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America’s first known African-American surfer, Nick Gabaldon of Los Angeles (born 1927) taught himself how to ride waves in the mid-1940s from inside a segregated strip of Santa Monica oceanfront known as “Negro Beach” or “Inkwell Beach.” He was encouraged by surfing champion and longtime Santa Monica lifeguard Pete Peterson, as well as future big-wave kingpin Buzzy Trent. Gabaldon graduated from Santa Moni... Read More
Indestructible goofyfooter from Brazil; four-time winner of the Billabong XXL Best Female Performance Award; anointed by the Los Angeles Times in 2008 as the “Super Woman of Big-Wave Surfing.” Gabeira, born in Rio de Janeiro (1987), is the daughter of popular leftist politican and author Fernando Gabeira—a founding member of the Brazilian Green Party—and noted fashion designer Yame Reis. Gabeira took up surfing at the... Read More
Surly Hawaiian power surfer from Waianae, Oahu; 2000 world champion and six-time winner of the Triple Crown; described by surf journalist Derek Hynd as “a modern-day Cassius Clay…a slick, black nightmare come to whup some ass.” Garcia was born (1970) in Honolulu, the son of an auto mechanic father and housekeeper mother, and raised in the rough westside town of Waianae, near Makaha. He began surfing at age five, won th... Read More
Drama-loving California-based surf journalist, screenwriter, photographer and actor; a longtime contributor to both Surfer and Surfing magazines; coauthor and costar in the 1998 big-wave movie In God’s Hands. George was born (1959) in Bath, Maine, the son of a navy fighter pilot, and raised on military bases in France, Hawaii, and the San Francisco Bay Area. He began surfing in Waikiki in 1967, competed ... Read More
Passionate, prolix surf journalist from San Clemente, California; a ranking surf magazine editor from the mid-1980s to the mid-2000s. George was born (1956) in Bethesda, Maryland, the son of a naval officer; he moved often as a child, began surfing at Waikiki in 1967, was California’s top-ranked men’s division amateur surfer in 1978, and surfed as a professional—along with younger brother Matt—in the early 1980s. George ... Read More
Level-headed Australian goofyfoot pro surfer; world champion and Triple Crown of Surfing winner in 2005. Georgeson was born (1983) in Sydney, and as a pre-teen was an avid basketball and soccer player. At 13, she moved with her family to northern Sydney’s Avalon Beach, and soon began surfing with her older brothers. Reining world champion Lisa Andersen had a house at Avalon; Georgeson, at 14, caught Andersen’s eye, and in short ... Read More
Big-wave rider from Santa Cruz, California; the first woman tow-in surfer, and the first female stand-up surfer to ride Maverick’s. Born Sarah Livermore in 1974 in Port Townsend, Washington, she learned to surf in the late ’80s at Pismo Beach, California, and started riding bigger waves during her freshman year at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. During her second visit to Oahu’s North Shore, in the winter of 1995-96, Livermo... Read More
Witty pro surfer from Leucadia, California; world-ranked #2 in 1991, and one of the sport’s best tow-in big-wave riders in the early and mid-’00s. Gerlach was born (1966) in Miami, Florida, the son of a stuntman and former Olympic high-diver, and began surfing in 1976, after his family moved to the north San Diego County suburb of Encinitas. From 1982 to 1984, Gerlach lived with his father in Huntington Beach, where he became the t... Read More
Nickname for Kathy Kohner of Brentwood, California, whose lightly fictionalized life as a teenage surfing neophyte at Malibu in the mid-1950s became a durable pop culture phenomenon, branching into books, movies, comics, television, and theater. “It was Gidget,” Los Angeles magazine noted in 1994, “along with the Beach Boys, who gave surfing its most memorable turn in the great American youth culture parade.”... Read More
Versatile surf photographer from Southern California; a longtime Surfer magazine staffer, and one of the sport’s hardest-working lensmen throughout the 1990s and 2000s. Gilley was born (1961) and raised in Los Angeles, and began surfing north Los Angeles County beaches at age 16. He attended UC San Diego, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts (1984). Two years later he got a staff position at Surfer, and from... Read More
Perpetually optimistic regularfoot pro from New South Wales, Australia; six-time ASP world champion, revered for her powerful but flowing style. “She’s taken a testosterone-saturated field and beautified it infinitely,” Beach Grit magazine said of Gilmore in 2014. “Men can be beautiful on a surfboard, sure, but it always seems partially contrived. The flow Steph achieves on an open right wall is pure dance and ... Read More
Even-tempered surf magazine editor and website exec from Laguna Beach, California; a mainstay at Surfing magazine from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s. Gilovich was born (1952) in San Jose, California, began surfing in Santa Cruz in 1962, and published his first surfing article in 1975. He was hired as an associate editor at Surfing in 1975, served as editor from 1979 to 1985, then as editorial director from 1985 to 199... Read More
