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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...

11/02/17

On one hand, it’s 1976, and women surfers were getting the short end like never before. Hurray for the launch of pro surfing! Except, sorry, not you ladies, men’s only, maybe next year. So credit to filmmaker Curt Mastalka who not only filmed Lynn Boyer surfing for Sundance, his new movie, but sat down with...

10/31/17

For a brief synopsis on Ron Stoner and his vaulted position in the surf photography pantheon, click here and scroll down to the last few paragraphs. I’ve been fascinated with Stoner and his work for decades; I even wrote a book on him. He is surfing’s Brian Wilson, a beautiful, tragic supernova, except with Ron...

10/26/17

What a relief it must have been for Bruce Brown and Dale Davis and Grant Rohloff to head inland for the day and shoot skateboarding instead of surfing. Leave that bitch of an ocean behind. Control the variables. Do multiple takes. Get those middle school skate brats to do exactly what you want, when and...

10/25/17

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first installment of Double-Barreled. The idea here is simple. Get two surf-world legends on a thread at the same time, wave in all Encyclopedia of Surfing subscribers, and let the conversations run where they may. Thrilled to be kicking this thing off with a pair of surf-world giants: Nat Young...

10/25/17

Drew Kampion was in his second year as editor of SURFER Magazine in 1969—a touchstone year in surf history in terms of waves, surfboards, and attitude. It was heavy. Comically so, as often as not, at least in hindsight. It was by turns enlightening and tragic, as drugs run through the sport’s bloodstream like never...

10/19/17

Renny Yater was and remains a boardmaking craftsman of the highest rank. Gorgeous boards, thin-railed and fast-running, produced in small numbers. A 1966 Yater spoon was the E-Type Jaguar of surf equipment. Renny’s boards deserves their own candle-lit gallery at the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center, with Bud Shank quietly, holographically playing flute in the corner.  Having...

10/18/17

Gary Green was (and to the best of my knowledge still is) a fantastic surfer, friend, and pubmate, sweet-tempered and no-bullshit at the same time. He had (has) impeccable timing. In the water, he got the most out of his tiny size-six-and-a-half feet; on land, he could raise a laugh with just a slight adjustment...

10/13/17

The best part of my week was making this video of Paul Strauch. In the end, though, it doesn’t fully do the man justice. Yes, you can see that he’s a master. But nothing here quite gets you to full-strengh, Grade-A Strauch. How good was he? Barry, you start.   *  *  * Paul Strauch was...

10/12/17

John Severson’s 1963 movie The Angry Sea came to a shuddering close with the wipeout you see here. Tommy Lee, Waimea Bay. Big-wave ambitions were slaughtered coast to coast as the auditorium lights came up and the local grems shuffled out into the night, hollow-eyed at what they’d just witnessed onscreen.  Who was Tommy Lee?...

10/06/17

Some days this is world’s most enjoyable job. Today was such a day. Ronnie Burns, take a bow....

10/04/17

All I meant to do here was add a couple shots to a video I made four years ago. Then I found some footage I hadn’t yet seen, had a quick listen to this Dave Clark Five instrumental, and whoops! there went the day. Near the end of the clip, the stomp band in the...

10/04/17

Midget Farrelly wrote about his 1964 World Championships victory in his 1967 book The Surfing Life. It’s an offbeat book, starting with the title page, which contains this single bleak line: “When you’re comfortable, you’re dead.” Midget then hopscotches his way across the sport, with chapters on surf history, waves and beaches, tips for beginners,...

9/30/17

Dru Harrison was 19 when he wrote “Limbo,” a short 1969 SURFER Magazine essay on how to compete in surf contests and not hate yourself in the morning. Harrison’s words are nearly 50 years old, but sound as fresh—well, except for maybe the part about being “hung up between two bags”—as they did in ’69....

9/26/17

“Evo: A Special Tribute,” Nat Young’s salute to Bob Evans, ran in Australian Surfing World’s 1987 Photo Annual. Click here to see Evans’ EOS page.   *  *  *  Bob Evans’ father was a dedicated fisherman, and took his two sons on countless trips to North Coast NSW, relentlessly searching for access to hidden points. It...

9/18/17

“Flight of the Larrikin,” the History of Surfing section I posted earlier today, sets up Australia’s mid-’60s rise to surfing dominance. “Larrikin” is an Aussie word for a loud, rowdy person, usually but not always young, and fits perfectly around the neck of Down Under surfing in general during the post-Gidget boom. Manly Beach surfer...

9/16/17

Brad Barrett is the unsung hero of SURFER Magazine’s Golden Age, 1968 to 1971. Severson, Kampion, Brewer, Divine, Stoner . . . household names, all of them (if your house happens to contain one or more surfers of a certain age). Barrett, not so much. He was a staff photographer, dark room ace, and de...

9/14/17

For American surfers in the Vietnam War, an R&R pass to China Beach was your golden ticket to just about everything good in life—sun, trunks, down time, beer, parties, pickup football, and best of all a storage area filled with boards, plus lots of warm tropical-flavored beachbreak waves. The first section of this post is...

9/14/17

I was 12 when Allston James’ “Waterbed” ran in Surfer. There are no actual battle scenes, but this short piece of fiction brought home the horrors of war to me in a way that M*A*S*H* and The Guns of Navarone didn’t. Fifteen years later, when I was at Surfer myself, I had the good fortune to work...

9/08/17

We drove south out of Venice one overcast morning in 1970, heading for Encinitas, me and Jay Adams and Jay’s step-dad Kent Sherwood—easily the coolest adult I knew, Kent surfed, made boards, used to live in Hawaii—on our way to Donald Takayama’s house. A few weeks earlier Kent had taken us to meet Dave Sweet...

9/04/17

Marge Calhoun died over the weekend, at age 91. Not many people under the age of 60 remember Marge, but she was the warmest, most cheerful figure in midcentury surfing—and when she wasn’t making you feel better about the world simply for being alive and part of it, she was charging the big ones alongside...

8/31/17

Really thin surfers aren’t common, but they aren’t super-rare either. Jim Cartland of Florida, Kolohe Bloomfiend, Whitey Harrison, Nicky Wood, young Rory Russell, 1980s world tour backbencher Michael Burness, MP during his sad druggy decline. But there’s a level beyond thin—”frail” I guess is the only word for it. You don’t come across many frail-looking...

8/29/17

Surfing boomed in the late ’50s and ’60s, and along with the boom came beachfront clashes with the law. It was inevitable. Surfers and swimmers don’t mix well, surfers weren’t especially welcome among coastal property owners, and it took years to figure out who was allowed in the water, and where, and when. Here is a...

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