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Surfboard rail design where the deck-to-edge curve, in cutaway, is more or less symmetrical with the bottom-to-edge curve. As compared to the dropped-profile “hard edge” rail, the 50/50 is forgiving and easy turning, but tends to allow a board to fall out of its forward-moving track into a spin-out. The 50/50 rail—also known as an…
Peak-shaped wave, generally short, hollow, and powerful; ridable in either direction—left or right—and often well-suited to tuberiding. Viewed front on, the A-frame wave has a symmetrical outline resembling that of an A-frame building.
Good-natured surfer-writer-musician from Pacific Palisades, California; best known as cowriter of Warner Brothers’ 1978 surfing film Big Wednesday. Aaberg was born (1947) in Boston, Massachusetts, and moved with his family at age two to the west Los Angeles town of Pacific Palisades. By the time Denny Aaberg began surfing in 1959 as a 12- year-old,…
Lean, blond, smooth-surfing regularfooter from Santa Barbara, California; a Gidget-era Malibu icon and costar of filmmaker Bruce Brown’s 1958 surf movie, Slippery When Wet. Aaberg was born (1940) in Peoria, Illinois, spent his early childhood in Boston, Massachusetts, and moved with his family in 1948 to Pacific Palisades, in west Los Angeles. Eight years later…
Hardcase Australian pro surfer and slab-wave addict; cofounder of the Bra Boys, a menacing boardriding club from Maroubra Beach, in south Sydney. Abberton was born (1979) the son of a heroin-using mother and an absent father, and spent much of his youth living in government housing. He began riding waves as a child with his…
Punk-flavored surfer, skateboarder, entrepreneur, and activist, from Newport, Rhode Island, often described as “the Godfather of New England surfing.” Abbruzzi was born (1951) and raised in Newport. Duke Abbruzzi, his father, was an high school All State athlete in three sports (football, basketball, baseball), a star first baseman and running back at University of Rhode…
Stylish, enigmatic regularfooter from Honolulu, Hawaii; world-ranked #4 in 1977, and a central figure throughout the first decade of shortboard surfing. Abellira was born (1950) and raised in Honolulu, the son of a middleweight boxer who was shot and killed in a Chinatown pool hall. Abellira began surfing at age four in Waikiki, but didn’t…
Determined pro surfer from Haleiwa, Hawaii; world-ranked #2 in 2000. “Abubo looks soft but surfs hard,” Surfer magazine said in 2000, noting that the Hawaiian regularfooter, then 22, was likely five or six years from her prime. Abubo was born (1978) in Connecticut, moved with her family to Hawaii, began surfing at age 10 in…
Although tens of thousands of recreational surfers have enrolled in colleges and universities over the decades, and coastal-area college surf teams and clubs have been around since the mid-1960s, surfing and the academy have had little effect on each other, and connections between the two are still for the most part regarded as novel, quirky,…
Designer and publisher of surpassingly elegant photo books on surf culture; based in Santa Barbara, California; best known for his work with blue chip surf photographers such as Don James and Jeff Divine. Adler was born (1950) and raised in Long Beach, the son of an aerospace engineer father and a stay-at-home mother. He learned to ride waves at…
Surfing has been used as an advertising tool for over 100 years. The sport’s revival in Hawaii during the early 20th century was in fact greatly encouraged by Waikiki hotel owners and other regional boosters who recognized “surf-riding” as a romantic tourist-trade marketing device. Surfing was introduced to Southern California in 1907 when Waikiki surfer…
Skateboard-influenced surfing maneuver where the rider launches off the wave crest into one of an ever-growing number of board- and body-torquing airborne variations, then lands back on the wave face. Aerials are performed almost exclusively in waves under six feet. Along with the tow-in method of big-wave riding, aerial surfing split off into something like…
Kinetic surf-world industrialist and contest organizer; cofounder of Reef Footwear, and spearhead for surfing’s inclusion in the Olympic Games. “He is nothing if not a character,” Surfline said of Aguerre in 2009. “But don’t let the loud clothes and lavish parties fool you. This lawyer turned savvy entrepreneur is a surf industry OGs—a true pioneer.” Aguerre…
Graceful regularfoot surfer from Haleiwa, Hawaii; winner of the 1986 Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau contest at Waimea Bay. Clyde Aikau began surfing in 1964 at age 15, in Waikiki, and before the year was out had become the Hawaii’s juniors division champion. For years he was somewhat overshadowed by older brother Eddie, who…
Iconic big-wave rider from Honolulu, Hawaii; winner of the 1977 Duke Kahanamoku Classic surf contest, just three months before dying in a boating accident; regarded as the greatest Waimea surfer of his time, and namesake to the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau big-wave surf contest. “He had the ultimate Hawaiian style,” next-generation big-wave charger…
Innovative surfer-boardmaker-coach from Honolulu, Hawaii; a top competitor in the 1960s and early ’70s, and creator of the swallowtail and sting surfboard designs. Aipa was born (1942) in Honolulu, the son of a sugar plantation worker, and didn’t begin riding waves until his early 20s, after an ankle injury ended his semipro football career. He…
Controlled maneuver where rider and surfboard briefly lift off the water while dropping into a steep or concave wave face. The air-drop is usually done right after the surfer gets to his feet and begins riding. For decades, surfers sometimes mistakenly went airborne on takeoff, almost always resulting in a wipeout. Not until the late…
Surfboard-coloring method using water-soluble acrylic paints sprayed in a mist through a handheld, air-pressurized nozzle. Airbrushing—also known as airspraying—is usually done directly onto the board’s foam core, prior to fiberglassing; it can also be applied in between the sanding coat of resin and the gloss coat. Airbrush designs range from clean and simple to wildly…
Specialized surfing event, popular in the 1990s and ’00s, where competitors are judged solely on aerial maneuvers; conceived and developed in 1996 by Surfing magazine senior editor Skip Snead, with help from aerialist Shawn “Barney” Barron of Santa Cruz. Surfing aerials—first attempted in the late ’70s, then given a boost in popularity in the early ’90s…
Long, fast, left-breaking wave in Honolulu, Hawaii, located next to the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor; “the agony and the ecstasy of the South Shore,” as described by Surfing magazine; a high-performance haven for local surfers, nearly as famous for its mashing crowds as for its tubing Bowl section. While Ala Moana breaks from two to…
A thin, round-nosed, square-tailed surfboard, used by commoners and royalty alike in pre-20th-century Hawaii, and updated over 100 years later as an offshoot of surfing’s retro movement. The original alaia was generally made of koa wood (sometimes breadfruit or wiliwili), and was the most suitable type of board for riding the steep, fast-breaking waves common…
The surf world’s relationship to alcohol isn’t much different from that of other sporting or recreational cultures. For a small percentage of surfers, drinking is addictive, hazardous, and occasionally deadly, but for a huge majority it’s a safe and enjoyable part of their après-surf lives. “We thought that our last pints were being pulled at…
Fearsome Hawaiian big-wave surfer and founder of the Wolfpak, a loosely-organized vigilante surf group, from Hanalei, Kauai; best known as a merciless enforcer to surfers who visit the North Shore of Oahu and take waves out of turn; called the “Toughest Fucking Man in Surfing” by Stab magazine. Alexander was born (1969) on Oahu, to…
Statuesque big-wave surfer from Haiku, Maui; a “certified badass” according to SURFER Magazine; called “the world’s best female big-wave surfer” by Surfline in 2015. Alms was born (1988) in British Columbia, and moved to Maui with her family at age nine. A year later she began surfing regularly in the wind-whipped breaks near Ho’okipa. Alms took to…
Casual short-sleeve print shirt, originally made in Hawaii; a colorful fashion item that over the decades bounced all over the fashion spectrum, from casually elegant, to tacky and garish, to highly collectible. Native Hawaiians for years had been hand-painting island motifs onto the drab tapa-bark palaka shirts favored by Chinese immigrant workers, when, in 1931,…
Ocean-sports industrialist from Orange County, California; founder of Hobie Surfboards in 1954 and the Hobie Cat sailboat company in 1967. “Perhaps more than anyone else,” surf journalist Drew Kampion wrote in 1988, “including Gidget, Dora, Frankie and Annette, even the Duke, Hobie Alter has been responsible for the growth and development of surfing.” Alter was…
