All Photos © Jeff Divine. Above: Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew, Pipeline, Oahu, 1975.
Jeff Divine began taking pictures of fellow surfers in his hometown during the 1960′s. He became a staff photographer at Surfer Magazine in 1970 where he began the first of some 40 annual trips to the North Shore of Oahu. In 1981 he became the Photo Editor at Surfer , a position he held for the next 17 years. Today he is the photo editor at The Surfer’s Journal in San Clemente, Calif. He has published several photography books about surfing.
“A man on a wave is a beautiful sight,” Divine says. When he began his career, he explains, “Surfing in the public’s eye was an oddity such as arm wrestling or tree climbing contests. In the 1960′s and 70′s the whole basic idea was simply a man on a wave…surfers were a blend of radical character, rebelliousness, loner, mysterious, natural, athlete. Today surfing is a highly technical sport with the top surfers having trainers and a serious approach to the world wide professional tour. Surrounding this is a world-wide multi billion dollar lifestyle garment industry that drives money, media attention and people to the sport that was once considered an eccentric, lonely pastime.” Today, surfers are drawn to different specialized forms of the sport, such as extreme big wave riding , or dangerous shallow reef surfing. Or they’re drawn, Divine says, by “the beauty of a sunny day with friends, surfboards and barbecues at Malibu, San Onofre , or Montauk. The eccentrics are still there but hidden by the masses.”