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LEGENDARY SURFERS Volume 1 First Surfers Traditional Hawaiian Surf Culture Ancient Hawaiian Surfboards Duke Kahanamoku 1910's 1920's TARZAN Hotcurls Malibu Board Tommy Zahn cover Miki Dora


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    From Wood to Foam

    Beginning with the innovation of using fiberglass and foam to craft surfboards by Bob Simmons in the late 1940's, this chapter (written in the late 1990's) details how the polyurthane foam board was developed and how it caused a radical change for surfers from using fiberglassed wooden surfboards to fiberglassed foam boards.

    This chapter has been reformatted for easier on-line reading and hardcopy printing.

    From Wood to Foam

    Late 1950's image of Hobie Alter, Hoppy Swarts and Whitey Harrision courtesy of Gary Lynch and the Tom Blake Collection.

    - Posted: 15 April 2006  

    Great Women Surfers of The Wooden Era

    During the Twentieth Century, males came to dominate the world of surfing almost to the exclusion of women.  Toward the century’s end, this situation changed.  Even so, few of us realize that surfing’s roots lay in an egalitarian surfing lifestyle.  Although there were hierarchies in old time Polynesia and Hawai‘i, surfing was a common pursuit by not only males and females, but children as well.

    When one looks at the entire history of surfing during its approximate 5,000 year history, most of that time was spent with, yes, an admittedly male dominant role, but certainly not without the ever presence of kids and women.  In that sense, the increasing modern day influence by female surfers can be seen more as a return to past balance, rather than just a new development.

    Great Women Surfers of The Wooden Era

    Cover of Kaua'i Magazine, 1994.

    - Posted: 30 March 2006  


    In surfing, the year 1957 is notable for the continued opening of the North Shore of O`ahu by mostly Coast Haoles. It's also the year when major experimentations in polyurethane foam surfboard manufacture took place on the U. S. Mainland. To read more about the development of polyurethane foam, please read "Wood To Foam". Meanwhile, journey with me back to 1957...


    Fred Van Dyke surfing Waimea. Image courtesy of John Severson.

    - Posted: 6 March 2006  

    Bud "Barracuda" Browne

    A lifeguard/surfer beginning in the late 1930s, Bud "Barracuda" Browne went on to become surfing's first commercial surf film maker. Throughout the 1950's, it was Bud's surf movies that provided the stoke and defined the genre. While other notable surf film makers certainly followed, Bud continued to practice his craft, resulting in his surfing cinematic influence continuing to present day. The LEGENDARY SURFERS chapter has been updated for easier reading and printing:

    Bud "Barracuda" Browne

    "Gun Ho!" movie poster courtesy of Bud Browne.

    - Posted: 17 February 2006  

    The 1920's

    During the period 1920-1929, the popularity of surfing continued to grow amongst the determined and dedicated. Surfing's revival during the previous two decades had gone by relatively unnoticed by the rest of the world, with the exception of Australia, New Zealand and the United States. With the death of George Freeth in 1919, surfing's spread was left to Duke Kahanamoku almost single handedly. From a surfing perspective, the 1920's was largely Duke's era and he dominated all news about the sport during that time. However, Duke was not alone. There were growing numbers of surfers at Waikiki, in Australia and California. Significantly, a champion swimmer named Tom Blake got interested in surfing and would become - second only to Duke - the most influential surfer of the next two decades. This chapter covers the events and the surfers of the 1920's in the kind of depth that cannot be found anywhere else other than through the LEGENDARY SURFERS collection.

    This chapter has been completely rewritten and updated and totals approximately 17,287 words, comprising 46 pages, including footnotes and historically important images. To find out more about this chapter and order the ebooklet for just $4.95, deliverable to your PC within 24-hours of ordering, please go to:

    - Posted: 8 January 2006   New!


    LEGENDARY SURFERS Volume 1 covers the very beginning of surfing history, 2500 B.C. to 1910 A.D., through the life of Duke Kahanamoku. This premier LEGENDARY SURFERS publication incorporates not only all the material available on the LEGENDARY SURFERS website for that period, but greatly expands on all subjects as well as offers totally new material. The colored cover paperback dimensions are: 7.5 inches X 9.25 inches. Total pages: 358. Total wordage: 145,950. Black and white historical images: over 50.

    In-Depth, Detailed Surfing History

    If you are a serious reader of surfing history, this book was made for you. If you or your loved one(s) just want to know how surfing began and progressed on into the time of "The Father of Modern Surfing" Duke Kahanamoku, then the book also makes a great gift to give at $29.95 plus shipping and handling.

    Several Books In One

    Volume 1 goes into the realm of the beginning and early days of surfing in an exhaustive and detailed manner. Nowhere else can you read about the pre-modern days of Polynesian and Hawaiian surfing in such detail, extensively footnoted, and all in one volume. You would have to buy half a dozen books on history and surfing just to get a portion of what is contained in LEGENDARY SURFERS Volume 1 !!!

    Chapters include:

  • The First Surfers
  • Traditional Hawaiian Surf Culture
  • Ancient Hawaiian Surfboards
  • Legendary Polynesian Surfers
  • Mo'ikeha and Sons
  • The 1800's: Surfing's Darkest Days
  • The Ka'iulani Board
  • Surfing's Revival
  • Bronzed Mercury: George Freeth
  • Duke Paoa Kahanamoku

  • Depth of Coverage

    As I've been writing, my emphasis has been on depth of coverage on all aspects related to surfing's history, culture and heroes. Most of you know that I have been writing about surfing's history for more than a decade and have one of the oldest surfing websites on the Internet. My work has appeared in such important surfing resources as The Surfer's Journal and Longboard Magazine and, along with Tom Blake's good friend Gary Lynch, I wrote the definitive Tom Blake biography, TOM BLAKE: The Journey of a Pioneer Waterman, published in 2001.


