Surfer Stomp


Artless but irresistible foot-stomping dance step created in 1960, most likely at Dick Dale's early "surf stomp" shows at the Rendezvous Ballroom in Newport Beach. The Surfer Stomp was a coast-to-coast hit in America in the early '60s, and later jumped to Australia and New Zealand.

As described in a 1963 learn-at-home dance instruction guide, the intricacies of the Surfer Stomp are explained in six easy steps: 1) Feet slightly apart, straight ahead. 2) Partners stand about one and a half feet apart, facing each other; both partners at the same time: 3) Snap your fingers. 4) Slide your right foot back, then forward stomp, do it again. 5) Slide your left foot back, then forward stomp, do it again. 6) Repeat.

The Stomp was performed to up-tempo 2/4 rock-and-roll numbers, and was often used as a segue between the Watusi, the Twist, the Hitchhike, and other period dance steps. In Bud Browne's 1963 surf movie Gun Ho!, as a group of bathing-suit-wearing teenagers do a spirited Stomp on the beach at Huntington during the West Coast Championships, a mock-serious narrator describes the music as having "aroused primitive emotions in the natives as they move into weird ritualistic dances practiced by their ancestors hundreds of years in the past." The Surfer Stomp can be seen as a forerunner to the punk-era Pogo dance step.

"Surfer's Stomp," a sax-heavy instrumental track by the Mar-Kets, went to #40 on Billboard charts at the end of February 1962. One year earlier, the Beach Boys recorded "Surfin'," their first single, which included the lyric, "And when the surf is down, to take its place / We'll do the Surfer Stomp, it's the latest dance craze." The dance hit Australia hard in 1963-64, with more than 30 Stomp-titled singles released in 1963–64, including "Bondi Stomp" by the Dave Bridge Trio, "Everyone Let's Stomp" by Jay Justin, and Little Pattie's "He's My Blond-Headed Stompy Wompy Real Gone Surfer Boy," backed with "Stompin' at Maroubra."