Reid, Sam


American surfing pioneer from New Jersey; the first person, along with Tom Blake, to ride Malibu. Reid was seven years old in 1912 when Hawaii's Duke Kahanamoku gave a surfing demonstration in Atlantic City, near Reid's home; the following day Reid began riding waves on his mother's ironing board.

Reid traveled to California at age 19 and became a lifeguard at the Santa Monica Swimming Club. In 1925, he made the first of many visits to Hawaii. In the early fall of 1927, Reid and Tom Blake drove up Pacific Coast Highway in Blake's Essex roadster, stopped at a private-property gate at the mouth of Los Flores Canyon, pulled their redwood planks from the rumble seat, and paddled one mile north to a never-before-surfed break at what was then known as Malibu Ranch. They rode their first Malibu wave together, and Reid later said that the experience "made you feel like a king!"

Writing for Surfer magazine in 1966, Reid, a surfing traditionalist who preferred an understated style of wave-riding, noted that "a mature man will never remain a hot-dogger." He died in 1978 at age 73.