THE KING OF COOL
RIP STEPHEN HUDSON
Stephen Hudson, also known as Hurricane Hudson, owner of Tynemouth Surf Co, legendary surfer, the epitome of cool, man of the sea and most importantly, my dad. Sadly, Stephen passed away on August 10 2017.
Stephen was one of the first surfers in the north-east. He actually learned how to surf from his father Ronnie, who was the first surfer in Tynemouth. Ronnie was in the navy and he had travelled to various places, including Australia where he saw people surfing. He then started it over here. When Stephen was young, he was part of a handful of young hippy surfers who spent their youth surfing and skateboarding. Stephen had a natural talent, especially on his longboard, which he surfed with style and grace. He often went to Cornwall for competitions and when he was 28 he came fourth in the British Longboard Championships.
In 1991, Stephen and my mum, Melanie, went on a surf trip to Bali with several others from Tynemouth, including his best surfing buddy, John Stores. At that time, Bali was pretty much an unknown destination. He hung out there for three months, surfing Padang Padang, eating Nasi Goreng and living on a shoe string. They visited Lombok, Nusa Lembongan, all before they were built up and long before the tourists visited.
In 1995, Stephen and his friend Mark Ward transformed an old cafe on the sea front into a surf shop and Tynemouth Surf Co was born. They also hired the beach hut on Longsands beach from North Tyneside Council and set up the surf school which is now one of the biggest in the UK.
In 1995, Stephen and Mark Ward, who had just qualified as surf instructors, were working at the beach hut when they saw a rib setting out into treacherous seas. The boat capsized and Stephen and Mark immediately went to their rescue. Stephen paddled out on his longboard and braved 400 metres of fierce fifteen foot waves to get to the four year old boy and four men. He got hold of the boy first and gradually got the men one by one to hang onto his board. He held onto them until the helicopter came and winched them to safety. Stephen and Mark received bravery awards from the Prime Minister, John Major, at an awards ceremony at 10 Downing Street and also received bravery awards from Princess Anne.
My dad was an idol to so many others. Joel Gray, wrote the following:
“Two of my most favourite people, Louis Thomas-hudson and Steve Surfco. I can’t believe that Steve, the absolute beating heart of the Tynemouth surf community has gone. This one is going to bruise. He was just the raddest dude ever and offered nothing but honesty, loyalty, pride, dedication and affection. There’s so many tales that I cherish but a strong one is from my first proper surf at Hartley as an awestruck teenager. Filled with honour and nerves just being out there behind the big boys all I could do was wonder how to catch one of these frightening waves. Then from deep behind the peak came this lanky frame, back knee bent and knocked in - always knocked in, both palms down, style prioritised, he swung tight off the bottom and snapped right under the lip before standing bolt upright in the barrel right across the reef. It was the first tube ride that I ever saw and just the most beautiful thing ever. Thanks for the memories Steve. So many good memories."
My dad was pivotal in helping to boost the popularity of surfing along the Tyneside coast. In 2004, he won an award for bringing Tourism to the area.
Pete Warne, Tourism and Events Manager, North Tyneside Council wrote the following:
“Stephen was a true ambassador for tourism in North Tyneside. We’d often have journalists wanting to write features on the area and we’d always send them to Steve for a quick surfing lesson or a positive quote.
He’d never ask for anything in return. Whatever the request, the answer was always ‘yes’ and we knew that anyone we sent his way would leave having had a warm welcome, a great experience and a glowing endorsement of the region – even if the surf was flat! He played a characteristically humble yet pivotal role in making
Tynemouth the treasured place it is today and truly was at the heart of the community. It was always reassuring to know he was there. We’ll miss him greatly.”
We held a paddle out as a tribute to my dad. The amount of people taking part was overwhelming. It has brought me a little bit of solace to know that so many people loved and respected my dad. Nothing made us happier than when we were riding glassy together. I hope you are riding some glassy waves above.
“We all come from the sea
But we are not all of the sea
Those of us who are
We children of the tides
Must return to it again and again Until the day we don't come back Leaving only that which was touched along the way”