×
Login

Blog


2/22/18

Last year I re-read “Space Boards,” Tom Morey’s 1971 SURFER article. The first words of Morey’s six-page Age of Aquarius backyard board-design dialectic go like this: “Hello. I am a spaceman. I am the spirits of Einstein, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and Bob Simmons, taken possession, temporarily, of the innocent body known here on earth...

2/20/18

For a couple of years there, starting around 1973, nobody knew what direction the newly-revived sport of skateboarding was going to go. Or nobody cared, is the better way to put it. We were just ridiculously stoked on urethane wheels, and making it up as we went. That comes through clear as a bell in the...

2/16/18

“To Leash or Not to Leash, That is the Question,” by Corky Carroll, ran in the December 1972 issue of Surfing. The first commercially-sold leashes were introduced about 18 months earlier, and while the device was fast gaining acceptance, in ’72 it remained a red-hot topic.  *  *  * There is a lot of controversy...

2/12/18

“Shaping a Life: The True Saga of a Surfing Bank Robber,” by Richard Dowdy, originally ran in the December 2014 issue of Ocean Magazine. It was excerpted from a Ryan Dotson biography that was never published. The version below has been further edited and shortened. Dowdy and Dotson worked together at Hansen Surfboards in the...

2/08/18

Tiger Espere of Hawaii is a hard surfer to appreciate in 2018, nearly five decades after his peak, when he stood proudly shoulder-to-shoulder with the best of the North Shore Thunder Gods. Tiger’s trip was subtle. Subtle . . . maybe to the point of obscure. A sensitive young WCT fan wandering onto this post will...

2/02/18

Keith Paull of Queensland, as graceful as he was handsome, won the 1968 Australian National Titles, rode “Swell of the Century” Makaha in 1969, and in general was regarded throughout the surf world as the “good Aussie”—as opposed to those louder, more demanding fellows like Nat Young and John Witzig. Everybody liked Keith. By the...

1/30/18

Delving a little deeper into our collective up-down-sideways relationship with surf contests. Here, collected, are some of the finest, most piquant anti-contest quotes from the past 80-something years. But keep in mind: not only was every person here a competitor, most of them went on to compete after denouncing competition. Never trust a surfer.  *  *  * “On...

1/30/18

Surfing competition had always had it’s detractors—Miki Dora and Phil Edwards being the best examples—but not until the late ’60s did anti-contest sentiment expand into something that could be called a movement. Yes, the whole thing was splattered in hypocrisy. A lot of surfers tried to have it both ways; fly the anti-contest banner on...

1/27/18

Drugs are still very much part of surfing in 2018, if for no other reason then the fact that pot is now (mostly) legal. But our sport is no longer young and rebellious—we are in fact old and settled, or close to it, and cheers to us for growing up—which changes the terms. Drug use...

1/19/18

At first, the Katin Pro-Am in Huntington Beach was the best international-level pro contest in California because it was the only international-level pro contest in California. When the Op Pro touched down in ’82, all lit up like the Close Encounters spaceship—the Katin was still best, if for no other reason than it was held...

1/17/18

When boardmakers went super-groovy in 1968 to try and sell the new equipment, more often than not it was like a frat boy dressing in leather fringe and Jesus sandals to hustle the coeds. So transparent. So desperate. And 50 years later, so very funny. Here for your review are eight of the best gone-hippy surfboard...

1/15/18

Did I overlook Midget Farrelly in the shortboard revolution timeline that posted last week? A few EOS readers (mostly but not exclusively Australian) reached out last night and this morning to suggest this might be the case. I’ve so far replied that Midget and his advanced board are noted in the ’67 Bells pic, and that...

1/13/18

The shortboard revolution gave us “total involvement” and “creative self-expression” and radicalness and huge turns and the tube and etc and it was great, exciting, sport-changing stuff. The shortboard revolution also produced an Everest-sized mountain of chaff and dross. Windmilling arms. Stuttering footwork.  And wiggling. So much wiggling. Enough to make a short video!...

