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4/10/19

Dan Duane’s profile on Laird Hamilton ran in the July 2004 issue of Men’s Journal magazine. *  *  * On that warm Tahitian morning four years ago—the morning that made surfing history—Laird Hamilton drifted alone, head bowed, preparing to do what he’d been doing since childhood: feed his demons with an act of suicidal physical...

4/09/19

SURFER published this article in the January 1966 issue. Author Peter Van Dyke, younger brother of Fred, was best known for his theatrical drop-knee turns in small waves, but he had big-wave chops as well. That’s Peter in the spread photos, at Makaha, in the late ’50s.   *  *  *  I’m awfully tired of all...

4/06/19

Bruce Jenkins’ “The Next Realm” was SURFER’s December 1993 cover story, and the first full-length look at tow surfing.  *  *  * Bill Sickler had the binoculars out one day last winter, checking a huge north swell from a hillside spot above Sunset Beach. He was watching Laird Hamilton carve out a slice of the...

4/05/19

Buzzy Kerbox, Laird Hamilton and Darrick Doerner threw their boards into Kerbox’ new Zodiac inflatable in 1992 and invented tow surfing as we know it today. But it could have happened earlier. Way earlier. That’s Martin Potter in 1987 whipping into a Third Reef Pipe swell with an assist by Herbie Fletcher. But the idea...

3/16/19

Paul Holmes’ profile on Gary Propper ran in the November 1999 issue of Longboard magazine.  *  *  *  Before he even hit his teens, little Gary Propper was already a streetwise hustler. Growing up in a troubled single-parent family situation, he gravitated to amateur boxing at the local Boys Club in Miami, just a jab...

3/14/19

Manual of Surfboard Technique, by Tom Blake, was a 22-page pamphlet made by the Robert Mitchell Company of Cincinnati, one of the makers of the Blake-design hollow surfboard. The text was originally a two-part article published in the January and February 1935 issues of Paradise of the Pacific magazine. Just a guess, but the Mitchell Company...

3/13/19

“And now, in 1935, it is with pleasure I see the surfriders at Waikiki building their own hollow surfboards after my new, perfected riding design. Everyone who tries them is enthusiastic. They paddle so much easier than the solid board, catch a wave so much easier, and the vibration, caused by the wave undulation, reaches...

3/11/19

“Better Ways to Build Surf Boards,” by Hi Sibley, ran in the August 1935 issue of Popular Science. Four boards types were described: a plank, a hollow, a “toboggan type” (think wooden sled), and a child’s paddleboard. The text below is taken from the plank section of the article.  *  *  * At the California beaches, there...

3/09/19

“Improved Hollow Surfboard for All-Around Sport” ran in the June 1939 issue of Popular Science. The text below is slightly edited and shortened, and some of the fractions have been converted to decimals. *  *  *  Native Hawaiians taught Tom Blake to ride the waves, but he wasn’t satisfied with their crude boards. After years of...

2/27/19

Back in 2014, I posted a short piece on how Miki Dora was influenced by his two fathers. “My own father taught me a gracious way of living,” Dora said, “while my stepfather showed me how to survive. One showed me how to atone for indiscretions and the other demonstrated how to commit them.” The...

2/10/19

Sam George once wrote that Jimmy Blears is surfing’s “least-known world champion,” and while I’ll always wave the flag for disappeared two-time champ Sharron Weber, Sam ain’t wrong. Blears won his title in ’72, in San Diego, and all anybody remembers about that shitshow of a contest is that a board belonging to crowd favorite...

2/09/19

I sort of hate myself for the enjoyment I took in putting together this little showcase of bad behavior, all of which took place during the 1972 World Surfing Championships in San Diego, either at the Harbor Island Travelodge or nearby. Bunch of punk-ass surfers being dumb and destructive, is what it comes down to....

2/08/19

This is a slightly edited and condensed version of “Winning and Losing in Fat City,” which ran in the February 1973 issue of Surfing magazine *  *  * Official headquarters for the 1972 World Surfing Championships was the Travelodge on Harbor Island, San Diego. The events there, and at the contest site, have been succinctly...

