The Next Bible of the Sport – John Severson’s New Book on Surf Culture

by Chris Dixon

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The Cover of John Severson’s Surf.

It’s been easy to forget these days — this summer — what it was supposed to be about. How could it not be when we’ve just gotten a glimpse of the world’s first $1.3 million surfboard? Or when the brokerage firm Scottrade runs television ads with a surfer-investor equating stock picks with wave selection? Then there’s this new Brooks Brothers ad that has some stylized Biff in a sweater carrying a board under his woolly arm…

…Praise be Poseidon, one is here in the person of John Severson, 80. Mr. Severson is a founding father of American surf culture, having pioneered the surf art genre; joined the earliest ranks of surf filmmakers; developed the “Surf Fever” writing font now synonymous with surfing; and started the first major magazine dedicated to wave riding, Surfer, a holy book of the sport.

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Severson’s Art On An Iconic 1963 Surfer Cover.

 For the most part, Mr. Severson has been content to let others do the gabbing about surfing’s days of yore and how it all came to be. Not much point in going on about the past when one lives right on Honokeana Cove on the Hawaiian island of Maui, with a gorgeous wave breaking off the back deck and a chassis still seaworthy enough to ride it once in awhile. But after years of cajoling by friends and family, Mr. Severson put together a book about his life that is coming out next month and is simply entitled “John Severson’s Surf.

Read More at The New York Times

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