Terry Martin’s Surf Legacy

The death of Dana Point shaper Terry Martin, 74, last month after his battle with skin cancer was a significant loss for the Southern California surf community. Yet in the wake of his death, Martin’s legacy continues through the stories and wisdom that he generously shared with others.

Donny Brink was one surfer drawn to Martin’s way of leading by example. Brink, a young shaper from South Africa who relocated to Capistrano Beach, Orange County, began conducting interviews with Martin each Friday for a period of two years to absorb some of his wisdom.

While Martin’s life, from as early as age 14, was focused on the process of creating surfboards, those experiences became a way for him to understand the importance of remaining dedicated to one’s personal passion, which can apply to any individual’s search for fulfillment. As Martin said to Brink, “God gave me this talent to shape surfboards and I’m staying with it. I’m not going to run out like the grass is greener somewhere else.”

What follows in the clip below are a few highlights from the conversations between Martin and Brink. These stories, exchanged between friends, are a close look at a pure form of surf culture– with echoes of what it might have been like at the time Martin began surfing in the early fifties. Some of that tradition will no doubt be carried on by surfers like Brink, who commented on his relationship with Martin: “If there’s one thing we have learned from Terry– keep it simple.”

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