Corky Carroll: Remembering John Severson, a friend who left a huge footprint on surfing culture

  • A photo of John Severson holding his daughter while painting is one of the images Bill Limebrook will use for his sculpture of John Severson planned for the Surf Park in Dana Point. (Photo courtesy of Bill Limebrook)

    A photo of John Severson holding his daughter while painting is one of the pictures Expense Limebrook will use for his sculpture of John Severson prepared for the Browse Park in Dana Point. (Picture thanks to Bill Limebrook)

  • San Clemente’s Kim Kempton, board president with the California Surf Museum, introduces surf icon John Severson at a Sept. 27 book-signing in Oceanside. (Photo by Fred Swegles)

    San Clemente’s Kim Kempton, board head of state with the California Browse Museum, introduces surf icon John Severson at a Sept. 27 book-signing in Oceanside. (Photo by Fred Swegles)



Last Saturday early morning I woke up to the unfortunate information that my buddy John Severson had actually passed away the evening prior to in his sleep. He was 83.

I was assuming that it was really kinda cool that he had passed in his rest &http://#8212; &http://#8212; that is the means most of us basically intend to go, at least I do.

Severson was just one of the most significant icons and most essential people in the background of the surfing globe and also his impact on the surfing culture is enormous. Along with being one of the very early leaders in making surf movies, he likewise was the producer of Web surfer magazine. He released the very first concern in 1960 as well as the magazine is still flourishing today when many others have actually come as well as gone. He was also an incredible musician whose paintings market for $20,000 and up. Plus he was a lifetime-dedicated internet user.

You have actually probably currently check out a lot of his achievements, as this column appears a full week after his death. So today I intend to pass along some memories I have of Severson through more than 50 years of being buddies.

My first contact was when I sent in an image I had actually taken of my chum Steve Rowe from the Huntington Beach Pier. Surfer had a “& ldquo; pictures from the readers & rdquo; page in the very early 1960’& rsquo; s and Severson selected my photo to publish in the magazine. This was the very first time I obtained my name in print. Not long afterwards I won a door prize at one of his film showings as well as he remember me from the image. After the showing that night he spoke with me a little and motivated me to keep shooting browse photos.

His early movies were terrific. To this particular day I still remember visiting “& ldquo; Surf Safari & rdquo; in 1958 &http://#8212; it was my very first surf movie. When the large wave component began, his narrative went, “& ldquo; & hellip; and on December 15th the biggest swell to hit the Hawaiian Islands in over HALF A CENTURY came marching out of the North Pacific & hellip; & hellip; as well as just a handful where there to satisfy the difficulty.” & rdquo; Then the style from Peter Gunn came blowing up from the speakers as well as it was pure magic.

When I started winning contests and also was getting understood in the surfing area we fulfilled numerous times and clicked. He had actually moved into a residence exactly on the bluff forgeting Cotton’& rsquo; s Factor in the south end of San Clemente, which is where I surfed practically every day. We invested numerous afternoons in the water with each other surfing as well as chit-chatting concerning this or that. He was an extremely great painter and I preferred to do water colors back after that, so a whole lot of time I would certainly select his brain on brush strategies or whatever.

During that time he was additionally truly into golf. He believed it would be a great idea for me to find out ways to play, so he took me to his country club one day as well as attempted to teach me. That was an one-time point as I didn’& rsquo; t really require to it and also his perseverance was not so big. He stated I might intend to think concerning tennis, which I later on did in a huge way.

Just what we did find out is that we both wanted to play Scrabble. Severson was truly excellent at it and also I needed to have a great day and also some luck to defeat him. He had this high-grade Scrabble board that rotated and also brightened that he would lower to the coastline before his residence. We would rest there playing while we were waiting on the mid-day winds to go down so we can browse the evening glass off. Several time our games got so extreme that we missed out on the surf session entirely, or the wind never ever went down as well as we simply kept playing until it got dark. I remember he had this ultra-complete thesaurus of all dictionaries. Just that he had actually the important things made you never ever want to challenge among his insane words &http://#8212; &http://#8212; the guy was really creative.

In the actual end of the 1960’& rsquo; s Severson got the movie-making pest back. The shortboard transformation was in full swing and the entire “& ldquo; vibe & rdquo; was brand-new, change, freedom, all that things that you may equate with “& ldquo; hippies. & rdquo; We had a shared buddy, artist Rick Lion, that had done the “& ldquo; Murphy & rdquo; animes in the very early issues of Web surfer. He had actually come to be basically the leading “& ldquo; psychedelic & rdquo; musician of that duration, and did Grateful Dead album covers, concert posters as well as stuff like that. Lion was doing some stuff for Severson about after that and also I believe the whole point that was taking place in not just the searching society but on the planet in general inspired Severson and also his artful side to develop another motion picture and increase on his own art though his paintings. The result was one of the truly fantastic browse films of perpetuity, “& ldquo; Pacific Vibrations.”

& rdquo; Shortly afterwards, Severson offered Web surfer publication as well as removaled to Maui, where he invested the last fifty percent of his life browsing and also painting. He had a beautiful family members and a truly significant and also wonderful, wow that’& rsquo; s”a great deal of & ldquo; fuls & rdquo;, life. John Severson, one of the greats.


Q. This is type of a technological inquiry, which I wish you can answer in nonprofessional terms. I saw a board that had little wings near the idea of its fin. I have never ever seen that before as well as am wondering just what is the objective for having those? It looking much like even more stuff to obtain hit with to me, yet I make certain there is a great reason. Please inform my dark mind?

Tim Livingston, Water fountain Valley

A. Yes I can do that. There is a great factor for placing wings on a fin, or numerous fins for that issue. On a longboard, many web surfers will certainly make use of a center fin with fly order to hold the tail down when they noseride. The most effective means to clarify it to you is to contrast this to a “spoiler” on a race automobile. The suggestion is to keep the tail of the car strongly on the ground when going around corners at high speed. This maintains the back of the auto from rotating out. On a surf board, maintaining the tail down, embracing the water if you will, assists the internet user ride the nose of the board without the nose going under as easily. Shortboarders sometimes make use of a variety of tiny fins with fly order to take full advantage of plaining surface area as well as maintain rate in limited locations of the wave.

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