Durante os anos 1980, um shaper era considerado o rei de San Clemente. Chris McElroy, que faleceu na última semana na Califórnia (EUA), foi o responsável por fabricar foguetes para nomes como Christian Fletcher, Dino Andino e Mitch Colapinto na época dourada do surfe local.
McElroy, que passou por problemas com o álcool e drogas nos anos 1990 e também morou por muitos anos em Baja California, México, vinha com a saúde debilitada há anos. Ele também é considerado um mestre para lendas atuais do shape como Matt Biolos e Timmy Patterson.
“Ele se comportou como uma estrela do surfe”, relembra Matt Biolos, em declaração no Instagram. “Festejou como um astro do rock e tinha o melhor ‘air guitar’ que eu já vi, mas podia tocar também. Ele era divertido e inclusivo, provavelmente estaria festejando conosco agora no andar de cima”, acrescenta o shaper.
McElroy era figura lendária da Calle de Los Molinos, área de San Clemente também conhecida como Surf Ghetto, e que reunia os principais nomes do surfe na cidade nos anos 1980 e 1990.
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When I moved to San Clemente full time, in 1987, this guy was top dog. #ChrisMcElroy. Everyone wanted his boards. @reinolandino was his muse. Dino, #ChristianFletcher and countless others, were plastered everywhere on boards boldly emblazoned with massive “MC’ELROY” Logos. Every inch of his shaping room was covered with pages torn from magazines featuring hot shots on his sexy sleds. He was a globetrotting shaper, but down at Uppers, he really held court. Usually in the hut, ominously behind dark sunglasses and his signature barbell mustache, but also in the water, where he had earned all but free reign in the then pecking order regulated line up. His boards had flair. Unique and stylish. They fit the sloping waves of San Clemente perfectly. We all copied them. Like Hobie Alter before him, and myself, and many others after, he came from out of town….with next to nothing. He worked (and earned)his way into the community and culture of the then small town. An outsider who made it in. By the time I showed up, he carried himself like a Bonafide Surf Star. He partied like a Rock Star and had the best “Air guitar” I ever saw, but He could play as well. He always had an entourage of sorts. He was fun. He’d party with us, ask us questions, let us hang out upstairs in the #HydroGlass den of decadence. He was inclusive. He’d pay me paint his team riders boards…and tease the shit out of me for “drawing skulls and Devil Shit on my boards!”. In the bustling surfboard building ghetto, we all wanted to be him. He was the archetype. Like Bear, from #Big_Wednesday. But like ol’ Bear, that RockStar life style caught up to him. More parties than surfing. More parties than working. In the end the fall was radical. Yet he somehow kept his magnetic and hypnotic character for decades. Through it all, he could still hold court. Even when teetering on homelessness, or holed up in Cabo, there was still some magic in the original “ Muc”. We learned so much from you. We learned what to do. We learned what not to do. For myself, @tpattersonsurfboards and many others in our board building community, perhaps that’s your biggest lesson given. Sleep well, Chris. We all loved you