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Surf Legends Come Together for Annual Picture with George Draper

Published on: October 05, 2012

Photo: George Draper is man standing in the middle wearing black, sleeveless tank-top, left of guy in orange shirt. When George Draper turned 77 this week, the former “Mayor of Main Street” couldn’t have had a better gift–his friends converged from around the world for his birthday photo.

By Chris MacDonald

For his 77th Birthday, George Draper, the former “Mayor of Main Street,” returned to the site of his legendary Huntington Beach surf shop (121 Main Street) to greet his friends and fellow surfers, who came from all around the world to wish him well, see their other pals and swap stories about the biggest waves and longest rides. More than 25 surfers, including several champions, recently regrouped in front of the old shop site, that’s now “Garage Skate Shop,” to pay tribute to George, like they have for his previous 37 birthdays.

“It’s like the annual Christmas card you send to those you care about but haven’t seen lately,” said one wave rider. “We all look forward to celebrating George’s birthday together. It brings us back and it brings back the good old times.” From 1967 to 1993, George’s Surf Center was known for its surfboards and apparel from 14 manufacturers (as well as Jan’s Health Bar operated by Jan Gaffney there from 1968 to 1990.)

“When I started here in 1967, I paid $150 a month rent,” George recalled with a twinkle in his eye. The surfers hugged and joked with each other, then posed for a group portrait by Surf Photographer John Lyman. George recently got a star in the Surfing Walk of Fame (in front of Jack’s Surfboards) for being “A Local Hero.” “He’s an institution in the community,” said Gary Sahagen of the HB Longboard Crew. The Surf Pioneer looked great for 77 and clowned around with his famous pals, PT Townend, Pat Lien of Chuck Dent Surfboards, Chris Cattel of the Hole in the Wall Gang, Mark Weiss, Bobby Z. and many others.

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