Efficient surfing organizer from San Juan, Puerto Rico; president of the International Surfing Association (ISA) from 1988 to 1990. Alvarez was born (1957) in Miami, Florida, moved with his family to San Juan in 1965, and began surfing two years later. He competed for Puerto Rico in the 1978 World Championships in South Africa. In…
Burly California artist best known for his rich, layered, allegorical, and often satirical surfing-themed oil paintings, produced in the style of Rembrandt and Caravaggio. Ancell was born (1963) and raised in Santa Monica, and began surfing at age nine. He moved to China in 1985 and briefly taught at the Beijing Institute of Science and…
Masterful and enigmatic pro surfer from Ormond Beach, Florida; four-time world champion (1994–97), and the omnipresent public face for female surfing in the mid-’90s. “She’s the first woman to cross over into surfing celebrityhood,” Outside magazine wrote about Andersen in 1996, “and achieve a dominance that made the pig dudes shut up and take notice.”…
Willowy goofyfoot freesurfer from Australia by way of South Africa; called “the premier stylist of his generation” by surf writer Jed Smith. Anderson was born (1988) in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, and spent his childhood in nearby Blue Water Bay. He began surfing with his father at age eight, and seven years later moved with…
Lantern-jawed Australian surfer/board designer from Narrabeen, New South Wales; world-ranked #3 in 1977, and the inventor, three years later, of the tri-fin surfboard design. “With that one startling innovation,” surf journalist Sam George later wrote, “Simon reshaped the surfing style of an entire generation—and the next couple of generations to follow, for good measure.” Anderson…
Pedigreed surf-world prodigy from San Clemente, California; son of former world tour competitor Dino Andino; record nine-time National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) champion. Andino was born (1994) and raised in San Clemente, and began surfing at age five. By eight he’d won his first surf contest, and by age 12 he was signed to a…
Fearless surfer from Haleiwa, Hawaii, described by fellow big-wave pioneer Greg Noll as “the gutsiest surfer there ever was.” Angel was born (1934) and raised in San Francisco, California, and became a casual surfer while attending San Francisco State College. He took to the ocean in part because he had severe skin allergies, and seawater…
The veering path a surfer takes across the unbroken face of the wave, ahead of the whitewater; to follow diagonally along the wave’s sloping shoulder, as opposed to riding on a line perpendicular to the beach. After learning how to stand on a board, a beginning surfer next learns to angle—either to the left or…
Headstrong, hardworking surfer/organizer from Huntington Beach, California; 1984 world amateur surfing champion, and executive director of the National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) since 1989. Aragon was born (1955) in Fresno, California, raised in Downey, and began surfing at age 16. She entered and won her first surfing contest in 1983, at age 29, and was…
Unobtrusive surfboard shaper from Oahu, Hawaii, best known for his elegant thin-railed Pipeline guns. Arakawa was born (1960) in Honolulu, raised in nearby Pearl City, began surfing at age 10 and shaping at 14. He’s made boards for a number of companies, including Town & Country, Lightning Bolt, Brewer Surfboards, and Surfing Hawaii, but is…
Regularfoot surfer from San Clemente, California; one of the sport’s great natural talents, introduced in the mid-1980s as a bashful child prodigy, then evolving into a heavily tattooed and periodically self-destructive cult hero. The son of a banker, Archbold was born (1968) in Fontana, California, and raised in San Clemente. He began bodyboarding at age…
Baronial surf contest organizer from Lima, Peru; founder, in 1964, of the International Surfing Federation, and director of the World Surfing Championships in 1965, 1966, 1968, 1970, and 1972. Arena was born (1928) and raised in Lima, and began riding waves in 1948 in front of Club Waikiki in Miraflores, the birthplace and longtime hub…
Governing body of the world professional surfing tour, founded in 1982 by former world tour runner-up Ian Cairns of Australia as a replacement for International Professional Surfers (IPS). The IPS brought together a mostly rag-tag group of contests in 1976 to create the original international pro circuit, and over the next five years the tour…
Agreeable, clean-cut goofyfooter from Orange County, California; costar of Bruce Brown’s 1966 crossover hit surf movie The Endless Summer, and longtime surfboard shaper/manufacturer. August was born (1948) in Hermosa Beach, California, and raised in Seal Beach, just north of Huntington. He began surfing at age six, under the guidance of his father, Blackie August, a…
Gentle-natured goofyfoot surfer from Pacific Palisades, California; winner of the 1970 World Surfing Championships, at age 18, just months before dropping off the surf scene entirely. “He was the most magic surfer I’ve ever seen—apart from Tom Curren,” surfboard shaper Marc Andreini later said. “Rolf simply floated across the water as if it had no…
Sweet-faced American teen idol, paired with Annette Funicello in more than a half-dozen Hollywood beach movies of the early and mid-’60s, including Muscle Beach Party (1964), Beach Blanket Bingo (1965), and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965). Born Francis Avallone, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1939, Avalon was one of the original American Bandstand stars,…
To start a tuberide from behind an already-dropping section; that is, a section breaking ahead of the curl line, but not so far ahead as to make the wave an impossibility. The surfer jams through the “back door” into what, in the late ’60s and ’70s, was often referred to as the “green room.” Backdooring…
The notoriously steep, hollow surf at Pipeline has traditionally been more difficult for regularfooters, who take on the left-breaking waves backside—that is, with their backs to the wave. Goofyfooters long held the advantage here as they faced the wave while riding frontside. In the winter of 1975–76, a small group of regularfooters led by Shaun…
A short-lived counterdirectional wave or surge, usually produced as a dying line of whitewater rushes up a canted beach, turns, and flows back into the surf zone. The resulting backwash—which can appear as a small unbroken swell or a small foam- fringed wave—can then ruffle or explode across the next incoming wave. Surfers at Makaha,…
Abandoning a surfboard in one of two ways. 1) Jumping off during a ride; almost always performed as a last-second alternative to wiping out. This type of bail out is in fact a controlled wipeout. 2) Diving off one side of the board after getting caught inside; that is, trapped while paddling out toward a nonnegotiable breaking…
Droll but friendly Australian goofyfooter from Queenscliff, New South Wales; world-ranked #5 in 1990. Bain was born (1962) in Sydney, began surfing at age 10, then all but quit at 13, not long after his father died. He left home at 16, worked a series of laborer jobs, then picked up surfing again in his…
Effervescent surf photographer/ journalist/contest director from Sunset Beach, Hawaii; a Surfer magazine masthead-listed contributor since 1977; contest director for the Triple Crown of Surfing since 1983. Baker was born (1949) in Toledo, Ohio, and began surfing in 1965, after his family settled near Santa Barbara, California. That same year, the 16-year-old published his first articles…
Shaggy-haired big-wave surfer from South Africa; winner of the 2006 and 2014 Maverick’s Surf Contest and the 2008 Red Bull Big Wave Africa; 2014 Big Wave World Tour Champion; regular on the Billabong XXL Awards podium throughout the 2000s. Baker was born (1973) in Durban, started surfing at age 13, and by the late 1990s…
Prolific, clear-eyed Australian surf journalist and author from Melbourne; former editor at Tracks and Australian Surfing Life. Baker was born (1965) and raised in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, an hour’s drive from the nearest waves, and learned to surf during weekend trips to the beach. He took an interest in writing after scoring well on a high school…
Prototype surf photographer and surf club organizer from Los Angeles, California; founder of the Palos Verdes Surf Club in 1935; author of the seminal 1946-published California Surfriders. While Ball and Wisconsin-born Tom Blake are both credited as the forebears of surf photography, it was Ball who had the greater influence on the next generation of photographers,…
Amiable surf videographer from Kauai, Hawaii; best known for filming the top women pro surfers in the ’90s and ’00s. Ballard was born (1967) on Edwards Air Force Base, in Kern County, California, and began surfing at age 18. In 1993, one year after marrying up-and-coming Hawaiian pro Rochelle Gordines (the couple divorced in the…
