The cover shot. In the surf mag world, it’s the holiest of holies. Sponsors top-dollar {{{incentives}}}. Surfers claim kingpin status among their peers. Photographers make rent. Publishers and editors grapple over what will sell and what will smell. And you, dear reader, decide whether to pick us up or pass us by. The cover is the face of the magazine: the look in the eye and the firm grip. It’s the never-get-a-second-chance-to-make-first-impression; the seamless bro-shake or the awkward, high-five strikeout. A great cover will intrigue grannies in the checkout line; a stale cover will bore surf-deprived groms. So, after 40 years of SURFING magazine, after 381 ”faces” – some great, some neon pink – we’ve taken the opportunity to look back over all that we’ve done; at the who, what and where that have consistently captured our eye and made us what we are.

Dec. ’64: Aussie surfer (Nat Young)
June ’65: Unidentified surfer (still unidentified)
Aug. ’65: Cover typo: ”Durben, South Africa”
Oct. ’65: Empty wave (Waimea shorebreak)
Dec. ’65: Group portrait (Donald Takayama, Harold Ige, Phil Edwards, Mike Doyle, Mike Hynson, Bing Copeland, Dewey Weber, Hobie Altar, Don Hansen, Larry Gordon – all wearing coats and ties).
July ’67: Barrel and off-the-lip (Jeff Hakman and Scott Haley split cover)
Jan. ’69: Shortboard (Jeff Hakman)
July ’70: Pipeline
June/July ’72: Wipeout (unknown surfer at Pipeline)
Annual ’74: Surfing monkey
Dec./Jan. ’75/’76: Aerial (Kevin Reed; first completed air: July ’84, Martin Potter)
Dec./Jan. ’76/’77: Flame cover ({{{Jimmy}}} Springs, Salt Creek)
Xx,’77: In-the-tube-with-rider shot (Shaun Tomson, Backdoor)
Aug. ’81: Female (Bikini shot of Kym Herrin)
Sept. ’81: Thruster (Simon Anderson, Narrabeen)
Aug. ’88: Slater (also first wave pool)
Oct. ’89: APE gloves (Richie Collins)
July ’94: Teahupo’o (Eric Barton)
April ’96: Tow-in (Darrick Doerner, Outer Reef)

* #20 First Peace Sign in the barrel: ”Your Name Here”