Guide to the Surfing Collection

© Copyright 2011 Special Collections & University Archives. All rights reserved.
5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego, CA, 92182-8050
Phone: 619-594-6791

Guide to the Surfing Collection 1963/2011

Special Collections & University Archives

Overview of the Collection

Collection Title: Surfing Collection
Dates: 1963-2011
Identification: MS-0246
Creator: Surfing
Physical Description: 21.16 linear ft
Repository: Special Collections & University Archives
5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego, CA, 92182-8050
Phone: 619-594-6791

Biographical Information:

Although surfing existed for hundreds of years before it was embraced by American culture, the sport did not receive national recognition until the mid-Twentieth Century. The "royal sport for the natural kings" as Jack London called it in 1907, was quickly popularized by the onset on American film, music, and the dedication of professional surfers. Beach themed movies like Gidget (1959) and surf music from the Beach Boys and Dick Dale contributed to the Californian allure, and San Diego saw a major increase of surfers out in the water.
Though much of San Diego's early surf history has gone undocumented, most historians agree that the modern age of surfing began in California with the arrival of George Freeth in 1907 and Duke Kahanamoku in 1912. The end of the Second World War saw a marked change in the jovial, communal environment that surfers once embraced. During the war, the military procured major stretches of beach for training grounds, closing many of the best breaks in the process. Technological advancements like foam boards and wetsuits aided the accessibility of the sport, and more and more people were able to get out into the water without discomfort.
In the late 1950's, Southern California saw an explosion in the surf scene, causing more experienced, older surfers to seek out unfound breaks along the coast and into Mexico. The Gidget phenomenon drew people from the mainland toward the coast to pursue unrealistic expectations about surf culture. By the 1960's surfing had become part of the American identity.The sport was embraced by the masses on a grand scale.
Whereas surfing was once influenced by the relaxed Hawaiian cultural practices of hula, the ukulele, and the "aloha" spirit, the younger generation of surfers became more interested in slashing and destroying waves, shorter foam boards, and establishing surfing as a youthful counterculture. Cultural transitions during the 1960's also added to the appeal of California beaches, as surfers were seen as individualistic athletes uninterested in corporate city life. The prominence of the short board, coupled with a global interest in competitive surfing marked the departure from the "golden years" of Freeth and the famous Duke Kahanamoku.
San Diego arguably has some of the most consistent surf in the continental US, and several spots are sought out by prominent professional surfers. In 2001, Cortez Bank was discovered one hundred miles west of San Diego, yielding some of the largest waves ever ridden. The discovery of the spot has firmly planted San Diego in the world of big wave surfing, and the county is still a vibrant center for surf culture and art.

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Use:

The copyright interests in these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections is such that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine.  Requests for permission to publish must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish. Materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.

Preferred Citation:

Identification of item, folder title, box number, Surfing Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.

Related Materials:

A significant portion of this collection has been cataloged, and can be accessed via the PAC.
Information about related materials is available at

Scope and Contents

The Surfing Collection documents surfing and surf culture through article clippings and documents, as well as ephemera and media that describe surf culture, surfing's history, and information about surfing. Series I: Documents contain various articles, bibliographies, and syllabi related to surfing. Series II: Media and Ephemera contains ephemera such as toys, stickers, postcards, playing cards, advertisements, menus, fliers, clippings, as well as several pieces of audiovisual material. Series III: Periodicals includes various surfing periodicals from 1963 to the present.  A portion of the Surfing Collection is cataloged, and can be accessed via the library catalog:".




Articles and Bibliographies

Box 1, Folder 1

Ambrose, Greg. "Yo, Dudette, Surfing Life Knows No Gender Boundaries." San Francisco Chronicle 9/1/2000

Box 1, Folder 2

Anderson, Bruce. "Getting Amped on the Coast ." Sports Illustrated, 9/8/1986

Box 1, Folder 3

Coleman, Stuart. "Duke's World." Honolulu Weekly, Nov. 15, 1995

Box 1, Folder 4

Carless, Will. "Legends of Windansea." La Jolla Light vol. 92 issue 30. July 22, 2004

Box 1, Folder 5

Dixon, Chris. "Catching a Cultural Wave." New York Times, July 28, 2002

Box 1, Folder 6

Funnell, Ronald. "Surf Riding on the Atlantic Coast."

