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The home of 1960s surfing culture in Australia

Steve Bissell



Steve Bissell grew up in Panama and later went on to study photography at the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara.

You will note the George Greenough photos. Steve kindly said this about the images…

‘Those two shots 'the moon tan' were taken on the same late afternoon in Panama at a surfspot called Santa Catalina, where I took George for two weeks for a Surfing Magazine article. They were taken just about an hour apart. There is a unique time of year in Panama called the “Equinox”, where the moon is rising and the sun is setting at exactly the same time and after I shot the sunset I noticed the moon rising right over a bohio on the same beach. So I asked George to plant himself under the bohio and to look back at the spot where the sun had just set, so he got very mystical which is easy for him and I was lucky to get the shot and kill two birds with one stone.’

‘George was visiting Panama because I asked him if he would be interested in seeing and surfing there, the place I had been born in. I was born there because my American parents worked for the ‘Panama Canal Company’ and because of that I became the happy camper that we all love today. Seriously though, I’ve known the ‘manthing’ (Greenough) for many years, ever since I left Panama to go to Brooks Institue of Photography here in Santa Barbara in 1967. I chose to go to Brooks because I knew that Rincon was there, and because it was a good school. A fun decision it was. It wasn’t long before through mutual friends I met George (whom I had never heard of before) right during the time he was making his now classic film “Innermost Limits of Pure Fun”, which I think would have been a better title for a porno film, but that’s George.’

‘After years of a growing friendship, I really admired the man and I wanted for him to see and surf my home breaks back in Panama. He had seen many slideshows of Panama that I shared with everyone and he was interested. So, I asked Surfing Mag if they would pay for some airplane tickets and off we were. That’s how he came to surf in Panama, which he really enjoyed.’