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San Onofre: Memories of a Legendary Surfing Beach

Pacific Sunset Publishing

Redlands, CA


1550 pages

5000 illustrations

200 contributors


Eight years of painstaking research and writing, has resulted in an epic contribution to surfing literature. At 1550 pages with approximately 5000 illustrations and nearly 200 contributors, San Onofre: Memories of a Legendary Surfing Beach is the most comprehensive study of surfing history and culture ever attempted. 

Simply put, San Onofre contains virtually every aspect of surfing history and culture from all over the world. From the earliest days of surfing in Polynesia, Peru, and Africa to today’s surf culture all up and down the West and East Coasts, surfers share a commonality in their interest and love of surfing culture. Everything about surfing is explored in depth: surfing art, music, film, literature, lifestyle, evolution of surfing apparel, surf vehicles, African American surfers, women surfers, and the impact that San Onofre surf culture has had on the world.

Nearly 200 contributors, including legendary surfing personalities like:  Paul Strauch, Mickey Munoz, Corkey Carroll, Joyce Hoffman, Mike Doyle, Jericho Poppler, Keith Malloy, Steve Pezman, Glenn Hening, Steve & Barrie Boehne, Tom Morey, John Severson, Bill Stewart, Bing Copeland, Tom Pōhaku Stone, and many more. But, the real stars of the story are the countless “Regular Joe” type surfers. Surfers, like Jim Irwin, Steve Hops, Tracy Peterson, Jen Cuda, Johnny Tracy, Evie Fletcher, Hal Landis, Bobby Jacobs, Ted Nicholson, Gene Peterson, and Bob Fitzgerald and countless others. They were the surfers that created the aloha spirit that is a trademark of the San Onofre lifestyle. Oral digital histories of those pioneers are the centerpiece of the narrative.

Approximately 5000 illustrations, including hundreds from the personal photo albums of California’s pioneer surfers who established surfing as California’s trademark sport as early as the 1930s and ‘40s. These photos were never before seen by the public and also form the centerpiece of the narrative.

This is not just a book about surfing. It is a comprehensive history of the place called San Onofre. Located where Camp Pendleton is today, San Onofre included the most unique mixture of sub-cultures in California history. Beginning with Native American peoples and Spanish colonists, every sub-culture is examined: farming, ranching, military, and surfing. The interactions between sub-cultures, particularly with the surfers is explored in detail and placed into historical and cultural context.

Not since Old Hawai’i has there been a surfing culture so alluring. San Onofre: Memories of a Legendary Surfing Beach chronicles the most unique surfing culture in the world and explains why generations have considered it surfing’s Shangri-La.

It’s the Bible of Surfing

            —Mickey Munoz

…immense in page count, absolutely unique, one of a kind effort about a surf culture subject. Obviously the effort of laborious research…

            Steve Pezman, The Surfer’s Journal