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Freezing the Moment with Doc Ball

Doc Ball, right. Photo: Tom Blake
Doc Ball
California Surfriders, 1946
California Surfriders

In late 1946, John “Doc” Ball, the amiable round-faced founder of the Palos Verdes Surf Club, published California Surfriders, one of the sport’s first books. Just back from his wartime posting as a Coast Guard dentist, Ball threw himself into this friendly vanity project, producing 510 copies of the faux-leather-bound book, which Ball sold himself, mostly to his surf buddies up and down the coast, charging a stiff $7.25 for each slender 118-page volume.

At the time, Ball and Tom Blake were t...

Ball produced California Surfriders himself, and sold them mostly to his surf buddies up and down the coast, charging a stiff $7.25 per copy.