La Jolla’s WindanSea – Surfers, Flexy Flyer, Nazis Riding Storm Drains

Back in the early 1960s, everyone in California knew there was something different about the La Jolla’s WindanSea crowd and surfers like Curren, Mike Diffenderfer (RIP) Tiny Brain Thomas, Billy Graham, and Butch Van Artsdalen (RIP).” Pat Curren and Mike Diffenderfer were known to hang at the Birds Rock’s  Sip and Surf and Red Mountain Inn and Tiny Brain Thomas was a bartender at Maynards. Sure there were others, but nothing like the ones mentioned.

Rakestraw and Curren had similar trends, both were regulars at Maynards and many times shared temporary living quarters at jail, so much so – Rakestraw used to write Curren little messages on the jail walls.

Mac Meda started the  phrase “Surf Nazis,” where they would dress up like Nazis  and ride down the storm drain on their Flexy Flyers that started at the top of  Bon Air Street.  What a bitchen thrill that was!!!

Mac Meda was also known for their satire Mel Brooks style Nazi parties where they would burst into local restaurants, have Nazi parties in the bunkers up on Mt. Soledad  and even become guests at the Jewish fraternities at U.S.C.

One time the La Jolla elite got scared, thinking there was some new Aryan group that was infiltrating their community. They called the FBI.

Jack was then working in the Post Office when his supervisor came up and said, “Uh, Mac…the FBI is here to talk to you.”  So he sat in a car with two G-Men. They asked him if he and his friends were trying to overthrow the U.S. government. He then told them they were just having a good time on their flexy-fliers,  screaming down a dark drain pipe and shooting out at WindanSea.

The FBI started laughing and said something like, “It does sound like a good time.”

“The most rebellious group of people I ever met,” said legendary big wave surfer  Fred Van Dyke.  “They were like wild animals!

Thanks to Jamie Nay (got the Nazi part from Bill Andrews websites) Dave Osborn,  Billy Graham and to the movie Riding Giants, where we borrowed a few clips.


  1. Sue Sonnenburg says:

    Found this page and remembered the nights with Al Nelson, Sandy Watson and her friend Steve, in the summer of 1958, going down the sewer on flexy flyers with a botabag filled with with cheap wine, ending up on Wind and Sea beach. . Crazy days. Al and Steve lived above a clearners ???? in La Jolla. Al had an old Model A .So many years ago, great friend.

  2. Charley Knox says:

    Mason “Kit” Tilden 68 y.o., died earlier this year from cancer, in Seattle.
    Some of you may remember him as one of the ‘Pump House Gang’.
    We will have a “paddle out” memorial at 10 AM on 10 June ’17.
    Yup, near the pump house. Come share your memories.

  3. Jamie Nay says:

    Winter 1990. Ronald and Bobby Patterson were being honored downtown by some surfing group. Engraved invitations. An event where surfers wear tuxes in 2 different sizes. Oh boy! I couldn’t wait. I got home from work and was expecting to go this surfing wingding. What a drag. The invitation in the trash…Mack hated the surfing industry and everything that went with it. He once called Corky Carroll a nobody. “I take it we’re not going?” Later, Ronald dropped by personally, so it balanced out…

  4. Offering a little editing. Pretty sure since I was at the place a lot and that the “tree”was Burgermeister cans, (check with Pal Al Nelson) our fall back beer at the time and my mutt “Burgey’s favorite beer. Also pretty sure that Federal Court judge James M. Carter (new Fed Court Building is named for him) arranged the publicity photo. and took some pictures himself. Shortly after that the whole beer can tree collapsed in the middle of the night and almost gave the downstairs highly nervous tailor Willie Genelke a heart attack. He died of a heart attack a few years later. An unknown number of native La Jollans were conceived in that apartment which we all joked was the “Herschel Estate”.

  5. Child support says:

    This is a thank you to the patron saints of Windansea…the grandmothers and grandfathers of Windasea surfing children. They were the people who were always looking out for you…they were the ones who would say “You’re going to kill my grandson, you idiot…I’m taking over'” and before you could saw ABC, your kid was living at his grandmothers, helping her make rag rugs. They were the ones who would say “My grandson is totally undisciplined. he’s going to Evans. I’ll pay,”. They were the ones who called the Tijuana Police chief to see if your mom had gotten married over the weekend (she had) when she was still a Junior at La Jolla Hi. Grandparents of surfers…they made sure everything turned out OK…

  6. Harry Marriner says:

    In the late 1950’s after Bob Kyle (who provided the Nazi uniforms), Phil Brown, Butch VanArsdalen and the Nazi-uniformed guys did the WindanSea tube on Flexi-Flyers, Bob Enns, Gary Wickham and I did a followup there to get the hang of it. Not liking going through the shit at the tube exit,Bob Enns and I began drain pipe explorations at the top of Colima St. and at the end of Archer St. using flares for light. That was a mistake and we almost died from the fumes. Going back with flashlights and Flexis we found one branch that went under LJ Blvd. and ended up between South Bird Rock and Gun Point (PB Point). Another branch ended up in a big tunnel outlet at Tourmaline Canyon on the beach. The biggest surprise was when we sped down the last section of one branch that left us hanging about 12 ft. in the air off the middle of a cliff between the stairs at Gun Point and Tourmaline Canyon.

  7. The Warden says:

    For Ronald…

    It’s a little early, but Mac had several Thanksgiving stories he liked to tell. His top three included:

    1. Black Thursday. Thanksgiving with the Dave Osborn family.

    2. Big Bea and the turkey. An impromptu Thanksgiving dinner with the Wilson family and a frozen bird.

    3. Ronald and the turkey. Here’s the story…

    It was 1958. Jack had moved into an older house on Herschel, above Wall Street. Next door were several other guys…Harris Nelson, Joe Barca, the Grog, Ronald Patterson. These guys knew how to party!

    Sundays were reserved for Tijuana bullfights. A wire was strung across Hershel St. One Christmas, they built a Christmas tree out of Lucky Lager bottles and hung it from the ceiling. Lucky Lager came out and took a picture.

    Thanksgiving. Ronald Patterson was in charge of dinner. The San Diego Police chose this day to have a discussion with RP over outstanding parking tickets. (I once wrote an article for Longboard Magazine on Ronald Patterson, and every La Jolla guy I spoke to, mentioned San Diego’s Finest by their first names).

    As the police were leading Ronald to their car, Ronald turned around and said the following:

    “Don’t forget to baste the turkey!”.

    Not “Come bail me out”.
    Not “Call my lawyer”.
    Just “Don’t forget to baste the turkey,”.

    Ronald Patterson was one of Jack’s lifelong friends. He passed away June 1996 in Dana Point. His son Timmy has continued his tradition of surfboard excellence in San Clemente. If you’re in the area, stop by his shop on PCH.

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