1/24/19

“Waterman: Darrick Doerner Seeks Perfection in the Danger Zone,” by San Francisco sportswriter Bruce Jenkins, ran in the September 1990 issue of SURFER.   *  *  *  Pops Aikau passed away in late October 1989. He had withstood the pain of untold tragedy—the death of one son, then another, and the passing of his beloved wife....

1/24/19

This article on Mark Foo and Ken Bradshaw first ran in the May 1988 issue of Outside magazine. In the front of the mag, they did a little “behind the scenes” column, which I hadn’t looked at since the piece came out. Part of it reads: “Warshaw says the 20-foot monsters that Foo and Bradshaw...

1/23/19

January 18, 1985, was a springboard for Mark Foo’s big-wave career. That afternoon he bailed his way through what might still be the biggest Waimea Bay closeout set to ever roll through an occupied lineup, and afterward he paddled into, and was annihilated by, another closeout wave. More importantly for his career, Mark wasted no...

1/20/19

Chris Brown of Santa Barbara died yesterday, at age 48. Details of his death are still unknown. This afternoon I had this email exchange with Derek Rielly of BeachGrit.  *  *  *  BeachGrit: I got vague memories of a kid with stiff white hair slinging it to Kelly in the late eighties, early nineties. Warshaw:...

1/18/19

After his stint as a self-described “total drug fiend,” but before he became a surf industry titan, Bruce Raymond was one of those hard-charging Free Ride-era Aussies who were busy reinventing the surf world in their own charismatic image. Bruce spent two years in the Top 16, then made a hard pivot away from pro...

1/06/19

Greg Noll’s monster drop-to-annihilation wave at Makaha on December 4, 1969, was the defining wave of surfing’s defining big-wave swell. World champ Fred Hemmings watched from the beach and said it was the biggest wave ever ridden. Noll himself said it was five or ten feet over his previous best, and not long afterward he...

1/06/19

By Tomi Knaefler Star-Bulletin Writer Greg Noll, one of the best of the big wave riders, yesterday came uncomfortably close to being a victim of Oahu’s surf storm. Noll and six other big-league surfers were drawn to the challenge of the massive 25-foot waves at Makaha. About 1:30 pm, Noll chose his challenge which another surfing...

1/05/19

This is the opening chapter from Greg Noll’s 1989 autobiography, Da Bull: Life Over the Edge. It has been shortened and lightly edited. *  *  * In many ways, the winter of ’69 was the peak of my life. I was 32. I had a built a successful career of surfing and making surfboards. Although...

1/03/19

This article was originally published in the August 1971 issue of SURFER. Photos of Waimea Bay, above, by Roger Sames.   *  *  *   At 11:30 p.m. on the night of Monday, December 1, 1969, Madeline Valentine awoke to the sounds of screaming sirens. A Sunset Beach fire truck was slowly moving down the road behind...

12/14/18

Nothing about this job interests me more than throwing light into the ever-grinding tectonic-plate furrow where surfing meets the rest of life. All our heartfelt stories about learning to surf, about the thrills and adventures, the perfect waves, the hairball moments—don’t get me wrong, I love that stuff too. I gather and organize and deal...

12/13/18

“An Alternative Viewpoint,” by Kimo Hollinger, ran in the September 1975 issue of SURFER. Hollinger at the time was one of Hawaii’s most respected old guard big-wave riders. In the mid-’60s he was a competitor in the Duke Kahanamoku Invitational, and later that decade he worked as a contest judge. By the early ’70s, however,...

10/17/18

A shorter version of this oral history, compiled by Ben Marcus, ran in the February 2011 issue of Surfer’s Journal, and was titled “Flashpoint: the Op Pro Riot.”  *  *  * SAM GEORGE – SURF WRITER I was there all day but at some point I said to Matty Liu: “This crowd is turning ugly...

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