: radio boys , 1922
Chapman : The Radio Boys at Ocean Point, 1922.
Extracts and photographs from:
The Radio Boys at
or, The Message that Saved the Ship.
Foreword by Jack Binns.
: Grosset &
Dunlap, New York, 1922.
Set on the Atlantic coast of the United States,
the novel includes the Radio Boys introduction to surfing on a
prone board, of which they later make copies so they can surf
Radio Boys was the title of three series
of juvenile fiction books
published by rival companies in the United States in the 1920s:
All of these series were launched
seemingly simultaneously in 1922 and the earliest books in each
series were by far the biggest sellers, often incorporating
details on how to build a crystal set
- a simple radio receiver.
wikipedia: Radio Boys
wikipedia: Crystal radio
One morning soon after their arrival at Ocean Point the boys
went down to the beach equipped with a novelty that they had
often heard about, but had never seen until the night before.
It had been Jimmy’s birthday, and his father had made and sent
him a gayly decorated surfboard to celebrate the occasion.
When he ﬁrst saw it Jimmy was at a loss to know what kind of
strange present he had received, but when he showed it to the
other radio boys, Bob quickly told him what it was for.
“I saw a moving picture once that showed the beach at Tampa,”
“It looked as though almost everybody had one of those
surfboards, as they are called.”
“Yes, but what do you do with the thing?
That’s what I want to know,” complained Jimmy.
“It looks like something that would be ﬁne for scaring the
birds away from the garden, but, aside from that, I can’t
think of much use for it.”
“Why, you just ﬂop down on it against the crest of a surf
wave, and the wave does the rest,” explained Bob.
“At least, that’s the way it looked in the pictures.
The wave carries you and the surfboard along in front of it,
and believe me, you travel some, too.”
“Well, that listens all right,” said Jimmy dubiously.
“But since you know all about it, it’s up to you to try it
“Surest thing you know, I’ll try it out,” returned Bob.
“I suppose we’ll get plenty of duckings while we’re learning
how, but we’ll be out for a swim, anyway, so what’s the
On the morning following they sallied out bright and early,
eager to experiment with this latest means of amusement.
“I only hope there’s a good surf running,” said Bob.
“I suppose now that we want it to be a little rough, the sea
will be as smooth as a mill pond.”
“Well, I hope not,” said Jimmy.
“I’ve never seen a mill pond myself, but according to all the
dope they must be about the stillest things that ever
I wonder if there is such a thing as a rough mill pond.
If there is, I’d be willing to go a long way to see it.”
“Oh, there are lots of things like that,” said Herb, laughing.
“For instance, whoever saw an aspen leaf that didn’t quiver?”
“Yes, or a terrier that didn’t shake a rat," said Joe.
“Or a pirate that didn’t swagger,” said Jimmy,
“Or even a pancake that wasn’t ﬂat,” added Bob.
“Good night 2” laughed Herb.
“What have I started here, anyway?
We’ll all be candidates for the lunatic asylum if we keep this
up very long.”
“Oh, well, after being around with you so long, we’d feel
right at home,” said Jimmy sarcastically.
“I haven’t any doubt you’d feel at home, all right,” retorted
“I’ll bet you’d feel at home right away.”
“You bet I would,” said Jimmy.
“All I’d have to do would be to tell them some of your bum
jokes, and they’d elect me a charter member right off the
“I think Jimmy would show up even better as a member of the
Pie-eater’s Union,” said Joe.
“He has such a special gift in that direction that he’d soon
be champion of the whole outﬁt.”
“Well, it’s something to be a champion of anything in these
days of competition in sports,” said Jimmy.
“But here we are, Bob, and here’s your chance to demonstrate
how to become a champion surfboard artist.”
“All right, I’m game,” said Bob.
“Hand over that instrument of torture, and I’ll be the goat
and give you fellows a good
chance to laugh at me.”
The surfboard was about the shape and size of a small ironing
board, although much lighter.
Equipped with this device, Bob waded into the surf, holding the
surfboard over his head until he got into water as deep as his
There was a fairly high surf running, in spite of his
pessimistic prophecy to the contrary.
Bob waited until an unusually high breaker came curling in, and
then launched himself and the surfboard against the green wall
More by good luck than anything else he caught it at the right
angle, and went whirling toward the shore at breath-taking
speed. For perhaps a hundred feet he held his position, but then
tilted to one side, and in a moment he and the surfboard
disappeared in a smother of foam and spray.
Tumbled over and over, he ﬁnally got to his feet, after the
force of the wave had spent itself, and waded into shore, pufﬁng
“I got a good start, anyway,” he panted.
“I guess it takes practice to keep your balance and come all the
way in, but it’s a great sensation.
I’m going to try it again.”
Suiting the action to the word, Bob waded valiantly in again.
After several attempts he ﬁnally caught a big wave just right,
and by frantic balancing rode all the way in to shallow water.
“There you are !” exclaimed Bob triumphantly,
“Say, when we once get on to this, it ought to be barrels of
Who’s going to be the next one to try it?”
“I’ll take a whirl at it,” said
“It looked easy enough the way you rode in the last time.”
“Sure it’s easy,” grinned Bob, shaking the water out of his
“Go to it, Joe.
I’ll stand by to rescue you if you need it.”
Joe made several attempts, and received some rough handling
from some big breakers before he ﬁnally contrived to make a
fairly successful trip.
“Wow!” he exclaimed, scrambling to shore and throwing the
surfboard at Jimmy.
“It’s fun if you have luck, but I thought I was going to drink
the whole Atlantic Ocean once or twice.
You try it, Jimmy.
It’s your board, anyway.”
“Yes, I know it’s my board,” said Jimmy.
“Don’t you want to try it next, Herb?”
“Oh, I wouldn’t think of using it before you,” said Herb.
“I want to have the fun of seeing you get drowned before me,
“Well, I suppose I shouldn’t refuse to give you that pleasure,
so here goes,” returned Jimmy, and he waded manfully into the
surf, the board poised above his head.
He made a lunge at the ﬁrst big breaker that came along, but
instead of planting the board atan angle, he slapped it
against the wave in a ver-
tical position, and the next second he was underneath the
board and was being ignominiously rolled and tumbled along the
When the wave ﬁnally left him, he staggered to his feet and
found the treacherous surfboard ﬂoating within a yard of him.
His companions, seeing him safe, laughed heartily at his
woebegone and bedraggled appearance.
“It’s great sport, isn’t it, Jimmy?” chaffed Bob.
“Sure it is, when you do it right,” sputtered Jimmy.
“I’m going to try it again, if it kills me,” and he seized the
recalcitrant surfboard andwaded doggedly out again.
This time his persistence met with a better reward, for,
warned by his previous experience, he placed the board ﬂatter
this time, and rode in almost to shore before getting upset.
“That’s enough for a starter,” he gasped.
“There certainly is plenty of excitement to it.
Go ahead and try it, Herb, with my blessing.”
Herb did not seem any too anxious to follow his friend’s
bidding, but nevertheless he took the board, and after several
attempts got the hang of it well enough to get enthusiastic
“It’s simply great when you get started right !” he exclaimed.
“We’ll each have to get one, and we’ll have more sport than a
little with them.”
For the rest of the morning the boys took turns with the
contrivance, and by the time they stopped
to go home for lunch had gotten quite expert.
That afternoon they got their tools, and by evening had
fashioned three duplicates of Jimmy’s board.
On following days they used them to good effect, and before
they left Ocean Point that summer they were all adepts at this
new form of sport.
Geoff Cater (2016) : Allen
Chapman : Radio Boys at Ocean Point, 1922.