Monday, August 26, 2013


Surf's Up For Richard Milhous Nixon and a Necktie

Richard Milhous Nixon Surfing in a Suit and Tie
Richard Milhous Nixon Surfing in a Suit and Tie

Did the man who gave up the White House surf ?

This was one guy who really took neckties seriously.  That has been a well documented fact over the years when he was in the White House and prior those years when he was Vice President and a senator.  Recently a photograph of President Nixon with his tie loosened around his neck was recently used as comparison to what may be considered too casual for the commander in chief today who may even go tie-less..  From a post illustrating the last presidential election you can checkout the story as published  the Daily Sentinel Sept of 2012 "Loosen the tie? Why Knot  A black and white photo exists of Richard M. Nixon with his tie loosened. Eyes slightly narrowed, he looks off to the right while his left thumb and index finger rest on the real estate below his left ear.

Now concerning the photo of the president surfing - it is no secret that the 37th President of the United States had a great passion for the Pacific Ocean.  The other White House, near San Clemente, California was situated overlooking one of California's most treasured surf breaks, Trestles.  There is no evidence that President Nixon ever surfed however he did grow up in Southern California where surfing is just about a part of every young man's life at least for a while.  He did build a a bowling alley in the White House so he is on record as being a sportsman.  


I created this fun image of Richard Nixon surfing for kicks around here. In 1969 President Nixon built the 2nd White House bowling alley which may have cost a pretty penny but if he had actually been a surfing addict and he decided to build a wave machine surf pool it would have cost a lot more.  I often surfed at Trestles and never once did I see President Nixon in the line up.  That does not mean that he never rode the waves at Trestles because - if he did the Secrete Service would have cleared the beach and the surf before the commander in chief even thought about it.  

When the president was in San Clemente at the Western White House it was illegal to surf at Trestles or even be on the beach.  I know this as a matter of fact because I was arrested by the marines for surfing there one day when the president was there.  I talked my way out of that one - those were different times.

Now you may wonder what his affection for bowling or his love of California has anything to do with neckties and why I would include this post on the Blog About Ties.  The answer is, "this has nothing to do with neckties at all.  

President Nixon was very careful  regarding his style in neckties and that of his staff.  In the late 50's and during the time of his presidency neckties sent a clear message about the mindset of a man.   Nixon did wear neckties religiously and his taste was rather very conservative."  In this photo you can see Alfred Eisenstaedt adjusting Richard Nixon's tie and as well in the famous photo of a tired president still flashing his trademark victory stance he is wearing a traditional necktie fit for a serious president during his retreat from office after resigning from the Presidency.

Actually there is a great deal of interest in President Nixon's neckties on line.  It was noted in the Miami New on Nov 4th 1959 that Pat Nixon's picked out her husband's neckties when he was Vice President but he held veto power over her.  "Too shiny for television," he complained about her picks in a Beverly Hills shop. He finally settled for four of them at a cost of $54.50.

In November of 2010 the LA Times ran a piece entitled "Nixon's Neckties" which makes note of his traditionally conservative taste in neckties.