Dynamic regularfoot surfer originally from the Hawaiian island of Kauai, world-ranked #2 in 2004, and generally regarded as the first great female tuberider. Born Rochelle Gordines in 1971, in the Los Angeles suburb of Montebello, she moved to Kauai with her family at age six months, and began surfing at 11, encouraged by neighbor and…
Smooth, porous blond wood, lighter than cork, grown mainly in Central and South America; the most popular core material for surfboards in the 1940s and 1950s. Surfers initially used balsa in combination with redwood; Pacific Systems Homes, a Los Angeles-based house-building company that dabbled in surfboard construction, built redwood-balsa composite boards as early as the 1930s.…
Soulful but hard-charging Australian surfer and boardmaker from the Sydney suburb of Cronulla; world-ranked #14 in 1980, and regarded for years afterward as one of the sport’s premier tuberiders, as well as a comprehensive master of the surfing life. “Nearly everything he does suggests an easy flow and serene focus,” surf journalist Tim Baker wrote…
Inquisitive, eco-conscious surf journalist and editor from southern California; Surfer magazine editor-at-large since 2001. Barilotti was born (1955) in Oxnard, California, and moved with his family to inland Los Angeles County at age three. Though he bodysurfed and rode surf mats as a child, Barilotti didn’t begin standup surfing until age 18, after he’d moved…
Pioneering surfer and board manufacturer from Bayonne, France; inventor, in the late 1970s, of the computerized surfboard-shaping machine. “He was one of the sport’s foremost innovators in shaping and design,” fellow surf industrialist Gordon Clark said of Barland in 1993. “For many years, any person seriously interested in surfboard construction was in regular contact with Michel.” Barland…
Burly regularfoot surfer from Lima, Peru; national champion in 1968, 1969, 1970, and 1974. Barreda was born (1951) and raised in Lima, the son of Sonia Barreda, Peru’s first woman surfer. He began riding waves in 1959, and was celebrated as a 15-year-old phenomenon when he placed second in the 1966 Peru International, finishing ahead…
Easygoing regularfoot pro surfer from south Queensland, Australia; world-ranked #14 in 1993 and 1996, but better known as a globe-trotting and perpetually tubed free-surfer. Barry was born (1969) in Sydney, moved to Queensland’s Gold Coast as a child, began surfing at 13, and traveled extensively through Indonesia as a teenager. He won Australia’s prestigious Pro…
Kinetic Australian pro surfer and contest organizer from Queensland’s Gold Coast; 1978 world champion and ten-year president (1999-2008) of the Association of Surfing Professionals. Born (1954) and raised on the Gold Coast, the son of a high school science teacher-fisherman father and a dance instructor mother, Bartholomew was a grade school honors student and a…
Spontaneous do-or-die regularfoot surfer from Huntington Beach, California. Baxter began surfing in 1959 at age 11, near his home in Venice Beach, and by 16 was a ranking member of the Dewey Weber Surfboard team. Baxter moved to Hawaii during the first stage of the shortboard revolution, and earned a reputation by throwing himself into the most…
Wildly popular vocal-rock group from Los Angeles, California, led by songwriting savant Brian Wilson; acclaimed for their soaring melodies and lush, intricately harmonized vocals, and best known for a string of early and mid-1960s hits about surfing and the sun-filled Southern California beach life. “The Beach Boys,” Rolling Stone magazine wrote, “virtually invented California rock.”…
Resolute pro surfer and organizer from La Jolla, California; professional world champion in 1982, and president of the Women’s Professional Surfing Association from 1982 to 1986. Born Debbie Melville in 1953 in Corpus Christi, Texas, the daughter of a navy pilot, she spent her early years living on or near a series of naval bases…
Lionized and mythologized band of easygoing Hawaiian surfer/waterman/hustlers who worked and lounged on the beach at Waikiki in the early and middle 20th century. The beachboy was both a cause and byproduct of the booming Hawaiian tourist trade; he earned a living primarily by lifeguarding and giving surf lessons and canoe rides, and spent his…
Type of wave that breaks over a sandy beach. Because beachbreak surf is dependent on sandbars, it’s far more mutable and unpredictable than the surf found at pointbreaks or reefbreaks. A poststorm beachbreak sandbar might hang in there for months, or might disappear by the weekend. This ephemeral quality is alternately wonderful and frustrating. “Beachbreak…
Short-lived world tour pro circuit ratings system, launched in late 1976, almost simultaneously with the founding of the International Professional Surfers (IPS) tour. “It is my hope,” tour cofounder and director Al Paterson wrote in a 1976 announcement, “that the Grand Prix will serve to provide an opportunity for the committed professional surfer to earn a…
Lively, hard-charging Australian regularfoot surfer from Dee Why, Sydney; winner of seven world championship titles, including six consecutive from 1998-2003 (her seventh came in 2006), and regarded as one of the sport’s greatest female big-wave riders. “She trains, focuses, paddles out with a pleasant smile and fillets the opposition with roughly the compassion of a…
Front-zip wetsuit jacket, usually long sleeve; originally developed for divers, appropriated by surfers in the late 1950s, and popular until the mid-’70s. The “beavertail” referred to a vertical flap of neoprene, about 16 inches long and six inches wide, that hung down from the back of the suit and was designed to loop over the…
Hardworking and intensely private surfboard shaper from Hermosa Beach, California; best known for his longboards and easy-to-ride funboards; thought to have shaped more boards than anyone in the world. Becker learned his craft as a teenager in the early ’50s from California board-building pioneers Dale Velzy and Hap Jacobs, and was the head shaper for…
Good-looking, hot-tempered surfer/model from Perth, Western Australia; world-ranked #12 in 1993, at age 27, one year before the end of a pro career that began in 1984. Bedford-Brown is best remembered for his contentious relationship with the surf press. He was described as a “brat” in Surfer magazine, and surf journalist Derek Hynd said in…
Right-breaking Australian reef wave located three miles southwest of Torquay, Victoria. Facing the chilly and powerful Southern Ocean, and flanked by limestone cliffs, Bells Beach—named after the Bell farming family—has for decades been a venerated surf break. Bells is at its best from March to October, as Southern Ocean storms frequently produce six- to eight-foot…
Pioneering Hawaiian pro surfer, state champion in 1973, and world-ranked #3 in 1977. Becky and her sister Blanche—daughters of Albert Benson, a cameraman whose work was featured in more than a dozen surf movies—were fixtures on Oahu’s North Shore in the mid- and late ’70s. “I never actually had the guts Blanche did,” Becky later…
Flashy goofyfooter from Encinitas, California; the 15-year-old winner of the 1959 Makaha International Championships, and runner-up in the 1964 World Surfing Championships. “Linda was the hot-dogger of the women,” California ironman surfer Mike Doyle once said. “She had incredible wave judgment and just ripped the waves apart.” Corky Carroll called Benson the “Godmother of female…
Dynamic regularfoot surfer from Honolulu, Hawaii; winner of the 1973 United States Surfing Championships, and often cited as progenitor of today’s high-performance shortboard surfing. “A truly gifted surfer,” as described by Australian journalist Phil Jarratt in 1979, “with an outrageously overblown ego.” Bertlemann was born (1955) in Hilo, Hawaii, the son of an auto mechanic,…
Skilled but dour regularfoot pro surfer from San Clemente, California, described by Surfing magazine as “the ultimate contest machine”; world-ranked #2 in 1996, and the only pro surfer in history to score a perfect 30 during a heat. Beschen was born (1972) and raised in San Clemente, the son of a general contractor, began surfing…
Warner Brothers’ 1978 coming-of-age surfing movie directed by John Milius, starring Gary Busey, Jan-Michael Vincent, and William Katt; initially a critical and box-office dud, but rehabilitated over the years into a cult favorite. While Hollywood made about two dozen surf-themed movies in the ’60s, including the cartoonish Beach Party and Beach Blanket Bingo (along with…
Slippery regularfooter from Santa Barbara, California; fourth-place finisher in the 1966 World Surfing Championships. Bigler was born (1946) and raised in Santa Barbara, began surfing in 1958, and three years later moved with his family to Honolulu, Hawaii. He returned to California after graduating high school and became one of the nation’s top competitive surfers:…
