The Prince of Foam

Rest in peace, Dave Sweet, 1928-2015

I liked Dave Sweet before I admired him, for the simple reason that in 1969, about 10 minutes after we met, he tossed me a brand new short-john. I was nine years old. Jay Adams and I were standing in Sweet’s showroom, on Olympic Blvd. in Santa Monica, having been driven there by Kent Sherwood,




Big Daddy Roth

The rebel cartoonist Ed "Big Daddy" Roth revved up everybody, I tell you what.

There was a bright line down the middle of America in 1966, and everybody had to choose a side. You loved Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, or you hated him. Big Daddy was a lot of things. First and foremost, he was a car guy. Designed and built the coolest, craziest whips during the High Renaissance



Photo Blog

Archive: 1966

Ron Stoner, The Ranch

In his early 20s, just before the shortboard revolution, Ron Stoner remade surf photography into what it is today. And he did it with one foot dangling over the abyss. At 22, Stoner all but owned the SURFER masthead.




Pro Surfing’s Hilarious Beginnings

The IPS Tour set the benchmark for competition weirdness

Come for the surfing. Stay for the comedy. Three out of four times, when I dial up the latest WSL webcast and begin lopping off irreplaceable half-hour chunks of my life for the privilege of watching two surfers float on their boards artfully ignoring each other while two more surfers sit in a booth and




The Rocketmen

Forty years before GoPro, this is how you got a P.O.V. shot

George Greenough brought the inside-out tube view to the big screen for the first time, in 1970’s Innermost Limits of Pure Fun, and he did so with hulking 25-pound shoulder-mounted camera rig that by all rights should have popped his head from his slender shoulders like a cork during the first wipeout. The tube, at




When Margies Was Raw

Nat Young, surfboards on fire, and hazy recollections from Margaret River in 1969

“It’s just so raw!” The WSL announcing crew, and the surfers they love, have lofted this description so many times this past week while talking about Margaret River that you’d think the place is a still-wiggling chunk of yellowtail, rather than an upscale, vineyard-covered, carpaccio-scented engine of tourism. You like it raw? Tell you what.




Coloring The Past

Breathing new life into historical black and white surf images




Alan Rich, 1948-2015

Photographer, filmmaker passes away at 67

Surf photographer and filmmaker Alan Rich, who died of cancer last week at age 67, began surfing at Torrance Beach, in LA’s South Bay, in 1960. He was a little younger than—and very much in awe of—the Irons brothers, especially Ricky, who was on his way to becoming one of America’s best performance surfers. (Ricky’s




Occy: Zeus of Bells

Looking Back at Bells, Part III: Occy brought the thunder to the Bells Bowl, 1997

Put it to a vote, and I’d raise my hand in favor of relocating the Rip Curl Pro to, I don’t know, any one of the 50 breaks in Australia that World Tour surfers would actually travel to of their own free volition. That’s how I feel four out of five years, anyway. Every now




Michael Peterson’s Three-Peat

Looking back at Bells, Part II: The 1975 Rip Curl Pro

You think the 2015 Rip Curl Pro is a shaggy buffalo in terms of size and girth and lack of mobility? I ain’t arguing. But take it back 40 years. Bells ’75—now that thing was a beast. Opened with a 72-man trials event. Then the women’s comp. Then four separate rounds of the men’s main


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