I Lived With Mark In The “Foo Zoo”


I Lived With Mark In The “Foo Zoo”


I lived with Mark Foo in “Foo’ Zoo” at Waimea Bay during the winter of 1980/1981 for three months. He picked me up at the airport with his girlfriend around midnight. His house was full of surfers paying for lodging. Guys came from Australia (70 Australian National Champion Andrew Mckinnon, England (The “Pommies” from Cornwall), The Gulf Coast (longtime friend of Mark’s from Pensacola), Florida (Matt Kechele when he was very small and skinny) and the Poling brothers, filming the action), Sweden (a 40 year old skier who was far out), California (some guys from Carlsbad), and yours truly from San Clemente.

Mark first surfed Waimea Bay that year, wiped out badly on a huge board he borrowed from a neighbor, in the Duke contest. Bradshaw got a tube ride, and finished last in his heat! Contests are a joke. Anyways, I met Mark’s family: his sister, his father, and mother, and was impressed with their intelligence. I wasn’t surfing well then because I was out of shape, overweight, but I got a lot of good surf despite myself, and learned a lot of secret spots from Mark.

Mark was a very intense guy. He liked you or hated you. With me it was both. I remember one time I was trying to starve myself to loose weight, and I broke down and ate some Hagen-Dais “Rum Raisin” that was Mark’s; I thought it belonged to this stupid girl named Dolpin that had stolen food from me. Another time he commanded (he should have asked) me to help move some furniture so I ignored him, boy, did he get mad. I remember him giving me the finger and then running away.

Oh, I remember Timmy Carvalho and Bud Llamas lived in the house in back of Mark’s house. Timmy got so stoked one day when he was on the cover of “Surfing” magazine, riding at Sunset. He came running up the stairs with the issue jabbering away. Timmy brought me a six pack of Heineken on my last day in Hawaii. I remember that Timmy respected Mark Foo. I think a lot of people did because Mark was so dedicated to the sport, so intelligent, and so intense. I know I did.

When I left I brought a board I purchased from Mark, a 7’4″ Sunset gun,”Hawaiian Vibration” that I later sold to “Furdog” from San Clemente, a good friend of mine. Actually, I traded it for a watch I still wear. I think a little bit of Mark Foo rubbed off on Furdog because Furdog is the oldest hardcore surfer left in San Clemente that still surfs a shortboard.

I think Mark’s surfing peaked two or three years after that. Surfing is a hard sport to excel in for a lot of people. Mark was not a natural; he earned his success. I still owe him a carton of Rum Raisin ice cream! The next time I’m in Hawaii I think I’ll walk down to Sunset Beach, where Mark loved surfing the most, and throw one to him.

– Sent to us here at Backpackers