Surfer Goes Electrical Bananas

John Severson's introduction to pot in 1968 broke his bourgeois fetters at a single blow—or exhale. Before Christmas of that year, he traded his longboard for a new shortboard, grew a luxuriant Sergeant Pepper's moustache, and began remodeling his magazine.

Surfer founder and publisher John Severson didn’t just embrace the counterculture, he turned it into sound business practice. In early 1968, Surfer remained the bulwark of surf media conservatism. The photography was first-rate, the magazine was well-organized and professionally assembled, and circulation was holding steady at a hundred thousand—by these and other measures, no other surf periodica...

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