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in Memoriam: Terry Martin
By Steve Pezman

TerryTerry Martin, 74, passed at home in Capistrano Beach from melanoma cancer on May 12, 2012. Originally from the Sunset Cliffs/Point Loma surf haven, Terry eventually became a mainframe production shaper for Hobie Surfboards during its heyday period of building 250 long boards a week in the early to mid-1960s. Continuing his shaping through the following decades, he evolved a uniquely practical and highly honed craftsmanship and deft power tool control that, for one thing, allowed him to go further quicker with the padded power sander, to produce his quota and be home for lunch. Aside from year after year of day after day production that made him arguably the most voluminous shaper in the sport’s history, he was respected for producing some of the most consistently good riding boards. One of his nicknames was “the human pantograph”, a machine that faithfully and precisely copies existent shapes. Terry could look at a shape and reproduce it, or alter it ever so slightly as requested. He spent his early and later years working for Hobie. In-between, he did a stint for Bill Stewart at the height of that popular brand’s output. All along, he produced unbranded special request shapes for friends and good surfers who rode his shapes emblazoned with other’s logos. Martin was also known for crafting and playing richly adorned didgeridoos made of hollowed tree branches, an aboriginal instrument whose organic sound resonated for Terry. He also specialized in agave wood boards, for which he was always on the lookout for mature specimens to stockpile. Terry’s memory banks were filled with funny and profound stories that he had personally witnessed during his travels along surfing’s evolutionary road, consisting of people, events, paradoxical comparisons, and in a culture that too often is closed to sharing wisdom as if it is a personal treasure that can be lost, Martin would quickly become intimately rhapsodic when asked to give forth. As related by his brother-in-law, Mickey Munoz, two days before Terry passed, with great difficulty and concentration, he signed his last surfboard. Before becoming physically unable, Terry had been laboring on a set of special boards to be sold at a fund raising auction intended to help his family defer the staggering medical expenses that had mounted. One of the boards paid homage to a Phil Edward’s design, and the day before Terry passed, Phil arrived for a brief visit to give his blessings to that effort and ended up staying for three hours, sharing memories and laughs with Terry. When Terry finally gave up the ghost he did so with permission from his family who surrounded him at bedside. In retrospect, Mickey described Terry simply as “a saint.” —S.P.