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It's Your Life / People, Places and Things to do. : Surfing Crowd Turns Out to Toast a Friend

June 15, 1995|LEO SMITH

Malcolm Campbell said he became a surfboard designer in the late 1960s not for the money but for the camaraderie of the surfing community.

That was evident last Saturday when more than 100 friends came from all over California to pay tribute to Campbell at a surprise dinner at Lusty's Mongolian Bar-B-Q in Ventura.

Fans were there to toast, roast and otherwise acknowledge the achievements of the 43-year-old Oxnard Shores native, who is considered a legend by many for his creation of a three-fin board, a five-fin board and the double-concave bottom.

They were also on hand to contribute a few dollars to help Campbell pay off some hefty medical bills. In February, Campbell, a father of three, was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor near his left kidney. Doctors removed the tumor and all signs point to a complete recovery.

Cost of the medical treatment was about $35,000, about one-third of which will not be covered by insurance, Campbell said. Saturday's gathering netted about $6,500.

Campbell, who operates Campbell Brothers Surfboards with his brother, was "flabbergasted" by the dinner but not surprised by the turnout. "The surfing community traditionally comes together at the drop of a hat," he said.

The party was arranged by Campbell's friend, Jon Patton, a Ventura resident and former professional surfer.

"Malcolm is the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back, even if it was the last shirt he had," Patton said. "I wanted Malcolm to see all the people who love and respect him and care about him."

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