Article

R.I.P. Yancy Spencer III

Gulf Coast Surf Legend Dies at the Age of 60

| posted on February 15, 2011

In the shaping room at Innerlight, early 1970s.

In the past two weeks the surf world has lost two legends in the form of fabled photographer Leroy Grannis and surf icon Jimmy Blears. Yesterday, a third name was added to that list when the “godfather” of Gulf Coast surfing, Yancy Spencer III, died of a heart attack in Malibu. He was 60 years old.

Spencer began surfing during the mid 1960s along the Florida’s Gulf Coast. By 1970 he possessed a full-fledged profile as a professional surfer. He was successful competitively (in 1972 he won the East Coast Pro in a field that included the likes of David Nuuhiwa and Dale Dobson), and made frequent appearances in magazines and films.

Perhaps best known for his presence in the surf industry and community along the Gulf Coast, Spencer opened Innerlight Surf Shop in 1972 in Gulf Breeze, a small town near Pensacola. In the years that followed, Innerlight expanded to include several locations in the surrounding area, which still serve as a gathering place for local wave-riders.

As reported by the Pensacola News Journal, Spencer came ashore yesterday after experiencing chest pains in the lineup at Malibu while on a trip to California. He then dialed 911 and called his daughter, before suffering a massive heart attack on the beach. Known for his spirituality and his excellent health, the loss has sent shockwaves throughout Pensacola and the surf world at large. He is survived, among others, by his brother, John Spencer, his wife, his daughter Abigail, and his two sons, Yancy IV and Sterling. SURFER would like to offer our condolences to all his family and friends, and express our sorrow for their loss.

  • Mike

    I have known Yancy since the 1960′s surfing at Pensacola Beach. I saw him out on his paddleboard just a few weeks ago. I will miss seeing him in the lineup. God bless you Yancy, I’ll see you again some day in that big lineup in the sky. Condolences and thoughts are with the Spencer family today.

  • http://www.johnpaulking.net John

    Thanks for posting this guys. As a Pensacola native and local he was and is our surf hero. The respect you show him means a lot to us.

  • Bolivia

    great guy and family. i have visited innerlight through my world travels and they are quality famiy/people. big loss for the east coast and world surfing community.

  • jdap

    He gave me my first surfing lesson a year ago…will never forget that day & the talks we had. Yancy will forever be remembered by us all for how he followed his Inner Light. Thank you for being a genuine friend, Yancy. See you soon brother!

  • Karen

    As a local on Pensacola Beach, I knew Yancy from longboarding here by my house. Sometimes t would be so small, it would only be he and I out. When the BP oil spill threatened our beach last summer I ran in to him as I was leaving the beach the first morning we experienced tar balls on the beach. he asked me what it looked like and I told him. His reply was, “It will be alright, don’t worry. we surfed in tar balls out here in the 80″s. It will be ok”. And I beleived him. He was right. It is ok, and he was a wonderful man. he will be missed by all

  • Jerry Covan

    I purchased my first surfboard from Yancy Spencer, at the old yellow 2 story house on 9th avenue in 1979. He will always be considered a “True Waterman” to those who knew him. He was inspirational to hundreds of young surfers up and down the Gulf Coast with his laid back style and positive outlook. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. The surfing family has lost our big brother. His faith has taken him to be with the Lord. He will be missed

  • jeff

    Was a bu local for 15 years got to see him come to contest there and beat the boys at there own point .Who does that its just how good he was never seen anything lke it . rip bro

  • Tim

    I grew up in Pensacola and started surfing in the late 60′s, my earlest memories were stopping at Yancy’s grass hut surf shack to get wax and the surf report. From that time we became good friends when he always protected the new surfers from some of the older aggressive surfers that did’nt want any new dude’s invading their break. Yancy’s skill always challenged me to be a better surfer, especially during the big pre storm waves. I remember riding a 10+ foot wave before hurricaine elosie hit in November 1975. Those waves were huge with excellent form, when the north wind hit in the early morning. I remember Yancy cheering me on when I jumped off the old wooden pier and to raced to over those mountains. My first wave of that day was a straight kamazie drop and when I turned to get up on the wall the lip caught me and rolled me under all the way to the shore. Yancy met me on the beach helped me recover and encouraged shake it off and get back out there. We went back out and I had the best rides of my life. I learned to trust my confidence and control my fear. Yancy spirtural influence was truly a positive innerlight especially during those early years when some surfers were violent and did not get the idea of sharing waves.
    I sorry I did not get back home to see his smile again.

