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Lanky regularfooter from Cocoa Beach, Florida; runner-up in the 1968 United States Surfing Championships, and often referred to as the East Coast’s first international-caliber surfer. “His presence is instantly overwhelming,” surf journalist Matt Walker said of Tabeling in 1998. “The chiseled face, the sheer mass, the confident awareness. Your first impression will be awe.” Tabeling was born (1949) in Me... Read More
Baby-faced surfer and board shaper originally from Waikiki, Hawaii; runner-up in the 1966 and 1967 United States Surfboard Championships; founder of Hawaiian Pro Designs surfboards. “A wild little critter,” fellow boardmaker Bob McTavish said of Takayama, full of “great humility and incredible humor.” Takayama was born (1943) and raised in Honolulu, began surfing at age seven and shaping surfboards shortly after.... Read More
Ride-opening maneuver in which the surfer stops paddling, pushes up into a standing position, and begins to drop down the wave face. Although simple in concept, timing a takeoff correctly is one of the most difficult aspects of the sport. A misjudged or overly ambitious takeoff, furthermore, can result in a spectacular and potentially dangerous wipeout; a 1982 Surfer magazine article introduced the expression TOADS (Take Off And Die... Read More
Twenty-page comic book insert, bound into the February 1972 issue of Surfer magazine, featuring the work of San Francisco underground cartoonists (and Zap contributors) Rick Griffin, R. Crumb, Robert Williams, and S. Clay Wilson, among others. Tales from the Tube was conceived and developed by Griffin, who created Surfer‘s popular Murphy cartoon strip, then moved to San Francisco where he becam... Read More
While tandem surfing is technically defined as any two people riding the same board at once, it’s generally recognized as a particular surfing subgenre involving opposite-sex partners, with the man hoisting the woman into a series of lifts and poses. Pre-20th-century Hawaiians likely practiced some form of two-to-a-board surfing, but tandem riding was more or less created in the 1920s by the tourist-serving Waikiki beachboys, who paddled... Read More
Tall, thin, rubber-limbed goofyfooter from Bali, Indonesia, who gracefully captured the public eye in 1995 by slotting himself deep inside an enormous silver-blue tube at Pipeline in Hawaii— a sublime moment that ended up on the cover of Surfing magazine. Tanjung was born (1975) in a small town on Bali’s Bukit Peninsula, and soon moved with his family to Kuta Beach, where he began surfing at age eight. At 13 he started ... Read More
Novelty form of the sport utilizing water-displacement waves generated by large ships—tankers and container ships for the most part. The waves fan out from the ship’s bow and break over nearby shipping channel shoals and sandbars. “If we lived in Southern California, we probably wouldn’t be seeking out weird things like this,” Texas tanker surfer Peter Davis said. “We’d be happy to just go to the beach ... Read More
Small, spring-loaded regularfooter from Titanzinho, Brazil; world-ranked #4 in 2000. Tavares was born (1975) and raised in Titanzinho, an equatorial fishing village near Fortaleza, atop Brazil’s eastern horn. She began surfing at age five on a finless surfboard made from a discarded wooden door, and was riding the same board three years later when she entered her first competition. At 19 she was the Pan American amateur champion; at 21... Read More
Tiny heart-shaped Fijian island located just off the western shore of Viti Levu; home to Cloudbreak and Restaurants, two of the world’s best left-breaking reef waves; site of the Tavarua Island Resort, often called “the Club Med of surfing.” Tavarua breaks best from May to October, as Southern Hemisphere storms generate consistent surf, which is often met by side-offshore winds. Coral Sea cyclones from February to Marc... Read More
Cyclonic left-breaking reef wave located near the southwest tip of Tahiti Iti; regarded since the late ’90s as one of the world’s most challenging and dangerous surf breaks. “Teahupoo isn’t a wave, it’s a war zone,” surf journalist Gary Taylor wrote in 2000. “A freak of nature that some bastard decided to call a surf spot.” Waves at Teahupoo (pronounced “cho-pu,” which translat... Read More
Polished, methodical regularfoot surfer and surf contest organizer from Haleiwa, Hawaii, by way of Southern California; world-ranked #9 in 1991. Thomas was born Marty McClaurey in 1967 in Downey, California, began surfing at age four, and was runner-up in the menehune division of the 1980 United States Surfing Championships. The following year he moved to Hawaii, and in 1985 he changed his surname to Thomas, his mother’s maiden name.... Read More
Confident regularfoot surfer from Durban, South Africa; men’s division winner in the South African Championships in 1965, 1967, 1968, and 1969. George Thomopolous was born in 1947 in the landlocked Transvaal city of Springs, and moved with his family to Durban at age nine, where he began surfing. Aside from his national titles, the intense, dark-haired Thomopolous was South Africa’s team captain to the World Surfing Championships ... Read More
