Video Killed the Surf Movie

Video shoot, 1979. Photo: Shirley Rogers

For two decades, the surf movie was surfing’s own traveling medicine show, with filmmaker’s barnstorming their latest release up and down the coast for loud, beery audiences, in what constituted the sport’s only type of nocturnal mass gathering. Up to 15 full-length surf movies were produced annually during the genre’s first peak, in the early- and mid-'60s, and a second peak followed ten years later. By the late 1970s, though, the franchise hit the first in what proved to be a terminal serie...