Iconic surfer, Jim “Burrhead” Drever, died October 2, 2008. He passed away at South Coast Hospital in Laguna Beach near his residence in Three Arch Bay overlooking Salt Creek. Burrhead lived until age 86 and died peacefully after a battle with terminal cancer.
He began surfing in 1937, at age 15, but took time to pursue his second passion of aviation during World War II. After the war, he returned to California and reconnected with his love of the ocean.
By 1952, Burrhead had made a pilgrimage to the North Shore where he met surfing legend, George Downing. Downing equipped him with the elements necessary to return to California and begin designing boards. Burrhead’s presence, from Imperial Beach to Los Angeles, helped progress surfing and board design in Southern California during its burgeoning years along the coast.
While Burrhead’s contributions to early Southern California surf culture and board design are undeniable, he valued a life of privacy and a personal surf experience. He shared his enthusiasm for surfing with his children and was deeply loved by his family and all those who knew him. His son Matt explained, “His entire life revolved around the ocean and he surfed simply because he loved to.”
According to his family, Burrhead was a man of humility, and wouldn’t have desired the attention garnered by a memorial gathering or paddle-out. Therefore, at this time there are no plans for a service to be held. He is survived by his two sons, Matt and Tony, and four grandchildren.