Surfing in Sailor Pants

Malibu, California

Bev Morgan was one of those Happy Few waterman who enjoyed the waters of Los Angeles and Hawaii in the 1940s and 1950s. Morgan was one of the pioneers of SCUBA diving equipment and safety and also the wetsuit. In the late 1940s, Bev was Dale Velzy’s first glasser and one of the first members of the Manhattan Beach Surf Club. He became an LA lifeguard in 1952 and began experimenting with Hookah rigs and an Aqua Lung that same year. He started the LA County Underwater Program and wrote Underwater Safety for LA County – the first diving textbook. In 1954 Bev founded Dive ‘n Surf with the Meistrell Brothers. Wetsuits were an easy sell to divers but not so easy to surfers and Morgan sold his interest in 1958 and made a living diving commercially for abalone. When Bev wasn’t working and diving and innovating, he found time to surf and in the 1950s, he wore cutoff sailor pants. This photo of Bev could be Waikiki or San Onofre or a lot of places, but Bev remembers it was Malibu.

Photo by Joe Quigg, courtesy of Bev Morgan.