Go-Fund-Me Page Set Up for ACE – OB’s Iconic Hometown Surfboard Maker – After Fire Destroys His Garage

by on August 7, 2019 · 15 comments

in Ocean Beach

Screen grab of garage fire from abc10.

Albert C Elliott has been making surfboards for decades in Ocean Beach.

Albert – known as ACE – has carried on the old, classic OB tradition of making surfboards in the back shed or garage. In ACE’s case, he has been making them in his detached garage in the back of the old house on Froude Street he and his wife, Mindy, have owned for many years.

And in truth, ACE has become a sort-of iconic OB legend. Many people have bought his boards over time. The 70 old-year local has been handling his camera more often than his surfboard these days – and the OB Rag has published many of his photos.

Trouble is – yesterday – August 6 – his entire garage burnt down. Along with all his personal surfboards and those he wanted to sell. And all his tools were destroyed as well.

Albert blamed the cause of the fire on his electric bike charger overheating – and even despite his efforts to put it out, the fire spread to the surfboards. Ever seen a surfboard burn? They do, easily. Some of the chemicals used in making and shaping boards exploded and burned up in the fire, prompting a hazmat crew response.

The flames engulfed the garage – this was around 5pm – but luckily only very slightly damaged the main house; it also damaged a fence line and a neighbor’s garage. But Albert and Mindy’s camper truck – his “get away vehicle” – was also destroyed. Yet he and Mindy were physically unscathed and all their pets, a couple of dogs, a cat and a bird were safe. And their house with all their personal possessions and photos and keepsakes still remains.

In the end, ACE lost nearly two dozen boards, equipment and templates. One estimate was $100,000 of loss. Understandably, he was devastated. He told the media:

“For me, the loss is a life’s work as far as making surfboards. All the reasons I get up in the morning are gone. At my age, I’m an old beach guy, that’s all I had left.”

As Albert lamented the loss of all his boards, a friend who had showed up to give support along with a bunch of others, told him, “yeah, but your boards are out there, your legend is out there,” he said with a sweep of his hand.

More and more neighbors and friends came by. One guy said he’d just ordered a pizza. Another neighbor offered them his RV to stay in. The parents of the best friend of Mara – Albert and Mindy’s daughter – came by. A man with a baseball cap announced a “Go-Fund-Me” page had just been set up.

And so we post it here:

Albert Elliot shaper of ACE SURFBOARDS has lost everything! His shaping room has caught on fire and has lost all of his amazing work dating back 50 years. We need to pull together in OB as well as surf community and help our brother out! GO-FUND-ME PAGE FOR ACE.

[As of this posting, over $2,000 has been raised in 15 hours.]

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie August 7, 2019 at 10:14 am

$2323 has been raised by 35 donors in 15 hours.


Vern August 7, 2019 at 10:55 am

Bummer. Heard the sirens, saw the smoke. Looked like it was on Santa Monica at first.
Fire department seem to respond quickly. God bless the Elliot family. Ace is a good guy.
Go-Fund-Me – done!


Debbie August 7, 2019 at 3:15 pm

Glad no life was lost. Your article mentions his main house. Won’t his homeowners insurance cover the loss of the garage and contents?


marc johnson August 7, 2019 at 5:36 pm

No insurance.


Debbie August 7, 2019 at 6:49 pm



Doug Blackwood August 7, 2019 at 7:25 pm

So sorry to hear of Albert, & family’s loss! No words to express the grief, but the ocean can sooth the pain of loss. Hang tough Albert, Peace & Love to you1


Frank Gormlie August 7, 2019 at 7:54 pm

$3903 has been raised in 24 hours.


Frank Gormlie August 7, 2019 at 10:17 pm

There is also a clean up at the Elliott’s home set for Saturday August 10 at 11 a.m.


Debbie August 7, 2019 at 11:29 pm

This story below says he has insurance. That should be a big help! One thing insurance covers is debris removal. His agent should be working with him and maybe an attorney to read policy coverage etc.


ACE August 8, 2019 at 6:44 am

I have been getting a lot of community support. I am extremely humbled by this. I feel terrible about what happened. I know it was not my fault but I just feel I have let so many people down. I lost heirlooms from my parents and grandparents, all dead, that I had the responsibility of taking care of. My wife and daughters things as well. I do have some kind of fire insurance through the state of California. Do to the age of our house 105 years old regular home owners insurance was not an option. Hopefully this will at least take care of the damage I caused my neighbors. I am wadding through this but it has not been easy. For me so much personal surf history has been lost. I managed to save one board out of the back yard. It was Ed “Blackie” Hoffman’s DEL CANNON paddle board that he won the Huntington Beach contest on back in late 60’s. Ironically Ed RIP was a fireman. Right now I look into my backyard and everything is gone. I will probably never be able to put it back together. The beach area has changed to much to let an old guy have a shaping shack in the yard again. This has been painful I know I will get through it but it will never be same. Thank you everyone for your support it has meant a lot.


Tyler August 8, 2019 at 7:36 am

There are still dozens of shaping sheds in OB. You can absolutely build a new one.


ACE August 8, 2019 at 6:54 am

One more thing after reading your article again Frank. I did not have “chemicals” for making surfboards at the house, I had all my glassing work done in Imperial Beach at a friends shop. I did not want that stuff around the house. The Hazmat guys confirmed this.


Frank Gormlie August 8, 2019 at 10:59 am

ACE – thanks for the clarification.


Debbie August 8, 2019 at 9:34 am

Ace, sorry for your loss and heartache. I am glad you and your family have your home and animals. I sent a donation your way …every little bit helps :-)

Be well.

So many good people live in OB!


Frank Gormlie August 8, 2019 at 11:00 am

BTW, the fund is now $4,923 from 83 donors! Keep it up, OB!


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