SURFER Journal Affords Uncommon Glimpse Into Early Days of the Sport


In 1960 John Severson revealed the primary difficulty of “The Surfer.” Its 36 pages have been a compilation of photographs he took whereas filming “Surf Fever,” his personal illustrations, some editorial, and a few ads. Flyers asserting “The Surfer is coming!” have been pasted the home windows of surf retailers. Former SURFER Journal Writer Steve Pezman instructed the Los Angeles Times “I promptly stole the flyer off the wall of the surf store, which was how hungry we[surfers] have been for printed validation.” Surfers lined as much as purchase copies.

Many surfers’ earliest reminiscences of SURFER is being a grom and thumbing by it with buddies. Someone would carry the most recent difficulty to highschool, and attempt to pull it out of their backpack with out it getting ripped to shreds by a pack of fellow frothers. Huddled across the magazine, pages would flip, guesses of the place the spots within the photographs have been shouted out, instances pleaded as to why they have been proper or incorrect. Analyzing, absorbing and critiquing each facet of the journal earlier than slicing out prime stoke-inducing photographs to be scotch-taped to a bed room wall surf collage—a SURFER Journal reader custom that appears to transcend the many years.

As we grew older, we’d thumb by a magazine searching for our favourite writers, storytellers, and photographers. We looked for photographs and tales of unique waves to spark our personal journey missions. We hunted for photographs of our most cherished surfers. We sought connection within the phrases of considerate essayists. It’s arduous to recollect now in our digital age, however we even flipped by the pages searching for cutting-edge surf information.

Over time, the tales, photographs, artwork route and the adverts in SURFER grew to become little time capsules for our browsing lives. To have fun these moments, and to seize a little bit of nostalgia, we’re revisiting our video sequence known as “The SURFER Archives” — whereby we thumbed by the earliest points from the canon that’s SURFER’s archive and made corresponding movies. As of October, SURFER has since ceased publication, however that doesn’t imply frothers far and large need to cease flipping by its many iconic pages. Take a stroll down nostalgia lane with us and luxuriate in.

[Ed’s Note: The above intro was originally written by Ben Waldron, published in 2018, and adapted to reflect SURFER’s recent changes.]

SURFER Quantity 2, Concern 1

After the success of John Severson’s first difficulty of “The Surfer” in 1960, which bought over 5,000 copies, he determined to go quarterly the next yr. Which brings us to the second difficulty of SURFER: Spring, 1961.

SURFER’s second difficulty was nonetheless principally a one man present of Severson’s photographs, writing and art work. It’s simple to romanticize browsing as a complete in many years previous, however on this difficulty Severson laments about overcrowded lineups and the homogenization of surf tradition even within the early 60s. Sarcastically, a lot of this difficulty’s content material is location-oriented with a hand drawn map of Santa Cruz’s surf spots and photograph options on Rincon and Swami’s.

Embedded amongst Severson’s mixed-media content material was a comic book strip by a “Visitor Cartoonist.” That was 16-year-old Rick Griffin. The naturally proficient artist’s fashion would later grow to be one of the acknowledged of 60s psychedelia. Griffin went on to design the unique Rolling Stone journal brand, a Grateful Lifeless album cowl and way more. His cartoon on this difficulty, “The Gremies,” pokes enjoyable at surfers’ enthusiasm for large Hawaiian surf after which shortly retreating from it when seeing it in individual.

[Read more about SURFER Volume 2, Issue 1 from Ben Waldron, here.]

SURFER Quantity 2, Concern 2

The third difficulty of The Surfer (SURFERMagazine’s authentic title) was revealed in the summertime of 1961. Founder John Severson shot the quilt picture of Reynolds Yater, stating that he snapped “the-difficult-to-get beneath shot” simply earlier than Yater ran over him.

After solely two revealed points, Severson already knew his viewers liked deconstructing his journal for the photographs. Severson gives an enormous two-page unfold on this difficulty sarcastically framed as “appropriate for tearing out and glassing in your board, wall, otherwise you.”

All through the problem, Severson doesn’t maintain again in giving an trustworthy evaluation of up to date surf tradition. On the time, seashores have been being shut-down and/or thought-about for closure because of disrespectful habits by, who Severson refers to as, “gremlins” and “ho-daddies”-the equal to kooks and barneys. He presents a satirical guidelines of unhealthy behaviors for these “surfers” missing in precise expertise to acquire “their robust want of recognition.” Combined among the many strategies to “destroy” and “undress in public” was “flip bottle caps and make lewd remarks at browsing motion pictures.” The latter was particularly annoying to Severson as a result of the rising destructive repute of surfers as a complete was making it troublesome for him to search out venues keen to let him display screen his surf movies.

In a characteristic about Peru, Severson offers nice perception on how he found unique waves to journey to. Whereas surfers immediately are capable of search for potential swell magnets utilizing Google Maps, Severson used a extra analog method to surf discovery. He studies spending hours in his faculty library flipping by encyclopedias searching for photographs of waves captured by photographers on accident. “Normally I needed to accept distant photographs of surf strains behind some peasant tending flocks on the coast of someplace,” he writes on web page three.

[Read more about SURFER Volume 2, Issue 2 from Ben Waldron, here.]

SURFER Quantity 2, Concern 3

The Fall of 1961 difficulty of The Surfer (SURFER journal’s authentic title) options protection of the summer season’s south swells in addition to a preview of the Hawaiian winter. Severson hints at his anticipation for the Island’s heat water and heavy waves along with his cowl shot of Ricky Grigg at Waimea Bay throughout “the largest surf of the yr.”

