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THE 1968 WORLD SURFING CHAMPIONSHIPS: AN ORAL HISTORY COMPILED BY BEN MARCUS

This article ran in the February 2012 issue of The Surfer’s Journal. The 1968 World Surfing Championships were held Puerto Rico, in mid-November. Fred Hemmings won the men’s division, and Margo Godfrey, at age 15, took the women’s.   *  *  *  CORKY CARROLL (California, competitor) It was the first World Contest held during the shortboard...

GARD CHAPIN, THE LIVING END: AN ORAL HISTORY

Back in 2014, I posted a short piece on how Miki Dora was influenced by his two fathers. “My own father taught me a gracious way of living,” Dora said, “while my stepfather showed me how to survive. One showed me how to atone for indiscretions and the other demonstrated how to commit them.” The...

NEW: RANDY RARICK REMEMBERS ’72 WORLD CHAMP JIMMY BLEARS

Sam George once wrote that Jimmy Blears is surfing’s “least-known world champion,” and while I’ll always wave the flag for disappeared two-time champ Sharron Weber, Sam ain’t wrong. Blears won his title in ’72, in San Diego, and all anybody remembers about that shitshow of a contest is that a board belonging to crowd favorite...

LONG READ: “THE DIVIDED RULERS OF WAIMEA BAY,” BY MATT WARSHAW

This article on Mark Foo and Ken Bradshaw and their half-real half-performative rivalry was published in the May 1988 issue of Outside magazine. I took plenty of notes while visiting Hawaii to talk with Mark and Ken before writing “Divided Rulers.” Some went into the article, most didn’t, and I’ve attached a few to the...

READ: MARK FOO’S 1985 “OCCURRENCE AT WAIMEA BAY”

January 18, 1985, was a springboard for Mark Foo’s big-wave career. That afternoon he bailed his way through what might still be the biggest Waimea Bay closeout set to ever roll through an occupied lineup, and afterward he paddled into, and was annihilated by, another closeout wave. More importantly for his career, Mark wasted no...

CHRIS BROWN: 1970-2019

Chris Brown of Santa Barbara died yesterday, at age 48. Details of his death are still unknown. This afternoon I had this email exchange with Derek Rielly of BeachGrit.  *  *  *  BeachGrit: I got vague memories of a kid with stiff white hair slinging it to Kelly in the late eighties, early nineties. Warshaw:...

GREG NOLL’S 1969 MAKAHA WAVE HAS THRASHED US ALL

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...

READ: MARGO GODFREY AND THE WORLD’S SADDEST SURF MAGAZINE ARTICLE

This 1968 Surfing magazine article by Margo Godfrey might be the saddest piece of surf writing ever published. Godfrey, 16, was the newly-crowned world champ. She didn’t yet have the big-wave chops that would define her career as a professional in years to come, but was already a mile ahead of her contemporaries nonetheless, and...

WATCH: CONFESSIONS OF A KOOKSLAMS REJECT!

Two weeks ago I introduced my eight-year-old son to Kookslams. Together we laughed as kooks of every description were slammed in various and sundry ways. Teddy noticed that Kookslams has 1.1 million Instagram followers, and his enjoyment shot up. (My enjoyment dipped as I felt Teddy’s unspoken judgment against Encyclopedia of Surfing’s paltry 15.3K followers. Click...

WATCH: THE RANCH TRIP FROM JOHN SEVERSON’S “PACIFIC VIBRATIONS”

This art-project-slash-surf-trip took place in January 1970, lasted three days, and was filled with good vibes, small waves, and soft drugs. You can read more about it here and here, and see some fantastic Art Brewer pix of the trip here. John Severson and Spyder Wills filmed the sequence above for Pacific Vibrations, Severson’s last surf movie,...

WATCH: BOW DOWN TO THE HEAD DIP

I believe it is Genesis 4:20 in which John Severson damns the head dip as a “completely useless” maneuver whose only point is to demonstrate a surfer’s “complete domination of the curl.” And yea, John spaketh the truth. The head dip is completely useless. That “complete domination” bit, though . . . . Is it...

NOSERIDES AND PAYCHECKS: THE 1966 US PRO SURFING CHAMPIONSHIPS

The Tom Morey Invitational, held on 4th of July weekend, 1965, in Ventura, was the first surfing contest to offer prizemoney. The total purse was $1,500, and Mickey Munoz banked $750 for the win. In 1966, the contest was renamed the United States Professional Surfing Championships, and was again held in Ventura, with the pot...

WATCH: THE OVERWHELMING LIKABILITY OF RUSTY MILLER

The ivory tower of surf academia has long been filled with soft-voiced argument as to who exactly is the 1965 American men’s division champ. Mark Martinson won the United States Surfing Championships that September at Huntington Pier. But Rusty Miller was the United States Surfing Association rating’s leader, meaning he out-pointed the field over a...

“FOLLOW ME” TO THE SEVENTH PAGODA: INDIA, 1968

The footage in this little remix is lifted from Follow Me, a failed Endless Summer knockoff from 1969. The howling surf track is “Escape” by the Mustangs, a college town garage band from what was then called Madras (now Chennai), who were thrilling local clubgoers at the same time the Follow Me crew was in town. (The Indian...

SPECIAL DELIVERY: JOCK SUTHERLAND’S LETTERS TO SURFER MAGAZINE, 1969 to 1990

Famous surfers used to write letters to the surf magazines. The hand-addressed envelopes arrived at the offices, sometimes weeks after being stamped and sealed, from around the world. Surf magazines were a big deal in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s—before the internet, before cheap international phone rates, mostly before VCRs. You read the mags, studied...

WATCH: LARRY BERTLEMANN, “THE RUBBERMAN COMETH”

We’re going the Full Larry here on this beautiful Monday. “The Rubberman Cometh” is the title of the video you see above, as well as Bertlemann’s History of Surfing chapter. And here’s a taste of Phil Jarratt’s 1979 interview with Larry, which posted on Above the Roar. Rubberman was not shy. If your phone’s plugged back...