The legend goes sort of like this… Blackie August a die hard local surfer owned a beachfront house in Seal Beach. This wasn’t any old house it was the ultimate beach pad in Seal on the boardwalk at 1303 Seal Way.
One evening in the late 50’s or early 60’s some of Blackie’s friends (depending on who tells the story, Harry Schurch, Jack Haley and a couple other local guys) had a bit too much wine to drink and helped themselves to a Plaster of Paris sphynx that had been decorating one of the local public buildings in Long Beach. They decided that it would not only make a fine addition to Blackie’s roof, but in some mythical fashion, look out over the ocean and care for all of the local surfers. They quickly nick named the Sphynx “El Supremo” and Blackie made sure the Sphynx always had a fresh coat of paint on all the the right parts – picture green with red nipples.
Around 1968, Blackies son, Robert August (who was later to become famous as one of the surfers chronicled in the movie “The Endless Summer”) was the main shaper here at Harbour Surfboards. Robert August, Rich Harbour, Mark Martinson and Danny Nelson had been room mates in Sunset Beach when Blackies beach house came up for rent and the crew quickly moved in.
The house had a lot of history, from drunken ceremonies honoring “El Supremo” to boardwalk headquarters for both summer girl watching and winter surf. Oh, the stories that house could tell and the amazing people that passed through! And in a twist of fate, Rich also met his wife Helen at the Sphynx house and they have been together ever since for 44 years.
In the late 70’s the property was sold for demolition. Rumors went around that a lady named Lisa Gager was cruising the boardwalk when she saw the demo crew about to toss the Sphynx into the scrap pile. She rescued it and after some years of toddler riding, a well-worn head is all that is left.
About a month ago, Lisa came by the shop here and said she had the mythical Sphynx head in her yard and she wanted donate to Harbour Surfboards for all to enjoy. It has now been returned to once again watch over and care for all of the local surfers we love so much. In honor of our 60’s history we plan to unveil the Sphynx this Saturday at the Sunset 60’s contest for all to pay homage once again.