Back When Shit Was Cool


Surfers are perpetually looking for new waves. We find them. We keep them secret. They are found by others. They are kept secret by them. They are found by the magazine. They are made public. Everyone goes and the brave skulk off to find newer still surf spots and the cantankerous become livid. And as the world shrinks under the magical thumb of international jet travel, the Internet, GPS systems and fine four-wheel drives it seems like we will soon run out of new surf spots to find.

But the world is full of surprises. And shockingly, the magazines are too.

Inside this 1979 edition of SURFING Magazine — an issue that features a slashing Mark Richards on the cover, an arching Gerry Lopez across the center spread and a proud Margo Oberg on the masthead as the women's competition editor — we find a secret spot.

Where is it? Nobody knows. A secret in plain sight. It breaks, perfectly, both left and right. The winds tease it from off of the shore. It is perhaps twice the size of a man. And in this single frame eight surfers could comfortably be having the rides of their very lives.

But where? Is it real? Of course it is. This is 1979, remember, before Photoshop or personal computers or digital cameras.

But did the photographer use a mirror? Flip the slide? Is this some sleight of hand? Is it like the work of Georges Méliès? Of course it is.

Is it?

We shall go and find out. You come too. We are a family. We share.— Chas Smith