This book is a blast! 270 pages of wonderful detail, artwork and feeling for classic surfing Californiana. The 'book description' above definitely doesn't do it justice but of course you can see the contents and style from the 'look inside'. A massive element in the allure of surfing is the powerful and seductive imaging and iconography that crystallised in 60s California, and still today feeds into aspects of the rich aesthetics that pervade surfing as a lifestyle phenomenon.
Along with the maturation of surfing culture there is a proliferating literature as it's acolytes seek to both make it's deep personal impact intelligible and just revel in it's sense of fun and pure joy. Chichester and Priore's 'Pop Surf Culture' makes a truly wonderful and informative contribution to this literature. The focus is the music, design, film and fashion of the sixties surf boom, and it's this specific historical concentration on one (key) part of the contemporary surf culture narrative that gives the book it's impact.
Surf-wise the sixties were 'before my time' (I started board surfing from the early seventies), so for me this book is a trip into another place and an earlier historical horizon and I've found that fascinating. I also realize that many surfers younger than me are drawn to the retro dimensions of the dream glide. Above all what I want to stress is that, given the incredible amount of sources 'out there' on the web and so on 'these days' (does that make me sound dated?) this is a book with which you can interact or perhaps rather, mess around. There is just so much wonderful stuff in here and I'd contend that this book goes further than so many other recent surfing books due to the authors' deep personal familiarity with the material and creative flair. For instance you can use these short but packed chapters to explore a whole range of early surf music, beach movies, posters and other artwork that you'd never heard of, and then from other sources go further again. Just thinking of the sixties Hollywood surf and beach movies it's customary now to denigrate them as sort of inauthentic and superficial, but after reading this book I actually watched one on TV recently, and guess what, it was fun.
As I say there's so much other stuff on this, for instance Matt Warshaw's 'Surf Movie Tonite!'[ASIN:B001QFY26Q Surf Movie Tonite!: Surf Movie Poster Art, 1957-2004) naturally has a larger and more gorgeous collection of classic surf posters, and if you want to understand surf culture more academically there's [ASIN:B000OT865S Surfing and Social Theory], but this book is a delight. 'Pop Surf Culture' is beautifully designed and put together, there's a terrific aesthetic coherence and expressiveness about the whole thing - this is what 'a book' is all about in this era of expanding media. There's Hawaiiana, Tiki, A-frame dream homes, smiling bikinied babes, bronzed beach bums and cool dudes in shades, cartoons, snapshots of ephemeral shacks, interviews, pop art, twang 45s, burlesque tittyshakers, jungle exotica, and gig stubs - maybe that blend of innocence, fun, wackiness and the energy that was the surfing sixties. And somehow it all really fits together and flows. In short the book must have been conceived in fun yet I know it must also have been crafted with care. My thanks to Brian Chidester and Dominic Priore for their labour of love.