Atlantic SurfING

The Original East Coast Surfing Magazines- Article by Doug Fiske

In summer 1964, having returned from Miami Beach where they were hotel beach boys, New Yorkers Paul Chapey and John Gundersen met Bruce Brown and Hobie Alter, who were traveling the East Coast together. Brown was showing the 16 mm version of The Endless Summer. Alter was visiting Hobie dealers and setting up new dealerships. Phil Edwards, Joey Cabell and Corky Carroll were along for the trip. Brown let Chapey and Gundersen pass out mimeographed sheets at some of his shows. The partners asked for photo and writing contributions for Atlantic Surfing, the magazine they were planning. In a short time, their mailbox was full of material that made up some of the content of the first issues.

Partners Chapey and Gundersen produced nine quarterly issues of Atlantic Surfing between summer 1965 and summer 1968. After the first few issues, Hawaii-born Dean Yamane came aboard as associate editor and photographer. G. R. Vartan joined as art director while a student at Pratt College, an art and design school. Production was centered in his Manhattan apartment.

As a publisher, Gundersen focused on the business and selling ad space. He’s known for having coined the term “two-point pee wee” to describe a small type. Chapey and Yamane handled the editorial side and worked with Vartan to produce the issues. The magazine was important in fostering and feeding what Greg Noll called “East Coast nationalism.”

Chapey and Gundersen each had jobs and incomes when they launched Atlantic Surfing, but it took loans from generous relatives to get things going. The partners surfed Rockaway Beach in Queens, New York, and other East Coast beaches as far south as Puerto Rico while publishing the magazine. Atlantic Surfing’s contents reflected their travels and contributions from surfers at many East Coast beaches and in the Caribbean.

Gundersen, Chapey and Vartan created a cartoon character named Woody Resin. They hired Mark Dornan to draw the character and place him in East Coast settings. Although a good stab at humor, Woody didn’t reach the status of Murphy, the character Rick Griffin drew for Surfer. Later, in Southern California, Gundersen revived the name Woody Resin for his surf apparel and products company.

In summer 1966, Atlantic Surfing published a one-shot titled Surf Humor. As a collection of surf cartoons and comic strips, it sold for the princely sum of 50 cents. Cartoonist Carl T. Herrman did the cover art. Atlantic Surfing’s last issue was the summer of 1968. At the World Contest in Puerto Rico in November that year, Long Islander Doug Fiske introduced Chapey to Toby Annenberg, who was looking for an editor for International Surfing. Chapey edited that magazine through its becoming Surfing in late 1973. He then left the surfing industry to expand Country Scruffs, his newly formed clothing company. Fiske succeeded Chapey as editor of Surfing in early 1974. 

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