1/10/18

The main objective here is to put some visuals to the first and most important year of the shortboard revolution. What you see below is not a complete record of what happened in board design in 1967. Not even close. The imagery, however, is limited ONLY to that year. The thing about the 2010 shortboard...

1/08/18

Dick Brewer was a boardmaker without equal. He was Gandalf and Oppenheimer and more Gandalf with a touch of Pollock. Brewer’s understanding of how a surfboard’s manifold design elements must blend and synchronize and accommodate—template, rails, rocker, edges, flats, curves—was fourth-dimensional. Magic boards danced from his shaping bay in the 1960s and ’70s like Fantasia broomsticks into the...

1/04/18

Nat Young won the 1966 World Surfing Championships, with rival David Nuuhiwa finishing a distant 12th. But had this been any other amateur-age world championships—’64, ’65, ’68, ’70 or ’72—Nuuhiwa would have won. Why? Because in 1966, and only in 1966, contest organizers used a three-event format. The opening event finished up in long semi-wedging...

1/03/18

This is the third article in a Aussie-Yank catfight trilogy that began with Bill Cleary’s “The High Performers” and continued with John Witzig’s “We’re Tops Now.” This piece, “The High Performers Answer Australia,” ran without a byline in the July 1967 issue of SURFER. It is the sound of defeat and and anger and denial and hurt...

1/03/18

John Witzig’s “We’re Tops Now” ran in the May 1967 issue of SURFER. It was the first and perhaps most notorious article the magazine ever published. Witzig was justly angry over the way SURFER and the rest of the American surf press had downplayed Nat Young’s win in the 1966 world championships—and it wasn’t just...

1/03/18

Bill Cleary’s “The High Performers” was published in the March 1967 issue of SURFER. Nat Young had just won the 1966 World Championships in San Diego, which not only changed the direction of performance surfing, but showed that Australia was by and large the source for everything new and progressive in the sport—with the exception of...

12/30/17

Felipe Pomar is remembered as the first great international surfer from Peru. But when Pormar first came on the scene it was as the regularfoot half of two-man team, alongside fellow Club Waikiki member and red-hot goofyfooter Joaquin Miro Quesada—”Shigi” to friends and family. Of the surfers, Shigi probably had the greater gift. He was quicker...

12/28/17

The 1965 World Surfing Championships, held in Lima, Peru, has always been a surf-world oddity. Of the six pre-professional world titles (’64 to ’72), Peru was the only one scheduled in an odd-numbered year, the only one held in big waves, and the only one with to produce a Latin American winner. The contest was...

12/27/17

From the Sydney Morning Herald, 1963 HONOLULU, DECEMBER 20. Two Sydney surfers, Robert McTavish,19, and David Chidgey, 17, were ordered yesterday to be deported from Hawaii as illegal visitors who stowed away in the Orsova from Sydney. District Judge Martin Pence, in “a spirit of Christmas goodwill,” agreed that Federal charges against the youths would...

12/20/17

George Greenough is clearly “on the spectrum,” as they say—except nobody ever says it about George. Not in public anyway. We say he’s “odd” or “eccentric” or “wired differently,” and leave it at that. Yet everything Greenough has done for surfing, the astounding leaps in performance and equipment, all of it shared openly and freely...

12/20/17

As part of a SURFER magazine survey a few years back, I was asked to rank, in order, the 10 greatest surfers of all time. I put George Greenough on top, even though I suppose what I wanted to say is that Greenough is the most influential, or the most progressive. Something more specific. “Greatest” is...

12/18/17

Over the weekend, inspired by that Art Brewer shot of Gerry Lopez I posted a few days ago, I got caught up in looking for more photos and video of super-narrow boards. I also found this quote from an article Corky Carroll wrote for SURFER in 1970: Everybody’s looking for a better trip. What we...

1 of 17

Blog