Hey All,

“At Play in the Fields of Allah” is the latest History of Surfing chapter, and takes us into the shadowy half-crazed early years at Grajagan. There’s so much more to this tale than what I’ve posted. In fact, Jack McCoy earlier this week told me that the G-land origin story handed down over the years, involving the Boyum brothers and Mike Laverty, may not in fact be entirely bullshit-free, so I’ll need to dig around and see what comes up there. Although honestly, at this point, 40-something years on, it’d be nigh impossible to pin things down with any degree of certainty. The point being that surf history, like history in general, is always a work in progress.

This week I’ll be veering away from Indonesia, but before we leave I wanted to share this Jim Banks blog post. The text is from 2014, but the video was made last week—another one of those projected three-hour jobs that ended up taking two days. Enjoyable days, mind you. Banks is one of those people who make you feel good about having wasted your life chasing waves.

Encyclopedia of Surfing

The beginnings of pro surfing are up next, and I’ll do my best to dance the subject around so it isn’t a total rehash. Let us start by burying forever the idea that pro surfing began in 1976 with the creation of the world tour. Corky Carroll made 40K as a surfer in 1967, at a time when the average US worker was pulling down just over $7,000. For comparison, here’s a list of pro contest prize money leaders compiled by Fred Hemmings and Randy Rarick at the end of 1975. Some of these guys were earning a bit more from sponsors, but most were not.

1. Shaun Tomson ($10,875)
2. Mark Richards ($7,673)
3. Jeff Hakman ($2,425)
4. Gerry Lopez ($1,850)
5. Mark Warren ($1,750)
6. Terry Fitzgerald ($1,678)
7. Michael Ho ($1,525)
8. Peter Townend ($1,385)
9. Barry Kanaiaupuni ($1,350)
10. Mike Esposito ($1,247)
11. Bruce Raymond ($868)
12. James Jones ($600)
13. Aaron Wright ($175)
14. Clyde Aikau ($100)
15. Eddie Aikau ($25)

That is not a typo. $25 for Eddie. Enough for two cases of Primo and a double-scoop rice plate lunch.

Encyclopedia of Surfing

Thanks everybody, and see you next week!