Introduction 
15
female surfers “have brought critical perspective not just to norms of feminin-
ity but to understandings of the material places (oceans, beaches) in which
counterfemininities are enacted.”41 Embedding her analy­ sis in feminist poli-
tics, globalization theory, and critical theory, and driven by activist convic-
tions, Comer’s work was quickly accompanied by several monographs that
now anchor the surf studies field across the disciplinary spectrum.
Once an isolated case of surf scholarship in the social sciences (and one of
the few texts available when Comer was writing), geographer Nick Ford and
sociologist David Brown’s Surfing and Social Theory informed and anticipated
subsequent contributions in both fields.42 Without a doubt, Kristin Lawler’s
study of the iconographies and rhe­torics of the surfer in twentieth-­century
capitalism, The American Surfer: Radical Culture and Capitalism, constitutes
the most impor­tant contribution to surfing studies from US sociology. In the
same year, Australian sociologist Mark Stranger’s Surfing Life: Surface, Substruc-
ture, and the Commodification of the Sublime deployed rigorous ethnographic
research to examine surfing as an example of postmodern culture, rife with ten-
sions between commodification and authenticity in surfing experience.43 Both
Lawler’s and Stranger’s monographs emerged as geographers Andrew Warren
and Chris Gibson ­ w ere engaged in the fieldwork that yielded Surfing Places,
Surfboard Makers (2014).44 In their study of surfboard manufacturing practices
in Hawai‘i, California, and Australia, Warren and Gibson focused on cultural
and ­human geography in the rising tensions between handicraft and mecha-
nization, local and global markets, and personalization versus standardization,
all long-­standing issues in surfboard construction.
The above studies of surfing have, by necessity, often cited journalism,
popu­lar histories, and reference texts in order to compensate for the lack of
long-­form scholarly source material available to authors. Indeed, popu­lar histo-
riography’s dominance as the prevailing mode of surf writing has provided a re-
liable corpus for scholars to draw from in lieu of scholarly works. Surf culture is
rife with contentious debates, and trade surf historiography first pushed ­these
debates ­ toward the type of work that critical surf studies seek to accomplish in
revising earlier thinking about the sport embedded in and, at times, sponsored
by, media, industry, and surf culture.
And with the argumentative turn in trade surf history taking place some-
where between the work of Finney, Kampion, John Clark, and Warshaw, ­
historical scholarship has also yielded texts that now anchor the field. Isaiah
Helekunihi Walker’s Waves of Re­sis­tance: Surfing and History in Twentieth-­
Century Hawai‘i (2011) examines surfing’s cultural and po­liti­cal importance in
Hawai‘i, arguing that Hawaiian surfers have resisted colonial intrusions from
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