Lance Collins & Jeff Parker with twin fin, brothel creepers and jelly roll.
To me, the late 70's and early 80's was an exciting time in Southern California with a thriving underground punk rock and new wave music scene and a booming skateboard culture.
It was around this time that a small group of innovative surfers and shapers from around Newport Beach, who had become tired of the placid state of surf culture with its black wetsuits and straight line single fin surfing, started doing really interesting things with their surfing and surfboards. Peter Schroff, Shawn Stussy, Greg Pautch and Lance Collins were the driving force behind the movement that was latter to become known as 'Echo Beach'.
It was this avant-garde movement of radical surfing moves and outrageous sprays combined with wrap around sunglasses and night club clothes worn to the beach that set fire to my teen age imagination and captured my soul, as you can see in this blog laid out before you.
I argue, from my position of an impressionable 12 year old in Australia at the time, that this movement within surf culture in the period 1980 to 83 is, in a small way, is equivalent to the world changing, uniquely American cultural phenomenons of Jazz music, Rock n Roll or Abstract Expressionism.
(It has been argued that Abstract Expressionism as an art movement was artificially fueled by the CIA in an attempt to confound the Soviets. True or not it doesn't detract from the originality of the concept.)
What started with flamboyant sprays and checker board patterns and ended with flouro colored volley ball shorts lining the racks of chain stores around the world by the end of the decade.
What I am saying is, the graphic style and attitude that launched the biggest names in chain store surfwear in the early 80's, OP, Maui & Sons, Quiksilver, Mossimo, Instinct, Wild Oats, Catchit, Off Shore among many other, took their inspiration from the Wave Tools team riders and spray booth in the back of Costa Mesa.
Jeff Parkers Echo Beach movie and Jamie Brisick's new book 'The hottest 100 yards' poignantly sums up the era and accurately document the characters of the time.
The movie presents a plethora of images of Lance Collins twin fins, to me the most exciting artifact to come from the period. Inspired by MR twins but in their own way uniquely Californian, with their shorter stubbier fins, thicker rails flatter rocker and shorter wider plan shapes and big fat tails.
It is my mission while in the US to find an original early 80's Lance Collins twin fin. Like a rare flower they blossomed everywhere in Newport for a couple of hot hot summers and then were gone, barely making it out of the Newport valley and certainly not making it overseas. I've come close to getting my hands on one but to date to no avail.
Jeff Parker with custom wetsuit designed to match his new wave spray
Danny Kwok with short skinny tie and short fat twin fin
As one Wave Tools twin fin passes.....
.....another comes into view
Trans Am and checker board Twin Fin
“In the early eighties, a 100-yard stretch in Newport Beach became a launch pad for breakaway trends in the surf world. Like punk rock, it was less about technical chops than audacity. It challenged the status quo; gave birth to the surfing equivalent of the garage band.”
frame grabs from 'Echo Beach' used with much respect but without permission