“Video Killed the Surf Movie” was last week’s History of Surfing chapter. By the late ’70s, I was already aging out of the surf movie fanaticism that had gripped me over the previous ten years. Ninety minutes is a long time to sit in a theater when the product is uneven, as surf flicks pretty much all were. That first gaping Pipeline tube onscreen was a rush, yes it was, but the second one was less of a rush, and so on, and ten spitting barrels later I was ready to do a French exit and see if I could catch the second half of Barney Miller.
Surf video put the whole thing in my living room. Actually, no, of course it didn’t. My TV screen was tiny, I watched alone, and surf video production quality made porn look like Kubrick. On the other hand, I dug the rewind feature, and the way you could queue up a five-minute video bump before running out the door to surf. (On the other other hand, I always did fine priming the pre-surf adrenaline levels with a short but deep hit of music.)
None of that mattered. Stopping or even slowing the ’80s video onslaught was never a possibility. It was the first inevitable step toward our oversaturated media future. Which isn’t really a problem, right? You take what you need and you leave the rest (Robbie 19:69).
I’ve been moving a few items around the site, before the big EOS relaunch, which I hope takes place sometime this December, but more likely January. This excellent 1969 Drew Kampion interview with Miki Dora, for example, just migrated from the EOS blog to Above the Roar. I think it is Dora’s best; if you haven’t read it, by all means have a look.
This 1994 interview with Dale Velzy, by Craig Stecyk, is new to EOS, and also very much worth a few minutes of your time. For my money, Velzy is the all-in-one embodiment of the American surfer: funny, innovative, reckless, and self-sabotaging. A lovable hustler. Surfing is beautiful and soulful, but it always struck me as a bit of a hustle—maybe that’s why Velzy is my guy.
Thanks for reading, and see you next week.
[Top photo by Shirley Rogers; Dale Velzy by LeRoy Grannis]