Bay News Cayucos Community

Memorial Paddle for ‘Smoker Jim’

The Cayucos and local surf communities came together Saturday, March 17 for a touching tribute on Cayucos Beach followed by a memorial paddle out for the late, Jim Ruddell, a life-long surfer and owner of Ruddell’s Smokehouse in Cayucos. Ruddell was 71 when he died Feb. 16 of complications from a cardiac procedure. Originally from Los Angeles, Ruddell grew up in Highland Park and Eagle Rock playing in the hills, fishing and of course surfing. He was an All City football player at Eagle Rock High School and joined the U.S. Army in 1966, earning sergeant stripes before his honorable discharge in 1969. After living abroad for several years, Ruddell returned to California in the 1970s. In 1985 he met and in ’88 married his second wife, Kathleen. He obtained a backyard smoker and quickly built a reputation for his smoked fish, which he sold at a roadside stand. In 2001, the family opened Ruddell’s Smokehouse in Cayucos and quickly endeared themselves to the local community, contributing generously to local causes, and gaining fame far and wide for his incredible smoked fish tacos. A Funeral Mass will be held for Smoker Jim at noon, Saturday, April 7 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Cayucos. Photo by Neil Farrell

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