OB’s colorful, entertaining Geriatric Surf Club hangs it up after 28 years
by Mike McCarthy
Oct 04, 2012 | 196840 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The wildly popular Ocean Beach Geriatric Surf Club and Precision Marching Surfboard Drill Team and Gidget Patrol — after entertaining crowds and paradegoers all over the west since 1984 — is calling it quits.      Photo by Mike McCarthy I The Beacon
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After 28 years of entertaining enthusiastic crowds, the Ocean Beach Geriatric Surf Club and Precision Marching Surfboard Drill Team and Gidget Patrol has decided to retire.

A “non-wake” gathering was held on Sept.15 to celebrate the official retirement of the popular surf club. Geriatric surfers and Gidgets, many traveling from around the country, returned to Ocean Beach for one more evening of crazy fun.

The evening began with members sharing dinner and toasting to their past feats.

A video tribute followed highlighting their crazy antics and performances over the years. The retirement party ended with club members dancing the night away to the sounds of the North Park Rock ’n’ Blues and Players Band.

The Ocean Beach Geriatric Surf Club spent almost three decades entertaining crowds with countless parades and performances. The favorite gig was always the annual Ocean Beach Christmas Parade, where the club was always out in full force to please the crowd. At one point, the band of geriatric surfers joined forces with well-known groups like the Beach Boys to entertain energetic fans at major events in San Diego.

The Surf Club also made several guest appearances in Hollywood videos, movies and TV commercials. Special paid performances included memorable trips to Hawaii to entertain at business meetings like those of the Fortune 500 Club.

What started out as a one-time event turned out to be a 28-year gig for more than 150 local surfers. The year was 1984. The Ocean Beach Town Council was in a need of finding participants for its annual Christmas parade. The weather forecast that year was for heavy rains the day of the parade, which resulted in several parade-entry cancelations.

To help save the day, a few local surfers quickly came up with the idea of getting their friends together to form a surfboard precision drill team, add some loud, popular surf music, and have fun marching in the parade — rain or shine. The only qualifications to be a Geriatric Surf Club member were to be over 30 years old and be a surfer. That beginning year in 1984, the crowd went wild over the surf club’s enthusiastic inaugural performance.

The performance helped light up the phone lines. It seemed everyone wanted the Geriatrics and Gidgets to perform in other parades. One of these was the famous Pasadena Doo Dah Parade. The OB Surf Club showed up in force that year in Pasadena and ended up walking away with the Grand Sweepstakes trophy. Over the years, the requests kept coming in for the club to perform at various events around the country. Local events always included the downtown St. Patrick’s Day and the Coronado July 4th parades.

The people of Ocean Beach sadly bid The Ocean Beach Geriatric Surf Club and Precision Marching Surfboard Drill Team and Gidget Patrol a fond farewell in their retirement. They will be missed in future OB Christmas parades and special events.

Ocean Beach will have big shoes to fill the void that the Ocean Beach Geriatric Surf Club and Precision Marching Surfboard Drill Team and Gidget Patrol will leave.
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