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Bluff and matey 1960s big-wave surfer from Sydney, Australia. Jackman was born (1940) and raised in the beachfront Sydney suburb of Manly Beach, and began surfing at age 12.He was a 21-year-old surfboard factory worker when he took on the Queenscliff Bombora, a much-feared reefbreak on Sydney’s northside, on June 6, 1961. As the slender, blond-haired Jackman knee-paddled alone into the 15-foot surf, word spread quickly. “It ... Read More
Gentlemanly surfboard manufacturer from Hermosa Beach, California; founder of Jacobs Surfboards. Jacobs was born (1930) in Los Angeles, the son of a plumber, moved with his family to Hermosa in 1938, and began surfing at age 16. He started shaping boards in 1953, after spending two years stationed in Hawaii with the Coast Guard; the following year, in short order, he was a founding partner (with Bev Morgan) in Dive N Surf, then became partners... Read More
Laconic and durable surf photographer from Los Angeles, California; the sport’s most widely published lensman during the 1960s. James was born (1921) and raised in Santa Monica, California, and began surfing in 1935. Influenced by pioneering surf-photographers Doc Ball and Tom Blake, James started taking surf photographs the following year, mainly at Santa Monica Bay and San Onofre. James built a waterproof mahogany housing for his came... Read More
Clean-cut vocal duo from Los Angeles, California, best known for their 1963 #1 single “Surf City.” By definition, Jan and Dean, like their friends and chart rivals the Beach Boys, don’t belong to the reverb-soaked instrumental surf music genre. They instead recorded catchy, singalong records about the teenage life in coastal Southern California that revolved around surfing, the beach, cars, and girls. Jan Berry and Dea... Read More
Compact regularfoot pro from Hanamaulu, Kauai, Hawaii; world-ranked #5 in 1996; described by 1990 women’s world champion Pam Burridge as “a perfect little surfer.” Jaquias was born (1971) and raised in a rough section of Lihue, on the east side of Kauai, and began surfing at age four. Jaquias later claimed that he trained to become a professional mainly to outsurf his father (just 16 when Kaipo was born) who “for... Read More
Smart, funny, mildly profane Australian writer, originally from Wollongong, New South Wales; editor of Tracks magazine from 1975 to 1978, a regular contributor to Surfer from the late ’70s to the late ’80s, and author of more than a dozen surf books. Jarratt was born (1951) and raised in Wollongong, began surfing in 1960, and published his first article in a 1968 issue of Surf International, a shor... Read More
Big-wave colossus located on the north coast of Maui in Hawaii; proving ground for tow-surfing, site of the first successfully ridden 35-foot wave, and ground zero for big-wave riding’s paddle-in renaissance, starting in the early 2010s. “Before it was ‘Jaws,'” Hawaiian surfer Gerry Lopez recalled, “we called it ‘Atom Blaster’ because it broke like an atomic bomb.” Local surfers also know the bre... Read More
Long, fast, exquisitely tapered right-breaking point surf, regarded for decades as one of the world’s premier waves; located at the base of Cape St. Francis, South Africa, 45 miles west of Port Elizabeth. “It’s an almost indescribable sight,” South African pro surfer Marc Price said of Jeffreys in 1982. “Watching from the beach, you start off looking up to your right and end up facing left as the wave travels down... Read More
Australian goofyfooter from Queensland’s Gold Coast; often remembered as the elfin sidekick to world tour stars Wayne Bartholomew and Gary Elkerton, but a hard-charging surfer in his own right. “Chappy’s radical, quick, and stylish,” Line Up magazine wrote in 1984, “and one of the gutsiest surfers in Australia today,” Jennings was born (1965) in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, the son of a contra... Read More
Plucky surf moviemaker from Topanga, California; best known for Cosmic Children, his raw but energetic 1970 debut. Jepsen was born (1940) and raised in Los Angeles, and began surfing at age 17. He received a B.S. in business administration from UCLA in 1968, and was an unemployed real estate agent before he started filming Cosmic Children, which cost $18,000, was shot almost entirely in California, Hawaii, and Mexico, and sho... Read More
Bantamweight big-wave rider from the North Shore of Oahu; winner of the 1999 Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau contest at Waimea Bay. Johnson was born (1973) in Hilo, the son of a University of Hawaii psychology professor, and began surfing at age 11. He moved to the North Shore after graduating high school in 1991, spent a fruitless two years on the world pro tour, then began to focus on big waves. Johnson, always a cheerful and smil... Read More
Aloof, balls-to-the-wall big-wave charger from Honolulu, Hawaii; winner of the Duke Kahanamoku Classic in 1972 and 1976, and a key figure in the ’80s-launched big-wave surfing renaissance. Jones was born (1952) and raised in Honolulu, the son of a construction equipment operator and bar owner, and began surfing in Waikiki at age nine. He first came to the attention of the surf world as an 18-year-old semifinalist in the 1970 World... Read More

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