Booth, Jeff


Hard-carving goofyfoot pro surfer from Laguna Beach, California; world-ranked #4 in 1995. Booth was born (1969) in Los Angeles, moved with his family to Laguna the following year, and began surfing at age eight. He was runner-up in the juniors division of the 1984 World Amateur Surfing Championships, runner-up in the men's division in 1986, and was the 1988 world tour rookie of the year.

In 1991, American surf journalist Ben Marcus described Booth's wave-riding technique as both powerful and predictable ("more workman than showman"), and noted that Booth was especially adept at leveraging his six-foot, 185-pound frame at big, hollow, left-breaking waves like Pipeline or Cloudbreak. Booth was sometimes called the California version of two-time world champ Tom Carroll, from Australia.

Booth maintained a fairly low profile throughout his career, with two exceptions. In 1989, he wrote a letter to Surfer complaining that the magazine was publishing too many photos of "lesser-known surfers" at the expense of "high-ranked professionals." Surfer received more than 300 letters from readers, virtually all of them denouncing Booth as elitist. The second instance took place during a 1994 Pipeline Masters heat, in front of a beach full of spectators, when Booth punched local surfer Liam McNamara in the head after the widely disliked Hawaiian purposely rode up Booth's back and shoulders while paddling for a wave.

After finishing ninth in the 1996 ratings, Booth, 28, gracefully retired, saying he was "fulfilled with my career, and wanted to leave on my own terms." He appeared in more than two dozen surf movies and videos, including All Down the Line (1989), 110/240 (1992), and Endless Summer II (1994).

Booth later became the National Sales Manager for Billabong