Thoughts from the Publisher: Oct. 4, 2019

[aesop_character img=”” name=”Neena Strichart” caption=”Publisher” align=”left” force_circle=”off” revealfx=”inplaceslow”]

I’ve recently written my columns about fashion and language trends including influences from the Beatles, Twiggy, flower children, hippies, mini-skirts and 70s disco era.

If my memory serves me right, surfers started their impact on our clothing trends and effect on our vernacular in the early 60s.

I remember watching beach movies like Beach Blanket Bingo with Annette Funicello and James Darren and Gidget starring Sandra Dee and James Darren (that James Darren sure loved his beach babes!) The Gidget television show starring a very young Sally Field was a favorite of mine. It only lasted one season but I watched the reruns for years. Those shows showed cool kids having fun on the beach, including cute teenage boys and their antics along with what I considered to be pretty exciting romance. Watching the characters holding hands and doing a bit of kissing really set my young heart racing.

As time went on, I learned to appreciate the genre of surf music created by the Beach Boys as well as Jan and Dean. In my late 50s I had the opportunity to see both groups in concert… it was a real blast from the past!

I recall some of the boys in my junior high and high school who identified as surfers sporting shaggy hair that had been bleached by the sun. They wore t-shirts made by the company Hang Ten. The brand’s logo was a pair of bare feet embroidered on the front of the wearer’s shirt. On the weekends or during school breaks, the guys also wore colorful shorts that were longer than most … shorts were not allowed at school in the 60s to mid-70s, for guys or gals.

Understanding the surfer guys those days was darn near impossible for we non-beachy types. They seemed to have their own language. It turns out that they did! According to, the following words (with definitions) were a few of the most popular among surfers then and now:

• Awesome: exaggerate whenever you can – the wave was awesome, the ride was awesome, the surfboard is awesome, and you look awesome

• Cool: surfers are usually cool, so be cool and spread coolness – that’s cool, it sounds cool, and it looks pretty cool

• Dude: a dude is a surfing brother, so keep your peers close – hi dude, what’s up dude?

• Gnarly: praise your peers for their extreme stunts – that’s gnarly, he’s gnarly all the time;

• Kook: a beginner surfer should suffer the cruelties of his/her conditions – he’s a kook, she looks like an absolute kook;

• Rad: rad is cooler than radical – rad move, rad dude, rad board;

• Sick: a very surfy alternative to uber cool and insane wave or rides – that is a sick wave, what a sick ride;

• Stoked: the most heard word in post-heat interviews is used for almost everything, particularly if you’re excited or exhilarated – so stoked, man

Next week, I will relay my memories of Madonna’s fashion influences, Valley Girl fashion/slang and the newest… VSCO girls and their trendy ways!