Once a week we dive into the video archives of filmmaker and SURFER Magazine founder John Severson. This week features the opening sequence of his final film “Pacific Vibrations.” Released in 1970 and filmed during the transition era of board design, “Pacific Vibrations” features a heavy amount of pintail single fins. More importantly, Severson’s inspiration for the film was to bring awareness to the changes he was witnessing happen to the ocean.
“This is a film that contrasts the beauty with the problems [environmental] and in the end makes a statement that would maybe prompt a few people to take action and start doing something,” Severson said about his film.
The visuals and art direction are what stand out most in the segment above. SURFER Magazine cartoonist Rick Griffin had returned to Southern California from the Bay Area and worked with Severson on the film. Watching the smooth line of a surfer’s psychedelic silhouette lead into a high-speed montage of photos, cartoons and everything surf-culture at the time is like traveling through a synapse of the pair’s surfed-out hive mind.