History of the Original OB Seagull Logo

by on July 6, 2015 · 5 comments

in History, Ocean Beach

OB seagull decal orig

Originally posted at OB Rag on July 6, 2015

By Bob Sorben – Creator of the Original OB Seagull

Back in the 50’s and early 60’s we all hung out on the beach at the foot of Newport. OB was ruled by the locals and the defense of our beach town from outsiders was almost tribal. We fought with other local communities whenever an occasion arose. Of course, there were always fights amongst ourselves, and some just liked to fight.

The Point was actually broken up into clubs and each had followers, but we intermingled as one. The Sunset Surfers of the 40’s & 50’s and, the Qwiigs Surfing Club, which dated back to the 30’s were the beginning.

The Baron’s, Nobles, Rouges, the Yacht Club Guys and in “Tunaville” The Oaks. The OB Longhorns, an unorganized group of locals grew out of the 60’s era. With a few of our nick names like: The Missing Link, The Crab, The Deviate, Tommy Cuckoo, Monkey, Buttman, The Lizard, (the stories could fill a book).

It’s surprising most of us survived to this day. Our baseball and flag football teams always wore the Longhorns name. Thanks to a yearly “Reunion”, and our offspring, the group continues the bond. Some are surfing legends, ex-lifeguards, famous baseball and Charger players, Ph.D’s, VP’s and, a Tahoe circuit judge. The Girls also had clubs and had many parties that were always crashed by some other group.

And that’s how we grew up.

We wanted to designate our town and would go to Coronet or Homer’s variety stores and buy decal letters “OB” and paste them on the back of our car windows.

It was at that time my brother and I decided to create a window decal/logo for OB. We wanted something that would represent this unique community and something the people would be proud to exhibit on their cars.

We played with a few ideas but, they just weren’t that unusual, and seemed common or too trendy. I had the beginning letters partially completed a capital O & B completely drawn by hand since we didn’t have computers then. I finally found a unique seagull, also hand drawn by a friend, and that was it.

Movement, and the “expression of Freedom” that I wanted. Then came the placement. It took some time to find the exact position and size for the bird intersecting the OB but, finally it happened, when something clicks you know it.

Next in the process was sizing. Very important for the logo to be visible from a distance, but not big enough to be over powering. Next came setting up the silk screens and printing samples, then applying for the Copyright. We knew we had to obtain a © for protection, if it ever took off. After we had a few samples we approached Stratie Paras, owner of the Paras Shop on Newport. He liked the idea and offered to carry them.

We then made up a stand to hold them and at the top we called it the ORIGINAL OB DECAL anticipating copycats. Next was to approach other retailers; The Black, Surf’n Sea, Victory Liquor, Pat’s Liquor, ABC Liquor, Liticker’s and OB Gas. We lost some accounts but, picked up others such as Ocean Gifts & South Coast Surf. With the onset of smaller cars and imports, we created a smaller, half size version, which is now overtaking the original in popularity.

Over the years we’ve had people try to rip it off and had to employ a lawyer several times. We always tried to keep the logo from being commercialized and, I think we accomplished that. Some unoriginal types have copied, infringed and plagiarized our copyrighted design.

In 1995, I was concerned that the © might be running out (in 1972 the © lasted 29 years). I investigated and found that since we had gotten the original, © laws were passed and it automatically renewed for an additional 29 years, for a total of 95 years, before it is necessary to re-apply.

The OB Seagull Logo has been in production for more than 42 years, representing our unique and notorious beach town. The OB Mainstreet Association even created directional signs. It has become an icon, thanks to the great people of OB. In their travels, they have taken the logo to almost every part of the world. The decals were always hand silk screened by my me and my brother, and then my wife, in our garage, where it all began in 1973.

Recently, I sold the © to the The OB Seagull to John McCoy of Ocean Gifts. John will continue the history and produce products for the people and, promoting our town, as the unique place it is.

 See this: After Over 30 Years, OB Planning Board Changes Its Logo Due to Request From Originator

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Jame goode July 8, 2015 at 5:39 pm

I lived in ob and went to ob free school in the 70s. I have spotted that sticker many times. Most recently in Missouri about a year ago. Ob is always with me.


Pat July 10, 2015 at 5:46 am

OBs been home since 1972…have seen sticker so many places around the country… recently in Nebraska!!!


katie July 4, 2017 at 6:32 pm

Still have my car stickers even though I now live in Arkansas. Nice to see the nod to my parent’s store Homers. I enjoyed reading this!


marc johnson September 2, 2021 at 2:39 pm

Say hi to Joan.


claudia peters jack September 2, 2021 at 8:18 am

I was lucky to know the Sorben Brothers from the beach, school and I have many memories!! On the Original Sticker their Business was Nordic Arts they had a small shop off Midway Drive the in PL off Canon then off Rosecrans!! They made the sticker a Icon in OB & they we so Proud of the over response and attention the sticker received~ Rip Rick & Bobby Sorben, your memories are endless!! Claudia Peters J PS: Ocean Shell has the sticker and a who;e clothing line stop by and take a look and wear that logo Proud!!


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