Pacific Vibrations Part-4

Bill Hamilton and Jock Sutherland reap the benefits of shorter boards

In the fourth section of John Severson’s 1970 film “Pacific Vibrations,” Bill Hamilton and Jock Sutherland island hop to Maui where the pair’s iconic surfing styles seem to have benefitted greatly from the shortening of surfboards in the late 60’s.

Hamilton’s divinely inspired hand positioning (which, according to Matt Warshaw’s Encyclopedia of Surfing, was appropriated from an illustration of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount), combined with his bull fighter’s composure through his fluidly linked turns, represent a dichotomous approach to surfing that the shortboard revolution of the time somehow allowed to work.

Also greatly benefiting from the shrinking of board length was Sutherland’s barrel-riding skills. The ability to easily bleed speed and accelerate a seven-foot board suited the occasionally switch-stanced tube-hound’s creative style.

For more from The Severson Files, click here.

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