INTRODUCTION

SURF CULTURE: THE HISTORY OF SURFING IN CALIFORNIA
by Julie Cohen, Ph.D., and Tim Cooley, Associate Professor, UC Santa Barbara

This essay explores the history of “surf music” in a variety of dimensions—its origins and global diffusion, its many incarnations—from Hawaiian traditional songs, instrumental guitar rock, and music created by surfers, to music simply about surfing and/or surf culture—key figures, instrumentation, global and historical trajectory, and finally, the music’s relationship with surf culture and the global imaginary. Although the histories of surfing and surf music do not always follow the same path, it is this relationship, with a particular focus on California, that forms the focus of this essay.

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