The Influencer

Low-fi, high style footage of Russ Short's Bonzer mastery from “In The Mists of Summer.”

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In TSJ 26.5, author Kevin O’Sullivan profiles Oxnard native Russ Short, tracking how his subject’s Bonzer surfing during the 70s presaged and impacted an entire class of today’s style aces.

One of the main drivers for this effect, he explains, came from the viral sharing of rediscovered footage of Short, most notably a clip of him in Oaxaca, extracted from a 1977 film by Rick Jorgenson and Gary Pennington titled In The Mists of Summer.

“The film was cut quickly and made into a 20-minute short that did the usual circuit of surf theaters and high school auditoriums before disappearing for the next 30 years,” O’Sullivan details in the article. “It wasn’t until online clips, featuring his long lost performance, began circulating that surfers like Joel Tudor and Alex Knost picked up the baton and brought his surfing and the original three-fin Bonzer design back into the limelight. ‘You always hear,’ says Joel Tudor, ‘Oh this guy ripped,’ but you never have footage to prove it. With this, the footage was—holy shit. It was undeniable.’”

For more about Short and his team of Bonzer acolytes, pick up a copy of the issue. And for a peek of his performance in In The Mists of Summer, click play above on the embed.