Small, elite, mobile professional surf event, held from 1995 to 1998, designed as an alternative to the often-bloated world championship tour contests. The Billabong Challenge was conceived and planned by Billabong founder Gordon Merchant, filmmaker Jack McCoy, and former world tour champion Wayne Bartholomew. “Gordon,” McCoy explained to Surfing Life magazine, “is tired of seeing great surfers…
Outspoken surfboard shaper from San Clemente, California; cofounder of Lost Enterprises, a punk-tinged surfboard and surfwear manufacturing company. Biolos was born (1969) in Anaheim, California, raised in Chino, and began surfing in 1983 during a family vacation to Orange County’s Dana Point. After high school he moved to Dana Point and took a job sanding…
Australian goofyfooter from Sydney’s Coogee beach, world-ranked #10 in 1979, and back-to-back winner of the Pipeline Masters contest in 1978 and 1979. Blair was born (1958) in Sydney, began surfing at age 11, and was a surprise winner in the 1978 Coca-Cola Surfabout, after clocking an eight-second tuberide in the finals to defeat Australian surf…
While Tom Blake can’t be placed ahead of Duke Kahanamoku as the world’s most influential first-generation surfer, his contributions to the sport—in terms of board design, wave-riding technique, competition, surf photography, and literature—are in many ways more tangible. “Blake altered everything,” surf journalist Drew Kampion wrote in 2001. “He almost single-handedly transformed surfing from a…
Hawaiian pro surfer and swimwear model, best known for her skin-baring dental-floss bikini photo shoots; world-ranked #11 in 2013. Blanchard was born (1990) in Princeville, Kauai, and began surfing with her father in the shorebreak near Hanalei Pier at age four. By nine she was a regular junior competitor (along with best friend and soon-to-be…
On December 5, 2005, Gordon “Grubby” Clark, owner of monolithic surfboard blank manufacturer Clark Foam, abruptly shut the doors of his Laguna Beach, California factory, throwing the surfboard industry into a panic. At the time of closure, at was estimated that Clark Foam was producing 90% of the polyurethane foam blanks—the core of the modern…
Wide-stanced goofyfooter from Honolulu, Hawaii; winner of the 1972 World Surfing Championships. Blears was born (1947) in Santa Monica, California, and moved with his family to Hawaii at age 11. He was the Hawaiian Surfing Association ratings leader in 1969 and 1970 and a four-time Duke Kahanamoku Classic invitee between 1968 and 1971. He also…
Agile surf vixen of the early and mid-1970s, from Honolulu, Hawaii; one of the first women professional surfers, and younger sister of 1972 world champion Jimmy Blears. Laura Blears was born (1951) in Buffalo, New York, moved with her family to Hawaii as a child, and began surfing at Waikiki at age seven. She was…
While blogs in general have had a strong presence on the internet since the early 2000s, surfers didn’t take to the blogosphere with any real gusto until a few years later. As Surfer magazine’s online editor Zach Weisberg put it in 2010, “one branch of the Internet has now swung low enough for even the…
Sporadically charming low-budget 1995 romantic comedy movie set in Cornwall, directed by Carl Prechezer, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sean Pertwee, with a still-unknown Ewan McGregor in a supporting role; billed as “Britain’s first surf pic.” JC (Pertwee) is an aging local wave-riding legend, with a crick back and no real plans for the future, apart from an upcoming around-the-world surf trip. He…
This WB network reality miniseries was filmed in the winter of 2002 and first aired in June and July of 2003. Seven pro surfers were brought together in a plush beach house on the North Shore of Oahu during the last few weeks of the world tour, and virtually all events in and around the…
Type of surfing done on a soft, square-nosed, semiflexible board, usually in a prone position; invented in the early 1970s by Southern California surfboard designer Tom Morey. Bodyboarding is often described as the most popular form of surfing, as bodyboards outsell surfboards by a huge margin. Although bellyboarding is the original form of boardsurfing, dating…
Riding a wave using only the body as a planing surface; the original and purest form of surfing. Prior to the invention of the surf leash in the early 1970s, all surfers were adept bodysurfers, as nearly every wipeout was followed by a bodysurfing ride to the beach to pick up the lost board. In…
Agile and fearless tandem surfer from Orange County, California; world title winner in 1966 and 1972. Barrie Algaw was a Santa Monica High School sophomore in early 1966 when she and her father watched the Makaha International tandem event on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. “Someday I’m going to do that,” Algaw told her father—despite…
A circular pattern on the wave face, formed as a swell passes over a raised area on the bottom—usually a large rock or cluster of rocks. Boils are generally a red flag, as they indicate shallow water. They can also be difficult to traverse, as the boil’s perimeter will often grab the rail of a…
Pioneering South African surfer, photographer, and surfing promoter. Bold was born in Durban (1938), the son of a former lifeguard; he started bodysurfing in 1950, got his first board—a 12′ 6″ hollow wooden paddleboard—two years later, and in 1961 imported the first polyurethane foam board to South Africa from California. He was the country’s Surfer…
Protean self-taught American surf photographer from Oahu, Hawaii; a top name in the field from the 1970s to the mid-’00s, best known for his water-shot images. Bolster was born (1947) in Washington, D.C., the adopted son of a ranking American Foreign Service diplomat, and spent much of his childhood overseas. His family moved to Sydney,…
Indefatigable surf videographer from Sydney, Australia. Bonython was born (1958) in Adelaide, South Australia, and moved with his family at age 13 to Sydney’s Bondi Beach, where he began surfing. He worked his way into surf moviemaking in the late 1970s and early ’80s by showing home-edited Super-8 films at local pubs. Bonython was hired by…
Surfboard design introduced in 1972 by Malcolm and Duncan Campbell of Oxnard, California. The bonzer was one of the first boards to use three fins: a pair of toed-in, keel-like side fins, located in front of a standard center fin. The board also had two parallel concaves down the bottom rear half of the board.…
Film, video, magazines, television, and the internet have proven to be the most popular media outlets for surfing, but the sport has also been consistently well served by books. Surfing was first brought to the attention of the English-speaking world in Volume II of A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, the serialized and wildly popular…
Hard-carving goofyfoot pro surfer from Laguna Beach, California; world-ranked #4 in 1995. Booth was born (1969) in Los Angeles, moved with his family to Laguna the following year, and began surfing at age eight. He was runner-up in the juniors division of the 1984 World Amateur Surfing Championships, runner-up in the men’s division in 1986,…
Resolute pro surfer originally from East London, South Africa; four-time world champion (1987, 1989, 1991, 1992), and the first female surfer to twice regain the title. Botha was born (1965) and raised in East London, began surfing at age 13, and won four consecutive South African National Championship titles from 1981 to 1984. She turned pro…
Well-muscled, soft-spoken Tahitian pro surfer; world-ranked #5 in 2014. “They’re aren’t many guys out there as strong as Michel,” Kelly Slater said of Bourez in 2013. “Put him on a right with an open face, watch him set his shoulders and pushes his legs—it’s a thing of beauty.” Born (1985) and raised in Toahotu, Tahiti, Bourez began…
A type of wave, or portion of wave, that bends in on itself as it breaks; as viewed from above, a bowl section is crescent-shaped. Bowl waves are generally caused by a raised area of reef or sandbar; they can also be formed as a wave bounces off a jetty or head-land and intersects with…
Quiet but hypercompetitive surfer from Haleiwa, Hawaii; world champion in 1978 and 1979; a cool hand in the big Hawaiian surf, but lauded for her aggressive and tight-cornering approach in smaller waves. “You could say she was a more radical surfer than I was,” rival and four-time world champion Margo Oberg of Hawaii recalled. “She…
Adventurous and enterprising American brothers best known for their discovery and commercialization of Grajagan, the exotic world-class wave located at the southeast tip of Java, Indonesia. Mike Boyum was born in 1946 in Key West, Florida, the son of a career navy pilot; Bill was born in 1951 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; the Boyum family moved…
