In the surf photography game, a few names stand out as early historians of the sport. Tom Blake. Doc Ball. Leroy Grannis. In all likelihood, though, these guys didn’t plan to be early historians of surf culture when they first picked up cameras and started shooting. They were just taking pictures of their friends and what they saw around them.
Now, though, their photographs are some of the only visual evidence that exists of a bygone era in surf history – when, according to Leroy’s son John, lineups were so uncrowded that you had to find someone to surf with so you didn’t surf alone.
After his father’s passing, John Grannis became the beneficiary of a handful of priceless surf photo archives belonging to his father, John “Doc” Ball, and relatively unknown photographer Bob Johnson.
Even the opportunity to vicariously pore over some of these photos is pretty amazing.