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To start a tuberide from behind an already-dropping section; that is, a section breaking ahead of the curl line, but not so far ahead as to make the wave an impossibility. The surfer jams through the “back door” into what, in the late ’60s and ’70s, was often referred to as the “green room.” Backdooring a tube is an advanced move, not especially hard, but requiring nerves, a steady hand, and a deep st... Read More
The notoriously steep, hollow surf at Pipeline has traditionally been more difficult for regularfooters, who take on the left-breaking waves backside—that is, with their backs to the wave. Goofyfooters long held the advantage here as they faced the wave while riding frontside. In the winter of 1975–76, a small group of regularfooters led by Shaun Tomson, Michael Tomson, and Wayne Bartholomew made a sudden leap in progress at Pipeline, and ... Read More
A short-lived counterdirectional wave or surge, usually produced as a dying line of whitewater rushes up a canted beach, turns, and flows back into the surf zone. The resulting backwash—which can appear as a small unbroken swell or a small foam- fringed wave—can then ruffle or explode across the next incoming wave. Surfers at Makaha, on Oahu’s west side, have for decades made a game of facing off against the break’s famo... Read More
Abandoning a surfboard in one of two ways. 1) Jumping off during a ride; almost always performed as a last-second alternative to wiping out. This type of bail out is in fact a controlled wipeout. 2) Diving off one side of the board after getting caught inside; that is, trapped while paddling out toward a nonnegotiable breaking wave. The bail out—either kind—is a common occurence for beginning surfers and a fairly regular occurre... Read More
Droll but friendly Australian goofyfooter from Queenscliff, New South Wales; world-ranked #5 in 1990. Bain was born (1962) in Sydney, began surfing at age 10, then all but quit at 13, not long after his father died. He left home at 16, worked a series of laborer jobs, then picked up surfing again in his late teens. Bain finished third in the 1984 Australian National Titles, turned pro, and steadily worked his way up the ratings, finishi... Read More
Effervescent surf photographer/ journalist/contest director from Sunset Beach, Hawaii; a Surfer magazine masthead-listed contributor since 1977; contest director for the Triple Crown of Surfing since 1983. Baker was born (1949) in Toledo, Ohio, and began surfing in 1965, after his family settled near Santa Barbara, California. That same year, the 16-year-old published his first articles and photographs in Surfing magazine.... Read More
Shaggy-haired big-wave surfer from South Africa; winner of the 2006 and 2014 Maverick’s Surf Contest and the 2008 Red Bull Big Wave Africa; 2014 Big Wave World Tour Champion; regular on the Billabong XXL Awards podium throughout the 2000s. Baker was born (1973) in Durban, started surfing at age 13, and by the late 1990s the slight (5’11”, 154 pounds) regularfooter was quietly challenging heavy water breaks all over South Afri... Read More
Prolific, clear-eyed Australian surf journalist and author from Melbourne; former editor at Tracks and Australian Surfing Life. Baker was born (1965) and raised in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, an hour’s drive from the nearest waves, and learned to surf during weekend trips to the beach. He took an interest in writing after scoring well on a high school English exam, and shortly thereafte... Read More
Prototype surf photographer and surf club organizer from Los Angeles, California; founder of the Palos Verdes Surf Club in 1935; author of the seminal 1946-published California Surfriders. While Ball and Wisconsin-born Tom Blake are both credited as the forebears of surf photography, it was Ball who had the greater influence on the next generation of photographers, including fellow California surf world icons Leroy Grannis and Don Ja... Read More
Amiable surf videographer from Kauai, Hawaii; best known for filming the top women pro surfers in the ’90s and ’00s. Ballard was born (1967) on Edwards Air Force Base, in Kern County, California, and began surfing at age 18. In 1993, one year after marrying up-and-coming Hawaiian pro Rochelle Gordines (the couple divorced in the early 2000s) and moving to Kauai, Ballard bought a Canon video camera, and while traveling with Rochelle... Read More
Dynamic regularfoot surfer originally from the Hawaiian island of Kauai, world-ranked #2 in 2004, and generally regarded as the first great female tuberider. Born Rochelle Gordines in 1971, in the Los Angeles suburb of Montebello, she moved to Kauai with her family at age six months, and began surfing at 11, encouraged by neighbor and four-time world champion Margo Oberg. The tomboyish Gordines placed fourth in both the 1988 and 1990 Wo... Read More
Smooth, porous blond wood, lighter than cork, grown mainly in Central and South America; the most popular core material for surfboards in the 1940s and 1950s. Surfers initially used balsa in combination with redwood; Pacific Systems Homes, a Los Angeles-based house-building company that dabbled in surfboard construction, built redwood-balsa composite boards as early as the 1930s. All-balsa board became standard in Southern California a... Read More
