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1/17/18

When boardmakers went super-groovy in 1968 to try and sell the new equipment, more often than not it was like a frat boy dressing in leather fringe and Jesus sandals to hustle the coeds. So transparent. So desperate. And 50 years later, so very funny. Here for your review are eight of the best gone-hippy surfboard...

1/15/18

Did I overlook Midget Farrelly in the shortboard revolution timeline that posted last week? A few EOS readers (mostly but not exclusively Australian) reached out last night and this morning to suggest this might be the case. I’ve so far replied that Midget and his advanced board are noted in the ’67 Bells pic, and that...

1/13/18

The shortboard revolution gave us “total involvement” and “creative self-expression” and radicalness and huge turns and the tube and etc and it was great, exciting, sport-changing stuff. The shortboard revolution also produced an Everest-sized mountain of chaff and dross. Windmilling arms. Stuttering footwork.  And wiggling. So much wiggling. Enough to make a short video!...

1/10/18

The main objective here is to put some visuals to the first and most important year of the shortboard revolution. What you see below is not a complete record of what happened in board design in 1967. Not even close. The imagery, however, is limited ONLY to that year. The thing about the 2010 shortboard...

1/08/18

Dick Brewer was a boardmaker without equal. He was Gandalf and Oppenheimer and more Gandalf with a touch of Pollock. Brewer’s understanding of how a surfboard’s manifold design elements must blend and synchronize and accommodate—template, rails, rocker, edges, flats, curves—was fourth-dimensional. Magic boards danced from his shaping bay in the 1960s and ’70s like Fantasia broomsticks into the...

1/04/18

Nat Young won the 1966 World Surfing Championships, with rival David Nuuhiwa finishing a distant 12th. But had this been any other amateur-age world championships—’64, ’65, ’68, ’70 or ’72—Nuuhiwa would have won. Why? Because in 1966, and only in 1966, contest organizers used a three-event format. The opening event finished up in long semi-wedging...

1/03/18

This is the third article in a Aussie-Yank catfight trilogy that began with Bill Cleary’s “The High Performers” and continued with John Witzig’s “We’re Tops Now.” This piece, “The High Performers Answer Australia,” ran without a byline in the July 1967 issue of SURFER. It is the sound of defeat and and anger and denial and hurt...

1/03/18

John Witzig’s “We’re Tops Now” ran in the May 1967 issue of SURFER. It was the first and perhaps most notorious article the magazine ever published. Witzig was justly angry over the way SURFER and the rest of the American surf press had downplayed Nat Young’s win in the 1966 world championships—and it wasn’t just...

1/03/18

Bill Cleary’s “The High Performers” was published in the March 1967 issue of SURFER. Nat Young had just won the 1966 World Championships in San Diego, which not only changed the direction of performance surfing, but showed that Australia was by and large the source for everything new and progressive in the sport—with the exception of...

12/30/17

Felipe Pomar is remembered as the first great international surfer from Peru. But when Pormar first came on the scene it was as the regularfoot half of two-man team, alongside fellow Club Waikiki member and red-hot goofyfooter Joaquin Miro Quesada—”Shigi” to friends and family. Of the surfers, Shigi probably had the greater gift. He was quicker...

12/28/17

The 1965 World Surfing Championships, held in Lima, Peru, has always been a surf-world oddity. Of the six pre-professional world titles (’64 to ’72), Peru was the only one scheduled in an odd-numbered year, the only one held in big waves, and the only one with to produce a Latin American winner. The contest was...

12/27/17

From the Sydney Morning Herald, 1963 HONOLULU, DECEMBER 20. Two Sydney surfers, Robert McTavish,19, and David Chidgey, 17, were ordered yesterday to be deported from Hawaii as illegal visitors who stowed away in the Orsova from Sydney. District Judge Martin Pence, in “a spirit of Christmas goodwill,” agreed that Federal charges against the youths would...

