After six years in the works including time spent in intensive care, former Yucaipa High School coach Dave Matuszak has released a book entitled, San Onofre: Memories of a Legendary Surfing Beach. Matuszak says his latest effort is the most comprehensive book on the history of surfing and at 1,488 pages he proves his point. Even those with considerable knowledge about the surf scene will be overwhelmed by Matuszak’s information.
Speaking by phone from San Onofre where he was surfing, Matuszak said he launched his book promo tour on Dec. 1 at the Surfing Heritage & Cultural Center in San Clemente where he invited many contributors to his book. Matuszak followed that book signing a week later with another at Oceanside's California Surf Museum.
Matuszak explained his book is based on San Onofre's rich but untold history and is a limited release collector's edition with a press run of 1,000. He has already sold 500 of the hand-signed copies but hopes to release a mass circulated revised editon in 2019.
“It is already being called the Bible of surfing,” stated Matuszak. “I gathered so much information that I could have written another.”
“San Onofre: Memories of a Legendary Surfing Beach” guides the reader through surfing’s origins in Polynesia, Peru, and Africa. It follows the development of the Southern California surf culture and its relationship to pre-historic man and to 19th Century Spanish ranchers. Matuszak describes how a small group of surfers from the 1930’s took a hobby and caused a world-wide phenomon. By interviewing some of these trailblazers, Matuszak chronicles not only these icons of surfing's “Golden Age” but average surfers who allowed usage of hundreds of their exclusive vintage photos.
Matuszak does not leave out how nearby Camp Pendleton has grown into the nation’s premier military base and how soldiers, farmers, cowboys, fishermen and surfers have interacted. Matuszak went on to mention another motivation to writing about the San Onofre surf site. He said a complicated 50-year agreement involving Camp Pendleton that allows surfers access to its beach expires in 2020. He thinks the Department of Navy is leaning toward blocking public access.
The 64-year-old Matuszak retired from Yucaipa High School in 2015 after coaching multiple sports. He was one of the first snowboarders and continues to surf along with training horses on his ranch in Live Oak Canyon. Among his other writings are the 2003 release of The Cowboys Trail Guide to Westerns.
Midway through his research, he contracted a catastrophic staph infection that advanced into his vital organs. Doctors told him there was nothing they could do.
“I made it due to a lot of prayers, my will to live and the need to finish my book.” San Onofre: Memories of a Legendary Surfing Beach is self-published through Matuszak’s Pacific Sunset Publishing. The cost is $59.95 plus postage and tax. For more information, visit online at www.pacificsunset.com