The Magic Wave

No surf break, then or now, has ever presented itself as well as Malibu. Each wave rolled forth as if it had traveled halfway across the Pacific for the express purpose of gliding into this quarter-mile bit of shoreline.

Why did Southern California give birth to a national surfing craze? One simple, attractive, ahistorical, quasi-magical explanation is that modern surfing conjured itself into existence from the perfect air that hung over the perfect beach next to the perfect waves at Malibu. Surfing actually made Malibu, but never mind. From the late 1940s to the early 1960s, it often seemed to be the other way ar...

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