Low-key, well-freckled surf photographer from San Diego, California; Surfer magazine staff member since 2008. Glaser was born (1985) and raised in San Diego, began riding waves near the affluent north San Diego coastal suburb Del Mar at age 5, and snapped his first surf photos while traveling as a competitive bodyboarder in 2000. Five years later he moved to Santa Barbara to attend the Brooks Institute of Photography. Immediat... Read More
When the wind calms and the water surface becomes smooth and glassy. The expression “glass-off” almost always refers to a dying onshore wind. While the surf might get glassy at any time throughout the day, “glass-off” is most often used to describe a late-afternoon condition; the longer version of the phrase is “evening glass-off.” ... Read More
Windless condition, allowing the ocean surface to become as smooth as glass. Some surfers believe that waves are improved with the addition of a light offshore breeze; others prefer the quietude and serenity of glass. Glassy surf can happen at any time, but in many parts of the world it’s most common during the morning hours. California surfer Mike Doyle, winner of the 1968 Duke Kahanamoku Classic, titled his autobiography Mor... Read More
Daring San Francisco Bay Area kayak surfer of the 1960s, best known for paddling into the big ones at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz. Golden was born (1917) in Great Falls, Montana, and grew up in Washington state. He moved to California in 1934, but didn’t take up surf kayaking until 1957, at age 39, at at Orange County beginner’s break called Doheny. Golden soon began making his own kayaks from wood and fiberglass, adding air-tight p... Read More
Snarling regularfooter from Makaha, Oahu; winner of the 1997 Pipeline Masters, and a power surfer for the ages. “He’s outrageously talented,” Australian surf journalist Tim Baker wrote of Gomes in 1993, before noting that the menacing and heavily muscled Hawaiian had also “soured more surf sessions for more people than any surfer alive.” Gomes was born (1965) and raised in Makaha, the son of a roofer father... Read More
Low key, persevering surfboard and surf-accessories manufacturer from San Diego’s Pacific Beach, California. Gordon was born (1939) near Chicago, Illinois, and developed asthma, which forced his family to move to Southern California when Gordon was three. He began bodysurfing and mat surfing at age 13, and learned to surf while in high school. In the summer of 1959, while attending San Diego State College as a chemistry major, Go... Read More
Quiet and serene Brazilian regularfooter from João Pessoa, in the state of Paraíba; one of Brazil’s most successful competition surfers; world amateur champion in 1988, and ranked #5 on the 1992 international pro circuit. Gouveia was born (1969) in the northeast town of Bananeiras, Paraíba, the son of an agricultural engineer, raised in João Pessoa, and began surfing at age 13. Five years later he was the Brazilian amateur champion, ... Read More
Well-organized surfwear executive and surf magazine editor-photographer-publisher from Orange County, California; Surfing magazine cofounder in 1964. Graham was born (1937) in Hollywood, California, and began surfing at age 18, while attending Chapman University on a basketball scholarship. In 196o, following a two-year tour in the marines, Graham was hired as a data processor for the Petersen Publishing magazine conglomerate; ... Read More
Panoramic left-breaking wave located on the jungle-lined southeast tip of Java, Indonesia; one of the world’s longest and most challenging reefbreaks, and site of the original surfing camp. Grajagan (or G-land) breaks best from May to October, as winter storms in the Indian Ocean regularly generate four- to eight-foot swells—with the occasional 10- to 12-footer—which are groomed as they reach shore by Java’s reliable sou... Read More
Gruff-voiced photographer from Hermosa Beach, California; best known for the lucid, unadorned, well-composed surfing images he took during the 1960s; also a cofounder in 1964 of Surfing magazine. Grannis was born (1917) and raised in Hermosa, began surfing in 1931, and was one of the state’s top wave-riders in the ’30s and ’40s; more than a half-dozen photographs of Grannis are featured in Doc Ball’s 1946 book... Read More
Cheerful, sardonic Australian pro surfer from Cronulla, New South Wales; world-ranked #14 in 1986, the same year he won the Gunston 500, his first and only pro tour victory. Green was born in 1963, the son of a rubber factory worker and a barmaid, and raised in a $30-a-week flat in land-locked western Sydney. He began surfing in Cronulla at age 10. At 14, his parents divorced, and two years later his mother married a millionaire, who moved the... Read More
Eccentric and innovative kneeboarder-designer-filmmaker from Montecito, California; known as the “barefoot genius,” and regarded by many as the most influential surfer of his generation. Greenough was the mid-1960s originator of full-speed, banked-turn, high-performance surfing, a leading figure in the shortboard revolution, and the producer of 1969’s The Innermost Limits of Pure Fun, with its groundbreaking in-the-t... Read More
Richly talented artist and cartoonist originally from Palos Verdes, California; best known to surfers as the creator of Murphy, the cheerful cartoon gremmie who debuted in Surfer magazine in 1961; also celebrated as one of the San Francisco psychedelia movement’s “Big Five” artists. Griffin was born (1944) and raised in Palos Verdes, began surfing at age 12, and learned to draw by copying Mad magazine... Read More
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