Category: eos-blog

“SUMPTER’S REAL CRIME IS THAT HE ALWAYS WINS” SYDNEY MORNING-HERALD, 1968

“Surfing and Swipes in Cornwall,” by Nicholas Evans, ran in the August 5, 1967, issue of the Sydney Morning Herald. Evans was on location, reporting in from what he described as the Cornish Championships. This version has been slightly edited.  *  *  * “Showing here today, fantastic surf spectacular, A Life in the Sun, featuring...

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“THE DUDE WAS EITHER REALLY SLICK OR REALLY GREASY” – CORKY CARROLL REMEMBERS RODNEY SUMPTER

This text-only article turned up recently in the EOS files, with the header “Remembering Rodney.” It was written by Corky Carroll, who thinks it ran in the Orange County Register around 2000, but my newspaperarchive.com search came up empty, so it may have been a different paper. I will update this post if new information...

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“THE WORLD’S MOST UNUSUAL WAVE” – ROD SUMPTER RIDES AND REPORTS ON THE SEVERN BORE, 1968

“The World’s Most Unusual Wave,” by British surfing champion Rodney Sumpter, ran in the September 1968 issue of SURFER Magazine. This version has been slightly edited *  *  *  The dart game stopped abruptly; a fellow with foam on his mustache stood frozen in the middle of the room holding a half-drained pint of English...

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DEAN TORRENCE OF JAN AND DEAN: BRIAN WILSON GAVE US “SURF CITY” – “TAKE IT, IT’S YOURS!”

Dean Torrence was the blond falsetto-singing half of Jan and Dean, who hit #1 in the summer of 1963 with “Surf City.” The excerpt below is from Torrence’s 2016 autobiography Surf City: The Story of Jan and Dean. At this point in the timeline, the pair had been on the music scene for four years—their ...

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CIVIC-MINDED: A SANTA MONICA CIVIC AUDITORIUM TIMELINE

Wave-wise, Santa Monica is not and never has been even remotely in the conversation as a great surfing town. You can scrape together a surf life here, but mostly what you do is commute up or down the coast, to Malibu or Ventura County or South Bay or Huntington. I learned to surf in Santa...

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OUTER BANKS ’69: “IT’S ABOUT TIME ONE OF THE EAST’S FINEST SPOTS GETS RECOGNIZED”

“Immersion in Desolation,” by photographer Bruce Walker, ran in January 1970 issue of Surfing magazine; it is likely the first article ever published on wave-riding on the Outer Banks. This version has been shortened and edited.  *  *  *  North Carolina’s Outer Banks have been the scene of quite a bit of United States history....

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BRAD BARRETT PRESENTS THE 1969 MALIBU AAAA

At the end of 1967, the United States Surfing Association split into four separate entities, one for the West Coast (Western Surfing Association, or WSA), the East Coast (ESA), the Gulf Coast  (GSA), and Hawaii (HSA). Contests for each association were further split into four divisions, starting with A for entry-level competitors, then AA for...

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1921: LIFE-SIZED DAVID KAHANAMOKU STATUE “SHOWS TO EXCELLENT ADVANTAGE THE SPLENDID DEVELOPMENT OF THE UPPER BODY THAT RESULTS FROM CONSTANT SURF-RIDING”

This article ran in Honolulu Star-Bulletin on July 11, 1921, under the headline “Racial Exhibit to be Sent to Eugenics Meet: Life-Size Statue of David Kahanamoku to be Displayed in New York.” The event was the Second International Eugenics Congress, held at the American Museum of Natural History.  The eugenics movement began in the 1880s...

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BEAUCOUP KAHANAMOKU: STEP ASIDE DUKE, AND LET’S MEET BROTHERS DAVID, BILL, SAM, LOUIS, AND SARGE

Reformed (more or less) North Carolina moonshiner Junior Johnson is the perfect launching-pad figure for the thing he represents, which is stock-car racing. Babe Ruth, Jim Thorpe, Clara Bow, Chuck Berry—all of them, same thing, very hand-in-glove to their respective fields. But no activity of any kind has an origin-story legend so immaculately tailored to...

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“SAM KAHANAMOKU IS AWARDED THE CROWN,” HONOLULU STAR-BULLETIN, 1923

This article by Mike Jay ran in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin on April 21, 1923. The subhead reads: “Dad Center Should Know, and He Says Sam Is Better Than His Brother Duke Kahanamoku.” This version has been slightly edited.  *  *  *  The question of the greatest surf rider in Hawaii will always be a debatable...

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“THE NATION OF KEN,” BY BRUCE JENKINS

“The Nation of Ken,” by Bruce Jenkins, a 22,000-word XXL profile on big-wave surfer Ken Bradshaw, ran in the Spring 2001 issue of Surfer’s Journal. This version has been slightly edited from the original.  *  *  *  A lesser man would be dead drunk by now. A weaker man would be railing against a system...

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LONG READ: “THE BAY: WAIMEA BAY IS STILL DEFINING THE SURFER’S CONCEPTS OF MASS, VOLUME, POWER AND SANITY,” BY ALLSTON JAMES

“The Bay,” by Allston James, ran in the September 1990 issue of SURFER Magazine. This version has been slightly edited and reformatted.   *  *  *  DEEP ROOTS Waimea Bay has always been a place that defined limits, both oceanic and human. Name a surfer anywhere who hasn’t wondered if he would ever have the desire and...

