Action | May 29, 2017 3:40 pm

Surfer Magazine Founder John Severson Dead at 83

Surf publishing giant followed waves from filmmaking to journalism.

Surfer John Severson
Surfer Magazine Editor John Severson is rammed by board as he attempts to take picture in 1966. (Photo by Bill Ray/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Surfer Magazine founder John Severson died in his sleep Friday night, the publication announced over the weekend.

He was 83.

Severson, who learned to surf at the age of 13 in his native San Clemente, Calif., was at the crest of a wave of surfing filmmakers in the late ’50s and early ’60s. He helped bring the sport to the big screen and thus into popularity, with films like Surf Fever and Going My Wave.

He parlayed that modest success into surf publishing, with a magazine called The Surfer in 1960—which would evolve into the staple of the sport it is today.

“In this crowded world,” Severson wrote in the first issue of Surfer, “the surfer can still seek and find the perfect day, the perfect wave, and be alone with the surf and his thoughts.”