Stab Magazine | Dead At 27, Bunker Spreckels: A Surfing Rock Star

Watch 'Wildcard: The Moana Jones-Wong Story'

2293 Views

Dead At 27, Bunker Spreckels: A Surfing Rock Star

A doco you want to see, Bunker77.

news // Sep 28, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The 27 club: Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, all dead at 27. If surfing ever had a rockstar, it was Bunker Speckles, and like the others, he bid adieu at 27.

When people point to today’s watered down version of surfing and say things like, “they don’t make ‘em like that anymore,” they’re pointing to Bunker – or at least his likeness. Exiting stage left in 1977, he was a wildman that garnered the attention of Lightening Bolt legends Gerry Lopez and Rory Russell. Nobody before or since did it quite like him. Heir to the Spreckels Sugar fortune, and stepson of Clark Gable, he had it all: millions of dollars, access to any and everyone, influence, looks, and an appetite to consume it all. In the maelstrom of the cash, women and drugs, somehow he chose surfing as his vehicle.

geni

“He’s a genetic space child.” – Miki Dora. Photo: Frame Grab Bunker77

“I had been doing some peyote before I came over [to Hawaii],” tells Bunker in the now sold-out book Bunker Spreckels. Surfing’s Divine Prince of Decadence by Art Brewer and C.R. Stecyk III (who Bunker initially hired to document his life). “I liked that, but when I came to Hawaii, I didn’t have any peyote. I had quit smoking just for my health, and I wasn’t drinking any alcohol or taking drugs of any type at that point in my life. I was on a completely natural trip, natural high.”

For some years now a documentary about Bunker’s life and times, aptly titled Bunker77, has been in the works, and it now appears to be ready to be released. Produced and directed by the venerable Takuji Masuda (who published Brewer and Stecyk’s book under his Super X Media label), the film just premiered at the San Sebastian Festival’s Savage Cinema section. In March it was awarded the “Work in Progress” award at the Sun Valley Film Festival’s The Film Lab. According to Variety, the U.S. premier is slated for the Hamptons Festival in October, “Where Edward Norton, a Bunker77 exec producer, will present the screening.” It was also just announced that New York’s Submarine Entertainment has picked up the global sales rights. Submarine has been involved in the last three Academy Award-winning documentary films: Citizenfour, 20 Feet From Stardom, and Searching for Sugarman. It goes without saying big things are in store for the story of dear, old Bunker.

BUNKEY PIP

Mr Spreckels, taking the waves nobody wanted.

At one time in his life, Bunker was slated to star in a movie as the devil. When asked why he thought he could play Lucifer he explained, “Because I think I can deal with the role in the right type of fashion, from some of the things that I’ve studied I could get my looks up for the part. I always look like such a devil. Plus, I wouldn’t be afraid to play the role. I wouldn’t be afraid of the so-called repercussions of playing such a role.”

Thirty years after his death and he may have another shot at playing the prince of darkness….god knows surfing could use him about now.

Watch the trailer here

Comments

Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up

Advertisement

Most Recent

30:27

Unlocked: ‘Nozvid’ In All Its Glory

Two years and $100K later.

Dec 8, 2022

How To Watch The Vans Pipe Masters

With less than 24 hours to go, we've put together a complete list of rules…

Dec 7, 2022

Watch: Stab’s Best Wetsuits of 2023

Our quest to objectively establish the best men's suit, women's suit, and booties out of…

Dec 7, 2022

Eithan Osborne Belongs On The 2003 World Tour

But he's gotten an invite to the 2022 Vans Pipe Masters, so we caught up…

Dec 7, 2022

30:37

“I Could Do Reels And Surf Two Foot Beachies And Hoard Cash But That’s Moral Suicide”

Noa Deane’s thoughts on money, media, airs in glassy waves and more.

Dec 7, 2022

Wildcard: The Moana Jones-Wong Story

The rise and rise of Mrs. Pipeline.

Dec 6, 2022

Watch: Torrey Meister’s Gunslinging SEOTY Entry

"Bull-riding is such a great warmup for surfing big waves."

Dec 6, 2022

Guess Who Else Just Got Invited To The Vans Pipe Masters

3 more withdrawals, and 3 more exciting replacements.

Dec 6, 2022

21:04

‘Buying Double Cheeseburgers, Acting Like He’s Hit Some Sections Today’

RAGE 400 drops ft Noz, Chun, Creed, Vinny, Jel, Wado + others!

Dec 5, 2022

What’s Happening To Orange County’s Sand, And Is It Worsening The Waves At Lowers?

Read this to upgrade your understanding of your local beach break and coastal environment.

Dec 5, 2022

Here Are The 15 People Who Qualified For The 2023 CT

After seven events and much groveling, 10 men and 5 women will officially be CT…

Dec 3, 2022

An Ode To Aussie Chick Pros From The Nineties 

A celebration of stoicism, resilience, grit, core lordship, and unconditional love.

Dec 3, 2022

Update: John John Flushes Everyone Down The Haleiwa Toilet Bowl

And the CT qualifications for 2023 are set.

Dec 3, 2022

3:53

Riaru Ito Is Cooler Than His Cucumber Garden

Meet our passion pick for the Vans Pipe Masters.

Dec 2, 2022

5 New Surfers Confirmed For The Vans Pipe Masters

Who's out, who's in?

Dec 2, 2022

Unlocked: Kael Walsh, Rolo Montes, And Al Cleland Jr In ‘Saturn’

Quik’s new 20-minute surf film is so good you’ll want to burn a DVD of…

Dec 2, 2022

How Surfers Get Paid, Episode 4

The energy drinks are here. They’ve got millions of dollars, and they want your head.

Dec 2, 2022

‘Saturn’ Orbits Into Southern California

Quiksilver's newest film made landfall in Encinitas, and we were there to document the occasion.

Dec 1, 2022
Advertisement