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G. Louis Graziadio III, better known by friends as Luigi, or Graz, was one of the Original Founding Partners and a long-time supporter of the Surfing Heritage Culture Center (SHACC) located in San Clemente, California.  Being an avid surfer, innovator, and world traveler, Louis realized the importance of creating a legacy space for surfing history that would acknowledge those not only from the past, but into the future evolution of the sport for generations to come.

Louis was also an extremely successful businessman who charted his own course and embodied the same entrepreneurial spirit as his father, George L. Graziadio Jr., Founder, and Benefactor of the Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business.  Louis was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Second Southern Corp., the managing partner of Ginarra Partners, L.L.C., a closely-held California company involved in a wide range of investments and business ventures, and a member of the Graziadio Board.  Louis was active in real estate development, construction, corporate finance, and investment banking with an emphasis on restructuring private and public companies, as well as corporate spin-offs, IPOs, venture capital, and private equity.

But first and foremost, Louis was a dedicated husband and father, who would go to the ends of the earth to make sure that his family was loved and thriving throughout their lifetime.

Louis is survived by his loving wife Beth and children Gina Graziadio, Carra Graziadio, Gino Graziadio, and Marianna Graziadio.  He passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family.

Louis Graziadio, October 23, 1949 to October 17, 2022.

Remembering Louis Graziadio – A Surfer and Friend Perspective

by Kit Boise-Cossart

Louis was jazzed on surfing. As fellow high school teenagers we both were. Rat Beach, PV Cove, were the go-to local spots. As we became itchy for new frontiers, Graz, with his energy and budding organizational skills, provided a way beyond the neighborhood.

Graz had a new ’65 Chevy van, forest green with windows all around. He generously provided the needed transportation. Passengers split gas money, about 32 cents a gallon.

He took out one of the back seats hanging the boards inside under the roof, which made for limited passenger capacity and better harmony on where and when to go. Louis ran a tight ship. Everything had a place, towels folded, a bucket for wetsuits (‘short johns’ – no legs and arms), plus no sand allowed on the van’s clean carpet flooring.

North and South the well-known ‘A’ breaks were familiar to us through friends and the fledging surf media. Our agreed on goal was to sniff out the mysto spots, including those recently exposed on page 22 of the newly minted 1963 Surfing Guide to Southern California.

In 1966 we landed in front of a reef break that kneeboarder and water craft inventor George Greenough frequented. Louis and George were not bashful individuals and quickly geeked out about surfboard design and theory.

In particular was a 7’8” board George had in the back of his used black and white police car he had made for himself in 1964 that he called the ‘Baby’ to try standup surfing. He let us ride it.

“George’s board”, Graz recalled this past September, “was balsa with a reverse rocker in [the] tail. I remember you guys surfing that thing. I remember [Mike] Tiberio burying the rail on a turn and went flying! It was a minus tide day when we made the template [off the board] with some brown wrapping paper [on the beach]. Very precise … Haha”.

To another friend: “… it was longer [than his kneeboard] and more spooned and [with a] boat bottomed hull. Phil Becker [shaping at Rick Surfboards in Hermosa Beach] and I shortened it, took [the] hull out, made [the] bottom flatter, rails more neutral to down rails in [the] tail. Rest is history”.

After the Greenough meet ups, in 1968, Graz traveled to Australia. His visit was recorded in Bob McTavish’s 2013 book More Stoked. Louis, inspired by his write up wrote to his friends:

“Everybody gets 15 seconds of fame… this is mine… Haha.

Within a week Bob [McTavish] had my baby [surfboard of that nick name] in [the] San Juan Surf Shop taking the template and shaping and glassing a new board for himself. I was in consulting him on how I would change the rails, bottom and rocker. I was right wanting to make the bottom flatter but he wanted to stick with some V. He worked on it all night and rode it the following afternoon at Lennox.”

When he returned to the States, he further explored surfboard shapes and his relationship with shapers.

“My most notable memories were he [Dick Brewer] and David Nuuhwia talking surfboard design in Bing’s shop … They had my Egg tail paper template that McTavish and I had fooled around with at the San Juan Surfboard shop in Byron. I had brought it back from Australia and had it laid out on a blank and I was explaining the foiled rail (‘Jeepers’ [the shaper John Lessing from Palos Verdes] had just started working there). Bing made it into a model …! We called it the Tube Eater and Bing called it the Foil. I would have to say that our little hard core PV crew had a lot of input into the transition of surfboard designs from long to short boards in late 60’s and early 70’s.”


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