    LEGENDARY SURFERS Volume 1 is available by order on the Internet, through print-on-demand publisher CafePress. Why can't you just pick it up at Amazon.com or your local bookstore? Because I make most all my own material. That is: I write it, lay it out, market it and send out to a print-on-demand (POD) publisher (in most cases, CafePress) that not only prints the material, but also handles credit card payments and order fulfillment. Once I'm done writing and creating the finished product, I let them handle the rest.


    Despite my homespun approach to publishing in the digital age, the website that houses most of my surf writings -- LegendarySurfers.com -- has been used by surf veterans, gremmies and millions of surfers and non-surfers over the past decade. Currently, the site averages 9,486 user sessions a week. That's an average of 1,355 user sessions a day. Not bad! It's nowhere near the kind of volume that, say, Surfer Magazine gets at their website, but, hey, I'm just a simple caveman!

    By the way, LegendarySurfers.com continues to offer the vast amount of my material for free, with less than a dozen chapters requiring payment in order to read. Material is continually updated and new chapters added throughout the year. As far as Volume 1 is concerned, this is the first time I have a surf history book for sale.


    It's been my honor to advance my writing in plain view of you all (via the Internet) and, sometimes, receive appreciations and criticisms personally from many of you. Some of the nicer things that have been said over the years (that I've saved), include:

  • "Hey, Malcolm: You are the keeper of the flame, every time I get you newsletter I learn something... Email me when your ready to let the rubber meet the road. Anyways, there's nobody doing what you are. Keep up the great work. 'AS ALWAYS,'"
    -- TUBESTEAK/MALIBU (January 2005)

  • "Malcolm, I just wanted to tell you that Legendary Surfers is getting better and better all the time. Keep it coming. I am enjoying every news letter better than the last. Thanks,"
    -- Gary Howe (December 2004)

  • "My old pal, Chuck Shipman, lives across the street from Sunset, hosted Mal Piau (sp) the navigator from Yap island. He has retold me many storries about the birth of the Hokule'ia and how it was destined for trouble... History cannot be lost to time, it is too valuable an asset. This is evident by your extensive research, Malcolm. Mahalo and aloha"
    -- Jim The Genius (November 2004)

  • "At 45 & surfing most of my life , it wasn't till I went through you're volumes, did I realize just how heavy the surfing STOKE really is and always has been. I'm especialy moved by the old Hawaiian stories, and of course, the fact that woman were so much a big part of that history. I've been to Hawaii twice and somehow this info never passed through this thick skull! Long story short, I really think these volumes should be mandatory for all people, young and old who have an interest in the sport. It would undoubtedly alter many attitudes out in some of the more pleasant line-ups we have today... sincerely and kudos to yah,"
    -- Al Allison (January 2004)

  • "Hi Malcolm: thanks for putting me on your list. I continue to be amazed at your prolific output and dedication. Keep up the great work -- a valuable and lasting contribution to surf culture and history. Best regards,"
    -- Paul Holmes (November 2003)

  • "I really think you have been doing an incredible service to the surfing community. I have been fascinated by all the info... Mahalo and all the best!"
    -- Randy Rarick, North Shore, O`ahu, Hawai`i (May 2003)

  • "Always find something interesting in your newsletter. Aloha Always, Jack"
    -- Jack McCoy (August 2003)

  • "Aloha from Kona .... I'm really enjoying reading all these biographies. I've read a few books on Hawaiian surfing and Tom Blake's book. Your stories seem to go more in depth which I really like."
    -- J.D. (August 2002)

  • "Thank you for all your great work. I've really enjoyed reading all the things you've written! Especially all the stuff about the old time classic surfers -- some of whom I know."
    -- M.B. (November 2001)

  • "You have it all. There's nothing better around; you did a lot of homework. It's great stuff; makes it seem like it was yesterday and not 43 years ago."
    -- Tubesteak (April 1999)

  • "Kudos and accolades." -- E.J. Oshier (1998)

  • "Your [writings web] page is a very big asset to preserving and celebrating the historic figures of Surfing. Terrific..."
    -- Fred Hemmings (April 1997)

  • "I think you've got it like I said it, even with the local talk we use when we're among friends. Thanks for taking the time."
    -- Wally Froiseth (May 1996)

  • "Malcolm Gault-Williams is on a mission to record oral histories as told to him by as many of our great surf elders as possible, in scholarly fashion, before they are lost forever. He submits his manuscripts painstakingly footnoted. He transcribes and presents the interviews verbatim, the way they were spoken, false starts, verbal stumbles and all. This allows a fuller sense of the personality and nature of the speaker than the condensed, sanitized versions normally published."
    -- Steve Pezman (Fall 1996)

  • WOW! - With guys like these saying nice things about my writing, I feel confident you will be stoked by all that is in LEGENDARY SURFERS Volume 1... But, if for any reason you are not...


    The book -- as with all stuff I sell -- is 100% guaranteed. If, for whatever reason, you decide you do not want Volume 1, simply return the book to CafePress within 30 days of purchase and you'll be refunded the full purchase price. No questions asked.


    To purchase your book, just click on the book icon. If the links do not work in your web browser or you do not see the book image, you can order Volume 1 by going to:


    LEGENDARY SURFERS Volume 1 sells for $29.95, plus shipping and handling, and ships within 2 business days.

    Always click on the LEGENDARY SURFERS icon to return to this homepage.

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