The end of WWII ushers in a new era of surfing. Malibu is the epicenter of the counter culture movement, and as the surfing phenomenon sweeps the country, the number of surfers at Malibu’s beaches goes from virtually nonexistent to crowds in the hundreds.
June 5, 1951
The sport’s “first known African American surfer,” Nick Gabaldon, dies when he shoots the pier on an 8-foot swell in Malibu.
Joe Quigg and Matt Kivlin innovate the Malibu Longboard. The light, balsawood design allows surfers to easily ride a wave and lends to nose-riding and walking the board.
Malibu surfboard designer Joe Quigg makes a short Malibu board. Top surfer Les Williams takes the board out on a wave and helps introduce a more modern way of surfing. The board is easier to maneuver and break waves.
April 10, 1959
Audiences see the film Gidget, based on a novel about a young girl who learns to surf in Malibu, which changes surfing forever and kicks off the surfing madness in the United States. “All of surfing history is broken into two sections — pre-Gidget and post-Gidget. When the movie came out, the floodgates were open,” says Sam George, former editor of SURFER Magazine. The film introduces Malibu‘s bohemian surfing lifestyle to America’s youth and the nation becomes obsessed with surf movies and beach music.