Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Vintage Surfing Posters and Surfing Art by LeRoy Grannis

By Paul Roberton

LeRoy Grannis grew up living beachfront. He was in the water from the young age of 5, swimming and body surfing with his father. Once he was bored with swimming, Grannis made himself a wood bellyboard which he would ride at his mother's house in Florida.

LeRoy started kneeboarding in 1931 with a board he made from a piece of pine. Once he masters the kneeboard, Grannis started borrowing stand up surfboards from mates in Hermosa beach. An avid surfer, Grannis joined the Palos Verdes Surf Club.

Balancing the surf lifestyle with family and work was a challenge for Grannis. He attended UCLA during the Depression, but eventually had to drop out due to lack of money. He then took on jobs as a carpenter, junkyard de-tinner and a stint at standard oil.

Grannis later found himself a job with Pacific Bell through some surfer friends of his that worked there. With a consistent job, he was able to develop his photography skills, which would eventually lead to a new career.

LeRoy has his first taste of success with photos being published in Doc Ball's book California Surfriders. He was becoming more involved with the surfing coming, surfing in contests in his free time and assisting the United States Surfing Association.

Leroy was working too hard at his job and eventually found himself with an ulcer. His doctor recommended that he take a break in order to recuperate. Durring LeRoy's time away from work he began photographing more and ended up getting his work published in magazines such as Surfer, Reef, and Surfing Illustrated.

As his photography work progressed, Grannis became one of surfing's most important photographs, documenting the times. What made Grannis stick out from other photographers was his invention that allowed him to change film while out in the water. Other photographers would have to go back to land to change the film.

10 years of Grannis life was spent photographing the world's best surfers surfing the best waves in Hawaii in California. He had great influence and later became the photo editor of Surfing Illustrated and founded International Surfing.

LeRoy was elected to the International Surfing Hall of Fame and the best photographer in 1966. He was also awarded a lifetime achievement award in 2002. He was also the the subject of a Surfer's Journal article ode to master photographers.

Grannis now has a limited edition book title Birth of Culture and his photos have also been featured in the recent film Riding Giants.

Title: A Visit to the Shaper Artist: Leroy Grannis

Title: Surfing in the 60's Artist: Leroy Grannis - 16651

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