CJ Nelson2018-03-12T10:35:36+00:00


3rd generation San Franciscan, CJ’s connection to the SF hills is in his blood. Here he floats an intersection just miles from the Five and Dime store his grandfather owned in Hunters point during the 1940’s. “Growing up around the 80’s and 90’s graffiti/skate scene in SF was incredible. It gave me a lifetime of artistic fuel that will most likely never burn off”. -CJ pic- Justin Bowers

CJ at his second home in mainland Mexico, 2017. Its been a lifelong goal of CJ and his brother to own a home down there. Their childhood fantasy was realized winter of 2014 when a friend put his home up for sale. CJ spends a good portion of his time enjoying his little slice of heaven. Pic-James Tull

Another one of CJ’s ties to the city is his passion for cycling. It started with track bikes through messengers he knew that skated but has expanded into nearly every form of cycling. Here’s CJ with his Cinelli Mash Parallax, Santa Cruz 2016

CJ’s father and grandfather on the family 13 ft Tom Blake surfboard Newport harbor 1950. Pic by Meda Nelson

Like most kids who Surf, my story started with a Surf obsessed father growing up in the Bay Area. My father had surfed nearly his whole life learning ocean safety and wave riding from my grandfather at their summer home on the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach during the early 50s. I think my dad had his own dreams of professional surfing that were forcefully passed down to me.

One of many Volkswagen vans filtered through the Nelson family. CJ grew up on the road camping and surfing much like he does today. This was one of his dad’s frequent roadside campsites high above the lineup at Scott’s Creek north of Santa Cruz. Although their SF home was only 45 mins away Dad always opted for staying. 1980’s pic by Mark Nelson

Many good memories rolling around ocean beach SF checking waves in his Volkswagen Van as a child. Our home was always filled with boards (surf and skate) and ding repair, design speeches, and surf films were daily occurrences. I was immediately hooked on the whole thing and eventually stood and rode my first wave at first jetty in Capitola CA at 4 years of age. Toys went in the trash and skate and surf ruled all.

Fast forward a few years and my first contest at the SCLU club invitational at the Lane. My dad had a large vintage longboard quiver my whole life so brushing up on my longboarding as a child was a constant. I particularly bonded with an opaque white Doug Haut bump that I planned to ride in the SCLU event. I was terrified and nervous, but dad always reassured me that I was capable of anything. Dad entered me in as a Novice where I was disqualified for being “too good”. I remember my Dad saying, see son, I told ya so and laughing. He was stoked that I was as good as he’d thought and that I possibly had a gift. It hurt at the time because I thought it was unfair and wanted a trophy to show all my skater friends in the city but as my Dad always said, “such is life”. It did, however, light a fire under me and gave me a lot of self-confidence at a very young age.

11-year-old CJ with some tip time on his dad’s 1960s g&s Mike Hynson model. A child hooked on gliding. Insides at Pleasure Point 1986. Pic by Mark Nelson

Life was a bit of a whirlwind with all the stuff Dad had planned for me. I started getting coaching from my hero, Isreal Paskowitz and received boards from Herbie Fletcher and D