Box 1, Folder 7

Gable, Mona. "Same Surf, New Waves." Los Angeles Times Magazine 8/4/2002

Box 1, Folder 8

Gurrey, A.R. Jr. "The Surf Riders of Hawaii" 1915

Box 1, Folder 9

Himmelspach, Darlene. "Seniors of the Surf Relieve Big-Board Days in Oceanside." San Diego Union Tribune 1996

Box 1, Folder 10

Koehler, Steve. "Students Hit Surf on Web."

Box 1, Folder 11

Lewis, Jordana. "New Wave of Surf Girls" from Newsweek. July 19, 2004.

Box 1, Folder 12

Lim, James. "Surfs up on the Web" LLR Bits & Bytes

Box 1, Folder 13

"The Waterman Collecteth" from Swim Magazine; Jan/Feb 2004

Box 1, Folder 14

Letters to the Editor regarding Annual Surf for CF contest, Michelle Poppe

Box 1, Folder 15

Marsh, David. "The Water Log" (an annotated bibliography of surfing)

Box 1, Folder 16

Reno, Jamie. "The Endless Summer, Then and Now" San Diego Magazine. July, 2001

Box 1, Folder 17

Reynolds, Christopher. "Seriously, Dude" Los Angeles Times Calendar, July 28, 2001

Box 1, Folder 18

Reyes, David. "The Thrill of the Film Pulls New Wave of Surfers Into Theatres"

Box 1, Folder 19

Robertson, Jordan. "Chairman of the Boards" San Francisco Chronicle September 1, 2000

Box 1, Folder 20

Rodgers, Terry. "Archivist Hopes Collection Makes Waves." San Diego Union Tribune, Oct. 15, 2002

Box 1, Folder 21

Rodgers, Terry. "Blake, biography-both originals" San Diego Union Tribune. Oct. 2, 2001

Box 1, Folder 22

Rodgers, Terry. "Catching the Wave." San Diego Union. July 15, 1999

Box 1, Folder 23

Rodgers, Terry. "Gidget's Big Wave." San Diego Union. August 20, 2000

Box 1, Folder 24

Rodgers, Terry. "Teen could put OB back on map" San Diego Union, March 5, 2002

Box 1, Folder 25

Rodgers, Terry "Time Warp on the Water" The San Diego union Tribune. February 4, 2003

Box 1, Folder 26

Schinto, Jeanne. "Wave Collector: History of Surfing" San Diego Reader, January 2, 2003

Box 1, Folder 27

Troxler, A.T. "Surfing a Tropical Storm at a Carolina Beach" The Beach Weekly News. September 18, 2002

Box 1, Folder 28

Warshaw, Matt. "A Century of Surf" Hemispheres. November, 2003.

Box 1, Folder 29

Waldner, Erin. "The Big Dreams of Big-Wave Rider." Half Moon Bay Review. February 2, 2000.

Box 1, Folder 30

Willis, Michael and Milton. "Old Surfers Can Always Learn Some New Tricks." La Jolla Light. July 22, 2004.

Box 1, Folder 31

Articles and Ephemera Regarding Duke Kahanamoku Postage Stamp. 2002

Box 1, Folder 32

Paddleboards and Hollowboards

Box 1, Folder 33

"Surf: All About It."

Box 1, Folder 34

Surfing: American Culture or Subculture? Course Syllabus for HNRS211

Box 1, Folder 35

Siren: A Surf Trip- Surfing 1996 Swimsuit Preview

Box 1, Folder 36

Ford Times- August 1968

Box 1, Folder 37

"Dan Reynolds: First Chapter" Quicksilver.

Box 1, Folder 38

South Texas Institute for Art Presents Surfing Art (exhibit brochure) 1999

Box 1, Folder 39

Surfing Heritage Foundation, Preserving Surfing's Roots Brochure


Oral History Transcripts

Box 1, Folder 40

Ron Drummond, July 30, 1988

Box 1, Folder 41

Mary Ann Hawkins- Midkiff, March 15, 1989 (2)

Box 1, Folder 42

Thomas Edward Blake, April 16, 1989

Box 1, Folder 43

Andy Andersen, May 9, 1990

Box 1, Folder 44

Joe Quigg, May 7, 1990

Box 1, Folder 45

Dudley Whitman, May 10, 2000


Media and Ephemera

Box 2, Folder 1

Toys, games, flyers, handbills, postcards ,stickers

Box 3, Folder 1

Toys, games, flyers, handbills, postcards ,stickers

Box 4, Folder 1

Posters, calendars, and oversize materials