  • Shaun Tomson

    I met Yancy in 1977 and we became instant friends – he had a gentle soul, a big smile and a huge heart – he was the most stoked guy I ever met and the only things he loved more than surfing were his beautiful family and G-d. He was a man of faith and a man of honor and the surfing world will miss him deeply. My condolences to his wife Lydia and his children. We love you Yance and will meet again.

  • Gene

    Didn’t really know Yancy personally but spoken to him very infrequently over the years on Pensacola Beach. The last time was 2 years ago during a tropical storm swell. My son Logan and I had just gotten out of the water and he was there on the beach. He didn’t remember me, know me, or anything, but came up to me and my son and just started talking. Just a normal, very humble guy on the beach to surf and make friends. He didn’t “look down” on me because he was “Yancy!”. Obviously, that brief meeting left a mark on me about what a genuinely good person he really was! His name is synonomous with Pensacola and the Gulf Coast surf scene. It is so hard to think that he is gone. I’ll miss him and his updates to the Innerlight surf report. You KNEW there was surf going on if it was Yancy doing the update. Pensacola will never be the same

  • Eric

    Never knew Yancy personally but I have always known of him. I grew up surfing in Pensacola and he was the gold standard of surfers in the area. He will be missed by everyone in the area. My heart hurts for his family. RIP.

  • Patrick Mulcahy

    Always had a smile and a wave to anyone and everyone. Sold me my first board back in 1980, and years later, let me put one on layaway even when I moved out of state. Now back in P-Cola, he is and will forever be part of our local history. RIP Yance.

  • Pingback: Innerlight’s Yancy Spencer Dies After Surfing at Boardistan

  • Terry Peek

    We lost a wonderful person from our large surfing family on Monday. Yancy was always quick with a smile. He lived the life he loved and had the fortune of having a wonderful family around him.

    One of my favorite stories regarding Yancy took place about 8 years ago, when we were exhibiting at Surf Expo in Orlando. My wife and I were riding the shuttle bus up to the front of the convention center. A young couple on the bus looked out the window and the young guy blurted out “look at that old guy on the skateboard”. It was Yancy, skating down the walk with a surfboard under his arm. We laughed.

    God Bless, and may it be 6 foot and glassy on your arrival in heaven Yancy.

  • steve castro

    The Gulf Coast lost a very inspiring surfer.Back in 1974 i bought my first surf board from Yancy.I remember him telling me that not to get frustrated that surfing was a big event. He would see me at the beach and ask me how it was going ? I GUESS BY THE LOOK ON MY FACE IT TOLD EVERYTHING. He would tell me not to give up,that the first time you are able to stand up you would be hooked. Man he was correct.Faces will be missed but his smile after catching a good ride will never be forgotten.My thoughts and prayers are with the family during these sad days to come.

  • yancy spencer 4

    My dad was a great surfer an father, he knew surfing better then anyone i ever met.
    We called him the surfing professor because of his in dept knowledge of surfboards, an he could never be stumped when it came to who won any contest ever. he loved surfing. thank u to all an everyone that has been in touch with our family thru this tragic loss.

