In 1960 John Severson published the first issue of “The Surfer.” Its 36 pages were a compilation of photos he took while filming “Surf Fever,” his own illustrations, some editorial, and a few ads. Flyers announcing “The Surfer is coming!” were pasted the windows of surf shops. Former Surfer Magazine Publisher Steve Pezman told the Los Angeles Times “I promptly stole the flyer off the wall of the surf shop, which was how hungry we[surfers] were for printed validation.” Surfers lined up to buy copies.
Many surfers’ earliest memories of Surfer is being a grom and thumbing through it with friends. Somebody would bring the latest issue to school, and try to pull it out of their backpack without it getting ripped to shreds by a pack of fellow frothers. Huddled around the mag, pages would turn, guesses of where the spots in the photos were shouted out, cases pleaded as to why they were right or wrong. Analyzing, absorbing and critiquing every aspect of the magazine before cutting out prime stoke-inducing photos to be scotch-taped to a bedroom wall surf collage–a Surfer Magazine reader tradition that seems to transcend the decades.
As we grew older, we’d thumb through a mag looking for our favorite writers, storytellers, and photographers. We searched for photos and tales of exotic waves to spark our own travel missions. We hunted for shots of our most cherished surfers. We sought connection in the words of thoughtful essayists. It’s hard to remember now in our digital age, but we even flipped through the pages looking for cutting-edge surf news.
Over the years, the stories, photos, art direction and the ads in Surfer became little time capsules for our surfing lives. To celebrate those moments, to capture a bit of nostalgia, we’re announcing a new video series called “The Surfer Archives.” Each week we’ll be pulling an issue from the canon that is Surfer’s archive and dropping a video of it getting the ole’ thumb through. Take a stroll down nostalgia lane and enjoy. If there’s a specific issue you’d like to see, feel free to let us know.