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A Golden Age: Surfing's Revolutionary 1960s and '70s Hardcover – April 2, 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"John Witzig’s collection of images from the most dramatic transitional era in modern surfing is certainly one of the finest. Grainy, mystical, surf-stoked, attitudinally revealing, delivering a variety of intimate views into all aspects of what was happening then, a movement that freed waveriding to be more sensory than it had been before. Simply stated, well reproduced, with accompanying swatches of relevant text from Drew Kampion, Nick Carroll, and Dave Parmenter, with an intro by Aussie pop culture scribe Mark Cherry. For collectors or historians of surfing, this one is an important addition to your library." ~Surfer's Journal

"If you’re a surf head, this is going to definitely be a book to pick up." ~DoobyBrain.com

“..the book documents a turning point in the history of the sport, both in and out of the water. The photos feel dusty. Lazy. Refreshingly simple. And the more you linger over the images, the more history becomes a feeling –a sea change caught on film.” ~the Wall Street Journal

"Witzig captured the seminal images of a tumultuous era because he knew then that the men and moments that he photographed were the archetypes of a true revolution....a treasure trove of rare and poignant imagery in and around the Surfboard Revolution...figuratively straddling the line between Then and Now. Without Witzig's images, the most important epoch in surfing might well have been lost in whimsical narratives...A Golden Age feels nothing like a coffee table garnish, but instead required reading." ~Surfline.com

“Witzig helped plant the seeds for today’s surf culture. His writing and photography provided firsthand documentation of the single most important development in the history of the sport: a shift from unwieldy long boards to lightweight and highly maneuverable short boards. At times, pro surfing seems to resemble motocross more than anything in Witzig’s book. But A Golden Age is intended as more than another congratulatory trawl through sixties nostalgia.” ~The New Yorker

"Seriously, A Golden Age: Surfing’s Revolutionary 1960s and ’70s is one wonderful collection of photography, by a serious shutterbug who was also one of the alpha-dog surfers back when surfing was a sun-soaked, rag-tag radical counterculture on the cusp of the sport’s commercial revolution, chasing waves on coastlines all around the world." ~American Profile

"Innocence prevails within the imagery, a romantic time in surfing's history where the unknown held so much potential for creative growth and the possibility in discovering what may lie ahead at each bend...Through John's lens we get a candid view of life during the '60s and '70s that only a fellow surfer could've captured." ~Michele Lockwood, CoastalWatch

"With access to the top surfers of that era, Witzig captured some of the most defining and poignant moments of ’60s and ’70s and his photographs document that time when surfing was still counterculture. Witzig was not just photographing the scene, but was part of it, and his images reflect both that access and that intimacy." ~StyleofSport.com

"..It’s the kind of thing you’ll want to keep around a beach house solely for the fact that it looks damn cool. Every image, every essay, all shot and written by surfers who were active in the sport during these formative years." ~UrbanDaddy.com

"During surfing’s rapid evolution in the late 60s & into the 70s, Australian photographer John Witzig was right in there. On the beach and in the water. Documenting the rise of Australia’s first generation of innovative surfers and shapers as well as capturing the culture as it emerged, Witzig’s images are now certified classics. This new book collects hundreds of his best pics from the period." ~Werd.com

About the Author

John Witzig contributed his first article to Surfing World Magazine in 1963. He edited Surf International and in 1970 co-founded Tracks, a journalistic Australian surfing magazine called the "hippest youth culture magazine being published in the world at the time." Mark Cherry (1950–2010) was an Australian writer on surfing and popular culture. Nick Carroll is a surf journalist. Dave Parmenter is a shaper and former professional surfer. Drew Kampion is the author of several books on surfing, including Stoked! A History of Surf Culture. Steve Pezman is the publisher of The Surfer’s Journal.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Rizzoli (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0847838285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0847838288
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 1.2 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #222,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Chronicling one of the most important times of surfing history, Australian photographer and surfer John Witzig faithfully captures with words and pictures the ethos of the Shortboard Revolution. Those were exciting times, a "golden age" as the title of his new book suggests, when surfboards evolved from ten feet to six feet in a short span of a few years.

"It's fortunate that as many of the '60s photos survived as they did since a lot got lost. I was always something of an amateur archivist, and I was aware that things were happening around me, especially in the mid-1960s." says Witzig.

It didn't hurt that Witzig also happened to be friends with Bob McTavish, George Greenough, Nat Young, and Wayne Lynch. Being able to comfortably photograph these subjects adds to the intimacy of the images. Whereas brother Paul Witzig (Hot Generation, Evolution, Sea of Joy) showed us a moving glimpse of the era, John's photos suspend the moment and sear into our consciousness an image like "Headless McTavish," a breathtaking grainy black and white image of Bob literally involving himself in the curl (page 76).

A beautifully illustrated volume (the publisher is Rizzoli, a well respected coffee table art book publisher) with 208 pages of mostly photographs either in black and white with sepia or full technicolor, Witzig warmly supplies the captions to the imagery in a breezy, personal style. Witzig notes, "I wanted to be as true to them and to the times as I could. I didn't want the captions to be from an objective observer and I was encouraged to write from the point of view of a participant."

Like waves, the book's chapters are delivered in sets with colorful titles as Road Tripping, Revolution, Country Soul, and Iconoclasts.
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I just looked across the room to the surfer-of-a-certain-age (for whom this book was a Christmas gift) and asked "Is it good?" His reply was quintessentially Southern Californian: "It was REALLY good -- especially when you consider it's written from an Australian perspective."
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I have many surf pictorial table books. This book has the least interesting pictures and I have already scanned the pictures and removed it from view. I did not read the small sections because as a photo book it just didn't look appealing with so many photos of the same small group of surfers and not an extended history.
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I bought this for my husband, who remembers the days of the long boards and really the infancy of the surfing culture. He loves it and so will anyone who wants to have a nostalgic look back at a lifestyle they once embraced.
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Incredible insight into a magical time in Oz surfing. I would highly recommend this book if you lived through the 70"s.
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