Michael Grassley & Joey Thomas

I am researching 2 Santa Cruz surfers, one still living: Joey Thomas; the other deceased: Michael Grassley. I am hoping to give these two their due in published articles in The Surfers Journal. I am looking to connect w/anyone who knew either and can give insights to their lives both in surfing and in general. Thanks.

Steve this is great to hear. JT is Santa Cruz’s last great surfer shaper, a true dark knight that never sold out.
My dad was on Joey’s surf team in the 70’s and 80’s, I learned the fundamentals of shaping from him. My grandpa Johnny Rice was no longer shaping when i started 8 years ago, and unlike the shaper norm Joey took me on with with great enthusiasm, he never once put down any of my ideas. He encouraged experimentation with excitement and would say that we would have been good friends if we were the same age.
I can only imagine the era of when JT and Croteau shared a factory space.

Please email me, my grandma Rosemari has a wealth of knowledge and a vast photo archive of Santa Cruz and JT history.
JT is part of our family and we love him dearly.

email me at

Jonah! Thanks so much for your response! I grew up in Southern NJ and Joey became friends w/a older guy who mentored me and thru the surf shop he worked for got me sponsored by the shop and Joey’s boards. Joey made a lot of boards for many of the best surfers in our area. His boards were so much more refined and current than anything else being shipped to the East Coast. West Coast board builders often - but not always - treated the East Coast market as a backwater and often sent their B grade boards to our shops. Joey’s boards were so damn sexy and rode so well. I had 2 of em, then the shop folded and it was over. I migrated to CA in '79 and lived in Carpinteria till '87. Then moved to Nor Cal for school. Raised a family in Pacifica. Been there since '89. Thanks again for your response and I will definitely be in touch. Can’t wait to see the pics and talk about JT! Cheers - Steve Dwyer

Awesome Steve look forward to it,
My Dad as a grommet worked at the Haut glass shop on the westside. Before he worked his way up to laminator under T. Mikkus, his first job was packing Overlin’s fishes to be sent over to Florida!! Haha, i never really understood this but the east coast guys loved their fishes and oddly enough no one was riding them in Santa Cruz at the time.
He eventually asked the bros to make him one and recalls being the first one to ride a proper fish out at the Lane. Before JT started up his twin fins VC, Colton, Dave and dick Schmidt were still all riding single fins, the backside horizontal freedom he got from a 12 inch plus tail block blew my dad away.
A goofy foot myself i will never forget him describing to me those early breakthrough feelings, gesturing and motioning through his first round house cut backs at indicators…classic