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Surf Cover

John Severson’s SURF


An odyssey through
painting, photography, film
and publishing

Foreword by Gerry Lopez.
Afterword by Drew Kampion.

John Typing
John Severson (born 1933) revolutionized pop culture’s vision of surfing and surf culture through his innovative performance in big surf and his prolific artistic output that transverses decades and disciplines. He began his career as a painter, studying and painting at Long Beach State College; his first works consisting of oil paintings relating to Hawaiian and Californian surf culture. In 1958, while in the Army and stationed on Oahu, Severson surfed big waves and expanded his John Severson Surfer Artrepertoire, creating a series of popular surf movies including Surf, Surf Safari, Surf Fever, Big Wednesday and Pacific Vibrations. While his were among the first surf movies, it was the posters associated with them, hugely popular when issued in the 1950s and 1960s, that remain collector favorites today. Showcased in these early posters,his graphic skills translated easily to Surfer magazine which he founded in 1960. The magazine was the first to celebrate and revolutionize the art and sport of surfing, establishing it as a powerful pop culture phenomenon. Severson expanded his career to include photography, with photographs appearing in Life, Sports Illustrated, Paris Match and other print venues. The first issue was a 36-page collection of black-and-white photos, cartoon sketches and short articles—almost every aspect of which was created by Severson himself. As the magazine grew in popularity, so did his graphic work and paintings.

Da Bull PipelineJohn Severson’s SURF explores Severson’s lengthy surf odyssey through painting, photography, film and publishing. The forward is by Gerry Lopez, co-founder of Lightning Bolt surfboards and the afterword by Drew Kampion, author and former editor of Surfer. Surf recalls the birth of surf culture and serves as a testament to our ocean.

Puka Puka Co-publisher.

Flexi, 9.5 x 12.25 in. / 212 pgs / Over 300 illustrations.
August / Art/Popular Culture/Sports & Recreation

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Special Package:

SurferSurf Art

Surf book paired with Drop Knee block print