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1960's Southern California Surf Culture.

Updated on August 3, 2011
Oh Yeah!
Oh Yeah!

Growing up during the 60"s In Southern California was all about surfing.

It was 1961.The beaches up and down the coast were full of kids and their surfboards. Riding the waves was more then a sport it was a cultural obsession. The Ocean Pacific clothing line was geared toward the surfers and the biggest part of the surf culture was the music. The surf sound originated when Dale of the Del-tones and Leo Fender, creator of Fender guitars, teamed up to develop an amplifier that would give the new reverberation sound that was to become identified with surf music. In 1961 "Let's Go Trippin'" was released by Dick dale and the Del-Tones.

There were two different types of surf music. There were songs with vocals and then there were instrumentals. The instrumentals usually had extended electric guitar solos. "Pipeline" by Dick Dale and the Del-Tones, and "Walk Don't Run" by the Ventures along with "Wipeout by the Surfaries are the best known instrumentals. "Wipeout" became the the surf anthem.

Jan and dean broke out with "Surf City" which had lyrics that fit the culture and guitar stylings similar to those of the incomparable Chuck Berry.

The Beach Boy's were a phenominal success with "Surfing USA" and The Balled heard on every little surfer girls record player. "Surfer Girl".


For the locals,the vehicle of choice was called a " woody". This automobile was a cross between a sedan and a panel truck, You could fit all your friends and several surfboards in your "Woody" and head up and down the coast to find the best waves to ride.

Today, the woody is a classic and worth much more than they originally sold for.

There were plenty of low budget movies that were part of the surf culture. Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon were the Disney stars of a host of beach movies with Frankie as a local surfer and Annette as his on again off again girlfriend. There was "Beach Party", Beach Blanket Bingo", and 3 others in the series. In 1959 Sandra Dee played the lead in "Gidget" A surfer girl who is in love with a local surfer called "Moondoggie", Played by James Darren. These movies were hits at all the local drive-ins and did a lot to promote the surf culture in Southern California.


Surfers developed the Skateboard to be able to "surf" on land. Skateboarding has become a sport and culture of it's own since the 1960s.The first skateboard competition was held in Hermosa Beach Ca. in 1963. After a group of citizens tried to ban the activity as an unsafe sport, the popularity waned for a few years and then took off again in the early 70' we are all pretty much familiar with Tony Hawke who has really brought Skaeboarding into the limelight as a legitimate sport.

Land Surfing
Land Surfing

 Though Skateboarding is great for those who live inland, There is nothing like shooting the curl on a warm sunny California morning. There is something amazing about riding a wave that you can never experience without actually doing it.

Surfs Up, So Hang Loose.


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Your article about surfing in the 60's is great. It is interesting to learn about singers Jan & Dean....I like their song on the video. My brother and I used to go to the beach almost every day in the summer.....but we never saw the kind of cars you mentioned....probably because we were just old enough to go on our own to the beach when it was the late 60's. I appreciate and enjoyed your article very much.....thanks so much.

      I too, had fun writing about surfing, especially when I found the Beach Boys video. ........ Take care, Helen

    • jjmyles profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Me too Pamela. I was seeped in nostalgia when I was writing this one.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      9 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Great hub remind me of memorable times.


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