Beautiful from any Angle

Don James (foreground), Sunset. Photo: LeRoy Grannis
LeRoy Grannis, 1963.
(L to R) Ron Stoner, LeRoy Grannis, Don James, 1966
The Ranch, 1966. Photo: Ron Stoner
Murphy creator Rick Griffin (white T-shirt), 1962

Surfers as a rule didn’t trust the media. Hollywood movies, Sports Illustrated articles, Beach Boys singles—these were created by non-surfers, and they almost never got it right. What surfers really craved was in-house news and entertainment. Surf movies were a blast. Surf magazines were even better—or at least more versatile. They could be taken home, studied, collected, and referenced; they offered advice, opinion, and instruction. All those religious comparisons the sport grew so fond of—t...

Photographer Ron Stoner did for Southern California surf breaks what artist David Hockney did for Southern California swimming pools, and to the same effect: you didn’t want to just look at their work, you longed to step inside and become part of it.