  • gayfer

    I am so glad that I had the privelage of growing up with this family. I grew up in Gulf Breeze and my older brother Don Nobles went to Pensacola High School with Yancy , and I always begged my brother to take me with him so that I could watch and learn , I was only 9 yrs old, yeah, little sister tag along. I also remember when Yancy did a beach report ,when a certain hurricane , it was Camille or Eloise and we were told we had to evacuate within 48 hrs to get off the Island or the bridges would be closed, NO IF’s and or BUT’s you are stuck on the Island. My brother Don had heard Yancy”s surf report , and he went to the garage and grabbed his board and started waxing it, while me and my sister and mom were packing to get the HECK “OUTA” DODGE My brother got on the phone and called all of his buddies and they all met at the infamous Pensacola Beach Pier. Mom cried as we left the Island without Don, but he said this was like a dream come true because this was the LARGEST WAVES that you would ever see on the Gulf Coast . Well, Don, Danny, BTurner,Esposito,Yancy, that’s all the names that come to mind. I went to school with JB and Midgie Schluter in Gulf Breeze and I feel so privaleged to know the Spencer and Schluter family, I wish I could be there for the “paddling” at the pier, but my thoughts and prayers are with all of you, and ONE DAY WE WILL ALL RIDE THAT BIG WAVE TOGETHER . .,

  • Melanie

    I am just so glad that I was one of the many people that was able to have the pleasure of knowing Yancy and his family…..He is really an inspiration to me both athletically in surfing as well as spiritually, as I am still struggling here and there in that aspect of my life. But, there will never be a time that I stop by Innerlight, paddle out in the Gulf, or see his family that I won’t have a smile on my face and think about what a wonderful and kind person he was…..Even though I know that Yancy is surfing with God now and is at peace, I still can’t stop the tears from falling just because it’s hard to lose a person that you look forward to listening to on the report (this is YS3 reporting live from PCola beach, over and out), and seeing out in the water riding every wave all the way to the beach so gracefully—always so nice and uplifting. This is an example of what an influence he was and still is…..I knew him fairly well because I used to work at Innerlight, but the last 10 years I would just see him here and there usually in the water or at the shop, but it’s difficult because a lot of us (including myself) don’t really react well to the unexpected. I am grateful for having the pleasure to know him and his “Inner Light” will live on eternally! ;-)

  • Kevin MacArgel

    When I was growing up in FWB Fla. I remember getting to meet Yancy on many occasions as I surfed for his Satellite surf shop and Tim Carr …….INNERLIGHT SURF TEAM and ESA. Even had him make my first custom board……….zebra striped of course………it was the beginning of the 80′s. In those days when you talked about Gulf Coast surfing inevitably Yancy Spencers name popped up as he truly was the face of Gulf Coast surfing. A man of faith Yancy surely had a ticket to pass through the gates………………a mentor to so many groms including me back then and ever since, a surfing legend and a class act in style. Obviously his boys picked up on his gig . God rest your soul sir…………….my condolences to the Spencer crew……………….

    Peace
    Kevin MacArgel A.K.A. Mongo
    Santa Cruz CA.

  • MANDALAY SURF COMPANY

    Yancy Spencer was one of the most solid people in the surf business.
    I am happy to just get the chance to call him a friend, he was quick with a smile,and always glad to help me out.

    ************We will all miss him*********

  • http://surfer greg (grog) mesanko

    yancy, your a soft spoken class act.. thanks for the memories. Every time I watch sterling rip we will think of you.
    northeast salutes you
    PEACE OUT
    GROG

  • Retro

    I had the privelage of meeting Yancy at bible study at JCarpers house years ago. I met Yancy the surfer, buy I also met Yancy the guy who really Loved God. We surfed chuns and Ali’i super cool guy. I was so fucked up back then and Yancy just wanted to surf and Share Jesus. That was a good day. Yancy, no doubt you will be missed . You left a solid impression on this knucklehead. Aloha <

  • http://www.richprichsurfdesigns.com Rich Price

    When I was in Hawaii the winter of 75-76, I had been there for almost two months and had never been to any north shore Bible studies. I ran into Yancy and mentioned that and he was like “what?!”….so that very week, he came by and gave me a ride to one that he had been going to and I was stoked! I’ve seen so many good surfers in my lifetime but only a handful with an instinctive natural talent. The ability to be in the right place at the right time on every wave and the ability to do that with style. Yancy was one of the few who had that. I’m praying for his family as they go through this difficult period…I’ll miss you bro!

