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Surfing::The Natural History of an Urban Scene

Journal of Contemporary Ethnography , Volume 2 (2): 131 – Jul 1, 1973


Sage Publications
Copyright © 1973 by SAGE Publications
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Surfing::The Natural History of an Urban Scene


Surfing:The Natural History of an Urban Scene SAGE Publications, Inc.1973DOI: 10.1177/089124167300200201 John Irwin JOHN IRWIN is presently an Associate Professor of Sociology at the California State University, San Francisco. His publications include The Felon and The Struggle for Justice, the latter co-authored with other members of an American Friends Service Committee Working Party. IN 1907 AN HAWAIIAN SWIMMER and surfer travelled to the coast of Southern California to introduce surfing-the traditional and royal sport of his ancestors-to the United States. Slowly the sport caught on. At the beginning of World War II, there were about 500 regular surfers, most belonging to seven surfing clubs in Southern California. Then the war intervened and the majority of these surfers were pulled away from their favorite leisure time activity. During and after the war, a new phenomenon started to grow. Surfing changed from the leisure time activity of athletic, beach oriented Southern California young men into a total, unconventional left style which eventually involved thousands of youths. AUTHOR'S NOTE: The present report draws upon my M.A. study of surfing, Surfers: A Study of the Growth of a Deviant Subculture, University of California, Berkeley, 1962. See also, the materials scheduled for publication
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