...this one rang a bell.  I remember him telling me that "Mal Mar" meant "bad ocean" or "sea sickness"...not so cool on a surfboard.   I contacted him and here's what he had to say...
Hi Eric,
It was Johnny Mara and Joe Malozzi. They summered in Lavallette. Johnny had been a lifeguard. Don't
know about Joe.  They started out with homemade boards and were weekend surfers. They surfed with Charlie Keller, Jimmy Crecca, Jack Homer, Richie Baron, the Mrozak brothers (Archie and Bobby), and a couple of other brothers who's name I forgot.

They were all out the first day I paddled out in Lavallette on my homeade board in 1962. Actually I had surfed on a neighbor's 8' Aquaplane in the late fifties but it was hard to stand on. Flat with no fin. I had come back from California in 1961 and we built a board that winter.

In 1964 or '65 Johnny and Joe started making boards under the Mal Mar label in North Jersey somewhere. Probably in their garage or basement. They didn't make many. A friend of mine had one. And Bobby Ekstrom won the Atlantic States in Seaside the first year (1964?) on one of their first homemade no label models. I had almost bought the board but bought a custom Keller instead.
I remember they had one that said "Playboy" on it. Don't know if it said Mal Mar too. Their first
boards didn't have a label. That's true of most of the homemade's from that era.

Last time I saw them was at Charlie Keller's funeral. 1996


Bill is a very integral part of our local surfing history...and a really nice guy as well.  Through the 1960s, from Point Pleasant to Seaside Park...Balsa Bill has some serious knowledge!  You can check out his 60s surf film, "The Summer of '67" at the shop.

Yesterday, the board we're talking about came into the Beach House.  A real nice guy from Long Island (Xavier) came in and had just picked it up...small world.  I took the shots below and wanted to share the story.

Xavier with his new stick...

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