Low-key, forward-thinking surfboard shaper from North Coast, New South Wales, Australia, best known for his small high-performance designs, and his willingness to re-interpret nearly any board-related curve or surface. “Thomson makes the most bizarre, intriguing surfcraft in the world,” Surfer magazine said in 2016. “Things that look as if they’d been transported to our time from a distant, mathematically orie... Read More
Down-home power surfer from Western Australia; world-ranked #16 in 1986 and 1987. Thorson was born (1964) and raised on Rottnest Island—a gorgeous, sparsely inhabited seven-mile-long island located 12 miles off Perth—and his formative surfing years were spent riding big waves alone on the craggy Rottnest reefs. Thorson was Western Australia’s juniors division champ in 1980 and 1981, and was runner-up to world-beater Mark Occhi... Read More
Model name for the original tri-fin surfboard, designed and built by Australian surfer-shaper Simon Anderson in 1981. Anderson’s board, made under his own Energy label, was soon being copied worldwide, and by late 1982 the tri-fin had replaced the traditional single-fin and the skittish twin-fin as the high-performance board of choice. Anderson claims the “Thruster” name was a nod to the multi-fin system’s added thrust ... Read More
Spunky Australian pro surfer from Coolangatta, Queensland; winner of the 1999 Triple Crown. Todd was born (1974) and raised in Queensland, began surfing at 15, won six state amateur titles, and finished first on the Australian Championship Circuit pro tour in 1993, 1994, and 1996. An aggressive regularfooter, noted for her quick, sharp turns, and not overly concerned with surfing subtleties, Todd marched steadily up the world tour rati... Read More
Two small, rocky, uninhabited islands in northern Baja California, Mexico, eight miles off the mainland; home to Killers, a world-class big-wave break. “A strange and freaky surf discovery,” Nick Carroll said about Killers in 1990. “A big-wave monstrosity within easy distance of a coast where five-foot surf throws locals into a frenzy.” Isla de Todos Santos (All Saints Island) was first ridden around 1964 by vi... Read More
Electrifying regularfoot pro surfer from Ubatuba, Brazil; part of a mid-2010s vanguard of Brazilian surfers collectively known as the “Brazilian Storm” called “the best 18-year-old surfer on the planet” in 2014 by Surfing magazine.  Toledo was born (1995) and raised in Ubatuba, a small, surf-mad city on Brazil’s southeastern coast. He was taught to surf ... Read More
Surfing’s original prize-money competition, held in Ventura, California, on Fourth of July weekend, 1965; better known as the Tom Morey Noseriding Contest. Surfboard manufacturer Tom Morey—who would later create the wildly popular Morey Boogie bodyboard—developed the Invitational as a way to promote his new factory-retail surf shop. The Morey contest was notable not just for its $1,500 purse (gathered for the most part by the ... Read More
Forceful, articulate, self-destructive pro surfer and surfwear entrepreneur, originally from Durban, South Africa; world-ranked #5 in 1976; a cofounder of Gotcha. Tomson was born (1954) and raised in Durban, and began surfing at age 10, along with his younger cousin and future world champion Shaun Tomson. Both of the teenaged Tomsons competed in the 1970 World Surfing Championships in Australia, with Shaun advancing to the semifinals. M... Read More
Innovative and aristocratic regularfooter from Durban, South Africa; 1977 world champion, and inventer of the climb-and-drop method of tuberiding; often described, along with Kelly Slater, as “the ultimate pro.” Tomson was born (1955) and raised in Durban, the son of Ernie Tomson, a wealthy property owner and surf contest organizer. Shaun began surfing at age 10, under his father’s tutelage; two years later he won the... Read More
Motorized form of big-wave riding popularized in the early 1990s, in which the surfer, towed from behind a personal watercraft (PWC), is whipped into the wave. For decades surfers had been unable to overcome the rushing trough-to-crest flow of water on waves bigger than 25 or 30 f... Read More
Smooth, deliberate, enterprising surfer from Coolangatta, Queensland, Australia; world champion in 1976, with adjunct work in coaching, writing, publishing, boardmaking, marketing, and surf fashion. Townend was born (1953) and raised in Coolangatta, the son of a hotel manager, and began surfing in 1967.  He had a remarkable run in the Australian National Titles, placing second in the juniors division in 1971, then moving up to the men’s... Read More
Monthly surf magazine published out of Sydney, Australia; the country’s surf media flagship in the 1970s and early ’80s. Tracks was founded in 1970 by editor David Elfick, surf journalist John Witzig, and surf moviemaker Alby Falzon as a counterculture alternative to magazines like Surfer and Surfing World. With its debut issue, Tracks made a clear break from the standard surf mag ... Read More
Avuncular regularfoot surfer from Los Angeles, California; Malibu trendsetter in the mid- and late 1950s; model for the “Kahuna” character in the book and movie versions of Gidget. Tracy was born (1935) and raised in southwest Los Angeles, and began surfing at age 15. In the summer of 1956, he lived in a palm-frond shack on the beach at Malibu where, as surf journalist Craig Stecyk recalled decades later, he “held c... Read More
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