We cannonballed into the shortboard revolution last week, with back-to-back History of Surfing sections, “Plastic Machine” and “Enlightenment at Honolua Bay.” But that was just the setup. Last week was really about finally getting a shot at something I’ve wanted to do for ages, which is to do some hardcore deep-dive primary-source work on the first few years of shortboard development—a touchstone period in surf history that is now as muddled as it is fascinating. “It Took the Aussies to Do It” is a short rip on how much historical credit does and does not belong to boardmaking holy man Dick Brewer. “The Illustrated Revolution” is a visual timeline, as well as a corrective to the 2010 documentary Going Vertical, which purports to be an exploration as to who started the revolution. Bah. Find something else to argue about, folks. Bob McTavish and George Greenough invented shortboard surfing. Cast your flower petals at Brewer’s feet if you must, but know when you tug on a stray DNA strand from your high-performance stick that the far end of that strand is tied to McTavish’s shaping rack in Sydney.
On a lighter note, I made this little video goof on surfing’s Great Wiggle Pandemic, a three-year plague on style that began in 1968.
If you want a head start on next week’s action, here’s “Panic on the Showroom Floor,” which just posted. It’s not often you feel bad for industrialists of any kind, but those poor bastards—Dewey and Hobie and Greg Noll; and know my use of “bastard” is said partly in admiration—didn’t know what hit ’em in 1968. Dudes could not give those 9′ 6″ noserider models away. Then all the Patchouli-infused ad copy when the board companies went groovy! Yeah I gotta do something on the ad copy.
Thanks, everybody, for tuning in! Much more to come.