"John Severson's Surf" reveals the original surf artist

September 18, 2014 | Surfing
John Severson: smile, you're founding surf culture

"John Severson's Surf" is a must-have surf book. The man who founded Surfer Magazine in 1960 has released an impressive curated collection of photos, cartoon sketches and short articles that reveal the birth of the surfing culture.

Waves and stunts are not enough to describe the history of surfing. John Severson was born in Los Angeles, back in 1933. In the first two decades of his life, painting and drawing played a significant role in his daily routine.

In 1958, while in the Army, he started surfing big waves and entered the surf film business with "Surf," "Surf Safari," "Surf Fever," "Big Wednesday" and "Pacific Vibrations."

"I was a surfer from the late 1940s, and photography was a hobby. I had a 16mm camera that I used mainly for surf. In Hawaii I was exposed to bigger and better surf, and shot when I could afford a roll," Severson once told the Library of congress.

"I surfed big waves and was on the US Army Surf Team. There were a couple of guys showing films at the times, but they had little sense of drama or production. I ushered at the San Clemente Theater for several years and was a film nut. I learned a lot about filmmaking by watching."

Severson had always been a restless mind, so he couldn't stop from creating. He designed posters and dove into photography. After setting up Surfer Magazine, he never lost his artistic drive and kept developing his innovative graphic skills.

"John Severson's Surf" features over 300 illustrations in 212 pages. Discover the story behind the original surf artist, who entered the Surfing Hall of Fame in 1991.

SurferToday uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. More info: