Karen Toms

Book: Surfing’s Golden Age

This week’s book continues the nautical theme of the past seven days. ‘A Golden Age: Surfing’s Revolutionary 1960s and 70s’ is a fascinating collection of photographs by the Australian photographer John Witzig. He was one of the first photo journalists to document the Australian surf culture. Most of the pictures in the book have lain undisturbed for nearly 40 years but the renewed interest in them is unsurprising.

In the 1960s and 70s, John hung out with a group of Australian surfers who were experimenting with new boards and techniques. This was a key moment in the history of the sport – as boards shifted from being long and unwieldy to short and highly manoueverable and surfing techniques became more gymnastic. John says that he is sure that some of his friends got sick of him sticking a camera in their faces as he was pretty relentless in documenting life around him. That focus is a gift to us and to the sport.

Don’t you think the sheer joy and enthusiasm of the time is clear in these pictures – and testament to the fact that before the big ticket sponsorship, surfing really was the laid back sport it is always hailed to be?

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