    • http://www.richpricesurfdesigns.com Rich Price

      “When I was in Hawaii the winter of 75-76, I had never been to any north shore Bible studies. I ran into Yancy and mentioned that and he was like “what?!”….so that very week, he came by and gave me a ride to one that he had been going to and I was stoked! I’ve seen so many good surfers in my lifetime but only a handful with an instinctive natural talent. The ability to be in the right place at the right time on every wave and the ability to do that with style. Yancy was one of the few who had that. I’m praying for his family as they go through this difficult period…I’ll miss you bro!”

  • Rainbow blue

    Surfer’s Lullaby,..
    …..when i grow up, i wanna watch waves go by.
    smell the ocean air, and sing a lullaby.
    …..tell stories of catching the Perfect one,
    and seeing The Legends ride the Great One.

    To Yancy family, may memories of shared laughter and joy give you peace.

  • Coy

    Didn’t know him personally but sometimes would see him out in the lineup surfing. He was truly a great surfer always knew the right place to be at the right time.

  • bird Huffman

    The first time I met Yancy was shortly after he had won the East Coast Pro. He walked into Select Surf Shop wearing a white suit and a Panama hat with a beautiful girl on his arm. He was on his way to Hawaii and dropped in to say hi to the San Diego crew. I was all of 13 or so but he made time to chat with me and we remained in contact from then on.
    Yancy was a class act in and out of the water. He spread good words and GODS word where ever he went. He is in the best of company now.
    With respect and love,
    bird

  • Jason K

    The first Surfboard I bought was an Innerlight. The next 6 I bought were bought from Innerlight. I fell in love with Surfboards through that store. I spent 2 years of my childhood and a few summers later in life in Pensacola. That’s where I fell in love with the Surfing life. Yancy and the Innerlight family were always stoked which made for a great environment in the shop and in the water. I never missed a swell in those early years and literally every time I was out so was Yancy. Everyone respected him and he was always kind and super stoked in the Water. Though we never formally met he was instrumental in my development as a surfer and was an inspiration to me to make a career from surfing. His legacy will live on but he will be missed.
    Peace.
    Condolences to the Family and Friends.

  • Justin Saxton

    Luckily I’ve had the pleasure of sharing the lineup with Yancy quite a few times over the last 15 yrs. Watching him surf never got old. As a grom in the 90′s, he was always the guy I’d see and say to myself, “man, i hope I surf half as well as he does when i’m his age.” i’ll never forget the day at the point when he stopped me on the walk back to compliment me on my last wave that wrapped all the way into the bay and let me know how much he’d seen me improve over the previous yr. At 16, those words of encouragement, especially from a living legend, are so uplifting and make you thrive to be better and better and they’ve stuck with me to this day. Some of my fondest memories of great surf on Pensacola beach have Yancy carving through them, riding from the outside all the way to the beach, over and over and over like no one else. He’s been a true inspiration to gulf coast surfers and will be for many yrs to come. I always imagined we’d be seeing him surf well into his 90′s. But as they say, only the good die young, God bless, YS3!!!

  • robert floch

    I took one of his boards to Hawaii in 1971. Was a lot of fun. My brother passed away 2years ago. Hoopefully the’ve hooked up.

  • mark neustadter

    it so hard to believe that Yancy the gulf coast pioneer and legend has surfed his last waves on earth .i just was with him at surf expo at the surftech booth. before he left i said lets take a shot together and we did. his smile was the best . always a smooth and classy guy in and out of the water.i always admired him . we met back in the beginning of the contest era . he was always glad to catch up and surf. he did it all in surfing a retailer, rep, contestant, teacher and much more. love and condolences to the family and god bless.

  • http://falbosfamilykarate.com Jimmy Falbo

    I was walking up the pensacola beach fishing pier to check the surf and standing there was Yancy, this was about 3 weeks ago. We talked about surfers from pensacola who have passed away, moved away as we watched Ben, his son Yancy, I beleive Brad dropping in on some over head high drops. He would always tell me how he prayed for all his old friends either moved away or in jail. Up walks John Russell to get some footage. He had just gotten a call from John Green in Navarre, about the conditions there. I will cherish that time I had with him all my life. I miss you Yancy. I thank you and will be seeing you again.

