Jack Meyer — my brother, my friend, my
mentor — passed away on January 7 in Melbourne Beach, Florida. He
suffered a heart attack while jogging. Jack was 53 years old — or
young, if you knew him.
He was well-known in Santa Barbara and in the surf and surfwear
industry worldwide. As a sales rep for various
companies — including Señor Lopez, Local Motion, Hurley, and Dragon
Eyewear — Jack traveled the world, attending trade shows. He was
able to surf some of the best waves the world has to offer, and to
meet people everywhere who were enamored with him. Jack was Jack!
If you knew him, you know what I mean. Everyone has Jack stories.
He was quite the character.
Jack moved to Santa Barbara in 1972. He sent a letter back to
our family in New Jersey, telling us we just had to come out and
see it. So we packed up and headed west. I found my older brother
surfing and painting. He sold his airbrushed T-shirts for money.
When I started school at Santa Barbara City College, just about
every other girl was wearing a tank top Jack had airbrushed. And
because he was a good surfer, too, Jack became a central part of
the emerging surf industry. He airbrushed boards in Santa Barbara
for years, first for Channel Islands, owned by Al Merrick and Kim
Robinson, and eventually throughout the industry. People talk about
“bum surfers,” but it wasn’t like that at all; Jack worked his tail
Eventually, Jack decided to become a sales rep to make more
money, but he kept on doing his artwork. I always wished I could
have been Jack’s own sales rep. He got burned monetarily for the
good stuff he did because he wasn’t greedy. I used to tell him,
“Jack, you’re getting ripped off.” But he wasn’t in it for the
Jack moved away from Santa Barbara in 1984, but came back to
visit a few times a year because of all his connections here. Until
Esau’s closed a few months ago, Jack still had a few paintings on
the walls. You could pick out his stuff right away. The owner,
Scott Stanley, has some good Jack stories.
Jack loved big surf. One day in October 1977, he called me up at
6 a.m. Jack, Kim Robinson, Al Merrick, and I all met up at Duffy’s
in Montecito and headed to Rincon. It was triple overhead. Jack
said to me, “If you don’t paddle out, I’ll never surf with you
again.” Yeah, I paddled out. I got a couple inside waves before I
ended up on the rocks along the 101, about a half mile down the
beach. I thought I was gonna die. People were pulled over on the
side of the road, staring at me. All of a sudden, Jack pulled up.
He helped me out of the water and put me in the car. “You
knucklehead,” he said.
Many people tell me Jack stories about Campus Point, Rincon,
Jalama, and El Cap. I was very lucky to have been there for some of
those magical days.
As a sales rep, Jack had plenty of samples in his truck.
Throughout his travels all over the world, he would take these out
and hand them to kids on a whim. Some of these kids had nothing.
Jack was like Santa Claus in July. They recognized him immediately
and would run up to him, shouting, “There’s Jack!” or “Uncle Jack!”
What a big heart the guy had.
He touched so many people everywhere he went. I found this out
at the viewing of his body in Manasquan, New Jersey, where between
2,500 and 3,000 people showed up to pay their respects. These were
people I had never met, from all corners of the world. On top of
that, there were 67 family members there who I hadn’t seen for many
There are so many people who have lent support and helped to
honor Jack since he passed away — Joe Lopez, who gave a great
speech at the viewing, Kim Robinson, our cousin Mike Meyer and his
family, my sister Cindy and her family, and especially Toni, Jack’s
fiancée. I couldn’t possibly list everyone who contributed, but you
know who you are. Thank you.
To all who knew Jack, keep him in your heart and cherish those
times when he gave you some special moments. And keep telling those
Jack stories. Remember his gusto. If you have any of his artwork,
hold onto it, for those pieces can’t be duplicated. We all miss him
During the viewing, Jack was wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a lei
around his neck, and was holding my father’s baseball card in his
hand. You knucklehead! You left us too soon. Jack, thanks for being
my brother. Your aloha spirit lives on.
There have already been paddle-outs for Jack in China (only
Jack!), Florida, and New Jersey. There are two planned for San
Clemente and Rincon for all of us locals to have a chance to
commemorate Jack. For more information, call Ray at 705-7915 or Joe
Lopez at (760) 790-8503.To read more about Jack, visit localswell.com and jackrmeyermemorial.com.