Popularized by Duke Kahanamoku in the 1920s, surfing was initially embraced by California’s lifeguard communities. As boards became lighter and easier to use in the 1950s, enthusiasm for the activity spread throughout California’s coastal beach cities. With the release of Bruce Brown’s “The Endless Summer” in 1966, surfing captured the popular imagination; quickly growing into a worldwide, multi-billion dollar-per-year industry.
Today, surfing remains an iconic characteristic of the Southern California lifestyle with Orange County widely regarded as a cultural center for its numerous technological innovations, the large number of accomplished surfers it has produced, and its role as a media center popularizing the activity around the world.
OC Surf Stories seeks to preserve Orange County’s surfing heritage by collecting and sharing personal experiences from our local surfing community: individuals who have witnessed and participated in Orange County’s adoption of surfing as a recreational pastime and as a lifestyle.
For more Orange County history, visit OC Stories.
Hub of the Surfing World
Herbie Fletcher on Orange County’s importance to the surfing world.
Surfing Is My Art
Herbie Fletcher shares his lifelong passion for making art.
Kevin “Mel” Thoman on bodysurfing at the Wedge, Newport Beach.
OC Surfers remember sneaking past U.S. Marine patrols to surf, “some of the best waves in the world.”
All I Wanted to Do
Dino Andino on becoming a pro surfer and San Clemente’s remarkable supply of surfing talent
Competitive Side of Surfing
Joyce Hoffman recalls her career in competitive surfing and becoming surfing’s first “international star.”
My Best Waves
Competitive surfer Sheri Crummer on her lifelong connection with the ocean.
A Peaceful Tribe
Hans Hagen discusses Laguna Beach’s surf culture and his work with the Mauli Ola Foundation.
It’s a Nice Vibe
Jenny Scott shares her love of surfing Newport Beach and recalls catching her first big wave.
Video Trailer: OC Surf Stories
Video trailer for the OC Surf Stories collection.
All Around the World
Paul Holmes on, “making a living out of a lifestyle.”
Hobie, Dale, & Bing
Paul Holmes recalls Hobie Alter, Dale Velzy, and Bing Copeland.
The Wave Always Leads
Jeff Quam describes surfing with paipo and hot curl boards and shares thoughts on beach crowding and localism.
Every Moment of Every Day
Jeff Quam remembers learning to surf and the encouragement and mentorship he received from Laguna Beach’s lifeguards
To Take Off and Ride a Wave
Western Surfing Association Director, Mary Lou Drummy, on sharing the joys of surfing with the next generation.
Majoring in Surfing
Tom Morey on his lifelong love of surfing and the invention of the Morey Boogie Board.
Surfing in Orange County
Tom Morey remembers Hobie & Velzy and considers Orange County’s contributions to surfculture.
San Onofre Family
Charles Haines recalls founding Victoria Skimboards and shares some favorite surf stories.
Tom Sutherland on his fifty-year career customizing surfboards in South Orange County.
Holy Grail of Surfing
Tom “Sudz” Sutherland discusses surfing in South Orange County and Huntington Beach.
The Fly (Pierre Van Swae) on the importance of observing wave etiquette.
Addicted to Photography
Art Brewer on getting started in surf photography and his first published SURFER magazine cover.
Lucky To Do What I Do
Art Brewer reflects on Laguna Beach’s surfing community and his career as a professional surf photographer.
Ride Other Waves
Mickey Munoz on developing the Hobie Catamaran and his continued interest in new surfing technologies.
An Exclusive Club
T.K. Brimer on the joy of surfing and changes in surf culture over the past 50 years.
The Frog House
T.K. Brimer discusses shops as informational centers for the surfing community.
Surfing Newport Beach
T.K. Brimer discusses some classic Newport Beach surf spots.
From Surfboards to Clothing Lines
Dick Metz on managing Hobie’s first retail store and expanding into other surfing accessories.
Beginning of Surf Culture
Craig Lockwood on the origins of surf culture in Southern California.
Craig Lockwood and Mitch Ridder, on Laguna Beach’s surfing ban.
The Hodad Factor
Craig Lockwood and Mitch Ridder on Laguna Beach surfers and lifeguards.
A Wilderness Experience
Jeff Divine on cultivating wave awareness.
Jeff Divine reflects on his career as a SURFER magazine photographer.
Best Waves in California
Jeff Divine remembers surfing at US Marine-controlled Trestles Beach.
Along For the Ride
Ron & Tracy Sizemore remember their family’s enthusiasm for surfing & share surfing competition stories.
Remembering Lorrin Harrison
Ron & Tracy Sizemore remember Lorrin Harrison, bear swims, and “free boarding.”
All Day, Every Day
Justin Scheller remembers surfing Seal Beach’s San Gabriel River and discusses OC & L.A. surf spots.
Steve Pezman on surf culture and the raw appeal of surfing.
Steve Pezman on Orange County and the rise of the surfing industry.
The Reward Was Worth It
Steve Pezman remembers surfing Trestles Beach in the 1960s.
An Amazing Experience
Pat Sparkuhl recalls his early affinity with surfing and his friendships with other Laguna Beach surfers.
We Were So Free
Pat Sparkuhl considers the influence of surfing on his appreciation for the Arts & recalls an incident at Trestles.
It All Started Here
Kip Kennedy considers changes in Orange County’s surfing community and the surf retail industry.
Allan Seymour on being “the world’s worst surfer” and living (and surfing) in South Orange County.
Allan Seymour remembers popular surf spots and sneaking past Marine patrols to surf Trestles.
Allan Seymour on collecting and promoting surf memorabilia and organizing surfing events.
Promoting “The Endless Summer”
R. Paul Allen on promoting “The Endless Summer” to sold out crowds in Wichita, Kansas.
Making Surf Movies
R. Paul Allen on filmmaking and Dale Velzy encouragement of local filmmaker Bruce Brown.
“The Dana Point Mafia”
R. Paul Allen on Orange County’s role as a surfing cultural center in the 1960s.
It’s Been Real Good
Jeff Bartlett shares his love of surfing and reflects on his experiences surfing in southern California.
Never Had a Bad Wave
Chuck Herpick on body surfing in South Orange County and what it means to, “Surf Life.”
Lucy’s El Patio Café
Jack Saunderson, remembers his mother, Lucy, and her love of surfing.