Everybody’s Gone Surfing

This started out as a post about a couple new surf inspired songs.  I was going to write about the new Bombon tape and Surf City’s upcoming album, but for some reason my mind wondered and this turned into something else.  By no means a definitive list of surfing songs. One or two have a tenuous claim to be called surfing songs, but in my stream of conscious they all shoot the curl.

The song Vic by Animals that Swim is about going to see Vic Chestnut, getting drunk and yelling out Surfin’ USA when Chestnut asks for requests. Chestnut’s response: Yeah, like I’m going to do a surfing song.
mp3: Animals That Swim – Vic (from Workshy)

Dick Dale is considered by many to be the originator of the surf guitar sound. Bombon who hail from the Minutemen’s hometown of San Pedro, California have been sharing the beach with the kahuna of surf guitar. These three ladies drop in on Dale’s scene and shred.
mp3: Bombon – Bouncy (from El Part Con Cassette on Burger)

Surf City may or may not be surfers.  The got their name from the Jesus and Mary Chain who definitely did not surf. Being from New Zealand the probability of the band owning boards is somewhat high.  I can picture them coming in after a good set with water still in their ears, plugging in their guitars and blasting it.
mp3: Surf City – Crazy Rulers of the World (from the upcoming Kudos album. Mp3 snagged from Microphone Memory Emotion)

Plunging the depths of the surf genre in the 80’s were the Surf Punks.  They combined Surfer Joe with snotty punk aesthetics.  They were the ultimate locals, ruling the beach, hating the valleys and spoiled brats from Malibu. Their first album is considered a cult classic in the right circles.
mp3: Surf Punks – My Wave (from My Beach)

The Fizzbombs were from Edinburgh, Scotland.  Apparently on cold days in December these girls would put on wetsuits and surf the North Sea.  Now that’s either dedication or just plane crazy.
mp3: Fizzbombs – Surfaround (from the Surfin’ Winter EP)

If you haven’t heard the Surfaris‘ Surfer Joe, then that needs to rectified.  Surfer Joe was a released as a single by the Surfaris.  The flip contained Wipe Out, definitely the best surf 45 record ever released.
mp3: Surfaris – Surfer Joe (from Wipeout)

We end with the sunset.  Jack Nitzsche’s Lonely Surfer is kind of atypical of the surf genre sounding more Peter Thomas than Beach Boys, but it is so good at evoking the dude on his board waiting for the last good set of the day as the sun sinks below the horizon.
mp3: Jack Nitzsche – The Lonely Surfer (from The Jack Nitzsche Story)


  1. alex twist · July 29, 2010

    funnily enough I was thinking about doing something about surf songs too!

    anyway i know none of them except the last one

    about the Surfaris, on the flipside of “wipe out” i have a cool version of “shake” with a nice beat

    there is also a tune by the Turtles called surfer joe but it’s not the same song

    • Toby · July 29, 2010

      Certainly enough surf songs to go around (Neglected to include the Go-betweens’ Surfing Magazines)…don’t think I’ve heard the Turtles ‘ Surfer Joe.

  2. Jayd McFerson · July 30, 2010

    Unfortunately, the Fizzbombs track doesn’t appear to be working and I haven’t heard them in a decade plus so I was hopeful!
    Great post.

    • Toby · July 30, 2010

      The Fizzbombs track is fixed.

  3. alex twist · August 2, 2010

    well sorry i said something wrong, it’s not “surfer joe” but “surfer dan”

    anyway still a good tune :)

    (the second tune on the video)

  4. scott · August 8, 2010

    great selection!
    i’d probably ad ‘new yorks a lonely town’ by the tradewinds as its legendary in my mind…that surf city track is a ripper!

  5. Bali Desa · August 20, 2010

    very nice :D

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