Surfing Culture

Surfing is often viewed as less of a sports activity, and more of a lifestyle. Popularised in the United States during the 1950s, surf culture found increasing expression with mass-production of surf fashion, music and, later, with the booming surf magazine and movie industries in the 1960s. Bruce Brown's classic movie Endless Summer glorified surfing in a round-the-world search for the perfect wave; The Ventures, The Surfaris ("Wipeout!") and other surf rock bands melded surfing with rock and roll to create surf rock and other surf music. (True surfers don't acknowledge the Beach Boys as surf music—Surfin' USA notwithstanding). Surfing culture can be seen in their slang: hang ten, gremmies, the Big Kahuna, the woody, waxing my stick, the green room, etc, though many of these terms are now archaic. Partially due to the obsessive tendency of its participants, and partly to the predominantly stylised media representation of the sport's participants, surfing became embedded in the popular imagination as synonymous with either a naive, pseudo-spiritual hippie idealism or a drug-addled, lazy, 'beach-bum' apathy. Neither of these is probably accurate. Though today such stereotypes have long since lost whatever relevance they may have had, surfing has still failed to completely divest itself of negative social connotations, despite the best attempts of various commercial marketing strategies. (Aside: One famous Australian surfer, Nat Young, once tried to register the sport as a religion, but to no avail.)

If there is one fair generalisation concerning the sport, it is the fanatical enthusiasm of its devotees. Surfing Magazine, founded in the 1960s when surfing had gained popularity with teenagers, used to say that if they were hard at work and someone yelled "Surf's up!" the office would suddenly be empty.
Surfers developed the skateboard to be able to "surf" on land; the number of boardsports has since grown.