Gretchen Roufs' portrait

Some people get together on Friday mornings for coffee, others get together to surf. Ron Prosser is one of the latter. Ron, vice president of Amplex Group Services of Orange, Calif., a nationwide company that installs janitorial dispensers, has been surfing for about 35 years.

Ron started surfing in elementary school when he joined a surf club. Today, he surfs at least once a week at the world-renowned San Onofre Surf Beach near San Clemente, Calif. The beach is near a nuclear power station, where the water that cools the nuclear reactors is pumped back into the sea, creating great surfing conditions and warm water.

On Fridays, Ron goes to the beach to surf at 5:30 in the morning.

"It's a great place to watch the sun rise. There's a group of about 30 of us that surf on Friday mornings. I'm usually out there a couple of hours, and get 10 or so good waves," says Ron. "It's a great escape for a moment. I'm a different person when I get out there."

Ron doesn't worry about drowning, coral, or sharks, but does get concerned about getting hit by another surfer.

"When inexperienced surfers are out of control and fall, their surfboards get launched right out from under them. I've been skegged a bunch of times," says Ron. (A "skeg" is the fin on the bottom of a surfboard.)

For Ron, surfing is more than just riding the waves.

"It's just like a club — it's about the friends and the people you've known for years," he says. "People are respectful — the younger guys appreciate the older guys, and vice versa. We all paddle out and wait for a good wave. There's an unspoken etiquette about who gets the wave."

The waves where Ron surfs are often seven-foot high, but Ron once flew to Hawaii with his surfboard with the hopes of "getting lost in the tube." (A "tube" is formed when a wave curls over the top of the surfer.)

"I saw the 15- to 25-foot waves on the north shore of the island of Oahu, and decided not to surf, because the waves were just too big," Ron says. "I think you have to grow up surfing in Hawaii, and build up to surfing those big waves, or else you could get in real trouble."

After looking at the waves Ron could just imagine paddling out 300 feet from shore, getting lost in a big wave, and being pummeled by his own surfboard.

"I stood in front of the crystal clear water, looked at the surf, and said, 'no way'. At least it was a great feeling to be able to think about trying to surf in Hawaii," he says.

With his blond hair, blue eyes and tan skin, people are often asking Ron, "Are you a surfer?" He also drives a classic surfer vehicle: a two-tone custom 1979 Volkswagen, with bamboo surf racks and a rag top roof. No matter what, Ron will always be a surfer.

"As long as I can get up in the morning and walk, I'll be surfing," he says.

Gretchen Roufs, an 18-year janitorial supply industry veteran, owns a marketing and public relations company in San Antonio. To suggest someone you think should be featured in “Freetime,” contact her at