2007 documentary chronicling the bare-knuckled lives of the Abberton boys, a group of surfing brothers from the mostly-working-class Sydney suburb of Maroubra. Bra Boys was co-written and co-directed by oldest brother Sunny Abberton. Big-wave charger Koby Abberton, the most famous of the group, stars in the film; siblings Jai and Dakota are also featured. The film highlights the…
Iron-willed big-wave rider from Sunset Beach, Hawaii; winner of the 1982 Duke Kahanamoku Classic; often credited as the first surfer to ride a 40-foot wave. Bradshaw was born (1952) in Houston, Texas, the son of a powerful steel industrialist. An All-City linebacker in junior high school, Bradshaw nonetheless had thought of himself as a surfer…
Trenchant, often caustic surf photographer and journalist from Honolulu, Hawaii; author of “Whatever Happened to Big-Wave Riding?” a 1983 Surfer magazine article that helped launch a resurgence of interest in big-wave surfing. Brady was born (1949) in Honolulu, and began surfing in 1963 at Waikiki; he received a B.A. in art from Maui’s Mauna Olu College in…
Loud, brash, tattooed heavy-metal regularfooter from Western Australia; a middling world tour competitor in the 1980s and early ’90s; better known as the the first pubically self-outed gay male pro surfer. Born (1969) and raised in North Beach, a suburb of Perth, Branson began surfing at age 10, won the junior division of the 1985…
Australian teenage surfing genius from Bondi Beach; the 15-year-old winner of both the juniors and men’s divisions of the 1965 New South Wales State Titles. “Known as ‘The Head,’ due to his disproportionately  large noggin,” Aussie surf writer Wayne Golding noted in 2010, “he was a prodigy who could surf the pants off riders twice his…
Creative and temperamental photographer from Dana Point, California; a surf media mainstay since 1968, best known for his portraiture and land-based action shots, and sometimes referred to as the sport’s most naturally gifted surf photographer. Brewer was born on Valentine’s Day, 1951, and raised in Laguna Beach, California. He began surfing in 1963 at age…
Brilliant but moody surfboard designer-shaper from Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii, generally regarded as the sport’s most influential boardmaker; creator of the popular Bing Pipeliner model longboard in 1967, and venerated in the late ’60s and early ’70s as the first master of shortboard design. “He’s got the magic eye,” Hawaiian surfer Jeff Hakman said. “Outlines, fins,…
Heavyweight goofyfooter from Sunset Beach, Hawaii; a Pipeline ace for most of the 1990s, and winner of the 1995 Tavarua Tube Classic, but best know as the greatest risk-taker, on both water and land, of his generation. “Crazy people in general are stupid,” Hawaiian big-wave surfer Brock Little said about Briley in 1994. “Shawn is relatively intelligent…
Talented but elitist surfing troupe led by 1976 world champion Peter Townend and 1976 runner-up Ian Cairns; ostensibly created to further the cause of professional surfing and thus improve the lot of surfers everywhere, but essentially a promotional vehicle for the Bronzed Aussies themselves, who are best remembered for arriving at surf contests and postevent…
Levelheaded, media-friendly regularfoot pro surfer from Coolangatta, Australia; world-ranked #2, behind fellow Aussie Layne Beachley, in 1998 and 1999. Brooke was born (1976) in Nambour, Queensland, began surfing at Caloundra at age 14, and was the world tour rookie of the year in 1995. “If there’s a formula for creating a successful pro surfer,” Australia’s…
Contender for the world’s longest running surf competition, held each summer since 1955 (waves permitting), at Brooks Street, Laguna Beach, California. Developed by the Laguna Beach Recreation Department, and originally titled the Laguna Beach Surfing Tournament, the contest is open to Laguna residents only. Larry Brixley and Mike Sagar won the men’s and juniors division, respectively,…
Small-framed Australian regularfooter from the Sydney beachfront suburb of Cronulla; considered by many to be the premier stylist of his generation. Brown began surfing in 1957, at Cronulla, and soon became a member of the Wanda Surf Club. In 1964, he defeated Midget Farrelly to win the New South Wales state titles, and a few weeks…
Oscar-nominated surf moviemaker from Southern California; producer of 1966’s The Endless Summer, the sport’s best and best-known movie. Brown was born (1937) in San Francisco, California, spent his first nine years in Oakland, then moved with his family to Long Beach, in southwest Los Angeles County, where he began surfing. Along with hundreds of other…
Mild-mannered pro surfer from Santa Barbara; described as a preadolescent “surfing genius,” and winner of the juniors division in the 1988 World Amateur Surfing Championships. Brown was born (1970) in Los Angeles, raised in Santa Barbara, and began riding waves at age 10, taught by his father, a Santa Barbara–area surfer since the late ’50s. The…
Witty, upbeat surf-moviemaker from Orange County, California; writer and director of 2003’s Step Into Liquid. The son of The Endless Summer filmmaker Bruce Brown, Dana Brown was born (1959) and raised in Dana Point and began surfing at age six. He started contributing articles to surf magazines in 1986 and continued publishing into the 1990s; “Twilight…
Unsinkable regularfooter from Kahului, Maui, Hawaii; pioneering big-wave rider in the early 1940s. Brown was born (1912) in New York City, the only son of a Wall Street brokerage firm owner. At 15, Brown worked for aviator Charles Lindbergh, just before Lindbergh made his historic transatlantic flight in 1927; Brown then dropped out of high…
The original surf moviemaker, from Southern California; producer of 13 full-length movies from 1953 to 1973. Browne was born (1912) in Newtonville, Massachusetts, near Boston, and moved to Los Angeles in 1931 to attend the University of Southern California. He was captain of the top-ranked USC swim team in 1934, learned to surf at Venice…
Fresh-faced Aussie goofyfoot pro surfer from Central Coast, New South Wales; called “one of the tour’s most astute thinkers” by Surfing magazine; world-ranked #6 in 2008. Buchan was born (1982) in Avoca, the son of South African immigrants, was taught to ride waves by his father at age 4, and was competing regularly by age…
Never-say-die surfer and skier; India’s first representative in the Winter Olympics, as well at that country’s only representative in the 1968 World Surfing Championships. The son of a Polish oil developer and one-time RAF pilot, Jerry Bujakowski was born (1939) in Lithuania, but raised in India. He attended college in America, and began skiing at age 17, in…
High-voltage pro surfer from Carlsbad, California; world-ranked #7 in 1983 and winner of the 1984 Pipeline Masters; founder of the Professional Surfing Association of America. Buran was born (1961) in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of a career marine sergeant father, grew up on military bases in Virginia and Guam, and moved with his family to…
Industrious surfboard shaper from Western Australia; best known as a cofounder of Firewire Surfboards with fellow Aussie Nev Hyman. Burger was born (1968) in Perth, pushed into waves by various uncles as a toddler, and started riding on his own at age four. At seven the precocious Burger began fooling around with shaping by cutting…
Adventuring light-attuned surf photographer from Central California; Surfer magazine senior staffer since 2010; best known for images that offer, as one photography website put it, “An epic blend of beautiful seascapes with a dash of action.” Burkard was born (1986) and raised in Pismo Beach, where he started riding waves on a bodyboard as a grade-schooler. He…
Hard-charging but gentlemanly big-wave surfer from Recife, Pernambuco, in northeast Brazil; winner of the 1998 Reef Brazil Big Wave World Championship, and the 2009 Big Wave World Tour. Burle was born (1967) and raised in Recife, the son of a chicken farmer, and began surfing at age 13. Four years later he was the third-ranked juniors division…
Gleaming right-breaking Australian point wave located on the subtropical Gold Coast of Queensland, set against a picturesque lava rock headland; a high-performance wonder, famous for its long, spinning tubes, with a reputation for producing some of the world’s best surfers. Burleigh Heads is generally best during the Coral Sea cyclone season (December-March), but the winter…
Quiet, ectomorphic goofyfooter from Durban, South Africa; world-ranked #7 in 1985. Michael Burness, son of contest organizer Peter Burness, began surfing at Durban’s Bay of Plenty in 1970 at age eight. His pro career was put on hold in 1981, as he completed his mandatory two-year army service, which Burness claimed helped him on the…
