Bunker Spreckels: Surfing’s Divine Prince of Decadence

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A reader-supported surf publication founded in 1992, The Surfer’s Journal is vivid, authoritative, and independent. The goal of each 132-page bimonthly edition? A completely resolved composition. Balance. Color. Story. And purist surf energy from Page One to close-of-book.

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The story of Bunker Spreckels’ brief, wild life is truly stranger than fiction. Heir to a sugar fortune and stepson to Clark Gable, Spreckels was at different points a teenage North Shore surf-rat at the front of surfboard design experimentation, Los Angeles scenester and power player, and one-man globe-trotting performance artist with his own alter ego. Dedicated equally to guns, martial arts, women, and drugs, wave riding nevertheless remained at the center of his lifestyle among the pomp and excess until his early death at 27.

Writer Craig Stecyk and photographer Art Brewer, both longtime TSJ contributors, spent years with on the road, in the water, and holed up in penthouse suites with Spreckels working on a subject-funded and organized tell-all epic to be called “The Player,” documenting the transformation from surfer to international playboy. Though scrapped when Spreckels passed, the two have revisited the material, including the transcriptions of Stecyk’s extensive taped interviews and hundreds of Brewer’s photographs from Hawaii to South Africa, in this 216-page hardbound offering from Taschen.