"AN EVENING ON THE HILL" ENCINITAS, CALIF.
By Thomas Takao
On an October evening at the turn of the century, when the headlights on I 5 were coming on and the parking lot on the Hill in Encinitas reflected the colors of day’s end. Most of the regulars have gone home with just a few of the local shapers still around. Pulling up in a van were Wayne Lynch, Joel Fritzgerald, Andrew and Bo, They had stopped by to check on some boards being glassed at West Coast Glassing.
As I entered into the shop with the sunset behind me, Andrew, Joel, and Alex were talking board design in the hallway. The hallway that separated the shaping room from the glassing room and no wider than 5 feet and no longer than 10 feet. In this Dali like rectangular hourglass, the imaginary grains of sand flowed by those who were there.
Within a moment’s notice Eberly walks in from the parking lot, Bo went over to Jim Phillips's shaping room and Lynchie walks in from the glassing room. Our paths had crossed before in 1968. Wayne along with Nat Young and Paul Witzig, were walking up the beach to Domes, preparing for the 1968 World Surfing Championship to begin. I had just purchased a bottle of grape soda from Maria and was taking a sip when they walked by. Returning back to the hallway, Hank Byzak one of the shapers still around that evening came from his shaping room.
Da’vid, who after having a practice jam session with Steve Clark in his shaping room appears at the entrance with his guitar in hand after Hank. The Righteous Brother they were not, but brothers on the hill they were. Andrew asked if he could see the guitar and Da’vid obliged with a smile. Andrew greeted the guitar with a strum and a minor adjustment. Being in the moment Andrew strummed another cord which developed into a rift that took the setting to the next level.
Instead of the music stopping and having everyone look for a chair. The guys stood in place or just sat where they were in the hallway floor as Andrew kept playing. “Hey, life is full of pleasant surprises” I said to myself listening to what was happening. So I spotted a box of masking tape and proceeded to wrap by thoughts on that particular spot. Eberly who was in his shaping room doorway leaning forward as if he were about to leave. But instead took the lead and made up a song as Andrew kept playing. The song would last for about 7 minutes.
It was a modified Blues song about the woes of a shaper. The song could have been about any shaper, but since Tom was looking at Hank, he became part of the song. A couple verses go by and a ooh yah was Lynchie response, who was standing along the same wall as Hank, but was about 7 feet away. He joins in and adds to the song. Having plenty of blues to sing about also, Hank kneeling in the opposite corner of the hallway joins in with verses of his own.
The Trio was creating verses that filled the hallway with their blues. The setting had a campfire type of atmosphere with a slight polyester resin smell blended with a shopping bag full of empty beer cans. There was a laugh here and a laugh there and the background vocals bounced off the wall and added to the tune.
Andrew kept on playing for just awhile longer knowing it was downhill from where he was sitting. The song faded to an expected end and the guitar was returned to Da'vid. Everyone sitting got up and preceded to gather their thoughts. Like the end of a concert the guys one by one went through the door and out into the night, like the notes from the song about the “Blues of a Shaper”.