Quiet, unpretentious pro surfer from the North Shore of Oahu; best remembered as a Pipeline sharpshooter throughout the 1980s. Burns was born (1963) in Newport Beach, California, the son of ace surfboard laminator Boscoe Burns; he began surfing in 1969 at age five, not long after moving with his family to Hawaii, and by his…
Warm and articulate Australian goofyfooter originally from Sydney’s Manly Beach; world champion in 1990; described by Surfer magazine in 1999 as the “Mother Superior of women’s surfing.” Burridge was born (1965) and raised in Sydney, the daughter of a computer programmer father who became a competitive marathoner; Donella Burridge, Pam’s older sister, swam in the…
Friendly, lightning-fast regularfoot pro surfer from Yallingup, Western Australia; world-ranked #2 in 1999 and 2007. Burrow was born (1978) and raised in Busselton, Western Australia, the only child of two New Age surfers originally from San Diego, California, and began surfing at age seven. At nine he entered and won a local contest for surfers…
Mustachioed surfer and board shaper originally from New Zealand; an eight-time national champion in the 1960s and ’70s; later described as “the guru of the channel bottom” for his mastery of the difficult-to-make surfboard design. Byrne was born (1950) in Hamilton, New Zealand, began surfing at age 10, and shaping at 18. He won the New…
Rambunctious Australian pro surfer, world-ranked #8 in 1980. Byrne was born (1960) and raised in Wollongong, New South Wales; by the time he turned pro in 1977—just after winning the juniors division of the Australian National Titles—his older brother Phil was one of Australia’s best-known surfboard shapers. Surf magazines labeled Byrne and future two-time world…
Bucolic, New Age-loving Australian resort town located 500 miles north of Sydney on the wave-rich North Coast of New South Wales; home to several first-rate sand-bottomed surf breaks, and a proving ground for the late-’60s shortboard revolution. Byron Bay, as surf writer DC Green noted in 2008, “has for decades been regarded as Australia’s most…
Tireless surf moviemaker, and founder of Pacific Longboarder magazine. Bystrom grew up in Redondo Beach, California, began surfing in 1968, at age 18, and released his first surf movie in 1977, the 8-millimeter Room to Move. He would eventually have 29 movie and video titles to his credit, including Blazing Boards (1984), Madmen, Saints and Sinners…
One-man vessel made of woven reeds, used by Peruvian fishermen for over five thousand years; regarded by some to be the earliest known form of surf craft. Caballito means “little horse” in Spanish. On average, the caballito is twelve feet long, two feet wide, weighs 90 pounds, and lasts about six weeks before it gets waterlogged and begins to decompose.…
Cool-handed regularfooter from Honolulu, Hawaii; arguably the finest all-around surfer of the ’60s, and certainly the decade’s best in international competition; cofounder of the Chart House restaurant chain. “He’s Mr. Perfect,” California surfer Mickey Muñoz said of Cabell. “Everything he does, he does well.” Cabell was born (1938) and raised in Honolulu, and began surfing…
Commanding pro surfer and surf contest organizer/promoter from Perth, Western Australia; world-ranked #2 in 1976; founder of the Association of Surfing Professionals. “He’s a strong-minded son of a bitch,” fellow Australian and 1978 world champion Wayne Bartholomew once said of Cairns, “a brilliant politician, and an absolute monster in big surf.” Cairns was born (1952)…
Marge Calhoun, a cheerful, robust regularfooter from Laguna Beach, California, won the Makaha International in 1958, and was the matriarch of the surfing Calhoun family. She was born (1926) and raised in Hollywood, California, the daughter of a film set designer. Always athletic, by the late ’40s Calhoun was one of America’s best young swimmers and…
Charming and modern twelve-hundred-square-foot museum, located in downtown Oceanside, California. The California Surf Museum was founded in 1986 by librarian Jane Schmauss and architect Stuart Resor, and opened in an Encinitas, California, shopping plaza. An early exhibit was Iron Men and Wooden Boards, documenting with period photographs and surfboards the contributions of surfing pioneers Duke…
The original surfing photo book, John “Doc” Ball’s 108-page California Surfriders was first published in 1946, and was made up of Ball’s black-and-white photographs accompanied by short captions. “The purpose of this volume,” Ball wrote in the book’s foreword, “is to present pictorially some of the thrills, spills, personalities and places pertinent to surfriding, which,…
Globe-trotting photographer, raised in Hawaii, best known for exploring some of the world’s most remote, and often dangerous, coastlines for surf. “His images from the Seven Seas,” outdoor writer Matt Button wrote in 2016, “bring exploration and adventure into our lives, and outsmart all that dehumanizing big punt/big decal surf porn.” Callahan was born (1961)…
Innovative, low-key surfboard shaper-designers from Southern California; creators of the bonzer design in the early 1970s. Malcolm and Duncan Campbell were born (1952 and 1955, respectively) in Santa Monica, and began surfing in 1965; the following year they moved with their family to Oxnard, just south of Ventura. In 1968, their father encouraged them to…
Fiery, well-freckled from New South Wales, Australia; world-ranked #2 in 1998. Campbell was born (1974) and raised in Port Macquaire, began surfing at age nine, placed fifth in the 1993 Pro Junior contest, and in 1997 was the world pro circuit’s rookie of the year. Campbell and good friend Danny Wills were the most physically fit…
Versatile filmmaker and artist, best known to surfers for his soulful, well-produced films, including The Seedling (1999), Sprout (2004), and The Present (2009). Quiet, trend-setting, and ineffably cool, Campbell “looks like a cross between Slingblade-era Billy Bob Thornton and Morrissey from the Smiths,” according to surf writer Scott Hulet. Campbell was born (1969) in Dana Point, California,…
Bandy-legged surfer from Hawaii; winner of the 1956 Makaha International; an original hotdogger in the mid- and late ’50s, and sometimes additionally credited as the sport’s first tuberider. “He looked nothing like the archetypal blond-haired, stompy-wompy surfer boys of the day,” one ’60s-era observer noted. “As a matter of fact, he looked like my Italian buddy’s dad…
Soft-spoken American artist and graphic designer, best know for his work with Mollusk surf shops in San Francisco, Venice and New York; Surfer magazine Art Director from 2002-2005. Canham was born (1974) in Seattle, moved with his family to Oahu at age three, and began surfing Waikiki at 14. He earned a BFA in Graphic…
Hypnotic right-breaking point wave located on the southeast coast of South Africa, about 60 miles from Port Elizabeth; the fabled “perfect wave” as featured in Californian Bruce Brown’s 1966 hit movie The Endless Summer. Cape St. Francis is in fact the name of a sandy three-mile-long triangular point that features at least six distinct breaks;…
Vulgar but intrepid Australian surfing cartoon character created by Sydney artist Tony Edwards; the satirically named Captain Goodvibes—a hard-drinking, drug-taking, straight-talking pig with a tunnel-shaped snout—was a big hit among Australian surfers in the 1970s and early ’80s. The “Pig of Steel” debuted in Tracks magazine in 1972; he spoke in broad Aussie surf brogue,…
Sixteen-foot-tall bronze and granite sculpture erected in 2007 in Cardiff-by-the-sea, California, adjacent to Pacific Coast Highway, depicting a young male surfer awkwardly perched mid-manuever on a shortboard; the sculpture’s official name is “Magic Carpet Ride,” but it is affectionately known as the Cardiff Kook to locals and the press. Commissioned by the Cardiff Botanical Society…
Flamboyant goofyfooter from Surfside, California; winner of the United States Surfing Championships in 1966, 1967, and 1969, and the sport’s chirruping master of media in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. “He’s been cheered and booed,” surf journalist Jim Kempton wrote in 1998, “reviled, honored, laughed at, accused and credited with everything from defiling the name…
High-output Australian surf journalist and editor from Newport, New South Wales; Surfing magazine editor from 1993 to 1996; Deep magazine editor from 1997 to 2000; regarded by many since the mid-’80s as the sport’s most popular and knowledgeable writer. Carroll was born (1959) in Brisbane, Queensland, moved with his family to Newport in 1961, and…
Dynamic and durable power surfer from Sydney, Australia; world champion in 1983 and 1984, and one of the sport’s premier tuberiders. Carroll was born (1961) in Sydney, the son of a newspaper editor, raised in the beachfront suburb of Newport, and began surfing at age eight, a few months after his mother died of pancreatic…
