Rest in Peace

Dale Velzy, a surfboard designer who helped popularize surfing along the California coast, died last Thursday. His business life offers up some interesting lessons:

  • Build a business aroud your passions Velzy started surfing when he was a child.
  • Location matters He opened a shop under the Manhattan Beach Pier in Los Angeles County.
  • Promote your most avid customers Velzy helped fund the 1957 film “Slippery When Wet,” which was made by Bruce Brown, who later went on to make the historic surfing documentary “The Endless Summer.”
  • Partner with people who will promote you Velzy made boards for legendary surfers such as Duke Kahanamoku, George Downing, Mickey Dora, and Harry Robello.
  • Keep your nose — and books — clean His business shut down for a decade following an IRS audit that uncovered faulty record keeping.