Soulful but hard-charging Australian surfer and boardmaker from the Sydney suburb of Cronulla; world-ranked #14 in 1980, and regarded for years afterward as one of the sport’s premier tuberiders, as well as a comprehensive master of the surfing life. “Nearly everything he does suggests an easy flow and serene focus,” surf journalist Tim Baker wrote of Banks in 1996. “You just don’t see him fumbling with his boardb... Read More
Inquisitive, eco-conscious surf journalist and editor from southern California; Surfer magazine editor-at-large since 2001. Barilotti was born (1955) in Oxnard, California, and moved with his family to inland Los Angeles County at age three. Though he bodysurfed and rode surf mats as a child, Barilotti didn’t begin standup surfing until age 18, after he’d moved to Santa Barbara following high school. In 1988, Barilotti ... Read More
Pioneering surfer and board manufacturer from Bayonne, France; inventor, in the late 1970s, of the computerized surfboard-shaping machine. “He was one of the sport’s foremost innovators in shaping and design,” fellow surf industrialist Gordon Clark said of Barland in 1993. “For many years, any person seriously interested in surfboard construction was in regular contact with Michel.” Barland was born (1929... Read More
Burly regularfoot surfer from Lima, Peru; national champion in 1968, 1969, 1970, and 1974. Barreda was born (1951) and raised in Lima, the son of Sonia Barreda, Peru’s first woman surfer. He began riding waves in 1959, and was celebrated as a 15-year-old phenomenon when he placed second in the 1966 Peru International, finishing ahead of surf world luminaries such as Midget Farrelly, Fred Hemmings, and Paul Strauch. The dark-haired, smoot... Read More
Easygoing regularfoot pro surfer from south Queensland, Australia; world-ranked #14 in 1993 and 1996, but better known as a globe-trotting and perpetually tubed free-surfer. Barry was born (1969) in Sydney, moved to Queensland’s Gold Coast as a child, began surfing at 13, and traveled extensively through Indonesia as a teenager. He won Australia’s prestigious Pro Junior contest in 1989, and had two world tour victories: the 1993 Mi... Read More
Kinetic Australian pro surfer and contest organizer from Queensland’s Gold Coast; 1978 world champion and ten-year president (1999-2008) of the Association of Surfing Professionals. Born (1954) and raised on the Gold Coast, the son of a high school science teacher-fisherman father and a dance instructor mother, Bartholomew was a grade school honors student and a nimble soccer player (nicknamed “Rabbit” for his speed) before h... Read More
Spontaneous do-or-die regularfoot surfer from Huntington Beach, California. Baxter began surfing in 1959 at age 11, near his home in Venice Beach, and by 16 was a ranking member of the Dewey Weber Surfboard team. Baxter moved to Hawaii during the first stage of the shortboard revolution, and earned a reputation by throwing himself into the most critical places on waves at Pipeline and Sunset Beach. “The hairier it is the better,”... Read More
Wildly popular vocal-rock group from Los Angeles, California, led by songwriting savant Brian Wilson; acclaimed for their soaring melodies and lush, intricately harmonized vocals, and best known for a string of early and mid-1960s hits about surfing and the sun-filled Southern California beach life. “The Beach Boys,” Rolling Stone magazine wrote, “virtually invented California rock.” The band’s ori... Read More
Resolute pro surfer and organizer from La Jolla, California; professional world champion in 1982, and president of the Women’s Professional Surfing Association from 1982 to 1986. Born Debbie Melville in 1953 in Corpus Christi, Texas, the daughter of a navy pilot, she spent her early years living on or near a series of naval bases around the country. At 13 she moved with her family to La Jolla, and soon took up surfing. By 1971, Me... Read More
Lionized and mythologized band of easygoing Hawaiian surfer/waterman/hustlers who worked and lounged on the beach at Waikiki in the early and middle 20th century. The beachboy was both a cause and byproduct of the booming Hawaiian tourist trade; he earned a living primarily by lifeguarding and giving surf lessons and canoe rides, and spent his free time surfing, swimming, fishing, and playing music. Beachboys first appeared on Waikiki n... Read More
Type of wave that breaks over a sandy beach. Because beachbreak surf is dependent on sandbars, it’s far more mutable and unpredictable than the surf found at pointbreaks or reefbreaks. A poststorm beachbreak sandbar might hang in there for months, or might disappear by the weekend. This ephemeral quality is alternately wonderful and frustrating. “Beachbreak waves are anything and everything,” surf journalist Nick Carroll wrot... Read More
Short-lived world tour pro circuit ratings system, launched in late 1976, almost simultaneously with the founding of the International Professional Surfers (IPS) tour. “It is my hope,” tour cofounder and director Al Paterson wrote in a 1976 announcement, “that the Grand Prix will serve to provide an opportunity for the committed professional surfer to earn a decent wage for his efforts.” Beachcomber Bills sandal... Read More
Lively, hard-charging Australian regularfoot surfer from Dee Why, Sydney; winner of seven world championship titles, including six consecutive from 1998-2003 (her seventh came in 2006), and regarded as one of the sport’s greatest female big-wave riders. “She trains, focuses, paddles out with a pleasant smile and fillets the opposition with roughly the compassion of a shark,” surf journalist Nick Carroll said of Beachley in 19... Read More
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