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SURFING SOAPBOX:Petrovich was an original

Every now and then in our everyday lives, we come across a person with an everlasting, infectious smile. Take Joey Petrovich.

He absolutely walked life like he talked it. Perhaps better said, he sang it. I admired Joey for that very quality. He was real from head to toe. He sang about his life and his interests, good or bad, and unlike in today’s overproduced, gimmick-flavored bubble gum music, Joey not only wrote his own music, but he was out there living it.

One needs to look no further than in the quick-witted classic “Cocktails for One.”

Joey was one-of-a-kind, always smiling and laughing. I can always remember Joey walking up from behind, tapping me on the right shoulder a couple of times and asking how I was. And there he was with that huge infectious smile of his, like a big kid in a candy story — and one of his favorite candy stores was Victoria Beach.

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Not known exactly for his prowess on the volleyball court, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who enjoyed playing volleyball more than Joey did. He was always laughing and talking, running around the court like a little kid playing duck, duck goose.

Perhaps his most savored moment of playing volleyball down at Victoria Beach came in the summer of 1995, when Joey and longtime friend Mike Stafford (former AVP professional volleyball player) reached the finals of the Victoria Beach two-man volleyball tournament.

Joey embraced every aspect of life here in Laguna Beach and it is now through his entertaining life that a scholarship is offered in his name to aspiring musicians at Laguna Beach High School.

Last Friday, at the Sandpiper, we celebrated the life and times of Joey Petrovich and raised money for the Joey Petrovich fund.

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Keep smiling, Joey.


  • JAMES PRIBRAM is a Laguna Beach native, professional surfer and founder of the Aloha School of Surfing. Listen to him live on 103.7 Free FM from 8-9 a.m. Sundays on his show, “In the Line Up.” He can be reached at Jamo@Alohaschoolofsurfing.com.

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