Jansson swims, writes way into hall of fame
Pacifica Tribune Sports Editor
Posted: 01/21/2010 06:00:00 AM PST
Jay Jansson (Photo courtesy of Jay Jansson)
For more than 25 years Jay Jansson has surfed the coastside. For him, surfing wasn’t just a sport or hobby — it was a way of life. In fact, he loved surfing so much he wanted to form a club for surfers.
In 1987, after a fun surfing day with some friends in the Rockaway Beach area, Jansson and 15 other surfers organized the Pedro Point Surf Club. Jansson was named president of the newly formed club. Today, the club is still going strong, growing to over 150 members.
On Saturday, Feb. 27, Jansson will be inducted into the City of Pacifica Sports Hall of Fame. He is being honored as both a surfer and a journalist. The PSHOF is sponsored by the Pacifica Sports Club.
From 1988 to 2000, Jansson wrote surfing articles for the Pacifica Tribune. In 12 years he wrote over 400 articles documenting the history, personalities and current news of Pacifica surfing as well as promoting the conservation of the beaches.
“Surfing with family and friends was the true impetus of the surf club,” said Jansson, recalling the first event the PPSC ever held. “It was the 1987 Fog Fest parade. The year earlier some of us had ridden in the parade with the Pacific Beach Generetics surf club, led by our own Dan Peneitch. So in 1987 we got everybody together, got our surfboards and were joined by a group of surf widows (wives) and walked the parade carrying beat up surfboards.”
The PPSC became a respected community organization. Monthly Newsletters,
Sufaris, Surf Expos, Fog Fest parades, being the first Surfrider Foundation chapter, cleaning up Highway 1, political forums, water testing, beach clean ups, Shark presentations, Ocean’s Week, planning the restoration of Pacifica State Beach, saving San Pedro Mountain and the Big Chill Out surf contest were among the many activities.
In 1971, while stationed in the Bay Area with the U.S. Navy, Jansson got his first taste of surfing off the Pacifica beaches.
“After my first tour of duty in Vietnam, I met my soul mate, Peggy, while stationed in Hawaii, “said the Navy veteran, “Her sister lived on Pedro Point and we came to visit. That was my first time surfing in Pacifica.”
“Coming from Hawaii and its warm water, I didn’t have a wet suit. I borrowed a wet suit, which was two sizes too big for me. I was like a big water balloon in 51 degree water instead of 70 degree water,” laughed Jansson.
After being discharged from military service, Jansson and his wife lived in San Luis Obispo where his two children were born. They lived and surfed in San Luis Obispo from 1973 to 1980.
In 1980 the Jansson family moved to Pacifica where Jansson had a career overhauling US Navy ships until 1996 and then began a second career with Pacific Bell. In 2000, he returned to San Luis Obispo where he became an area manager with Pacific Bell. In 2007 he sustained a spinal injury and had to go on long-term disability.
Although limited by physical disabilities today, he paddles with his surf friends in calm conditions in San Luis Obispo,
“After 42 years of surfing, it’s very hard on you emotionally and physically not being able to surf,” said Jansson, who has become very active with veterans organizations. As an adjutant for the American Legion Post 66 he is working with disabled American veterans who served in Vietnam. “I get up in the morning and the first thing is to check the waves on the internet. I drive to the beach. I can feel the winds. I keep track of the swells and am in constant contact with my surfing friends in Pacifica, especially Greg (Cochran) who took over as president of the surfing club.”
“I am very honored to be inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame,” added Jansson, who returns to Pacifica three to four times a year. “My first stop is always at the beach.—
This year’s PSHOF awards dinner will be held at the Grosvenor Hotel, South San Francisco. No-host reception begins at 6 p.m. with dinner and program to follow at 7 p.m. the event is open to the public.
Tickets are $45 per person. A table of 10 may be purchased for $450.Tickets may be obtained by calling 650-355-1034 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org or clip the PSHOF coupon, page 3B, and mail to Pacifica Sports Club.
Joining Jansson as inductees into the PSHOF this year are collegiate wrestler and coach Glenn Stenstrom, All-American collegiate football athlete Ed McNicoll and youth athletics advocates Frank and Andy Gabin.