Super-Sizing the World Tour

Damien Hardman, Bells, 1987
1983 Pipe Masters champ Dane Kealoha
1990 world champion Pam Burridge
1983 Triple Crown winner Michael Ho

American money fueled the 1980s surf boom, but Australia lit the fuse. It wasn’t simply that many of the surf products flying out of stores from San Diego to Long Island came from Aussie-founded companies like Quiksilver, Billabong, and Rip Curl. It was more because surfing’s color and verve—the real underlying attraction of the surf boom—were themselves Australian exports. After the localism and soul-surfing vapidity of the 1970s, it took Mark Richards and his exploded-color surfboards, Wayn...

By the late 1980s pro surfing felt too Australian. The season was too long. The schedule was too crowded. Not everybody wanted to compete every weekend, like many of the Aussies did. There were 25 events on the 1989 world tour schedule, and some of the best pros were burning out.