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Who says the finless alaia thing is for small surf? Naturally a free-thinker, Dave Rastovich took exception to convention when he paddled out into the Sunset lineup au naturale this winter. Harkening back to a more ancient time on Oahu, he bravely hangs in there and waits for the edge to bite. Photo: Pat Stacy

Circa-mid-1930s Paddleboard Cove. From Preston Peterson's private collection of photos. Early in the Cove's use by surfers, the regulars cleared a channel in the rocks, from the beach to waist-deep, so they could walk their heavy boards out a few yards and begin paddling rather than carry them over the rocks. This fellow wore swimming goggles, which can be seen hanging around his neck, to shallow dive for the abalone on deck. The shellfish were rampant by then. Sea otters had long before been exterminated which had been the abalone's natural predator, resulting in an un-natural level of propagation. The first day Lorrin Harrison fished abs commercially, at Abalone Cove in Laguna, he claims to have taken seven hundred dozen!

Corky Carroll at Surfside Water Tower circa-1963. Corky grew up in that small community on “B” row, “A” row being oceanfront, his home being across the street from the sand, and “C” row facing Coast Highway behind them. It was a quaint and rustic collection of beach structures and equally interesting inhabitants. His bodacious style fit into the mix. I met him about the time this picture was taken while I was working for Mickey Munoz who managed Ole Surfboards on Bay Blvd. in Seal Beach. At the time, Mickey was Corky’s mentor as a competitive surfer and paddler. Corky was smoking everyone right then- the epitome of a precocious, obnoxious kid, absolutely driven to rip. It wasn’t pretty but he was radical and flashy, thus a contest winner, and ultimately became the first seriously recompensed pro-surfer when Catalina paid him thirty-grand a year to represent their attempt at authentic surf wear. Today, you can stay in Corky’s beachfront casa at Saladita, Mexico, and talk story and surf with him (he’s mellowed considerably in his mature years), for $1,500 a week. If you can afford that kind of thing, it’s a surf experience worth having. -- Pez Photo: Ron Stoner

Scratch any given Santa Cruz surfer, and you'll find an Angeleño living under the skin. Originally from Santa Monica (where he attended St. Monica High with C.R. Stecyk), Michel Junod is most well know for his arch-traditional nose riding. That said, his personal surf iceberg has plenty of mass beneath the surface, as evidenced by this 1974 shot of him on a balls-out speed run at maxing Rocky Rights. Photo: Divine

Where it is isn't so much as important as the fact that yes, wonderful little pullouts like this still exist. An empty lineup, A-frame peaks, offshore winds, scenery that'll knock your booties off. Sign us up. The lonesome Kiwi road awaits. Photo: Anthony Ghiglia

"I had this whole batch of photos that I thought were a lost cause, but it's amazing what I was able to do digitally to help this shot out," explains Jeff Divine of this little South African gem he polished. Taken in '78 at the Bay of Plenty, "these photos of Shaun Tomson have just been sitting collecting dust," continues Divine. "I don't know why I held on to them for so long, but I'm glad I did. I wonder what other images are out that there we could bring back to life." Photo: Divine

It always appears so casual, but backside tube riding is so much harder than it looks. Take this lonesome New Zealand silhouette for example: First, just to stuff yourself in a hole like this the wave has to be of proper size. Then, when you consider how tricky it can be grabbing rail and butt dragging until you're properly slotted, that knocks up the difficulty factor a few pegs. And finally, if you're over 35 chances are your knees will barely hold up and you'll need to have your ACL scoped when you return to civilization. All this for a room with a view. Photo: Andrew Shield

 

Skip Frye strikes a familiar pose in familiar country. La Jolla Shores during the summer of '67. Photo: Jeff Divine

Guaranteed all three of these guys are standing there, staring off into the lineup, mentally putting themselves deep in the eye of this backlit Tazzy peeler. The regular-footers in the group are probably thinking about all the frontside bliss they're going to enjoy, speed runs into backdoored sections, plunging their arms deep into the wall to hang behind the curtain as long as possible. While the goofy guy envisions rail-grabs and foamball postures. Whichever way they're going, all this trio has to do is slip past a strand of barbed wire and they're out there ... alone. Photo: Stuart Gibson

You've just hiked in, there's nobody around for miles, no sense that the wind's going to switch any time soon, and absolutely no need to rush. Take your time setting up your little spot on the beach, take a couple pulls off your water bottle before paddling out, and after that, the day is yours to waste on a flawless little four-foot roper. The Tasmanian outback does have its upsides. Photo: Juan Fernandez

Frequented exclusively by the crew of the Pelagic and their passengers until several years ago when a helicopter containing Kelly Slater flew overhead and blew the place's cover. Today Greenbush has become one of the premium waves in the Mentawai Islands. A grinding, sectioning, freight train of a left-hander, it's a constant contender for "Tube of the Year" honors, and is a regular in the day's surf videos. From a distance it looks perfect, if not a little ominous. But get a little closer and it's clear to see it's no walk in the park. Photo: Jeff Divine

The shack at Uppers is a tradition that has been upheld every summer by crews too numerous to name through five decades, from the mid-60s to current. Why a new crew every era is inspired to become “Man The Builder” at that surf break is beyond me. Perhaps it is the abundance of building materials swept out the stream and distributed by winter storms. Perhaps the hot summer sun demands that the human soul construct a shade structure. Maybe here more than there, it is man’s nature to erect a monument to his presence, staking out a form of ownership. One summer long ago, the shack was so troubling to the Marine Corp that a Camp Pendleton Fire truck was dispatched to burn it to the ground, which they did. It was replaced within the week, and that version was allowed to exist, as if a lesson in practicality, and who was really in charge, had been learned. These days the State doesn’t hassle the shack, though it certainly does abuse their liability protocol. Photo: Jeff Divine

 

California’s better sand bottom beachbreaks (ie. Baja Malibu, Coronado, Oceanside, Huntington, Oxnard, Ocean Beach) can be consistently stellar in shape, particularly on straight west or northwest swells that tend to A-frame, shifting personalities through different worthwhile traits at every stage of the day, from high-tide wedge inshore dumpers, to thinned-out off-shore groomed low-tide peelers, better than Rincon, Trestles or Mailbu, more dredging, hollow, forceful, challenging and rewarding. Thus when your sand box is on, it’s usually locals in attendance (who drives long distances to get sandbars?), you generally go nowhere else, and maybe snicker at those who do. Photo: Sammy Olson


 

 

After trimming delicately into the wave, gradually overcoming the balance of gravity and the upward flow, pushing on over the edge, dropping in, and at an instant artfully chosen converting downwards edge smoothly to lateral, a move that energizes the rest of the ride. The fluid stoke of a naturally propelled flow is experienced at other instants as well. Paddling out can be as joyous as the ride in. Power stroking, sweeping up the face, suddenly caught in the upward flow of energy then bursting through the lip, going a bit airborne before splashing down to reentry and back into paddling rhythm, immersed in a deep pool of warm light…a Zen moment. Photo: David Pu'u

 

Matt Warshaw describing Occy in his epic Encylopedia of Surfing: “Occhilupo rode with unmatched vigor and passion, planting his stumpy legs in a wide utility stance and directing his board through deeply chiseled turns, hands and open fingers extending out from his body like balance sensors”. At forty-something, Mark Occhilupo, once nick-named “The Raging Bull,” still engrossed in wave gashing, shot from a raft with a 135 lens -- a really close encounter in West Oz. Photo: Pat Stacy