Shaping Surf History: Tom Curren and Al Merrick, California 1980-1983

Metyko captures an era-defining snapshot of one of the most fertile and influential moments in California's surf history. The dramatic action shots and intimate moments follow the rise of young legend-to-be and future world champion Tom Curren and the surfboard shaper Al Merrick.

During the early 1980’s, Santa Barbara, California, saw an extraordinary mix of innovation, individuals and imagery, combined with a relatively rare meteorological phenomena, that led to one of the most influential periods in modern surf history.

The rise of young legend-to-be and future three-time world champion Tom Curren, whose preternatural wave-riding abilities would help establish California at the forefront of contemporary surfing; the emergence of then-unknown board builder Al Merrick of Channel Island Surfboards, who would go on to becoming the sport’s premier board-builder; a once-in-a-generation run of exceptional surf conditions - photographer Jimmy Metyko was there to capture it all. With a compelling blend of dramatic action, intimate moments and epic waves, Metyko’s imagery and personal perspectives articulate a remarkable waypoint on the sport’s cultural timeline, as well as a better understanding, and appreciation, of where surfing is today.

About The Author

Jimmy Metyko became an integral player in California’s nascent professional surf scene, while attending Santa Barbara’s Brooks Institute of Photography in the 1980’s. His work has appeared in Surfer, Surfing, Breakout and The Surfer’s Journal. Jamie Brisick is a Fulbright fellow and former professional surfer. His writing has appeared in The Surfer’s Journal, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Guardian. Sam George is the former editor-in-chief at SURFER Magazine and 2014 Emmy Award winning documentary director (Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau). He is acknowledged as one of the sport’s leading authorities.

  • Publish Date: September 05, 2023
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Category: Sports & Recreation - Water Sports - Surfing
  • Publisher: Rizzoli
  • Trim Size: 9 x 11
  • Pages: 304
  • US Price: $55.00
  • CDN Price: $75.00
  • ISBN: 978-0-8478-7356-2


"It'll feel like he has traveled back in time with this retrospective look at the era-defining days of surfing in the '80s." —The New York Times

Author Bookshelf: Jimmy Metyko, Jamie Brisick, Sam George