DOUG HAUT "Early Beginnings"

by Thomas Takao

 

In the early day's of foam surfboards, Doug Haut and his brother Dan went to Hawaii in 1963. He had been working for Jack O'Neill in Santa Cruz and wanted to see Hawaii. Doug started working for Mickey Lake at Inter Island Surfboards as their sander, hot coater and did some glossing. Dan Haut was laminating for Dick Brewer and would do some work for Inter Island. Dan would give some insight in glassing to a young Jack Reeves in the beginning of Jack’s glassing career (When Dan was in Florida in the latter part of the 1960's).

The people who were working at Inter Island Surfboards during this time were Mike Diffenderfer who was doing the shaping along with Mickey Lake. Joe Kuala was doing the glassing, and Jim Campbell was doing the glossing. Also there, but not at the same time as Doug were Robert "Sparky" Scheufele, Wayne Land, Kenny Tilton and John Kelly.

 

Mike Diffenderfer taught Doug his ideas in shaping. Having Mike to show Doug the ropes while climbing the different levels in shaping was a big help. Haut and Diffenderfer shared a house in Honolulu while working at Inter Island. Doug had a old Woodie that he cruised to work in and used to go surfing in town during summer. Doug would go out to the North Shore when the surf was up.


Talking about plate lunches, there was a café near by the Inter Island shop and they would go there. “They gave us a huge plate for a buck and a half, 3 scoops of rice, spam, teriyaki chicken, macraroni and some other thing” Doug recalled. After work they would have the resin buckets filled with beers and covered with ice. The stories would flow, but Doug didn’t drink much and would soon be heading home or towards an evening surf session before calling it a day.


In the summer of 1963 Doug and Mike Diffenderfer gave their 2 weeks notice and left Inter Island Surfboards. They would be crewing on a sailboat that was returning to California after it had competed in the Trans Pac Race.

The time spent on board was 28 days. Within this capsule of time, Doug, Mike and another guy from Newport Beach were the crew, Wayne Coker was the captain. They were in very rough seas for about a week, in a calm that lasted 2 weeks, and some fun sailing the remaining days before returning to Monterey.

The beginning leg started at the Ala Wai Harbor, traveling west northwest around Barbers Point, then north to Kauai. It took a day to get to Kauai, after which the boat anchored in Hanalei Bay for 2 days. After departing the first week was pretty rough. The boat was going to weather. (the boat pointing into the wind as they made their way north) and everyone on board took a pounding.


During the rough weather Doug was designated to be the cook. He was the only one who could go down below without getting sick. Doug would strap himself to varies objects in the galley so he wouldn’t get tossed around while cooking. Looking back on it Doug got a good laugh remembering the moments. The gimbal stove swinging, holding a pot while stirring, sensing the next smash as the bow of the boat plowed through the wave. Thinking ahead while placing the ingredients into the pot or pan.


After the first week they couldn’t take anymore of rough conditions. They made a turn towards California. By doing so they had entered a Pacific High with no winds and calm seas. The motor on the boat was not working, so they drifted across the Pacific with a drifter and mainsail traveling a half- knot an hour.


Some days they were going nowhere, a dead calm. During the night they would look overboard and see the reflection of stars. They felt like they were traveling in space with the stars above and below, it was very surreal to all.

 

With their thoughts drifting with the days, they inch their way out of the high pressure system. Wayne was keeping track of their location and the crew kept a log of distance made good. Out of the doldrums the winds picked up and the days became cooler as they approached California.


The boat made its way down to Monterey Bay through the fog and tied up to the pier in the harbor. The weary crew greeted the docks with their wobbly legs. Doug says his legs felt like they were rocking for days afterwards. His body had become accustom to the rolling of the boat and it would take some time to get adjusted to land again. Doug would go on to a long career in surfboard manufacturing in Santa Cruz, California.

Mike Diffenderfer                                                              Doug Haut Sunset Beach, Hawaii

      COPYRIGHT 2020 Thomas Takao