Inspiration Library: Golden Age Surfing’s Revolutionary 1960s and 1970s

by Amy Azzarito

Although I grew up in Arkansas, my family spent time nearly every summer back in my birth state of California visiting my mom’s best friend in San Clemente, who lived near Trestles, one of the most famous surf spots in Southern California. As a teenager, I tried my luck at surfing only a handful of times – my idea of fun was taking the inner tubes out past the waves and floating for hours. The town is home to Surfing Magazine, The Surfer’s Journal, and Longboard Magazine, so even if I wasn’t catching a wave, there was plenty of surfing to watch. This book, A Golden Age: Surfing’s Revolutionary 1960s and ’70s,  by Australian photographer John Witzig. The book primarily focuses on surfing culture in Australia in the 1960s and ’70s, but it does branch out to include images from John’s travels in Europe and Hawaii.  The best part of the book aren’t the photos but the captions – where John shares the backstory and his observations about that moment in time. It makes even the most novice surfer an insider.   –Amy

Caption from A Golden Age: Surfing’s Revolutionary 1960s and ’70s: “I figure that this strange outfit that my brother had on is the one that Rommel wore during the tank battles in the deserts of north Africa during WWII. I suppose that it suited the environment. ”


See more surfing photos after the jump!



Caption from A Golden Age: Surfing’s Revolutionary 1960s and ’70s: “The lineup at Margaret River in Western Australia. Someone else wrote of this picture that it has the ideal car-to-wave ratio. Even at dawn, even in 1970, this didn’t happen all that often. It’s hard to get a sense of scale from this picture but there’s quite a drop down to the beach, and those waves are probably 10 feet – and there’s no one out. The myth was that there was only ever you and a few friends.”



Caption from A Golden Age: Surfing’s Revolutionary 1960s and ’70s: “Angourie really can be a beautiful wave. This was shot in 1970, when a good swell had hit the entire east coast.”




Suggested For You


  • Last year, Trestles was demolished and rebuilt. Sadly, it’s done in concrete now to meet safety standards. You were so lucky to spend your summers with the classic bridge still intact!

  • it was a great time to be in California, but an even better time to be in Australia where all these pictures are from!!

  • Amazing photographer! Bought one of his prints online for my partners birthday. Turns out he handles all of the purchases and despatch himself. Was great to email with him directly. He even put in a handwritten birthday card!

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