Water Quality
September 25 2018

In Memory of Chuck Vinson

by Spencer Campbell

Chuck Vinson was an incredible shaper, devoted husband, and legendary waterman. His legacy will live on through the Clean Water work of the Surfrider network, allowing future generations to enjoy the ocean, waves and beaches as much as he did. 

In Chuck’s memory, a donation has been made to the Ventura County Chapter’s Blue Water Task Force (BWTF), Surfrider Foundation’s volunteer-run, water testing, education and advocacy program. Our chapters use this program to alert citizens and officials in their communities about water quality problems and to work toward solutions. The BWTF has demonstrated success by identifying problems with beach and coastal water pollution, raising public awareness of these incidents and working collaboratively with local stakeholders to find and implement pollution solutions. 

The BWTF has also precipitated the establishment of state and local government water quality monitoring programs in many communities. It continues to fill in data gaps, improving the public's knowledge of the safety of their beach water. BWTF water testing programs measure bacteria levels at both marine and freshwater beaches and compare them to federal water quality standards established by the EPA to protect public health in recreational waters.

The Ventura County Chapter has been operating a successful BWTF program for years, but were in need of new lab materials, including a new incubator, glassware, and an autoclave to process water samples. With a generous donation from Lynda Blue, in memory of Chuck Vinson, the Ventura County Chapter was able to upgrade their entire lab and provide resources to test water quality.

From the book, “the gift”, written by Marc Andreini: 

This page is devoted to Chuck Vinson. The most exacting, technical, complete board builder I have ever known. From fin lay ups, fin foiling, glassing, pin lines, gloss, polish, shaping; every phase was spot on. Chuck was raised in LA in the 50s but his family spent summers in Laguna Beach where he developed his interest in surfing. In his teen years during the early 60s, he got a job at Del Cannon, a 60s icon board builder, doing ding repairs and making fins. The big bonus was being able to surf with the whole factory crew after work at Trestles back when you still had to sneak in. Not long after that he was making complete boards out of his garage for others since he had a natural talent as a craftsman. 

After graduation he left home and moved to Ventura to do production glassing at the infamous Morey Pope factory at the climax of the longboard era and into the first shortboards from 67’to 70’. Next he moved to Santa Barbara to start his own label, Thought Surfboards, where he quickly got established as the twin fin king. 

I met him in 71’ when I moved back to town and we became friends. I learned all I could from him. He was older and more experienced than me. I could never do any step as well as him, but neither could anyone else. Chuck moved to the North Shore in ’73 and landed a gig making Lightning Bolts for Jack Shipley. The Bolt was the most recognized label in all of surf culture at the time. Only 10 or 12 guys were good enough to fill the position of making Bolts. Chuck made many of the high-end Bolts that brought an extra $35 due to the quality. That was a lot of extra cash in those days. Shipley even had Vinson fill in for Gerry Lopez (the head shaper); while he was surfing Ulu, Chuck shaped his orders!

Chuck later returned to Santa Cruz where he made boards for O’Neill along with his custom orders before finally returning to Ventura with his wife Lynda where he continued to build boards for his loyal followers.

I thank him for the inspiration he has given me.