I would like to pay tribute to a big man in a small way from the memory of my time as a young boy.
I read with sadness of the passing of Dick Jahraus. I referred to him as “Mr. Jahraus” in the time of my memory. I was 13 and just learning to surf at Rockpile, just below Mr. Jahraus’ home. A few friends and I were surfing the less demanding portion of the beach because of our limited experience. One day Mr. Jahraus and his son Joey came down the steps and paddled out to the Point, a more demanding break, and began to ride sizable surf on their canvas rafts. We were impressed and inspired to follow them out on our surfboards, and from that moment on, we challenged ourselves in ways we did not think possible. We didn’t see Mr. Jahraus in the water again, but he learned that we carried our boards a mile each day from North Laguna. We carried them on our heads mostly because our arms were too short to span the width of the big heavy boards of the time. We were too young to have cars and those were the days when parents didn’t drive children wherever and whenever they wanted.
Mr. Jahraus always greeted us with a big smile and a hearty hello, no matter that we were small and unimportant. Without knowing us, nor what kind of boys we were, nor owing us any attention in any way, he built a stand up rack in his backyard for us to leave our boards in so that we would not have to carry them so far. From then on he had a small posse of boys entering his yard very early in the morning and at all hours of the day. He never once complained, continuing to greet us with that big smile and hearty hello whenever he saw us. This may not seem like much to some, nor does it in any way measure up to all that he has done for our town, but to me it stands as an important measure of the man, an inspiration, a lasting memory, and a guiding force in my life.
You may have moved on, but you will not be forgotten, Mr. Jahraus.
Eric Stodder, Laguna Beach