History of Surfing Blog

MALIBU: DIVING FOR PEARLS

January 23, 2017

I tried to steer this post away from the sentimental, but it’s no use. Unless you’re bitching about the crowd, it’s almost impossible to talk about Malibu without going misty-eyed with appreciation.   *  *  * SAM REID, 1965 Visualize a beautiful Fall day in California, September, 1927. Coast Highway was a two-lane road, dirt most of […]

START WITH KIVLIN. PROCEED TO DORA, LOPEZ, CURREN

January 17, 2017

Bob Simmons, Joe Quigg, and Matt Kivlin overhauled surfboard design after World War II. Reasonable people may disagree, but by my reckoning what these three guys collectively did from 1945 to 1952 was a greater leap forward than the shortboard revolution. Kivlin, younger than the other two, was also the hottest surfer on the coast—tucked his back […]

BOB SIMMONS’ LAST WAVE: A SHORT ORAL HISTORY

January 11, 2017

Bob Simmons died while surfing Windansea sometime around noon, on September 26, 1954. He was 35. Simmons was the first name surfer to go down in the water, and along with all the crucial surfboard design work he did, his on-stage death created a legend. This account of Simmon’s final wave is pulled from people who know Simmons, plus […]

JOE QUIGG: “WHY WERE PEOPLE SO INTO SIMMONS? WHAT WAS IT?”

January 10, 2017

Joe Quigg (top) and Bob Simmons, Malibu, 1949 We love the shortboard revolution because it radically, wonderfully, and forever changed board design. We also love it because it’s so well documented. Photos, movies, articles—the whole shebang is there, in primary sources galore, for us to examine and exalt and argue over. But surfboard evolution actually made a greater leap right […]

“HEY MA, I’M TAKING THE IRONING BOARD!” INTERVIEW WITH ’30s SURF ACE TULIE CLARK

January 3, 2017

Calvin “Tulie” Clark rode a horse to school. He was born halfway through World War I, and grew up in Palos Verdes. Learned to surf on an ironing board. He wasn’t a founding member of the Palos Verdes Surf Club, as is usually reported, but got voted in just a few months later, and was a club […]

MAKING “HISTORY”: MEET THE TALENT BEHIND HISTORY OF SURFING

January 1, 2017

Thrilled to bring History of Surfing online, and so honored to again be working with these two guys—same fellas who designed and engineered Encyclopedia of Surfing. Ryan Mahar, in the shades, gave History its look. The only directive I gave him was to make it look like the Encyclopedia’s big sister. He knocked it out […]

PIMPING “HISTORY”: SO YOUNG AND FRESH IN 2010

January 1, 2017

In 2010, when History of Surfing was published, Nathan Myers and I did this Q&A for Surfing magazine. Do you object to the term “surf nerd? Hardly. I embrace it with pencil-thin arms and fogged-up glasses. Have you ever been in a proper fistfight? In 4th grade I took a windmilling run at my tetherball […]

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