Before the Surf Was Up

When John Severson moved to San Clemente as a young man, he was only one of three surfers in the whole city. In the following years, he helped popularize and shape America’s surf culture, which exploded around him. He joins us to look back on almost more than 60 years of a cultural phenomenon he helped create.

John Severson at the office, 1959. Photo copyright John Severson via Puka Puka

Greg Noll in Pipeline showdown, 1964. Photo copyright John Severson via Puka Puka

Surfer Magazine Sept. 1967 Vol. 8 No. 4. Ron Stoner surf shot, Severson sunset. Photo copyright GrindMedia, LLC.



  • John Severson - Surfer, artist, and founder of Surf Magazine. His new book is “John Severson’s Surf.”