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12/27/17

Bob McTavish stows away to Hawaii, in two parts. First, 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...

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...

12/13/17

I’m 93% sure that a heavy-set 30-year-old ex-Marine named Dick Graham is the person responsible for the phrase “shortboard revolution.” In October of 1967, Graham flew from Los Angeles to Sydney with the Windansea surf team. What he saw on the Northern Beaches blew his crew-cut-topped mind. News traveled slowly in that pupating age of...

12/11/17

Encyclopedia of Surfing’s do-or-die December fundraiser was inching toward the finish line all weekend—then Malibu surfer and filmmaker Takuji Masuda dropped a cool $3,000 into the kitty and we started denting the ceiling with champagne corks. You guys did it. Saved this whole project—Encyclopedia, History of Surfing, Above the Roar—and furthermore you pulled it off...

11/30/17

Hello Encyclopedia of Surfing supporters, would-be supporters, friends, family, and surf lovers everywhere. Well, this is a tough one to write, and I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Encyclopedia of Surfing is underwater. We need to raise $30,000 by December 31, or the whole online project—Encyclopedia, History of Surfing, Above the Roar—goes away. How did […]

11/29/17

Here’s a Nuuhiwa clip I made three years ago. Might be the first one where I used the fizzy beer-pour intro—which still brings a slight parch to the inside of my mouth each time I hear it. I hadn’t watched this edit since I made it, but it holds up! (Most, for me, do not.)...

11/28/17

This two-page article ran in the November 1965 issue of SURFER. It’s a cramped little thing, 11 vertical shots and a column of text all jammed together, fighting for attention. I’d argue that Munoz and Patterson are both sentimental picks, and don’t belong on the list. On the other hand, Phil kind of says as much,...

11/25/17

The amount of distance Joyce Hoffman put between herself and rest of the field in the mid-’60s can only be measured in eye-straining units: she was miles, leagues, light-years ahead. Hoffman was physically gifted—lean, strong, and quick. She was ridiculously driven. “Joyce would leave the North Shore for Makaha to practice before the contest,” LeRoy...

11/22/17

“Big Waves are Masculine. Women—Feminine,” by Buzzy Trent, was originally published in the November 1963 issue of Surf Guide.   *  *  *  Girls do fine when it comes to housework, raising children, doing office work, doing the twist and even riding the ankle snappers at Malibu. With the light board era, more and more girls...

11/15/17

The Pipeline bits you see here were filmed on January 1, 1963, when John Peck was an 18-year-old high school senior visiting Hawaii from San Diego. He’d ridden Pipe for the first time a week earlier, but this particular morning, New Year’s Day, was his real coming out. Peck was an instant sensation. The big...

11/08/17

Jeff Hakman turned 17 less than a month before winning the 1965 Duke Invitational. He was the youngest and smallest competitor, kid was just 5′ 4″, weighed 125. But watch the clip, and in every possible way Jeff is the standout guy. Positioning, wave sense, style (dig the trailing arm), any way you cut it,...

11/06/17

This article was originally published in the August 2005 issue of Surfer’s Journal; it was the last and best in a series of 10,000-word full-spectrum profiles I did for the magazine. “Best” not so much because of my writing, but because Fred’s incredible life and times—and the man himself, every thoughtful, funny, insecure inch of him—was...

11/02/17

On one hand, it’s 1976, and women surfers were getting the short end like never before. Hurray for the launch of pro surfing! Except, sorry, not you ladies, men’s only, maybe next year. So credit to filmmaker Curt Mastalka who not only filmed Lynn Boyer surfing for Sundance, his new movie, but sat down with...

10/31/17

For a brief synopsis on Ron Stoner and his vaulted position in the surf photography pantheon, click here and scroll down to the last few paragraphs. I’ve been fascinated with Stoner and his work for decades; I even wrote a book on him. He is surfing’s Brian Wilson, a beautiful, tragic supernova, except with Ron...

10/26/17

What a relief it must have been for Bruce Brown and Dale Davis and Grant Rohloff to head inland for the day and shoot skateboarding instead of surfing. Leave that bitch of an ocean behind. Control the variables. Do multiple takes. Get those middle school skate brats to do exactly what you want, when and...

10/25/17

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first installment of Double-Barreled. The idea here is simple. Get two surf-world legends on a thread at the same time, wave in all Encyclopedia of Surfing subscribers, and let the conversations run where they may. Thrilled to be kicking this thing off with a pair of surf-world giants: Nat Young...

10/25/17

Drew Kampion was in his second year as editor of SURFER Magazine in 1969—a touchstone year in surf history in terms of waves, surfboards, and attitude. It was heavy. Comically so, as often as not, at least in hindsight. It was by turns enlightening and tragic, as drugs run through the sport’s bloodstream like never...

10/19/17

Renny Yater was and remains a boardmaker of the highest rank. A true surfing craftsman. Gorgeous boards, thin-railed and fast-running, produced in small numbers. A 1966 Yater spoon was the E-Type Jaguar of surf equipment. Renny’s boards deserve their own candle-lit gallery at the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center, with Bud Shank quietly, holographically playing flute...

10/18/17

Gary Green was (and I believe still is) a fantastic surfer, friend, and pubmate, sweet-tempered and no-bullshit at the same time. He had (has) impeccable timing. In the water, he got the most out of his tiny size-six-and-a-half feet; on land, he could raise a laugh with just a slight adjustment of his furry eyebrows....

10/13/17

The best part of my week was making this video of Paul Strauch. In the end, though, it doesn’t fully do the man justice. Yes, you can see that he’s a master. But nothing here quite gets you to full-strength, Grade-A Strauch. How good was he? Barry, you start.   *  *  * Paul Strauch was...

10/12/17

John Severson’s 1963 movie The Angry Sea came to a shuddering close with the wipeout you see here. Tommy Lee, Waimea Bay. Big-wave ambitions were slaughtered coast to coast as the auditorium lights came up and the local grems shuffled out into the night, hollow-eyed at what they’d just witnessed onscreen.  Who was Tommy Lee?...

10/06/17

Some days this is the world’s most enjoyable job. Today was such a day. Ronnie Burns, take a bow....

10/04/17

All I meant to do was add a couple of shots to a video I made four years ago. Then I found some footage I hadn’t yet seen, had a quick listen to this flaming Dave Clark Five instrumental, and whoops! there went the day. Near the end of the clip, the stomp band in...

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