  • Mike McIntire

    I first met Yancy in Pensacola, I was a very good surfer from California, and had to go into the Military because of the Viet Nam Conflict. I was stationed at the Air Base in Pensacola and met Ed Ouellette, who, at that time was shaping boards for Hutson Surfboards. I then started glassing for Hutson and Ed and I became friends with Yancy Spencer, Beaser Turner and some other Gulf Coast Grimmies. But Yancy and Beaser were some special young surfers, and became our first team members for one of the first surfboard shops to ever sponsor a surf team on the Gulf Coast, ” Hutson Surfboards” !! I saw Yancy about 8 years ago on the beach at Malibu, and we talked at length about the old days. Yancy was a pioneer for the surfing industry on the Gulf Coast and I was proud to be a part of his life . . . RIP my friend, my thoughts are with your lovely family . . . MAC !!

    • Steve Frater

      I only met Yancy a few times. I knew who he was. He was the up and coming “New Breed” and I was “old school” and on my way out. I also was working for Hutson Surfboards at the time. I never knew Eddie came in and started shaping later. I thought Phil Waters son had take over the shop. But Yancy was Good and when he showed up in the surf area with all the “old timers” ( 17 or 18 year olds ) …we took notice. It was years later I found out just how successful he had become in the world of Surfing, No one deserved it more.
      RIP Yancy, from someone that wish they had know you better.

  • http://oceanpacific03.skyblog.com HASSAN ANIBA

    hello from morocco I’m surfer morocco longue time ilike Mr: MARK KNOPFLER iLOVE MUSIC MUSIC ALWAYS

  • chino koh

    never heard of you before but i see you were special to peoples hearts and souls

    surf the heavens mr yanci, i truly respect you

    israeli surfer

  • Jerry W.Smith

    I knew Yancy in the early 60s and 70s. it is a great loss to us all.SLEEP WELL YANCY.

  • Keith Hall

    He is the biggest presence on the gulf coast for surfing. Everytime I
    saw in the store or water he had a smile on his face.
    I’ve never heard anything bad about him and all I hear
    is how generous and charitable he was. He is an ispiration for
    a lot of surfers here.

  • Teague Taylor

    My condolences to all of his friends and loved ones. Yancy always seemed like a class act to me. Legends never die!

  • Bob Plovanich

    My family operated a surf shop an hour and a half away from Yancy’s Pensacola location in coastal Alabama. Over the years Yancy was always there with advice and encouragement. Yancy was one of the best manufacturers reps I ever met. He was ten years older than myself so I always considered him a role model. God bless to his family.

  • Bruce Workman

    Me and Yancy Panama City Beach Jetties.Big day Big peaks hollow wow 35 years ago RIP my brother!!!! Bman

  • tom landrum

    I DID NOT KNOW YSIII PERSONALY BUT BEING AROUND THE SAME AGE AND PESACOLA BEING MY FAV BREAK SINCE THE EARLY 70 S AND THE GRASS SHACK SURF SHOP I M SURE WE EVE RIDDEN THE SAME BREAK AT SOME POINT IN TIME .. I KIVE IN GULFPORT MS .. NO SURF.. IT WASN T A TRIP TO P COLA WITHOUT GOING BY INNERLIGHT ALWAYS HOPPED ID RUN INTO HIM… I LEFT A COPY OF LONG BOARD MAG AT THE GULFBREEZE SHOP… THE ONE WITH HIS BIOGRAPHY IN IT AND ASKED THAT HE SIGN IT HE DID AND MAILED IT TO ME.. HE PERSONOFIED THE GULF COAST SURFER.. THE WAY HE WENT…CAN ANY SURFER ASK FOR MORE

  • Steve Hess

    First day of March and it took this long for me to hear of Yancys passing.I was traveling islands searching new breaks that day and i know he would have loved to be there.Yancy was a cool bro and great surfer.He will always be in our hearts and his family is in our prayers.He truly set an example with his devotion to Christ and surfing during his life.He is with all the other legends in Gods hands now.

