When Jacobs first returned from the islands, he secured a job as an
apprentice carpenter at UCLA. After about a year, he could no longer
bear being away from the beach, so he gave up a stable salary and
benefits for beach life. He and friend Bev Morgan decided to go into
business together. Jacobs would make surfboards, and Morgan would make
wetsuits. In 1953, Jacobs and Morgan opened Dive N' Surf. A year
later, Bill and Bob Meistrell, lifeguards from Hermosa Beach and
founders of Body Glove Wetsuits, approached Jacobs about taking over
Dive N' Surf. As a contingency, the Meistrell brothers referred Jacobs
to Dale Velzy, who was already running a successful surfboard
manufacturing business in Venice, CA.

In 1954, after leaving Dive N' Surf with only six surfboard orders,
Jacobs and Velzy, who had seven surfboard orders of his own, became
partners in Surfboards by Velzy and Jacobs. Jacobs, who was two years
younger, had known Velzy as a gremmie. When Jacobs worked at the surf
mat shop in Hermosa Beach and surfed the pier, Velzy would try to run
him out of the water. Jacobs also recalls launching his fishing pole
sinkers off the pier and bouncing them off Velzy's surfboard to annoy

Years later, both remembered believing that partnering in the
surfboard manufacturing business would be a mutually beneficial
endeavor, hoping that one would man the shop while the other surfed
and vice versa. That plan was soon abandoned as the two became good
and fast friends resulting in them going surfing leaving the shop
altogether. They made history with their shop, becoming the largest
manufacturer of surfboards at the time and the first shop to sell
silk-screened t-shirts with their logo. The two worked hand in hand,
although at times Velzy accused Jacobs of being too meticulous and
taking his sweet ol' time shaping, and Jacobs thought Velzy rushed and
could have worked on straighter surfboard rails. What a conversation
that was.

Together, they made close to 12 balsa boards a week. At the beginning,
Jacobs would do all the glassing and Velzy all the shaping. Then as
the demand grew, both would shape. Around the same time, Alan Gomes
and his dad moved from Hawaii and opened up a glassing shop in Venice
only two blocks from Surfboards by Velzy and Jacobs. It seemed logical
to have the boards sent down to the Gomes Glassing Factory to be

Velzy and Jacobs helped finance the beginning of legendary
cinematographer and filmmaker Bruce Brown's career leading Brown to
name Velzyland after him in 1958. That same year, the age of balsa
surfboards had ended, and foam was introduced as the product for the
next generation of surfboards. Jacobs recalls Harold Walker driving up
the street in what looked like a foam-armored jeep. Walker was still
learning about foam in those days and the foam blocks produced by
Walker Foam at the time would start at regular surfboard thicknesses
but continue to expand in the molds up to 10-inches thick and 11-feet
long. Naturally, the blanks could not fit in Walker's small jeep, so
he had the blanks strapped to the outside of the car, and that's all
you would see driving down the street when he'd deliver the blanks. At
first, Velzy wasn't a strong believer in the foam surfboard, he
believed they were too light. But the demand for foam surfboards grew
so quickly, they had no choice but to go to foam.

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