Kevin Cody

Don Swift was Redondo Beach Topaz Jetty Kahuna

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Don Swift in October 2015 at the Torrance Beach paddleout out for retired lifeguard Cliff Hugoboom. Photo by Joel Gitelson

by Mike Purpus

A paddleout in memory of Don Swift will be held Saturday, June 3 at 9 a.m. at Topaz Jetty in Redondo Beach. The surfboard shaper and master carpenter passed away in April, at age 64 from a brain tumor. Almost every day for nearly five decades, Swift sat in his spot, 40 yards southwest of the end of the Topaz jetty waiting for the next set wave. It didn’t matter if it was one foot or 10 feet, freezing cold or blown out. Swift was out there by first light. He lost his spot in the lineup last October when was diagnosed with glioblastoma.

The stoic, 64 year old Redondo High School graduate (Class of ‘70) started surfing with his cousin Mark White when he was eight years old at the north end of the Hermosa Beach on a 9-foot-6 board his uncle made for them.

Swift spent the mid ‘60s surfing between Sapphire and the Redondo Pier. He jumped to the Topaz side of the jetty in the late ‘60s

Everybody who surfs Redondo Beach knows Swift. He was the big Kahuna. Swift is survived by his brother and final caretaker Rod, youngest brother John, Regina Rod’s wife, sister Kathy, daughter Summer and son Zach. A paddleout in Swift’s memory will be held a a future date. ER

Don Swift in his favorite position at Topaz Street, Redondo Beach Photo by John Siskowic

Don Swift with one of his innovative creations. Photo by John Siskowic


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