Terry Tracy, the surfing legend who helped create Gidget, has died, aged 77.
The former insurance agent who turned his back on a regular job to surf the beaches of Malibu, California and write about the wild times he experienced at the height of the Los Angeles surfing movement passed away at his home in San Clemente, California on Wednesday (23Aug12) after suffering complications of diabetes.
Renowned throughout the surfing world under his nickname Tubesteak, Tracy penned newspaper articles about his beach life and then helped screenwriter Frederick Kohner create teen surfer Gidget after giving his daughter Kathy the nickname after she asked to borrow one of his boards.
Tracy became the model for the Big Kahuna in Kohner's novel, Gidget, the Little Girl with Big Ideas, which became a cult 1959 movie, starring Sandra Dee and Cliff Robertson.
Paying tribute to her old pal, Kathy Kohner tells the Los Angeles Times, "We’ve lost one of the legends of Malibu. He just embodied surf culture."