Matuszak publishes book on the history of surfing after overcoming serious health problems | Local News


After six years of work, including time in intensive care, former Yucaipa High School coach Dave Matuszak has released a book called San Onofre: Memories of a Legendary Surfing Beach. Matuszak says his latest effort is the most comprehensive book on the history of surfing and at 1,488 pages it proves his point. Even those with extensive knowledge of the surf scene will be overwhelmed by the information from Matuszak.

Speaking by phone from San Onofre where he surfed, Matuszak said he kicked off his book tour on December 1 at the Surfing Heritage & Cultural Center in San Clemente, where he invited many contributors to his book. Matuszak followed up this book signing a week later with another at the California Surf Museum in Oceanside.

Matuszak explained that his book is based on the rich but unpublished history of San Onofre and that it is a limited edition collector’s edition with a circulation of 1,000 copies. It has already sold 500 hand-signed copies, but hopes to release a revised, mass-released edition in 2019.

“It’s already called the Surfing Bible,” said Matuszak. “I gathered so much information that I could have written another one.”

“San Onofre: Memories of a Legendary Surf Beach” guides the reader through the origins of surfing in Polynesia, Peru and Africa. It follows the development of the surf culture of Southern California and its relationship to prehistoric man and 19th century Spanish ranchers. Matuszak describes how a small group of 1930s surfers took up a hobby and caused a worldwide phenomenon. Interviewing some of these pioneers, Matuszak chronicles not only these icons of the “golden age” of surfing, but also average surfers who have authorized the use of hundreds of their exclusive vintage photos.

Matuszak does not forget how nearby Camp Pendleton became the country’s first military base and how soldiers, farmers, cowboys, fishermen and surfers interacted. Matuszak then mentioned another motivation for writing on the San Onofre surf site. He said a complicated 50-year deal involving Camp Pendleton that allows surfers access to its beach expires in 2020. He believes the Navy is leaning towards blocking public access.

Matuszak, 64, retired from Yucaipa High School in 2015 after training in several sports. He was an early snowboarder and continues to ride with training horses at his ranch in Live Oak Canyon. Other writings include the 2003 release of The Cowboys Trail Guide to Westerns.

Halfway through his research, he contracted a catastrophic staph infection that reached his vital organs. Doctors told him there was nothing they could do.

“I made it through a lot of prayers, my will to live and the need to finish my book.” San Onofre: Memories of a Legendary Surfing Beach is self-published by Matuszak’s Pacific Sunset Publishing. The cost is $ 59.95 plus shipping and taxes. For more information, visit online at


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