12/20/17

George Greenough is clearly “on the spectrum,” as they say—except nobody ever says it about George. Not in public anyway. We say he’s “odd” or “eccentric” or “wired differently,” and leave it at that. Yet everything Greenough has done for surfing, the astounding leaps in performance and equipment, all of it shared openly and freely...

12/20/17

As part of a SURFER magazine survey a few years back, I was asked to rank, in order, the 10 greatest surfers of all time. I put George Greenough on top, even though I suppose what I wanted to say is that Greenough is the most influential, or the most progressive. Something more specific. “Greatest” is...

12/18/17

Over the weekend, inspired by that Art Brewer shot of Gerry Lopez I posted a few days ago, I got caught up in looking for more photos and video of super-narrow boards. I also found this quote from an article Corky Carroll wrote for SURFER in 1970: Everybody’s looking for a better trip. What we...

12/13/17

I’m 93% sure that a heavy-set 30-year-old ex-Marine named Dick Graham is the person responsible for the phrase “shortboard revolution.” In October of 1967, Graham flew from Los Angeles to Sydney with the Windansea surf team. What he saw on the Northern Beaches blew his crew-cut-topped mind. News traveled slowly in that pupating age of...

12/11/17

Encyclopedia of Surfing’s do-or-die December fundraiser was inching toward the finish line all weekend—then Malibu surfer and filmmaker Takuji Masuda dropped a cool $3,000 into the kitty and we started denting the ceiling with champagne corks. You guys did it. Saved this whole project—Encyclopedia, History of Surfing, Above the Roar—and furthermore you pulled if off...

11/30/17

Hello Encyclopedia of Surfing supporters, would-be supporters, friends, family, and surf lovers everywhere. Well, this is a tough one to write, and I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Encyclopedia of Surfing is underwater. We need to raise $30,000 by December 31, or the whole online project—Encyclopedia, History of Surfing, Above the Roar—goes away. How did […]

11/29/17

Here’s a Nuuhiwa clip I made three years ago. Might be the first one where I used the fizzy beer-pour intro—which still brings a slight parch to the inside of my mouth each time I hear it. I haven’t watched this edit since I made it, but it holds up! (Most, for me, do not.)...

11/28/17

This two-page article ran in the November 1965 issue of SURFER. It’s a cramped little thing, 11 vertical shots and a column of text all jammed together, fighting for attention. I’d argue that Munoz and Patterson are both sentimental picks, and don’t belong on the list. On the other hand, Phil kind of says as much,...

11/25/17

The amount of distance Joyce Hoffman put between herself and rest of the field in the mid-’60s can only be measured in eye-straining units: she was miles, leagues, light-years ahead. Hoffman was physically gifted—lean, strong, and quick. She was ridiculously driven. “Joyce would leave the North Shore for Makaha to practice before the contest,” LeRoy...

11/22/17

“Big Waves are Masculine. Women—Feminine,” by Buzzy Trent, was originally published in the November 1963 issue of Surf Guide.   *  *  *  Girls do fine when it comes to housework, raising children, doing office work, doing the twist and even riding the ankle snappers at Malibu. With the light board era, more and more girls...

11/15/17

The Pipeline bits you see here were filmed on January 1, 1963, when John Peck was an 18-year-old high school senior visiting Hawaii from San Diego. He’d ridden Pipe for the first time a week earlier, but this particular morning, New Year’s Day, was his real coming out. Peck was an instant sensation. The big...

11/08/17

Jeff Hakman turned 17 less than a month before winning the 1965 Duke Invitational. He was the youngest and smallest competitor, kid was just 5′ 4″, weighed 125. But watch the clip, and in every possible way Jeff is the standout guy. Positioning, wave sense, style (dig the trailing arm), any way you cut it,...

11/06/17

This article was originally published in the August 2005 issue of Surfer’s Journal; it was the last and best in a series of 10,000-word full-spectrum profiles I did for the magazine. “Best” not so much because of my writing, but because Fred’s incredible life and times—and the man himself, every thoughtful, funny, insecure inch of him—was...

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