Moving to Laguna Beach in 1947 helped to raise a salt soaked, surf kid. With his brothers, Chuck Harrell has been the co-owner of the Sandpiper Lounge since 1969. Chuck says, “Surfing is something I got good at, but it didn’t define me. I was more of a sportster kind of guy; football, baseball, basketball was my thing.”
After his stint in Vietnam, he began running his bar 42 years ago just a stones throw from the Brooks St. line up. Chuck has a perspective of our surf town like no one else. For people who grew up around these parts, The Sandpiper (a.k.a. Dirty Bird) is considered more of an institution than a bar. Chuck has a colorful take on things because we all know the best stories always come out after midnight.
What is your most treasured possession?
Probably my Wardy Surfboard bought in 1962 for $65 off Dangerous Dave. Although a straight deal, I hid it for 10 years because God only knows where it came from…
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
The Sandpiper has been closed only 4 days in 42 years. We have had so many great artists pass through here; we have had live music 7 days a week for all these years. The Piper has gotten a ton of accolades and people offering us way over market to buy us out. But to answer your question: LIFE…I’m 65 years old, I’m healthy, doing things with my kids and I still love going to work. My kids are working the Sandpiper now, I couldn’t be happier.
What is your favorite thing about Laguna Beach?
Laguna is a little bit of paradise stuck right in the middle of the real world.
What is your surfing equipment of choice?
The long one’s are more my style, the best sessions to memory are on either my 10’3″ Wardy or my other 10’3″ Hobie 5 Stringer Phil Edwards model.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Right in here in the belly of the Sandpiper.
What is your greatest fear?
People f*#!ing with my family or my bar, which is basically the same thing.
What is your favorite journey?
Going through life in Laguna Beach, running this bar with my Mom and Brothers for 42 years.
What living person do you admire?
My mom Jeana.
What living person do you despise?
People with no respect; for some it could just be a moment (which we are all guilty of) or for the real a-holes it happens regularly.
Which words or phrases do you over use?
“You know”. I use that like every third phrase.
Words to live by?
I am the furthest thing from a hippie but, “Every day is a good day and some days are just better than others, you know?”
What is your favorite Sandpiper memory?
Meeting my wife Jean here…as well as seeing the times change and the generational cycles. “Hans, your dad was sitting on that same bar stool when he was your age raising you rug rats, just like you raising yours.
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