10 Photographers Who Documented the Emergence of Surf Culture

Some California icons front the list.

To fully immerse oneself in the culture and sport of surf, you need that perfect mix of “hot beaches, hypnotizing athleticism, and the ocean’s unpredictable, all-powerful impulses.” But according to Alexxa Gotthard at Artsy.net, that’s not an easy combination to capture. “But over the last century, a handful of photographers have managed to harness surfing’s most captivating—if fleeting—moments. They’ve documented the first surfers to descend on Southern California, the mad pleasure of riding a barrel all the way to shore, and the serenity of waiting patiently for a wave. They’ve also tracked the evolution of boards from wooden clunkers to silky fiberglass blades, and the sport’s transformation from the pastime of Hawaiian kings to a global phenomenon that’s been the subject of Hollywood blockbusters, like Gidget (1959) and Blue Crush (2002), and Pulitzer-prize winning memoirs, like William Finnegan’s Barbarian Days (2015).”

Here artsy.net shares images from 10 iconic surf photographers, including LeRoy Grannis, Thomas Campbell and Joni Sternbach.