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There Will be Slaps

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Steve Lis, 1974. Photo: Jeff Divine
Huntington Beach. Photo: Guy Motil
Central California. Photo: Jeff Divine
Da Hui, Hawaii, 1980s

By the early 1970s, California surfing had taken a sharp and dramatic tumble in the eyes of wave-riders everywhere—including Californians themselves, many of whom now regarded their own state with a disapproval that ranged from mild to masochistic. In part, it was leftover embarrassment over the war of words following Nat Young’s win in the 1966 World Championships, compounded by the state’s late arrival to the shortboard revolution. Southern California surf breaks had also endured a string o...

Narrabeen surfers showed a real flair for harassing outsiders. One ranking member of the local boardriders club, for example, would blow holes into a crowd by methodically driving a bucket of golf balls from the water’s edge into the lineup.