Dick Metz is the Forrest Gump of surfing: Always on the edges of history, effecting things, but mostly evading mention and fame.
Dick Metz was a made man in the Dana Point Mafia and was there working and collaborating and innovating as the likes of Bruce Brown, Grubby Clark, Walter Hoffman, Mickey Munoz and Hobie Alter laid the foundation of the modern surf industry in the 50s, 60s and 70s - from fibErglass and resin to Jams to Hobie Cats.
Born in 1929, Dick was a child of the Depression, frolicking on the beaches of a pristine Lagune Beach with Shirley Temple.
Too young to fight, Dick experienced like during wartime as a high school student during World War II: “Surfing just stopped,” Dick says. “But other things were happening.”
A track star offered scholarships, Dick attended Redlands University until het got the boot for being a rascal. He finished up at UCSB - with a Masters in Rincon - which he surfed with only a couple of guys for a couple of years.
Dick went to Waikiki in 1953 on the Lurline, and was one of the early coast haole to sample the wonders of Waikiki, Makaha and the North Shore - along with other Dana Point Mafia members.
Back in California, Dick was there with Hobie Alter and Grubby Clark as they experimented with fiberglass and resin, and then polyurethane foam.
Propelled by spiritual and physical needs, Dick went around the world from 1958 to 1961 - hitching rides on French troop ships, Norwegian freighters, riding as an Untouchable in Indian trains and catching rides all through Africa.
A fateful decision not to stop at Victoria Falls in the middle of the night lead Dick to Cape Town, where he met John Whitmore, who showed him Cape Saint Francis - to which Dick pointed Bruce Brown a few years later - and in his way effected surf history, because the perfection of Cape Saint Francis launched a thousand surf trips and inspired the perfection of the Surf Ranch - five decades later.
In the early 1960s, Dick flew to Hawaii with Hobie Alter - where Honbie all but ordered Dick to take control of the Hobie business in Hawaii. They opened a retail surf shop, sold clothing, sold surfboards and laid the planks of the modern surf industry.
And after all that, in 1999 it was Dick’s investment that founded the Surfing Heritage Foundation - now the Surfing Heritage and Cultural Center - which aspires to be the Library of the Alexandrian Greeks of surfing - all knowledge under one roof.
The book is in process now with a foundation of an 80,000 word interview recorded by Tim Delavega and edited by Margery Schwarz.
Layered on top of that will be the best of the hundreds of photographs Dick has collected in his 90 years on earth.
The Forrest Gump of surfing. The most important man in the surfing world you’ve never heard of. Look for this still untitled book in the fall of 2019.