Books - Legends of surfing

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Who were the 100 most important people in surfing? Legends of Surfing, by Duke Boyd, answers that question once and for all! In his 200-page book (big book, with big photos), he profiles not just the best surfers, but 100 of the greatest surfers, shapers, filmmakers, photographers and surf media pioneers. We've read alot of books about the best surfers, but this is pretty cool because it talks about the early filmmakers and surf magazine owners and their contributions to making surf mainstream, including the influence Hollywood had on the popularity on surfing.

The book is grouped into sections, chronologically:

  • Pioneers of surfing in the early 1900s (Duke Kahanamoku etc).
  • The Golden Age of surfing from the 1950-1970s, with profiles of John Serverson-founder of Surfer magazine, Midget-the patriarch of Oz surfing, kneeboarder George Greenough, noserider David Nuuhiwa, Christian Fletcher and others.
  • Progressive Surfers in the 1970s+, including Buttons Kaluhiokalmi, The “Raging Bull” Mark Occhilupo. Rob Machado, the Irons Brothers, and Kelly Slater, of course.The Women's section profiles everyone from Gidget to Lisa Andersen to Rochelle Ballard to Layne Beachley.
  • Then you have a builders/shapers section with nice profiles of Tom Blake, John Kelly-who invented the hot curl board in 1937, Hobie Alter-master builder in the 1950s and founder of Hobie Surfboards, master shaper and Surfing Hall of Famer Mike Diffenderfer, and Reno Abellira one of the leaders of the shortboard revolution, who also helped develop fish boards.


The filmmaker section is also cool and profiles everyone from the godfather of surf filmmaking Bud Browne to Bruce Brown, who made the The Endless Summer.

There is some seriously good photography in this book, and in each profile there is a not-too-long commentary discussing each person's contributions to surfing. If you are looking for one good history book that profiles the major people of surfing (and not just the surfers themselves), this is a good call.