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A good time to reflect, party

From The Sports Desk

April 06, 2011|By Steve Virgen,
(Courtesy of Laird…)

A picture can sometimes seem so simple, especially a group photo. But this wasn't just any typical picture.

There weren't any special poses, mind you. Just smiles. From those faces you could still see the youth and carefreeness that constantly showed during their days on the Orange Coast College surf team. Some 30 years later, sure they've all grown in age, but their personalities have hardly changed. Many of them are still part of the surf culture.

So what do you do at a party if you're a surfer? You drink and have a good time.

At this OCC surf team reunion (years 1978 to 1982), these guys, and gals, also caught up with one another. They talked about the old times, winning with OCC and learning from their great mentor, their coach: Laird Hayes.

When the drinks settled in and the food was running out at Hayes' home Saturday, the former OCC surfers gathered for a group photo. There was Felipe Bascopé still cracking jokes with a beer bottle in his hand. John Gothard can schmooze with people in high places, but he's never lost his down-to-earth attitude and quick wit.


What about Thom McElroy? Yes, he was there, the dude who surfed for OCC and went on to become co-owner of Volcom.

They were all happy to be there, to renew friendships, to thank Hayes and to party.

Shortly after the camera flashed for the memorable group photo, Mark Carter got all sentimental talking about the surfers' favorite coach.

"This goes back to 1979 when we had an end-of-the-year party at your house," Carter said to Hayes in front of the group.

Just as Carter said, "I'll never forget walking down the halls and seeing all the different awards and credentials. I thought it was cool," Gothard interrupted and said to Carter, "because you'll never get that?"

Everyone just laughed. Then they got quiet.

Carter said something that spoke true for the group.

"You were really an unbelievable inspiration to all of us," Carter said to Hayes.

You've heard of Hayes. He's been featured in the Daily Pilot before. He's part of this newspaper's recent top 103 most influential people in the community for a reason. He began as an administrator at OCC in 1976. In addition to starting the surf team at OCC, he also coached the men's soccer team for 24 seasons. He's modest about his work and will tell you others should have the credit for two state championships and seven conference titles, but his leadership cannot be denied.

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