Baby-faced surf media impresario from Los Angeles, California. Phillips spent three years in the marines just after high school, then quickly made his first surf movie, Sunset Surf Craze, in 1959. He went on to produce another half-dozen films, including Surf Mania (1960), Once Upon a Wave (1963), and Dr. Strangesurf (1965).
For Surfing Illustrated, the magazine he founded in 1962 (with help from designer John Van Hamersveld and photographer LeRoy Grannis), Phillips served as publisher, editor, photo editor, art director, and distributor; Phillips himself was the subject of Surfing Illustrated features, including "The Four Faces of Walt Phillips," in which he's immodestly nicknamed "Mr. Surfer."
Just over a dozen episodes of his Surf 's Up television show were aired in the Los Angeles area in 1964, and another short-lived nationally syndicated show, Walt Phillips' Surfing World, debuted the following year. Surfing Illustrated folded in 1967. Phillips wrote articles for Surfing in 1970, and in 1978 he was the West Coast Editor for Surf, a Florida-based magazine.
"Surfin' Annie," a Deltone Records single from Walt Phillips and Barry Young, with Dick Dale on lead guitar, came out in 1962.