In April of 2014, Lou Harris, a surfer and resident of Rockaway—an oceanfront community in the New York City borough of Queens—read a news article about a 16-year-old boy who’d been arrested after setting fire to a mattress in his apartment in neighboring Coney Island. When the cops asked the kid why he started the fire, they reported that he said it was because he was bored.
Harris couldn’t bear the thought of kids in his community growing up with so little engagement—and in a place with waves, no less. To Harris, the answer was obvious—he’d introduce local youth to the thing he loved so much. He’d get them surfing.
Harris, who is now 48 years old, was born in Queens and grew up in Dix Hills, Long Island. He moved to the Rockaways in 2006, where he began teaching himself to surf to help come to terms with hanging up his skateboard in his late 30s.
Soon enough, Harris crossed paths with Brian “B.J.” James, a dedicated Rockaway Beach surfer and among the few Black wave riders you’d have found in that lineup in the 1990s—despite the neighborhood’s population being roughly 35 percent Black. Author of “The Nautical Negro”, a memoir about his life as a Black waterman, B.J. showed Harris the ropes and taught him what a kook was—and how not to get called one.
Harris’ surfing progressed and he formed a deeper connection to the community, and when he read the article about the 16-year-old boy, he wanted to use the stoke of surfing to help prevent anything like that from happening there again. He started off by offering a curious local skateboarder surfing lessons if he got himself a wetsuit. He did just that and became Harris’ first student.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
THE LGBTQ+ WAVE
Surf culture has a long history of marginalizing the LGBTQ+ community, but a new generation of queer surfers is working to change that
For Generations to Come
Rockaway’s Lou Harris is spreading the stoke to Black youth and leading surfers in paddling out for racial justice
Christina Koch, 41
Texas surfer, NASA astronaut, record holder for the longest continuous spaceflight by a woman
END TIMES FOR PRO SURFING
By the time the pandemic is done reshaping the world, will the World Tour still have a place in it?
CHANGING OF THE GUARD
After decades of exclusive access to Hollister Ranch, the most coveted stretch of California coast is finally going public
What They Don't Tell You
How does becoming a mother affect your surfing life?
A Few Things We Got Horribly Wrong
You don’t make 60 years of magazines without dropping some balls. Here are a few
60 Years Ahead
We had a whole plan for this year. Funny, right? Surfer's 60 year anniversary volume was going to be filled with stories nodding to SURFER’s past, with cover concepts paying homage to the magazine’s most iconic imagery. Our new Page One depicts something that’s never happened in surfing before, let alone on a prior SURFER cover. And our table of contents was completely scrapped and replaced as we reacted to the fizzing, sparking, roiling world around us. In other words, 2020 happened to SURFER, just like it happened to you.
Four Things to Make You Feel A Little Less Shitty About Everything
Helpful reminders for the quarantine era
The Art of Being Seen
How a group of black women are finding creative ways to make diversity in surfing more visible
SHIA'S PRIVATE TEMPLE OF DOOM!
Indiana Jones gig derailed by abuse scandal
Harvesting the Holiday
Dade City’s Ergle Christmas Tree Farm Helps Holiday Spirit Grow
Looking at Gettleman's trades
Giants general manager Dave Gettleman has had a successful 2020 free agent signing class, but the same cannot be said for his trades in the three years he’s been Big Blue’s GM. Let’s take a look at the good and bad of each trade:
They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To
But we’re so lucky they once did.
History du Jour
Will Youree, the Missing Heir
OH, IT WAS NOTHING
Why Kamala Harris is caught between self-effacement and self-assertion
ARTIST PROFILE: Bill Harrison
Every picture tells a story. Just as a writer reconstructs life through narrative, an artist tells his stories by interpreting life through lines, brushstrokes and textures.
PERV BUSTED FOR RAPING & KILLING NAKED BOY!
Teen begged for his life as he fled down streets
SOME GUITAR HEROES ARE ESTEEMED FOR THEIR TECHNICAL FLASH. BUT THERE ARE OTHERS WHOSE GUITAR WORK IS UPSTAGED BY THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS AS SONGWRITERS, SINGERS, TRENDSETTERS AND TASTEMAKERS — GUITARISTS WHOSE SOUND IS SO INEXTRICABLY WOVEN INTO THE FABRIC OF ROCK THAT THE WHOLE THING WOULD BE UNTHINKABLE WITHOUT THEM. THAT’S THE KIND OF GUITAR HERO ROGER McGUINN IS.
AFC WEST ROUNDUP