Surfing in the Sixties
The culture, the music and the fashions
|Barrie Sutherland, Mal Sutherland, Bob Weeks and John Pennings
|215 x 154 x 32 mm (H x W x D)
|New Holland Publishers
|17 Aug 2023
|Sports & outdoor recreation / Water sports & recreations / Surfing, windsurfing, water skiing
The 1960s was a decade like no other ... the culture, the music and the fashions. It also saw a surfing boom that bred innovation in surfboard design, changes in lifestyle, and most importantly, the development of ‘surf ’ photography. Mal Sutherland, John Pennings, Barrie Sutherland and Bob Weeks were pioneers of the genre – four young guys who blended their love of the beach with a passion for photography.
Contrasted with this era when the whole planet goes surfing, in Australia in the sixties, riding a surfboard was the exclusive domain of either the very poor, or the wealthy. Consequently, many of us chose the poverty path, throwing our fate to the winds, rejecting the post-war consumerism and the suburban, Saturday Evening Post dream. We just went surfing, with no thought to tomorrow.
Consequently, our cars were old jalopies crammed with bodies and boards, to share the petrol pennies around. Our wardrobe was goodwill – and sparse.
Our dreams were of next day’s surf, which meant five or six hours of paddling, take-offs, speed trim thrills, and attempting new manoeuvres as they were developed. We made better and better boards as our skill level quickly increased. Hunting for new surf spots was a major part of our culture along Australia’s massive coast.
This book represents a snapshot into the imagery of the time, a time now known as ‘the golden era of surfing’.
There were perhaps a dozen committed surfing photographers (total) in the 1960s, so this book represents a significant portion of the 35mm film shot in Australia through this decade, making ‘Surfing in the Sixties’ an even more valuable record.
Surfing in the 1960s was a counterculture all to itself, attracting some flamboyantly colourful characters who collectively, yet unconsciously, changed the face of modern surfing with their far out surfing style and surfboard innovations. Surfing and surfers were very much on the fringe of society, not interested in a conventional job and the mainstream way of life. The 1960s are often glorified and romanticised, yet, without being sentimental, surfing is part of the folklore. Surfers were a personification of everything that the counterculture was pursuing – freedom, exploration, innovation, change and discovery – all in bare feet and boardshorts!
With a foreword by surfing legend Bob McTavish, ‘Surfing in the Sixties’ showcases more than 300 iconic images for a new generation, and for those of us who remember a simpler time on the beach