Crawford, Peter


Quirky Australian kneeboarder and photographer from Sydney, New South Wales; regarded by many as his country's best all-around surf lensman from the late 1970s through the '80s.

Crawford was born (1952) in Sydney, raised in the beach suburbs of Bondi and Dee Why, and began kneeriding in 1963. He was the Australian national kneeboard champion in 1976, 1977, and 1978. In 1976 he was runner-up in the O'Neill Kneeboard Championships, the first professional event of its kind, earning $500. "Peter also received an extra $100 for the 'most expressive manouver,'" SURFER Magazine wrote, which was "a radical bank off the bottom into a re-entry off the top which he extended out along the lip, back along the way he had come, before rebounding off the foam—a 360 loop. Bloody expressive indeed!"

Crawford was a Surfer masthead photographer from 1977 to 1994, cofounder of Waves magazine in 1980, and a regular contributor to virtually all Australian surf magazines from the mid-'70s until the late 1990s.

Small, thin, garrulous and profane, Crawford was fond of popping up unexpectedly—in both work and social settings—rushing about in a blur of manic energy, then vanishing just as fast. He shot with equal skill from land and water, and was one of the first surfing photographers to explore the Indonesian island chain beyond Bali and eastern Java. His work was featured in a number of illustrated surfing books, including The History of Surfing (1983), Surfing: The Ultimate Pleasure (1984), The Next Wave (1991), and The Perfect Day (2001).

Crawford died in Bali on Christmas Day 1999 at age 48, from complications arising from a snake bite. In 2001, he was posthumously inducted into the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame.

"Get Off My Cloud," a project in which artist Steve Gorrow added silkscreen patterns over huge blow-up prints of Crawford's best-known images, went on exhibit in Queensland in 2011.