Then, as with all tides that go out, eventually they come back in. And, from 1979-1981 the tide for surfing and surfers came back in like a tsunami.
Danny Kwock (dead center front row, blue trunks) and the ‘Echo Beach’ crew. Photo by :: Chuck Schmid
Gone was anything plain wrapped. Wetsuits exploded with every color in the Crayola box, all black wetsuits were what your pops wore. Surfboards were the same…. The colorful wetsuits and boards represented a changing tide, not only in surfing, but the economy. Money was flowing again and when people have money in their pockets they aren’t afraid to strut in peacock finery… or, to ride a border line obnoxious technicolor board. In other words, when everyone is broke but you, you look like an asshole driving a red Ferrari, but in the 80’s Magnum Pi rocked the shortie shorts and drove with the top down, and so did everyone else.
In Newport Beach a crew of surfers, maybe inspired by the Aussie Surfing clubs, began to dominate the magazines. Led by Danny Kwock, polka dots, neon, checkerboards, good hair cuts, and mammoth sized logos became standard for anyone hoping to land a cover. Remember, up until the the late 70’s there wasn’t that much advertising in surf magazines, (by today’s standards anyway). Who ever was on the cover was on because they had the best shot that month, or they matched the story in the issue. In the early 80’s a lot of the magazines of the day, the covers became almost 100% totally sponsorship driven. If the guy on the cover was wearing ‘XXX’ wetsuit and riding ‘YYY’ board, it was a very safe bet that by the fifth page in the magazine, you would see ads for both of those companies. Surfers, especially the Echo Beach crew, wisely jumped at the chance to capitalized on this change!