Brady, Leonard


Trenchant, often caustic surf photographer and journalist from Honolulu, Hawaii; author of "Whatever Happened to Big-Wave Riding?" a 1983 Surfer magazine article that helped launch a resurgence of interest in big-wave surfing.

Brady was born (1949) in Honolulu, and began surfing in 1963 at Waikiki; he received a B.A. in art from Maui's Mauna Olu College in 1971, had his first Surfer article published in 1974, and his first photographs published in 1975. One year earlier, Brady and fellow surf photographer-writer Bernie Baker formed Island Style, a two-man surf media team. Hawaiian big-wave surfing was Brady's primary focus. "Have surfers turned into candyasses?" he asked in the introduction to "Whatever Happened to Big-Wave Riding?," using the mocking high-handed tone that became his signature style. When the surf hit 35-feet, Brady continued, "just a handful [of people] in their entire surfing world have it in their hearts to be out in that deep blue lineup, scrambling for the baddest of the biggest waves."

Subsequent Brady-written big-wave articles included "Waimea: A Short Paddle into Oblivion" (1980) and "The Return of Big-Wave Competition" (1986). The article "20 at 36" (1987) described Brady's personal quest to ride a 20-foot Waimea wave, something he accomplished at age 36. Brady moved to Hollywood in 1988 to work for screenwriter and director John Milius.