After a lot of thought and many of options I decided the people who influenced me most were a couple of squirrelly surf rats who roamed from Laguna to Venice Beach. The Earley brothers were surf junkies, much like their father and mine, who had also been longtime friends. It was a regular event for the Malloys and the Earleys to congregate in an old RV and head for Mexico, San Onofre, or wherever we could soak up some sun and waves and have a good time down at the beach surfing, bodysurfing, or maybe just sitting around the fire cooking hot dogs and trying to burn each other with hot sticks. When I think about my influences, it was these initial days that really started my love for the ocean and everything that went along with it.
Jimmy and Denny Earley had a couple of years on Chris and me, which made them very influential to us. We all grew up riding longboards and single fins, but when we saw the Earleys starting to rip twin-fins and thrusters, it was a given that we would follow their lead. Because of them, progressive surfing entered our world. I distinctly remember watching Occy pull that big frontside air in Blazing Boards. Denny rewound it about five times and then looked over at me and said, “That's the shit!”
Okay, so maybe Denny taught me more than just about surfing–some cuss words and maybe some other things I won't mention–but the point is that they were introducing us to high-performance surfing at a crucial time in our grommethood. It was easy for Chris and I to feed off the Earley brothers, not only because they were also goofy-footers, but because they were a tangible source. Whether it was Jimmy's frontside carves or Denny's pig-dog barrels, nothing went unnoticed.
Over the years, I've run into Denny and Jimmy occasionally but I've always heard stories though the pipeline. Whether it's Maui, Mexico, or snowboarding in Colorado, I was never surprised when I heard their names from some underground source talking about an epic session.–Keith Malloy