Surf Riot 1986
Thanks to this morning’s Staf magazine newsletter, I’ve been turned on to the work of UK-based photographer Nick Waplington. Specifically Surf Riot, a limited-run book published by LittleBigMan Books, which collects a remarkable selection of photos that Waplington took of a riot that broke out during the 1986 OP Surf Pro Championships in Huntington Beach, California.
Dan Abbe over at American Photo has a great rundown of the book, providing backstory on the images and placing them in the proper historical context:
The story behind Surf Riot goes like this: on the day of the 1986 OP Surf Pro Championships, Waplington arrived at the event to find that a massive riot had broken out amidst the event’s estimated 100,000 spectators. As he writes in the book’s afterword, “I had one roll of 24 exposures. I made 25 pictures. They are this book.” It’s easy enough to explain, and the photographs themselves certainly hold the eye, to say the absolute minimum. But why has the book been released now? What has the passage of almost 30 years done to these images? What could possibly be the value of one roll of film, shot over the course of a few hours, “as a historical document”?
Photograph © Nick Waplington