On a recent visit to the Arcana bookstore in Culver City, in Los Angeles, we checked out some beautiful coffee-table books on surfing and surf photography. Among these was a book titled “Surfing San Onofre to Point Dume: 1936-1942.” It’s a collection of sepia-toned photos by Don James documenting his surfing experience and his surfer friends and their lifestyle in Southern California during the pre-World War II era and early war years. The photos reveal what the surfing life was like in its first idyllic golden age when the Hawaiian “sport of kings” was still novel and taking root in California.
Last weekend we went to Mercado Sagrado, a two-day festival-like event showcasing music, fashion, food, art and surf films held amid the small Old West movie-set town at Paramount Ranch near Malibu, California. There we stumbled upon some beautiful surfboards shaped and designed by Australian label Dead Kooks. The boards were laid out on display at the vendor tent of super awesome surf brand Kassia, one of dozens upon dozens of mostly clothing, home and lifestyle goods makers set up on the sprawling ranch property. The longboard pictured here looks like one Dead Kooks “Nausea” single-fin logs, a fitting board for Malibu. As surfers, we’re kind of in love with Dead Kooks’ aesthetic, though we have yet to buy one of their boards. Eventually, when we’ve put aside enough scrilla to cover the costs and shipping fees from Down Under, we’ll order a board.
We stumbled upon this this first-edition copy of the long and precisely titled “Surf Photographs from the Eighties Taken by Jeff Divine.” Published in 2011, this art-coffee-table book presents hundreds of images by prolific and influential surf photographer Jeff Divine that document surfing in the 1980s, a more visually vibrant and colorful decade in surfing history in terms of style, design, fashion and surf culture. The edition pictured here is the house copy at Sandbox Coffee, a cafe popular with surfers in Ventura, California. The book is so well worn that its binding is held together by duct tape.
We spotted these espadrilles with embroidered images of surfers in the display window at Cote A Coast, a small clothing shop on Mulberry Street in Nolita, in downtown New York City. The linen footwear is by Denim Sky.
Surfer magazine has boldly introduced its new, artsier design and wider format with this stark black-and-white cover illustration in a style reminiscent of late children’s book creator Maurice Sendak. The illustration is inspired by the theme of this month’s issue, “addiction” (as in, “addicted to surfing”).
We love this … The Lone Wolfs (sic) surf shop on Lincoln Boulevard in Venice, in Los Angeles, was recently robbed. The perpetrators smashed one of the shop’s glass doors. The Lone Wolfs responded with this witty, spray-painted message on the plywood they put up to cover the broken door: “Can’t steal our vibe.”
“Expencive Porno Movie” (sic) is not your ordinary surf film. Directed by Argentine surfer and filmmaker Tin Ojeda and released in 2014, the movie features the to-be-expected great surf sequences by great surfers (the very talented Alex Knost making a couple of lengthy appearances in the flick) and highly original, arty interludes.
But what is so special about this surf film is that it was all shot on actual 16mm film in an experimental retro-style that celebrates — almost to the point of fetish — the low-fi, rough-hewn early 1970’s-era filmmaking techniques common to independent American Blaxploitation and sexploitation films of the period. All sorts of happy accidents that come with using celluloid — light leaks, dust, scratches and other flaws — can be seen in the footage. And the soundtrack is a beautifully curated set of organ-laden R&B, Afro-pop, funk, and jazz from the era that perfectly matches the film’s aesthetic.
Surfing aside, the movie is a beauty and true original that has raised the aesthetic bar for the genre. Check out the trailer below and this Wax magazine interview with Ojeda.
A sweet mural by St. John with support and in collaboration with Vans and Pilgrim at Pilgrim Surf Supply in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We thought this was an image of a whale smoking a cigarette, but actually maybe it’s just a very large fish … smoking a cigarette. In any case, it’s a beautiful piece of commissioned artwork. We really like the aesthetic and color palette. It’s a nice, warm spot of brightness on yet another dreary, frigid winter afternoon in New York.
We’re fans of Saturdays, the cafe-surf shop and clothing brand inspired by the surfing lifestyle. Its original flagship store is on Crosby Street in SoHo, where we recently paid a visit to pick up a gift during the recent holidays. We found some awesome new hoodie and hat designs (pictured below) and scooped up a floral-print flat cap and “Ditch Plains” hoodie with “SATURDAYS” serif-font logotype design.
We’re loving Acid, a fresh and artsy surf magazine based in Europe. In issue Number 2, pictured here, there’s beautiful photography and photo essays and fascinating personal essays about surf adventures in unlikely places like the southeast of England where waves are extremely rare and the Eisbach River in Munich, Germany, hundreds of miles from the sea and many more from an oceanic surf break.