Surfers traditionally have had a function-first attitude toward cars. Surfboard transportation all but demands a big, roomy, essentially non-sexy vehicle, while the by-products of a surfing life—damp towels, sand, wax, moldering wetsuits, salt air—ensure that the surf car, unless looked after with the kind of obsessive care and concern that generally doesn’t sit well with…
Audacious graphic designer from Southern California, best known in the surf world for his jarring but innovative 1991 redesign of Surfer magazine. Carson was born (1956) in Corpus Christi, Texas, began surfing after moving with his family in 1965 to Cocoa Beach, Florida. In 1973, four years after relocating to Rolling Hills, California, Carson was…
Boisterous pointbreak specialist from Pacific Palisades, California; best known for his noseriding and deep-set turns at Malibu in the late ’50s and ’60s. “He was the best surfer there,” Hollywood director/screenwriter and former Malibu surfer John Milius said in 1999. “He read the waves better, never made a mistake, and only fell off deliberately at…
Pleasant, hardworking, even-keeled competition official and promoter from Sydney, Australia; the executive director for the Association of Surfing Professionals from 1987 to 1994. “Graham is one of the most influential men in the sport,” surf journalist Sam George wrote in 1987, “partly because he has carefully avoided the ego-traps often associated with high-level positions.” Cassidy…
Swashbuckling surfer-organizer-board manufacturer from Miami Beach, Florida; sometimes described as “the godfather of East Coast surfing.” Catri was born (1938) in Carteret, New Jersey, moved with his family to south Florida at age seven, and was a state championship high jumper in high school. He worked in a Miami Beach high-dive comedy act in 1957,…
Getting trapped on the shoreward side of an incoming wave, or set of waves. Many surfers feel that being caught inside is the worst thing that can happen during a heavy swell, in part because it forces the surfer to contemplate, sometimes for a minute or more, the approaching wave as it gathers and looms.…
Gung-ho water sportsman and surfing booster from Honolulu, Hawaii; the “Captain of the Outriggers” for Waikiki’s Outrigger Canoe Club from 1910 to 1932; once celebrated as Hawaii’s unofficial record holder for the longest surfing ride, after catching a big summer wave in 1917 from outside Castles Break off Waikiki to the inner waters past Cunha…
Soft-spoken photographer from San Diego, California; a longtime senior contributor to Surfing magazine; regarded by many as surfing’s premier all-around lensman in the 1980s and early ’90s. “People always ask me who the best surf photographer is,” Surfer magazine photo editor Jeff Divine said in 1994, “and I’ve always said Aaron Chang.” Born (1956) in…
An area of deep water adjacent to a surf break, usually running perpendicular to the beach. Channels are integral to many of the world’s breaks, as they help create the underlying high-to-low bathymetric profile that allows waves to break with consistent and predictable form. Channels also provide a safe, quick route into the surf zone,…
Surfboard design feature, usually consisting of four or six longitudinal bevels in the rear half of the board’s underside, thought to increase board speed by directing water toward the tail. Jim Pollard, Australian surfboard shaper from the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, produced one of the first channel bottom boards in 1974; Pollard’s “beetail” featured four…
Using a television remote to switch often from channel to channel, usually looking for a worthwhile program. “Channel surfing” generally means bored, passive, almost motionless TV consumption—the development of the remote meant that the viewer no longer had to rise from the couch to change channels. The origins of  “channel surfing” are unclear, but the…
Instrumental surf band from Santa Ana, California, whose guitar-driven “Pipeline” single went to #4 on the national charts in 1963. The five members of the Chantays were between 13 and 17 years old when the band formed in 1961. In July of the following year they recorded “Pipeline” (co-written by band members Bob Spikard and…
Innovative but prickly surfer from Hollywood, California; stepfather to surfing icon Mickey Dora; one of the most talented and least-liked surfers of the prewar era. “He ran circles around most guys up and down the California coast,” boardmaker Joe Quigg said of Chapin, “because most surfers in his generation were laid back. To them, surfing was like…
Frizzy-haired regularfoot surfer from the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii; famous in the early- and mid-’70s for his tuberiding at Sunset Beach and Maalaea, and for his flamboyant “hood ornament” stance at Pipeline, where he’d race through the tube with arms spread and his right knee dropped to the deck of his board. Chapman was…
20th Century Fox Pictures’ 2012 coming of age biopic of Santa Cruz’ fallen big-wave surfer Jay Moriarity, starring Gerard Butler, Jonny Weston, and Elisabeth Shue. Michael Apted (The World is Not Enough; the Up series) directed during the last 15 days of principal shooting, while original director Curt Hansen (LA Confidential, 8 Mile) recovered from heart surgery. Bill…
Noseriding move invented and popularized by Hawaii’s Paul Strauch in the early 1960s, where the surfer moves to the front third of the board, crouches, and extends the leading foot to the board’s tip. “Cheater” refers to the fact the surfer’s weight is almost all on the rear foot, a yard or more away from…
Garrulous and quick-witted pro surfer from Hawaii; described by Surfing magazine in 1995 as “the greatest non-rated surfer in the world”; a big-wave virtuoso by the early ’90s, and a big-wave fatality in 1997. Chesser was born (1968) in Florida, and moved to Hawaii with his mother, Jeannie, at age three, after his surfer father…
Disciplined and clean-cut regularfooter from Seal Beach, California; the United States Surfing Association’s (USSA) overall ratings champion for 1964 season. Chew was raised in Seal Beach, the son of a beautician and a beer deliveryman, and started riding waves at a young age, first on a bellyboard, then a surf mat.  In 1957, at age…
Sand-bottom pointbreak located near a small fishing port in northern Peru, about 400 miles north of Lima; often nominated as the world’s longest wave. Half-mile rides are common at Chicama, and rides up to a mile or more are possible. “Just the name, Chicama, has a magical sound to it,” Hawaiian surfer James Jones said after visiting…
Pioneering surf and diving photographer from San Diego, California; best known for his elegantly composed black and white shots of  Southern California and Hawaiian surf scenes in the early 1960s. Church was born (1934) in Denver, moved to Los Angeles with his family at age 11, and briefly studied photography at the Art Center School…
An expressive physical gesture or flourish, usually made at the end of an especially well-ridden wave; similar to a fist-pump in tennis or an end zone dance in football. The surge of adrenaline that comes from a great ride can take over, and the body simply adds its own exclamation point to the moment. Depending on style…
From the early 1960s through 2005, Clark Foam was the world’s leading producer of polyurethane foam blanks, the core material for a vast majority of surfboards. The company was founded in 1961 by Gordon “Grubby” Clark in Laguna Niguel, California; at its height, it produced an estimated 90% of blanks sold in America, and 60%…
Reclusive and all-powerful surf industrialist from Orange County, California; one of the innovators of the polyurethane foam blank; founder of Clark Foam, which dominated the blank-making business from the early 1960s until its implosion in late 2005. Clark was born in 1931 in Los Angeles, raised in Whittier, and learned to surf while attending Pomona…
Flinty big-wave rider from Half Moon Bay, California; the first person to ride Maverick’s, the beautiful but monstrous reefbreak known today as the big-wave capital of the continental United States. Clark was born (1957) in Redwood City, California, the son of a carpenter, moved with his family to Half Moon Bay in 1966, and began…
Sleepy-eyed Australian big-wave rider from Avoca, New South Wales; winner of the 2001 Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau contest at Waimea Bay. Clarke-Jones was born in Sydney on June 6, 1966 (or 6/6/66, as surf journalist Derek Rielly gleefully pointed out in a Surfer magazine profile titled “The Devil’s Playground”), and began surfing at age 10.…
Soulful and articulate writer/editor from Ventura, California; coauthor of 1963’s Surfing Guide to Southern California, and the mid-’60s editor of Surf Guide magazine. Cleary was born (1938) in Los Angeles, raised near Pasadena, began surfing in 1953 at age 15, and received a premed B.A. from UCLA in 1962. During and after college, Cleary wrote…
A wave that breaks all at once, without a shoulder; usually avoided by surfers, although beginners learn on soft-breaking closeouts. Better surfers are often forced into closeouts because of crowds, or lured into closeouts that at first look to have a shoulder. While a closeout wave is bad, waves at many great surf breaks, from…