Severson delegates some editorial to Ron Perrot for a characteristic on Australia and to Gini Kinz for a narrative a couple of lady studying to surf.

Letters to the editor from all around the world begin to seem, sharing their enthusiasm for browsing and admiration for Severson’s publication. Severson prints a rejection letter from an auditorium unwilling to display screen his motion pictures that particulars the habits of those that he clearly defines on this difficulty’s introduction as “gremlins” and “ho-daddys.”

[Read more about SURFER Volume 2, Issue 3 from Ben Waldron, here.]

SURFER Quantity 2, Concern 4

Within the fifth difficulty of SURFER Journal, founder and editor John Severson continues his marketing campaign to “elevate the game.” In his Editor’s Notice, Severson warns that browsing could also be outlawed throughout the state of California if situations surrounding it don’t change. He pushes his readers to hitch the US Browsing Affiliation and pitches it as an insurance coverage coverage that may protect browsing.

In one of many options, San Onofre surfers are requested to outline their break. Some seasoned locals argue it had higher waves within the ’30s, whereas others declare the surf has at all times been the identical. Primarily based on the photographs within the characteristic, it appears San O hasn’t modified a lot since ’61 both

Letters to the editor poured in from all around the world, together with landlocked areas. “It’s a pleasure to learn a publication so literate a couple of sport so elemental, it augers properly for the longer term respect wherein browsing could also be held,” writes Kenneth Deardorf from St. Lois, Missouri.

Combined among the many copy, and the rising variety of surfboard and store adverts, is an announcement for SURFER’s Cartoon Contest, the topic being “The Surf Automotive.” With judging primarily based on originality and cleverness, it’s simple to think about Severson and SURFER workers cartoonist Rick Griffin pouring over all of the India Inked, surfboard clad, rat rods mailed into the workplace (winners to be revealed within the following difficulty.

[Read more about SURFER Volume 2, Issue 4 from Ben Waldron, here.]

SURFER Quantity 3, Concern 1

“Filled with characters, fads and fantasies, browsing is probably essentially the most colourful sport to emerge for the reason that Greek bare-handed bullfights,” John Severson writes within the editor’s be aware that opens up SURFER Journal’s sixth difficulty. Talking of colourful, that is the primary difficulty to characteristic a colour photograph; Ricky Grigg rolling right into a Pipeline stunner on the quilt.

Even in 1962, the Disneyfication of browsing is prophesied by wavepools. On the subject of browsing turning into a viral development, Severson writes: “Assistance is on the way in which. Synthetic wave machines are within the means of being constructed…as are powered surfboards. Subsequent-somewhere between Anaheim and Buena Park-SURFYLAND! ALL YOU CAN RIDE FOR $1, ALL SIZES AND SHAPES! GET ‘EM WHILE THEY’RE HOT!”

There’s a Pipeline characteristic wherein Mike Hynson and a slew of different courageous surfers cost the world’s deadliest wave on the one fin logs of the day. Most are outrunning the tube or wiping out. Pictures of the latter are captioned by Severson’s signature tongue-in-cheek voice; “He was solely profitable in practically killing himself,” and, “Mike was making good progress till the entire Pacific Ocean caved in on him.”

SURFER’s worldwide scope began to develop too, with options on Australia and France, unique locations on the time.

[Read more about SURFER Volume 3, Issue 1 from Ben Waldron, here.]

SURFER Quantity 3, Concern 2

When SURFER Journal (then, The Surfer) launched the second difficulty of its third quantity in the summertime of ’62, it was greeted by a rising, surf-obsessed viewers, however one nonetheless but unfamiliar with the a lot with huge expanse of rideable waves on the market within the world-at-large.

The Letters to the Editor part contains principally fawning missives from waveriders praising the expanded editorial content material (12 new pages within the earlier difficulty!), and some notes lamenting the character of the burgeoning crowds that will—save for the dated vernacular (“Gremmies” and “Ho-dads”), learn like a criticism about our present state of surfdom.

As there was a lot terrain, but to cowl (recognized and unknown), Vol. 3 Concern 2 contains a detailed illustrated map of South Bay surf spots, a brief primer on North Steyne, and a characteristic on Maui, describing its uncrowded lineups, numerous setups, together with a premier “Malibu-like” (huh?) level, known as Honolua Bay.

[Read more about SURFER Volume 3, Issue 2 from Matt Shaw, here.]

SURFER Quantity 3, Concern 3

Right here’s a little bit of trivia: Which well-known surf-star landed the quilt of 1962’s Aug-Sept difficulty of The Surfer? Was it Australia’s Midget Farrely? Miklos “Da Cat” Dora ? The very photogenic Mike Hynson?

In reality, all of the real-life surfers of the early 60s growth interval have been slighted in favor of a then-18-year outdated Workers Cartoonist’s fictional (although fairly in style) surf-star, Murphy, who landed the coveted cowl, hand-stalling on his method to a dry hair exit from a Crayola inexperienced tube.

Quantity 3, Concern 3 of The Surfer is an efficient indication of the burgeoning cultural phenomenon that was Murphy, as a good quantity of ink is devoted to Murphy and his creator Rick Griffin, who, in a portrait subsequent to a brief profile of the artist, appears comparatively buttoned-up in comparison with the shaggy, bearded Hippy icon who’d quickly be recognized to the world at giant.

[Read more about SURFER Volume 3, Issue 3 from Matt Shaw, here.]

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