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Travel Back to a Colorized ’60s

TIME takes you by the hand and shows you a golden surf era, awash in color

Feels like we’ve pretty much strip-mined the veins of classic surf photo gold from the golden days of the ’60s, but then along comes TIME magazine to splash some color on what was mostly then black and white.

Last week, they ran a story unearthing an archived article from long-gone LIFE magazine from 1963. In it, the magazine tried to explain how surfing large-ish waves worked, using the only terminology they really knew: skiing and boating. Take a look:

“The men who ride the big ones in Hawaii actually ski down the shoulder of a wave away from the curl…They call the first breathtaking schuss ‘taking the drop.’ Their boards accelerate up to 35 mph so rapidly that they kick up waves like speedboats. And a merciless mauling awaits the unfortunate who doesn’t complete his ride. He is driven downward by the appalling maelstrom, tossed around, sucked back down and frequently, after fighting up for a desperate gulp of air, hammered down again by the next wave.”

Ya, that’s actually pretty accurate.

But the cool part is the photos. They’ve got a gallery of a dozen or so shots that I’ve never seen before, and they’re beautiful, even showing — shocking for time, relatively speaking — women surfing. Definitely worth a scroll through after setting your J-Bay Fantasy Lineup.