|The man & one of his many boards|
Tuesday March 22nd, 2011, we lost a great man, a dedicated member of our surfing tribe...Freddie Knapp. Anyone that surfed Bay Head and surrounding beaches knew who Freddie was...if not by name, certainly by face. Fred surfed here year round since 1964, untill a back injury sidelined him a couple years ago...he still checked the surf and dropped by to talk stories on a regular basis. Big Fred will be missed in our lineups, as he was an original, a true classic.
I think Steve Messenger said it best. "A Surfer through and through...Freddie started surfing in 1964, the year I was born. To say that he was one of the original surfers in this Northern Ocean County area would be accurate, and has been a part of the surfing culture from Pt. Pleasant to Normandy Beach. I surfed with Freddy ... he was always with a smile and a good word... even if he wasn't feeling well... you never knew he had a bad day."
Local surfer, Jeff Beverly Sr. had this to say. "I surfed with Fred for many years in Bay Head. He was a great guy and I will miss seeing him checking the waves. Gone but never forgotten. RIP old friend.<3"
I know we all have our memories of Fred...for me, I'll miss surfing with him and his frequent visits to the shop. He would stop by, always with a smile on his face and always a good word. I need to share my favorite story Freddie told me.
It was a bunch of years back. I've got an early 60s Greg Noll Surfboard hanging on the wall in the shop. Fred got talking about Greg and how he looked up to his big wave surfing ability and how he visited Hawaii in the late 1960s. He said it was 1969 and he was in Makaha...they were getting hit with a huge swell. Only the best of the best big wave riders were out. He watched as Greg Noll paddled out and sat in the line up for a long time. He went on to tell me how he saw Greg catch one of the biggest waves he had ever seen! Freddie was referring to the infamous December 4th, 1969, where Greg Noll surfed what is still considered to be one of the biggest waves ever paddled into. Fred was there! He ran down the beach and retrieved the famed yellow board that was ridden that day and gave it back to Greg. He went home and came back to the shop with photos of the day and of the ride. There they were...I held them in my hands. You could see the wave and the surfer...he was there all right! Fred was a local legend and will be greatly missed.
PADDLE OUT DETAILS -
In honor of our fallen brother, there will be a Memorial Paddle out ceremony this Saturday, April 9th, 2011...8am at Harris Street in Bay Head. Rain or Shine. The water is still 43 degrees, so if you chose to stay on the beach, that's fine...all are welcome and appreciated. Please pass the word along to any one that knew Fred.