Jack London Loves Purple

The godfather of he-man prose, London really let go in his article, with plenty of flexed-bicep adjectives and metaphors—waves are “bull-mouthed monsters” and the wipeouts deliver “smashing blows.”

Visitors to Hawaii almost all became surfing advocates to one degree or another. “Surf Board Riders,” a two-minute reel produced by the Thomas Edison Company in 1906, showed a group of surfers riding at Waikiki; it played in nickelodeons as far east as New Jersey. One year later, Jack London, living high on royalties from his adventure novels like Call of the Wild and White Fang, and every bit Ted...

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