  • CatpainSteeley

    Still remember all his lectures, and positive influence. Seems every time I would run into him while I was hungerover he would always have a short lesson to teach me, followed by smiles and positive vibes catching waves. One of my first memories surfing was 10 years ago, riding a beat up board i bought for 100 bucks with dings all over it, id run into him here and there and he would see the old school single fin longboard shaped in the late 70s and tell me i was riding the right board and cheer me on as i busted my ass every wave. you will be missed by many ys3.

  • rob teel

    along with other great legends, you reached the final lineup brah…
    ….from a brother n da h2o

  • http://www.eastbeachphotography.com Lee Rosenberg

    Though I didn’t know Yancy Spencer personally, there was a day in the summer of ’71 (or ’72) when I was surfing the summer away on the Outer Banks of N.C. It was one of those small wave, perfectly clear water days at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse with maybe 10 or so surfers out. The waves had really no power so most went out just to enjoy cooling off and then went back to the beach to hang out. At some point, Yancy arrived and proceeded to paddle out and amaze everyone on shore. It was like the laws of physics did not apply to him. In every turn he’d gain speed and fly from peak to peak with one of the most fluid and graceful styles I’d ever seen. The best way to describe it was he moved like a cat with precision, exactness and perfect balance. While he was surfing, I climbed to the top of the lighthouse and watched to see how he could find so much power in such junk waves. From an aerial view it was clear. You could see the layout of the sandbars, where the deep water was and where it would line up for a shot of power. Yancey drew a perfect line between these points, like a slalom skier gaining momentum as he moved through each gate. All the other surfers were searching in the dark and bogging down. Yancy was really one of the most brilliant surfers of the time and I’m sorry to know he’s now passed. But he still lives on in my memory of that day at Hatteras. Aloha Yancy!

    • Fred Bartleson

      I just found out. Shocked. I didn’t know Yancy real well. I met him through Charlie Schuler, who taught me to surf in Fort Walton Beach back in ’68. Charle, Yancy, and I hung out a few nights at some of the ESA regionals in New Smyrna and Sebastian Inlet in the late ’80s. I even ran into Yancy one day in the 90s at Patrick Pierless, surfing by himself. He was three years older than I am, but he was my hero when I was 15 and he was the pride of the Panhandle.

  • Aaron smith

    Got the news while in rincon of the Puerto rico kind. Last surfed with Yancy on a late tropical swell the begining of november ’09 at the fire house in perdido key. waves were 4-6 foot and off shore and he had the right of way on a good left. I saw him wave me on on and and got a really good ledgy left off that peak. When I made it back out to the line up I thanked him and and asked why he let me have that wave. He said I was late and theres enough to go around. There was certainly enough to go around that day but I’ve watched him make much more critical drops than that. I was not and am not close to Yancey or the family but I always consindered him a friend and a really good roll model. Had no idea that would be the last time we would be in the line up together. Miss hm a lot but then every time I see some one smiling in a line up about a good wave or an epic wipe out I remember He is there with us. Have the spot on lock for us in heven Yancey.

  • jon

    I just got a 9′ Yancy longboard on a trade. The Legend lives on!

  • David Netzorg

    He loved Jesus and was never ashamed of that or to let people know. He had The Innerlight!!

  • http://yahoo steve marquis

    Met Yancey back in 78 just out of Army. I purchased 7 footer single fin with air brush of Gandolph from LOTR. I still have the board and will always remember him in line up at P Cola pier. He did indeed have the innerlight. Condolences to his family and friends. Yancy I know you are still here with us enjoying GODS gift of the ocean.

