Surf Typography

A Brief History of Surfing    The 1950s    The 1960s    The 1970s    The 1980s    The 1990s    The 2000s    The 2010s   
A curated collection of typography used by surf culture over the last 60 years.

It wasn’t until the 1950s that surfing was a cultural phenomenon outside of Hawaii. In the 1950s, famous Hawaiian surfers travelled to California and the rest of the world, sharing their ancient lifestyle. And then Gidget arrived! The blockbuster film, Gidget, starring Sandra Dee made every girl want to be a surfer. And suddenly, surfing was all the rage!

The typography used in the 1950s in the surfing culture was fun and exciting, reflecting the excitement and newness of the young surf culture.

The 1960s were a busy, busy time for surf typography! Surfing was quickly gaining popularity around the world after its popularization in the 1950s and 60s by famous Hawaiian surfers. Surfing was suddenly the new craze in California, Australia, and New Zealand, and everyone wanted to be a part of the cool lifestyle that was surfing.

The surf culture was still young, wild, and free at this time, and the type used for the many, many surf films made during this decade shows that. The type varies from hand-lettered the serifed and is scattered across the page in wild ways. The type is curved and on uneven baselines and unpredictable, just like surfing.