strong sense of nostalgia and a yearning for a simpler life are the accompaniments to the images in Don James's Pre-War Surfing Photographs. At the end of the Depression and before the beginning of WWII, James and a small group of friends
lived a charmed life in Southern California. When school was out, they roamed the undeveloped Eden-like coast from Malibu to San Onofre, scraping together gas money for their worn jalopies, lugging 90-pound wooden boards to the ocean, sleeping in lifeguard
huts and makeshift tent camps in the sand. They lived hand-to-mouth, plucking an endless supply of abalone and lobster from the ocean and raiding nearby orange and avocado orchards at night. What spending money they had came from guiding rumrunners to secluded
coves, selling fresh fish to local restaurants, lifeguarding in posh beach clubs in Santa Monica, or acting as stuntmen and extras for Hollywood films. At that time, there were fewer than 200 surfers in the entire state,...