Save the Date!

Nick Gabaldon Day — Saturday, June 1, 2013

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Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, the Black Surfers Collective, the Santa Monica Conservancy, Surf Bus, Sierra Club Outdoors and other groups will offer a day of surf lessons and activities for young and old to commemorate the life of Nick Gabaldon (1927–1951), the first documented surfer of African American and Mexican descent, and the heritage of the historical African American beach site, sometimes formerly called the “Inkwell.”

Gabaldon’s legacy has inspired many surfers of color and otherwise to consider him as a role model. His passion, athleticism, discipline, love, and respect for the ocean live on as the quintessential qualities of the California surfer.

The Bay Street/Inkwell site was a popular beach hangout for African Americans during the nation’s Jim Crow era, from the 1900s to 1960s. Gabaldon had his first experiences with the ocean at the Inkwell. In 2008 the City of Santa Monica officially recognized the “Inkwell” and Gabaldon for their cultural significance in local, California and American history.

To learn more about this California surfer, you can read my newly published encyclopedia entry at on Nick Gabaldon (written with Rick Blocker).

Come join us on June 1 for a day of celebration of our California seaside, cultural and historical heritage, and outreach to promote ocean stewardship. Check out the schedule of proposed activities for Nick G. Day 2013 and look for more information soon on this event!

Nick Gabaldon surfing

Nick Gabaldon surfing (click to enlarge)

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