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TOM WOLFE “PUMP HOUSE GANG” BONUS MATERIAL

Tom Wolfe wrote his surfing-themed “Pump House Gang” essay in 1966. The same title was used for Wolfe’s 1968 book, made up of 15 stories that had been published over the previous two years, either in the London Weekend Telegraph or the Sunday magazine section of the New York World Journal Tribune. An excerpt from...

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“MAC MEDA DESTRUCTION CO. A JOKE? AUTHORITIES DON’T FIND TEEN GROUP FUNNY”

The San Diego Evening Tribune ran this article on June 21, 1965. Later that year, writer Tom Wolfe arrived in La Jolla to research his “Pump House Gang” essay (read here), based in part on local surfers associated with the Mac Meda Destruction Company, described by Wolfe as an “underground society.” It wasn’t underground so...

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“THE PUMP HOUSE GANG,” BY TOM WOLFE

Virginia-born Tom Wolfe invented the stylized exclamation-point-filled New Journalism with a 1963 Esquire feature titled “There Goes (Varoom! Varoom!) That Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby.” For decades, Wolfe was one of America’s most popular and acclaimed authors in both fiction and nonfiction, and his bestselling books include The Right Stuff (1979), The Bonfire of the Vanities...

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“THE ULTIMATE THRILL,” MARK FOO PROFILE BY MATT WARSHAW (1987)

“Mark Foo: The Ultimate Thrill,” by Matt Warshaw, ran in the February 1987 issue of SURFER Magazine. This version has been slightly edited.  *  *  *  It’s a natural inclination for people to categorize, assign labels, simplify. So Mark Foo is now known primarily as a Waimea man. He has a slight problem with this...

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“NAS ONDAS DO SURF” (IN THE OCEAN WAVES) 1978: FIRST FULL-LENGTH SURF MOVIE FROM BRAZIL

Nas Ondas Do Surf, Brazil’s first full-length surf movie, came out in 1978. It is not a lost treasure, exactly. It breaks no ground, brings no green-and-yellow brazuca flair to the genre. Nas Ondas is as unimaginative as 95% of what was coming out of American and Australia, in other words. Then again, Brazil in...

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“A MATURE MAN WILL NEVER REMAIN A HOT-DOGGER,” AND OTHER READINGS FROM THE BOOK OF SAM

Sam Reid was a New Jersey-born surfing pioneer who rode Malibu with Tom Blake in the 1920s, was befriended by the Kahanamoku brothers, and was the ranking lifeguard in Santa Cruz for decades. He is also recalled as surfing’s first outspoken “it was better back then” curmudgeon, a role he seems to have picked up...

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SAM REID: THE ORIGINAL GRUMPY OLD SURFER

New Jersey’s Sam Reid learned to surf in 1912, at age seven, after watching Duke Kahanamoku give a wave-riding demonstration in Atlantic City. Reid later moved to California, then Hawaii, surfing and socializing with Tom Blake and the Kahanamoku brothers. Blake and Reid are credited as the first surfers to ride Malibu, in 1927. Reid...

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“GOODBYE SUNSHINE SUPERMAN,” JOCK SUTHERLAND PROFILE, BY MATT WARSHAW

“Goodbye Sunshine Superman” ran in the Winter 1994 issue of Surfer’s Journal. This version has been slightly shortened and edited.  *  *  *  There is great appeal, maybe even cosmic justice, in the idea that Jock Sutherland, master of critical positioning, rode deeper and cleaner than anybody during Our Holy Year of Gigantic Surf, 1969....

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“BEN” – BEN AIPA PROFILE BY BILL HAMILTON AND GERRY LOPEZ

“Ben,” a two-part profile written by Bill Hamilton and Gerry Lopez, ran in the September 1972 issue of SURFER. This version has been slightly edited and shortened.  *  *  * He’s a big, heavy-set guy, weighing somewhere between 225 and 250 pounds. Amazingly enough, this isn’t a detriment to his surfing, which is remarkably smooth,...

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U-TURN ON THE “NIGHT TRIP”? JOCK SUTHERLAND ANSWERS ALLAN WEISBECKER

In August 2020, EOS posted “Jock’s Night Trip,” by Allan Weisbecker, an article that originally ran in a 1992 issue of Surfing. “Night Trip” is possibly the most 1969 story on the whole site, flitting about from the Apollo moonwalk to the Mets to Woodstock and beyond, then zeroing in on the North Shore for...

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BURNING MAN ’64: DROPPING INTO THE WORLD TITLES at MANLY BEACH

And lo the story has been handed down through time, nigh on three score years now, one surf historian to the next—that Joey Cabell bunged himself out a world title in 1964 because he dropped in on other competitors like Tom Carroll on a six-shot espresso high. There was a new “sportsmanship” rule in place...

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“BOBBY BROWN, THE SURFER TREND-SETTER,” BY MIDGET FARRELLY

Midget Farrelly’s tribute to Bobby Brown ran in the August 27, 1967, edition of the Sydney Morning Herald. A week earlier, Brown had been killed in a bar fight not far from his home in Cronulla. This version has been slightly edited and shortened.   *  *  *  Australian surfing suffered a great loss this week...

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ORAL HISTORY: THE QUIET, BRILLIANT, TRAGIC BOBBY BROWN

Bobby Brown of Cronulla, a smooth-surfing teenage finalist in the 1964 world titles, was as quiet and unassuming as he was talented. In 1967, just after filming what would be a star turn in Paul Witzig’s Hot Generation, Brown was killed in a bar fight. He was 20. The following quotes are from various sources,...

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