Leroy Grannis: Surf Photography

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Leroy Grannis: Surf Photography of the 1960s and 1970s

At a time when surfing is more popular than ever, it’s fitting to look back at the years that brought the sport into the mainstream. Developed by Hawaiian Islanders over five centuries ago, surfing began to peak on the mainland in the 1950s—becoming not just a sport, but a way of life, admired and exported across the globe. One of the key image-makers from that period is LeRoy Grannis, a surfer since 1931, who began photographing the longboard era of the early 1960s in both California and Hawaii.

An innovator in the field, Grannis suction-cupped a waterproof box to his board, enabling him to change film in the water and stay close to the action than any other photographer of the time. He also covered the emerging surf lifestyle, from “surfer stomps” and hordes of fans at surf contests to board-laden woody station wagons along the Pacific Coast Highway. It is in these iconic images that a sport still in its adolescence embodied the free-spirited nature of an era—a time before shortboards and celebrity endorsements when surfing was at its bronzed best.

Size: 18cm x 25cm / Hardcover / 340 pages / Taschen