  • Gypsy Thornton

    I grew up in Santa Rosa Island with Innerlight Surf Shop beaming bright all because of beautiful Yancy Spencer, When I was a child on the beach you’d hear surfers say “That Yancy Spencer he’s a great guy what a epic surfer too.” I’d see the Innerlight Surf Shop van buzz by and we all like “Right On Yancy!” I grew up loving him and he will always be one of my heroes forever. The way he lived noble and kindhearted and so true to Jesus “Innerlight” ! God bless him and his family and friends always. Much love. Thanks Yancy I love you forever hero.

  • http://iwillheal.com/BETA Craig

    I did not know Yancy Spencer personally, only through a surfboard he shaped. It was called a Greg Noll “Seeker” which I bought from the Greg Noll surf shop in Hermosa Beach in 1970 (I still have it BTW). It had to be by far the most advanced shortboard of its time. At 7’8″ or so it had a shape just like the thrusters of today, just a little longer, and was a true “magic” board. It was equipped with one of those fins with the corrugated box, that you would drop in and then jam back with your hand. The fin was flexible and in a bottom turn, I could roll the board right up onto the rail, so far I could drop my hand in the water, and twang the fin and ricochet back up to the lip. It was a fantastic board. He was a great shaper even way back in 1970.

  • Skadi meic Beorh

    On a trip back to my hometown of Pensacola this week, I heard the saddening news. I knew Yancey well, having met him in 1979. He was one of the handful of people who, through his lifestyle only, let me know that it was okay to be a Christian and also be “cool.” That’s not so important to this 48 year old now, but at 16, it meant the world. Thank you, Yancey. Your ‘Inner Light’ was for all to see, and be led by.

    They’re breaking left and glassy, dear brother. See you in the lineup.

    Skadi

    ~ Jesus Is Lord ~

  • Jilllynn Jaeckels

    I first met Yancey and his brother hitch-hiking from Pensacola through Gulf Breeze on way to Pensacola Beach. There weren’t many boards at that time and Yancey used mine each week. He and his brother kept thier surf shorts under the sand by a palmtree to right of peir. We all liked the brothers instantly. We did not have the locals only and hogging waves. We shared ours and were always excited to have enjoyed the experience. My friend Dottie Davis and I drove out to San Diego, up coast to San Franciso and back to San Diego. We were planning our way home and no one was returning except Yancey.We learned alot about ourselves on that trip back. I left the Gulf Coast in 1969 returning only once , I had a son who got his first board when he was around 2 and has never stopped. He is Jake and his home break is in San Diego, Ca. He short boards, longboards, paddleboards and kiteboards, all of which he is quite good at. Yancee saw his name at a contest they were both surfing and introduced him self to Jake, who still competes but decided not to go on the pro circuit. Yancey ask how I was and got the scoop on how we had lived in Oaxaca on the coast and now live in San Diego. I was glad to see Mike McIntyre, John Russel and several or the origanial gulf coast surfers named mentiioned and commenting on our loss of Yancee.. I am sure we will all remember Yancee thru all that he meant to the Gulf Coast and Surfing World he frequented. God Bless you and condolences and blessing to your wife and three children on thier loss.

  • wazwallaby

    I was only a punky teen growin’ up surfin’ here in sydney in the 70s, and it was a real rarity to get US surf magazines, but one day, somehow, I remember seeing one, and seeing an advert that featured Yancy, JB Falbo n Beasr Turner. Now, I don’t remember anything about that magazine, but for whatever reason the names in that ad stuck with me. The USA was the capital, and the gulf n east coasts seemed like exotic surf locales to me. Over the years, I would randomly check out what was goin’ on with those guys through any media I could, and dream about those coasts….OK, so now I am a broken down 55 yr old, a ruined knee, back and two bad shoulders have kept me outta the surf for 3 years now, n I miss it of course. So, tonight, I am checking ASP results online, and my mind goes, “Yancy Spencer”, so I check the ‘net n am saddened to read of Yancy’s passing….but am I right that somehow the spirit of the man and the love of the surf have communicated themselves to me by some means over these years? Reading tributes to him, I am moved but heartened to know he was a good guy in so many ways. My condolences to his family. It seems good too, that he left us while surfing Malibu. I am Wazwallaby