Cult of the Surf Photographer

Surf publishing was a nonstop growth industry throughout the 1980s, with increased ad revenue, new titles, bigger issues, more color. The trend was worldwide but most obvious in America. In the late 1970s, Surfer and Surfing had both gone monthly, and the average issue size was just over a hundred pages. By 1988, both magazines were producing copies at Vogue-like two-hundred-plus pages, and circulation for each was about 110,000—more than double the size of their nearest rivals.

In Australia,...