Chris O'Rourke

California, 1978

Guys wanted to burn my house down for things that I’ve done.

Chris O’Rourke of La Jolla was 19 when surf photographer Warren Bolster,titled “Chris O’Rourke: I’m Sure Gonna Try!” was published in the August 1978 issue of SURFER. One year earlier O’Rourke had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease.

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When did you really start getting into surfing?

Around sixth grade. My family moved to Windansea, and it totally changed my whole idea on surfing, because it was a reef break, you know, there was so much more juice. I was totally freaked to go out ther...