By Matt Warshaw
Warshaw, Matt Diligent and prolific writer, editor, and surf historian; former pro surfer (ranked 43rd in the world in 1982), editor at Surfer magazine in the late 1980s, he moved to Berkeley in 1990, took a degree in history (Phi Beta Kappa), and eventually settled into a San Francisco neighborhood just two blocks from the pounding peaks of Ocean Beach. There Warshaw embarked on his writing career, producing a series of meticulously researched and nicely-illustrated tomes: Surfriders: In Search of the Perfect Wave (1997), Above the Roar: 50 Surfer Interviews (1997), Maverick’s: The Story of Big-Wave Surfi ng (2000), and Zero Break: An Illustrated Collection of Surf Writing, 1777-2004 (2004). His greatest contribution to surf history and culture to date, however, is his sidewalk-cracking compendium, The Encyclopedia of Surfing (2003), to which he and a small staff devoted three hair-raising years of research and writing.
Warshaw’s latest book, comic relief in this man’s oeuvre, is Surf Movie Tonite!: Surf Movie Poster Art, 1957-2004. An exquisitely mounted oversized soft-cover volume, it chronicles surf culture through its films – more precisely through the posters advertising its films – over the past 40 years. The posters range from the earliest Bud Browne movies, through the heydays of the ’60s cinematographers, to the bad and better of Hollywood productions, to the video uprising of the ’80s, to the DVD cult fi lms of today. Throughout, Warshaw’s descriptive captions are diverting and witty, his contemporaneous extracts are to the point, and his introductory essay is both breezy and pithy. See also: Another one for the ages – Drew Kampion