Surfing started to seriously take a hold. It’s estimated that the surfing population of California grew from 2-4000 to close to 100,000 over the course of the 1950s. Californian surfers started moving to the North Shore of Oahu in the Hawaiian islands, and in 1957 now-legendary big wave hell-man Greg Noll became the first man to ride Waimea Bay.
“Now-legendary big wave hell-man Greg Noll became the first man to ride Waimea Bay.”
The cradle of big wave surfing, the waves there were thought unsurfable until Noll paddled out and changed everything.
But whilst surfing was spreading across the globe and growing organically it was a 1959 film about a girl with big ideas called Gidget which catapulted surfing culture into the stratosphere. The film, set around Malibu in California, was a wild success, bringing surfing massive mainstream exposure and nothing would ever be the same again.