Big Surf at Makaha, Circa 1953

Jim Fisher, a powerful swimmer, was on the Lowell High School (San Francisco) swim team in the early 1950s. The first time I ever went swimming in the ocean was when Jim and I went across the Great Highway from Fleishhacker Pool after a swimming meet, and went body surfing. It changed my life — the blue sky, the blue water, the waves…

After graduation, Jim went to Hawaii and, along with other haole California surfers, surfed the biggest waves they could find. I realize that this photo is blurred and scratchy, but It’s one of my favorite surf shots. There’s just something about it that grabs you. Jim said he almost drowned on the wipeout that ensued.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

6 Responses to Big Surf at Makaha, Circa 1953

  1. Maui Surfer,
    Sorry, but you are incorrect in your comment referring to “the most famous surf picture ever”. The original image that you are referring to is of George Downing, Woody Brown, and Buzzy Trent at Makaha in 1953 and taken by Scoop Tsuzuki. It is thoroughly documented as such and very obvious to the people who knew the three individuals. My wife, Anna Trent Moore is the daughter of Buzzy Trent and we have an original copy of the photo stamped and signed by Scoop who also identified the surfers on the back of the print.

    Ron Moore
    Bud Browne Film Archives

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