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Choice Cuts

A selection of some of our favorite stories published in 2021, TSJ’s 30th year in print.

Light / Dark

Photograph by Derek Bahn

Propelled on a Zephyr of Compressed Wind
By Joe Donnelly

From TSJ 30.4

A half-century into it, and Craig Stecyk, inarguably one of California culture’s most influential figures, still continues to surprise. Here, in just a few coats of paint, he drags us from Dora all the way to the world’s most prestigious attic. The author, an award-winning journalist, digs up all the fine-print to connect a variety of culture markers together. As is typical, CR finds himself at the very center of the web. —Whitman Bedwell, Editor

Photograph by Steve Wilkings

Pumpjack
By Kevin O’Sullivan

From TSJ 30.2

When Sam Hawk migrated to the North Shore from the oil derricks of Huntington Beach in the late 1960s, he dragged along a steamer trunk of verve, and era-defining talent. This profile came out of nowhere, showing the sort of style and lifelong commitment that contemporary surfers might do well to emulate. —Scott Hulet, Creative Director

Illustration by Evan Hecox

The Warmest Sands of Wishing
By Bryan Di Salvatore

From TSJ 30.1

As fine a writer to exist in our sandbox (he penned the definitive profile of Merle Haggard for The New Yorker, as evidence) Di Salvatore sat on this far-East trip for over 40 years. And while the author pays enough attention to the surf, it’s everything else—the unknowns, the adventure, the world-view gains and losses—written in a master’s hand that proves there’s lots of worth in the wait. In the absence of any visual record of the trip—a major hurdle for any magazine to overcome—artist Evan Hecox was a perfect fit, and had even traveled to the (unnamed by choice) region before. His sketchbook aesthetic was a great accompaniment to Di Salvatore’s words. —Jim Newitt, Art Director

Photograph courtesy of the Warren Anderson Collection

Fortune Favors the Bold
By Mike Ritter

From TSJ 30.3

There was an undoubted grittiness behind the discovery of Grajanagan, and it really shines through here. Jack McCoy’s imagery captures the untamed rawness, danger, and mystique of G-Land from long before it became a destination. It was a pleasure working with Jack on the images, and, in the process, learning about what it was like in the early days from a first-hand source. —Grant Ellis, Photo Editor

Photograph by Fred Pompermayer

First Among Equals
By Gabriella Aoun

From TSJ 30.5

Andrea Moller’s path to world record-setting waves at Peahi was hard fought. The author tracks, in detail, Moller’s heavy-water beginnings, meticulous preparation, selfless rescues, and conscious advancement of women’s big-wave surfing—all done with a commendable level of humility. As the feature’s subhead reads: “Moller’s accomplishments and commitment defy comparison. Just don’t count on hearing it from her.” —Ben Waldron, Associate Editor

Photograph by Slim Aarons

Keep Dreaming
By John Durant

From TSJ 30.2

From a purely visual standpoint, curating Slim Aarons’ work was a treat. And it brought forward The Journal’s favorite ethos—surprise—in grabbing a mainstream fine-art shooter with surf relevance. He made portraits of the Duke, after all. —Kevin Voegtlin, Assistant Photo Editor