06 September 2011

Surfing's Greatest Legend: Bunker Spreckels

The tale of Bunker Spreckels (1949-1977) reads like a pitch for a movie to rival Boogie Nights: The stepson of Clark Gable is a privileged Los Angeles party boy who is heir to a multimillion dollar fortune; passionate about surfing, martial arts, guns, and women, he lives the life of a debauched international jet-setter before succumbing to drug-fuelled excesses at the tender age of 27. Born Adolph B Spreckels III--great-grandson of German-born sugar baron, railway tycoon and publisher, Claus Spreckels, and heir to the Spreckels sugar fortune--Bunker became a famous surfer as a teenager, but after his inheritance came along, he began to slip into a life of pomp and excess where surfing took a back seat to drugs, sex, and wild road trips. So remarkable was his lifestyle that he created an alter-ego who invited photographers and documentarians to trail him, piecing together a tell-all epic of his own rise to fame and fortune finally published as Bunker Spreckels: Surfing's Divine Prince of Decadence by Art Brewer in 2007.


Richard said...

Sounds like an interesting guy! Though, I have never had any interest in drugs, he did have some other good habits.

DEK said...

Sad, of course. He could have been a prince of the world. But then, what models did he have in those wretched days? Or today, for that matter?