A nonnegotiable, no-possible-exit tuberide, often performed to impress onlookers; dangerous for beginners and intermediates, as the rider can easily be hit by his board, or bounced off the bottom. Advanced surfers will avoid injury by either jabbing their board and body sharply through the tubing wave face, or by ejecting off the tail as the…
Upscale Peruvian beachfront surfing club located in Miraflores, the wealthiest suburb of Lima; founded in 1942 by Peru’s original gentleman surfer Carlos Dogny; described by champion Peruvian surfer Magoo de la Rosa as “the engine of surfing in Peru,” and by Nobel Laureate writer Mario Vargas Llosa as a “symbol of snobbery.” While visiting Hawaii in 1934,…
Cheerful, smooth-riding goofyfooter from Cocoa Beach; regarded by many as the best East Coast surfer of the mid- and late 1960s. “Claude was super cool, and graceful as a swan,” fellow Cocoa Beach surfer Mike Tabeling said. “Plus he was just the best at everything he did—surfing, baseball, skateboarding, shooting pool, all of it.” Codgen was…
Australian professional surfing contest held in Sydney from 1974 to 1999, usually in April at North Narrabeen or Manly Beach; conceived and developed by Sydney newspaper journalist and future world pro tour executive director Graham Cassidy; sponsored by soft-drink giant Coca-Cola. Described by 1979 world champion Wayne Bartholomew as the original example of “slick surfing professionalism,”…
Urbane art historian and former amateur surf champion from Carmel, California. Colburn was born (1955) to artist parents, and learned to surf in the clean cold waves off Carmel’s white sand beaches at age 11. He moved with his family to San Diego at 12,  and by the early ‘70s was a standout amateur competitor.…
Southern California surfboard and surf product manufacturer, and founder of Con Surfboards; “a wily but likable businessman,” as described by Surfing magazine in the mid-1960s. Although Colburn didn’t begin surfing until 1956 when he was 22, he quickly recognized that the surf market was about to expand, and in 1958 opened the Surf House in…
Bearish surfer-boardmaker from Victoria, Australia; three-time finalist in the Australian National Titles (1979-’81); boardmaker to many of the world’s best surfers in the ’90s and ’00s. “Cole’s manic energy, hair-trigger temper, outlandish generosity, insomniac work regime, and insatiable thirst for wild times are all legendary,” surf writer Tim Baker said of Cole in 2002. “It is exhausting…
Bright, gracious, persevering big-wave surfer from the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii; winner of the 1958 Makaha International contest, and one of the original California-born surfers who helped shape big-wave riding in the late ’50s and early ’60s. “He’d wait with the patience of Job for the biggest wave of the day,” fellow California transplant…
Emotional and eccentric regularfoot pro surfer from Newport Beach, California; world-ranked #8 in 1989 and 1990; as famous in the surf world for his oversize, trash-talking personality as for his inventive high-speed floater maneuvers. Collins was born (1969) and raised in Newport Beach, the son of surfboard-maker Lance Collins, founder of Wave Tools Surfboards. Lance…
Soft-spoken, data-crunching surf forecaster from Long Beach, California; longtime owner of Surfline wave-information service. Collins was born (1952) in Pasadena, the son of a navy navigator, grew up in Long Beach, and began surfing in the mid-60s. He was interested, like all serious surfers, in weather and wave forecasting. But where others ended their information…
Hyper-fit pro surfer from Orange County, California; world-ranked #4 in 2013. Conlogue was born (1992) in Santa Ana, and started riding waves at age four after watching her dad surf on a family trip to Mexico. The surf world was shocked in 2006 when Conlogue, a 14-year-old wildcard entrant, ripped her way to the semifinals in…
Smooth, sure-footed Australian regularfooter from Sydney’s Bondi Beach; one of the country’s best teenage competitors in the mid-1960s. Conneeley was born (1948) in Sydney and raised in Bondi; he placed second in the juniors division of the 1963 and 1964 National Titles, and won the all-Australian juniors division of the 1964 World Surfing Championships. The…
Showboating big-wave surfer from Hawaii, also known as “Ace Cool”; best remembered for his heavily promoted venture into the big surf at Oahu’s Kaena Point in 1984, and at Outside Pipeline the following year. “He told me he wanted to be known as the Evil Knievel of surfing,” photographer Warren Bolster said of Cooke. “My…
Generic Australian term for any one of a number of small, inexpensive polystyrene beaded-foam surfboards; the introductory board for thousands of Aussie preteen surfers in the 1970s, including future world champions Tom Carroll, Damien Hardman, and Pam Burridge. Early versions of the coolite (similar to the $10 Styrofoam boards sold in Thrifty and other American…
Cheerful, freethinking regularfoot surfer originally from Southern California; popular throughout the 1960s, and regarded as the original surfing beatnik. Cooper was born (1937) in Santa Monica, California, the son of an aerospace engineer who died around the time of his birth. He was raised in the Los Angeles-area suburbs of Culver City and Mar Vista,…
Candid and intrepid Australian pro surfer originally from Albany, Western Australia; world-ranked #2 in 1985, and remembered as her generation’s best female big-wave rider. Cooper was born (1964) and raised in the small whaling town of Albany, and didn’t begin surfing until age 16. Making her pro debut just three years later, she placed runner-up…
Market-wise surfboard manufacturer from Hermosa Beach, California; founder of Bing Surfboards, one of the sport’s best-known brands in the 1960s. Born Herbert Bingham Copeland (1936), in the Los Angeles County oceanfront suburb of Torrance, Bing was raised in nearby Manhattan Beach, and began surfing at age 13, with future big-wave crusher Greg Noll. Copeland and Noll…
Terrifying open-ocean break located 100 miles west of San Diego, California; thought by many to be capable of producing the world’s largest surfable waves. “A sort of supernatural Everest,” surf writer Chris Dixon wrote, describing Cortes Bank. “It pulls like Melville’s whale, an enigmatic monster that lures you out for the hunt—and nearly kills you…
Surf contest organizer from Rhode Island; executive director of the Eastern Surfing Association (ESA) as well as president of the United States Surfing Federation (USSF) for most of the 1970s and ’80s; described by Surfing magazine as “the political guru of amateur surfing competition.” Couture was born (1943) and raised in Rhode Island; he received…
Upbeat, guitar-strumming scientist and surfer from Palm Desert, California; awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1987. Cram was born (1919) in rural Vermont, and attended college in Florida and Nebraska before earning a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Harvard in 1947. He shared the 1987 Nobel with two colleagues for pioneering work in host-guest chemistry,…

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Blog Posts

After his stint as a self-described “total drug fiend,” but before he became a surf industry titan, Bruce Raymond was one of those hard-charging Free Ride-era Aussies who were busy reinventing the surf world in their own charismatic image. Bruce spent two years in the Top 16, then made a hard pivot away from pro […]
Greg Noll’s monster drop-to-annihilation wave at Makaha on December 4, 1969, was the defining wave of surfing’s defining big-wave swell. World champ Fred Hemmings watched from the beach and said it was the biggest wave ever ridden. Noll himself said it was five or ten feet over his previous best, and not long afterward he […]
By Tomi Knaefler Star-Bulletin Writer Greg Noll, one of the best of the big wave riders, yesterday came uncomfortably close to being a victim of Oahu’s surf storm. Noll and six other big-league surfers were drawn to the challenge of the massive 25-foot waves at Makaha. About 1:30 pm, Noll chose his challenge which another surfing […]
This is the opening chapter from Greg Noll’s 1989 autobiography, Da Bull: Life Over the Edge. It has been shortened and lightly edited. *  *  * In many ways, the winter of ’69 was the peak of my life. I was 32. I had a built a successful career of surfing and making surfboards. Although […]
This article was originally published in the August 1971 issue of SURFER. Photos of Waimea Bay, above, by Roger Sames.   *  *  *   At 11:30 p.m. on the night of Monday, December 1, 1969, Madeline Valentine awoke to the sounds of screaming sirens. A Sunset Beach fire truck was slowly moving down the road behind […]

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