A teenage riot in a public station

The Goodyear Blimp got a bird’s eye view of the riot as it was present during the 1986 OP Surf Pro Championships taking place that day in Huntington Beach, California.

Over time, photographs store up a certain power. Reflecting on a 1987 photo of three boys in a London park in our Behind the Notes post earlier this week, Chris Dorley-Brown said that perhaps its recent Tumblr popularity demonstrates that, for photographs, “the value as a historical document takes a while to accrue.” Although Nick Waplington’s book Surf Riot was published just last year (by Little Big Man Books), all of the photos were taken in 1986, in the midst of some unusual events in Huntington Beach. In other words, it presents a test of Dorley-Brown’s hypothesis.

The story behind Surf Riot goes like this: on the day of the 1986 OP Surf Pro Championships, Waplington arrived at the event to find that a massive riot had broken out amidst the event’s estimated 100,000 spectators. As he writes in the book’s afterword, “I had one roll of 24 exposures. I made 25 pictures. They are this book.” It’s easy enough to explain, and the photographs themselves certainly hold the eye, to say the absolute minimum. But why has the book been released now? What has the passage of almost 30 years done to these images? What could possibly be the value of one roll of film, shot over the course of a few hours, as a historical document? Read more >


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Dizzy ’68 El Camino

Pretty sure a dizzy paint job like this ’68 El Camino received didn’t come from Earl Scheib. No offense, Earl. https://psyne.co/product/earl-scheib-albuquerque-1937-vintage-t-shirt/

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