A Golden Age: Surfing's Revolutionary 1960s and '70s

Surfing’s formative period from 1965 to 1978, as shown through the most complete book of the iconic images of photographer John Witzig. Chronicling the great creative years in the evolution of surfing, the late 1960s and early ’70s, this engaging volume documents the revolutionary changes of the era—in board length, in surf style and technique—through the images of Australian photographer John Witzig. Witzig was not only photographing the scene, he was part of it, a group that included surfers Bob McTavish and George Greenough, and his images reflect both that access and that intimacy. In 1967, he created a firestorm of controversy with a Surfer cover story declaring that a core of young Australian surfers had redefined the sport, as evidenced by his friend Nat Young’s blazing win in the 1966 World Surfing championships. Witzig went on to capture the defining moments—the surfers, the draft-dodging back-to-landers, the radical developments of board design, and, of course, the waves, from Australia to Honolua Bay—of surfing’s most thrilling period. Soulful, poetic, iconoclastic, filled with rare images, this book is a unique look at surfing’s cultural revolution.

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.

  • Publish Date: April 02, 2013
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Category: Sports & Recreation - Water Sports - Surfing
  • Publisher: Rizzoli
  • Trim Size: 8-1/2 x 11
  • Pages: 208
  • US Price: $50.00
  • CDN Price: $50.00
  • ISBN: 978-0-8478-3828-8


"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."

“..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."

“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."

"..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."

"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."

Author Bookshelf: Drew Kampion