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Mark Martinson. A surfer’s surfer, has gracefully kicked out at the age of 76

Updated: Feb 1

Mark Martinson. A surfer’s surfer, has gracefully kicked out at the age of 76

“Martinson returned from a poor showing in the 1965 World Championships in Peru to find his U.S. Army induction notice. He deferred entry for as long as possible, then spent six years hiding from Selective Service agents. Martinson didn't quite go underground, as he continued to have a presence in the surf media, but had no phone number or mailing address and was virtually incommunicado. Much of his time from 1965 to 1969 was spent traveling with the MacGillivray-Freeman team—to Peru, Brazil, Argentina, France, Spain, Portugal, and Hawaii—while filming Free and Easy (1967) and Waves of Change(1970).

Mark Martinson Surfer
PHOTO: Courtesy of Leo Hetzel

“Federal agents finally caught up with Martinson in 1971; an asthmatic, he washed out of basic training after three weeks.”

Remembrances, of course, poured in following the news of Martinson’s death; like this one from the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center in San Clemente:

“Rest easy Mark Martinson. A surfer’s surfer, he gracefully kicked out at the age of 76. “Born in 1947, Martinson grew up Long Beach, learned to surf in 1957, was runner-up at the West Coast Champions by ’62 and in ’65 won the highly competitive U.S. Championships. After the 1965 World Championships in Peru, Martinson received his U.S. Army induction notice, which motivated him to get on the road with Greg MacGillivray and Jim Freeman. He would star in films such as “Free and Easy” and “Waves of Change” and eventually square up with the U.S. Government in ’71 (but only lasted three weeks in basic training due to asthma). “As much a master in the shaping bay as he was in the water, Martinson is also credited with making some truly beautiful surfboards. Changing with the times, when the Shortboard Revolution came around he adapted and kept whittling. With the longboard resurgence of the ‘90s he was commandeered by Robert August Surfboards in Huntington Beach, where he produced a line of impeccable boards. “His smile, good-nature and humility will be missed. We are sending love and light to all of Mark’s friends and family around the world."

RIP, Mark Martinson.

ALL PHOTOS: Courtesy of Leo Hetzel @fotohetzel




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