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Bystrom, Chris


Tireless surf moviemaker, and founder of Pacific Longboarder magazine. Bystrom grew up in Redondo Beach, California, began surfing in 1968, at age 18, and released his first surf movie in 1977, the 8-millimeter Room to Move. He would eventually have 29 movie and video titles to his credit, including Blazing Boards (1984), Madmen, Saints and Sinners (1992), and Longboarding Is Not a Crime (1996). "Chris had this unfathomable energy," 1978 world champion Wayne Bartholomew said. "He wasn't satisfied unless he had five major projects on the go at the same time."

Bystrom moved to Australia in 1985, and much of his work in the '90s focused on longboarding. He started Pacific Longboarder magazine in 1996, and three years later edited and published a coffee-table book titled The Glide: Longboarding and the Renaissance of Modern Surfing. In 2000 he opened the Retro Groove surf shop/museum/art gallery in Queensland's Gold Coast. 

Bystrom had a long history of feuding with surf magazine editors, and in 1993, in response to a negative review for his latest video, he sent a letter to Australia's Surfing Life describing the reviewer as a "purse-carrying nancy boy," and labeling the review itself as "the slimiest piece of yellow journalism ever published in an Australian surf magazine."

Bystrom was killed in a car accident near his home in May 2001; he was 51.