Remembering Carl Hayward

| posted on July 22, 2010

It’s something a lot of people talk about but few are able to accomplish: to die while doing something they love. On Friday, January 21, 2005, Carl Hayward, renowned Huntington Beach surfboard shaper, surfer, husband and father of three, did just that at the untimely age of 48. He was found floating in the water near the south side of the Huntington Pier, where he had spent so much of his time surfing. On Sunday, Jan. 30, hundreds of friends and family gathered together there for one last goodbye and a paddle-out fit for surf royalty.

Hayward was known for embracing the Rocket-Fish design, and as a shaper, for specializing in the production of them. He owned and operated a surf shop—Carl Hayward Surfboards—in Huntington Beach for approximately 10 years with friend and partner Dwight Dunn. Hayward then worked with Bob Hurley at Hurley International in Costa Mesa, California.

At 11 a.m. on Sunday, a steady stream of wetsuit-clad surfers carrying flowers paddled their way along the south side of the pier while throngs of onlookers observed from above. Once in a circle, surfers threw flowers and splashed around in the water to announce to King Neptune that Carl was coming. They then chanted, “Hayward! Hayward!” Hundreds of people watched from the south railing. The circle then disbanded and most rode waves to shore to fraternize and talk about their friend.

“I basically attribute my whole surfing thing to him. He was like, ‘Hey, this guy is good, he should ride on our boards,’” said Scott Farnsworth, who won the 1984 Amateur Championship in Huntington on a Hayward board. “He never asked me for anything other than feedback and made me hundreds of boards over about 10 years.”

About Sunday’s paddle-out, Farnsworth said, “It was really cool, it was just an unbelievable turnout. It was mind-boggling how many people came and gave support. It was a huge tribute to how many people liked him and what a cool guy he was. I just hope half the amount of people show up at my funeral as showed up at his.”

  • James Henriksen

    This news hits me hard. I watched Carl shape my boards in the 80’s. He was truly one of a kind.

  • Dan Maniaci

    I remember walking into Carls’ shop looking for a board and having no clue as to what I should get. Carl told me about a new design that was really taking off called a “Thruster”. THREE FINS! Imagine that! I had several boards made over the years that were all amazing. He invited met to watch him shape at Spanners Glass shop and I felt more like a friend than a customer. He even let me use his personal board when mine was down for ding repair. It was always great to see him busting those 360s at the pier & Scott Farnsworth throwing buckets of spray on his boards.
    I thank God for putting him in my life when he did. The world needs more like him.

  • Ken

    I have a early 80’s board he shaped….can’t seem to get rid of it…..

  • Scotty Harmon

    I was “surfing” the net looking for Carl, I wanted to say hello after so many years. When I was going to Long Bach State back in 85′, when they still had a football team; I worked for him in his surf shop. I am an airbrush artist/illustrator and Carl let me do some artwork on some of the boards he made, I was also taught by Carl how to shape a boards. At the time when I heard the stories about Carl, it was lengendary, extremely motivating. I was telling my girlfriend last night about some stories of Carl and working in the shop. That was some greatest memories I have ever had, and now my heart just sank a few beats just learning what had happened to him eight years ago. I am even more upset with myself for not keeping in touch as we all say to one another at some point. Life just takes us all in different directions. My sincere condolences to the Hayward family, and the surfing community; I know he is missed.

  • Dave Smith

    After graduating from the University of Wisconsin back in the 80’s, a friend of mine and I traveled west to have adventure and “learn to surf”. We stumbled into Car Hayward and he sold me a fun shaped board that got me started down a lifelong path of surfing. Now I surf year-round in New England. Thanks Carl for the stoke and for taking the time to treat me so kindly. I have a lifetime of the best memories thanks to you. Dave Smith