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"The Godfather of Surf Photography"

09.19.17

 

With the nickname "The Godfather of Surf Photography," LeRoy Grannis developed his reputation from documenting California's thriving surf culture in the 60's and 70's. 
LeRoy "Granny" Grannis was born in Hermosa Beach in 1917 and raised just a few blocks from the ocean. He began surfing at the age of fourteen, being one of the first generation of mainlanders to pick up the old Hawaiian sport. As teens who were strapped for cash, LeRoy and his friends Lewis "Hoppy" Swarts and John "Doc" Ball, built their own boards, sewed their own swim trunks, and would pool their money together to take trips to catch better waves. 
With the onset of World War II, Grannis put surfing aside and enlisted in the service along with many of the young men in California. After the war was over, he returned home to Hermosa Beach, took a job with Pacific Bell and settled down. Grannis surfed on and off, but ultimately became engrossed with the responsibilities of a full-time job and raising a family. In 1959, LeRoy was diagnosed with a stress related ulcer and his doctor recommended he pick up something relaxing, which is where surfing came back into his life.
As a form of stress-relief, he began using a 35mm film camera to document the new wave of surfers throughout California. His love and understanding for surfing helped him to capture those "magic moments" and produce some of the raddest images to date. LeRoy Grannis's legacy lives on through his work, which can make almost anyone want to stop what they're doing and paddle out, and for that we thank you!

 

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