Bob Glick has been surfing Blacks for more than 40 yearsPosted on
Welcome to our first installment of Blacks Beach Profiles, by Michael “Silent Mike” Schoaff. In this inaugural story, we feature a senior veteran surfer who’s been surfing Blacks consistently since the 1980’s. He’s owned and operated a family painting company, competed in Ironman Triathlons, logged a combined 12 months of surfing Indonesia, and has a surfboard fin collection that would rival any – in both size and complexity.
Bob Glick has been surfing Blacks for more than 40 years. Many an elder can claim that they still surf, and this is mostly true. You’ll see them around the Shores parking lot, late morning, sipping coffee before paddle out.
The typical late-career approach is not true for Bob. He is the Blacks Beach version of Dale Webster – the Guiness World Record holder who spent 14,641 consecutive days surfing. Bob has surfed Blacks for over four decades. Same place, same time, rarely missing out. And, unless you’re up very early, you’re not likely to see Bob in the pre-dawn hours, methodically walking down the trail, shortboard tucked under his arm, making his way without the benefit of sunshine and communal coffee toward one of the most powerful and popular beach breaks on the West Coast.
When asked what the most important thing about surfing is, Bob immediately and exuberantly fires back, “Me getting all the waves–” and then, without providing a moment to let the egotistical subterfuge truly land, laughs, “–no, actually watching my friends rip on good waves.” This kind of response is characteristic of the nearly 63-year-old Blacks Beach fixture.
Bob is beloved (by just about everyone), and represents what every daily surfer hopes to achieve and be: hard charging, humble, respectful and worthy of a mutual respect, generous with his friends and visitors, and ready to pull rank when the situation calls for it.
He echoes many of Blacks’ traits. He doles out justice – righteous and random alike – to those that don’t know, forgot, or fail to follow the unwritten code that maintains balance in the highly-competitive lineup. Bob does not pull any punches. He can heap love on you, or he can tell you to leave and never come back, depending on the level of regard that you show his home break and community. He’s the most stoked guy in the water one moment, and then before the next set comes in, he’s spouting “there’s way too much back wash out here” or “it’s getting too crowded out here” or more likely “these waves suck, I’m out of here.” His detractors could call him fickle, but his approach and his place in the community have internal logic to anyone who understands surfing this break.
Resident Blacks Beach professional World Qualifying Series Warrior Ryland “Ry” Rubens without hesitation calls Bob his favorite Blacks surfer. “Glick is the man because he’s always having the most fun…. And that is what surfing is all about.”
From outward appearances, they make an unlikely pair. One shows signs of a lifetime of working and playing outside. The other looks like (surprise!) a professional athlete. The odd couple are oftentimes found side by side in the lineup, Bob in the middle of some story and Ry absorbing the usually sordid details with the same awestruck grom smile he had on his face when they first met some 15 years ago.
Bob has lived a life full of ups and downs that explain, but do not define, his character. Bob survived a near-death back-breaking 25-foot-fall from a ladder while painting a house (we bet he would have made that drop in the water). He was robbed of everything as a late teen while on his 1st trip to Bali. He once found himself stuck in the Kuala Lumpur airport for five days with a standby ticket and only $5.00 to his name – out of other options, he ended up trading his Walkman for a meal on day four. Conversely, Bob successfully scored in Indonesia as much as most hard-core surf travelers, thanks to six years straight of two-month trips to the fabled G-Land. He’s competed for the prestigious G&S Surf Team, and competed internationally on the Iron Man Triathlon Series (who freaking knew?).
Bob claims the 80’s as his favorite surfing decade detailing Jet Stream patterns and sand bar conditions as pristine for down the hill. Bob also resolutely claims Bill Andrews and Gary Keating as his surfing heroes, stating both elders provided the water knowledge and love for the ocean that has been so intricate in life.
Words by Ty Kramer and Michael Schoaff
Photos by Blair Austin and Unknown