Wave Trek Surfboards
Surf Team History
Huntington Beach, California
1969 through 1980
Dunkirk & Chesapeake Beach, Maryland
1980 through 2020 (and beyond)

Wave Trek Surfboards was founded by Bruce "Snake" Gabrielson and Chuck Ray in a warehouse in Costa Mesa during 1969 and moved to an old red building (left) near Garfield and Delaware in Huntington Beach about one month later. The picture below from the air shows another picture of the old Wave Trek shop behind Bruce's parents home around 1970. When the boards were first being built, no other houses were nearby and, as shown in the picture of Bruce sanding, you didn't need to worry too much about environmentalists closing you down. The shop had a showroom, shaping room, glassing room and glossing room. Boards were sanded outside the back door. Eventually we put a 6 ft high wood fence around the building and everything became a little more contained.

Bruce was taught to shape by Dale Velzy when he was shaping for Soul Surfboards. Bruce was able to start Wave Trek when Dale retired and started selling blanks for Bob Rogers at Roger's Foam. Dale gave Bruce all his shaping equipment and templates, plus helped supply blanks and contacts for wetsuits and related accessories. Both Bruce and Chuck had helped shape and make boards for several years but the first few were mostly for their own personal use. However, once production got going, quality improved immensely.

The company had a sales outlet next door to Greek on Pacific Coast Highway across from the Huntington Pier for a short time, and also a Hermosa shop, owned by Gary Diss, on Pacific Coast Highway. The first picture at the top of this page shows the Wave Trek Shop sign that was painted by Robert Milfield and hung first on PCH and then at the manufacturing facility for many years. The second picture above shows (L-R) Jack Sahakian, Chuck Ray, and Bernie Keach at the Hermosa Beach shop. The picture at left is the Wave Trek van with Charley Ray driving.

Using primarily Walker or Roger's Foam Blanks obtained from Dale and Bob, approximately 10,000 boards of various designs were built during the production years until 1978 when the company folded following a robbery. Of those boards, approximately 1,400 high performance boards were built for ranked contest surfers. These boards are usually identified on the stringer with the surfers name after the shapers symbol or name, followed by a special serial number. Approximately 300 Island Guns were also built for big wave surfing. Wave Trek also developed some specialty boards including pocket rockets for Hawaiian surfing and the 3'11" short board used for surfing at the Huntington Beach Pier after regular surfing hours during the daytime. The picture at the bottom of this article shows Chuck Ray riding the super short stubby model.

A few Wave Trek boards were built in the 1980s and early 1990s on the East Coast by Bruce Gabrielson and on the West Coast by Jeff Smith before the East Coast shop was fully opened. These boards do not have serial numbers and are only custom made for personal use. Most boards use the black and white Wave Trek cursor decal. However, a few boards featured the WT Surf Team decal and some used the colored WT planet decal as well.

Skateboards were also manufactured by Wave Trek under the name Trip Stix. During the mid to late 1970's, thousands of fiberglass skateboards were built at the Huntington Beach manufacturing shop. Wave Trek was the first local Orange Conty surf shop to use the (then) new nylon wheels and modern trucks built by Oak Street. The link below goes to the interview Bruce Gabrielson gave about TripStix for the Larry Stevenson - Makaha Skateboard documentary in 2003.

TripStix Skateboard Interview

Several great surfers and notables including Micky Dora rode Wave Trek's over the years. Team riders also won a large number of manufacturer's events between 1970 and around 1974. Shown (at right) is the award from one such manufacturer's event. This link goes to a 1972 Surfer Magazine story about the WSA Hollywood by the Sea 4A contest where Wave Trek Surf Team members participated.

Since moving to Chesapeake Beach, located along the Chesapeake Bay, Wave Trek has focused on the inland surfing population along the Baltimore, Annapolis, Washington DC corridor. New boards are primarily custom boasrds, with some new boards on display at East of MAui in Annapolis and at the Woodie Resin Surf Shop in Oceanside, California. West Coast boards are shaped by Bruce during his many visits to Huntington Beach. The smallish Chesapeake Beach shop carries most items surfers need, plus a number of display schulptures on sale made by Bruce. Adjacent to the shop is the Bruce "Snake" Gabrielson Surf Art Gallery and Museum. This free museum is often by individuals from around the US and other parts of the world. Much of the history of Wave Trek is still available. Besides many pictures, film clips, and magazine articles, Bruce Gabrielson (left) chronicled most of the Wave Trek Surf Team adventures in two pamphlets titled "WaveTrekking" and "WaveTrekking II" in the mid-70s.

Selected Stories from WaveTrekking

Santa Ana River Mouth Pier - Story by Des Whelan
The 70�s Golden Years of Huntington Beach - Reflections by Dan Rice

Wave Trek Shop and Shaping Room in Maryland

Below is a partial list of those who rode Wave Treks at some point during their careers. Designers are considered those who developed special template designs.

Brad Bayless
Ron Crumby
John Denny
LaRoy Dennis (Designer, Shaper, Glasser)
Richard Dietz
Gary Diss (owner of Hermosa Beach Shop)
Mickey Dora
Rick Dowden
Greg Duzich
Greg Escalante
Mike Fisher
Bruce "Snake" Gabrielson (Designer, Shaper, Glasser)
Carl Gabrielson (Glasser)
John "Whitney" Guild (Designer, Glasser)
David Hilts
Bernie Keech
Ricky Kuhn
Rusty Henderson
Bruce "Face" James
Mike Kakuuchi
Dana Kimbrow
Randy Lane (Designer)
Bob "Sniffer" Milfield
Ty Page
Charley "Chuck" Ray (Designer, Shaper, Glasser)
Dave Randall
Steve Real (Shaper)
Drew Rathgerber
Corwin Reno
Dan Rice
Jack Sahakian
George Segetti
Mary Setterholm
Jeff Smith
Bill Stephens
David Van Druff (Designer)
Brian Taylor
John Van Ornum (Designer, Shaper)
Des Whelan
Tim Whelan
Tim Wirick (Designer)
Dana Wolfe

Dana Kimbrow and Snake Gabrielson Strategy Session
Before the US Chs Finals

John Van Ornum Cranks in Newport

Jack Sahakian in Normal South Bay Tube Position

Randy Lane at the US Championships

Tim Wirick on his Wave Trek "Gray Ghost" Model
Hollywood by the Sea

Rusty Henderson "Fun Session" at Hermosa

David Van Druff Shoots the Pier

Charley Ray Ripping Huntington

Des Whelan Powers Huntington

Bruce "Snake" Gabrielson Smokes in Big Baja

Dana Kimbrow on a Classis WT Pier

Tim Whelan Cooks at Malibu

Rick Dowden Up North

Mickey Dora at Malibu

Bernie "Berndog" Keech Hot in Mexico

Chuck Ray on the Stubby

Greg Escalante

John "Whitney" Guild at a LaJolla Contest

Dana Kimbrow Deep in a South Bay Right

Snake Gabrielson Shooting the Pier

Steve Real on a Big Day

Ty Page in Hermosa Power

Ron Crumby working for a Score

Dave Hilts Going Strong in Huntington

LaRoy Dennis South Side

Richard Dietz in Ventura

John "Whitney" Guild Today

Jeff Smith

Mary Setterholm Today

Bruce "Snake" Gabrielson Today

Drew Rathgeber

John Denny Today