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July 5, 2014

When Surfing Is More Popular Than Ever: Stunning Pictures of California’s Thriving Surf Culture in the 1960s and 1970s

At a time when surfing is more popular than ever, it’s fitting to look back at the years that brought the sport into the mainstream. Developed by Hawaiian islanders over five centuries ago, surfing began to peak on the mainland in the 1950s—becoming not just a sport, but a way of life, admired and exported across the globe. One of the key image-makers from that period is LeRoy Grannis, a surfer since 1931, who began photographing the scene in California and Hawaii in the longboard era of the early 1960s.

LeRoy Grannis, considered by many to be the premier photographer of California’s thriving surf culture in the 1960s and ’70s, started out not as a professional or trained artist– but as a hobbyist. He didn’t even begin his epic career until the ripe age of 42 yrs old. That was back in 1959– prime time to document America entering the golden age of surf mania, and capture it with a keen eye and insight that only a true surfer could possess.

(Photographed by LeRoy Grannis, via The Selvedge Yard)


  1. I remember seeing Charlie Chapman when I was a child ….
    . It was a silent movie and I was really entertained ,to say the least ….

  2. Unfortunately, the top photo could not be from 1914 (likely a typo for 1941): look at the cars in the background and a child is holding a sign for "America First," an organization (of pro-fascist tendencies led by Charles Lindbergh) ostensibly meant to lobby the US citizenry to not join WWII, and especially not on the side of the Allies.

  3. Likewise, the last 2 photos could not possibly be from 1955. Far earlier.




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