“Bismarck with a Tan” is the title of last week’s History of Surfing chapter, which is mostly about Nat Young winning the 1966 World Championships. The reference is to Otto von Bismarck—the Iron Chancellor, unifier of Germany, a man of terrifying accomplishment and impeccable full-dress taste. A person to fear and admire. Like Nat Young. An obscure reference for a surf site? Stupidly obscure. Now and again I ask your indulgence.
I also made a new short video of the ’66 titles, which few of you saw, as it was buried at the bottom of a long post. Here it is again and have a look, just for the bit at the end where Nat drives off in his new gold Chevy Camaro. (Nat rolled that sweet big-muscle beauty a day or two later on the way to Las Vegas. Walked away unharmed, and left the car smoldering in the desert—and that, as Nat would say, was that.)
On Wednesday morning I rapid-fire posted “The High Performers,” “We’re Tops Now,” and “The High Performers Answer Australia”—a three-round slap-fight between California (mostly Corky Carroll, David Nuuhiwa, and Mike Hynson) and Australia (John Witzig, fully able to handle things himself), and I think it was too much material, too much bile, for a single day. If you’re just going to read one, go with “Tops,” which is purple and righteous and a hell of a lot of fun.
Tomorrow I’ll get into the origins of the shortboard revolution. I’m baffled as to why Dick Brewer continues to take credit for the opening shot here, which was a Greenough-McTavish deal, clear as day. Brewer deserves his colonnade-encircled place at the top of the surfboard shapers’ Mount Olympus, but he didn’t light the match that started the revolution. Seriously, I’ve got the receipts.
Thanks everybody, and see you next week,
[Nat Young pic by Ron Stoner]