Surf’s Up in Texas
Kenny Braun’s life changed the day his next-door neighbors came home with a pair of surfboards.
It was the mid-1970s, and from then on Braun’s life in Houston centered around strapping boards on the car and driving south to Galveston. He and his two high school buddies were far from the first to catch waves along the Texas Gulf Coast, but they were early members of the Texas surf scene.
Since then Texas has become one of the top six states for surfing in the country.
“We didn’t even know what we were doing,” said Braun, now a professional photographer based in Austin. “We’d mostly go to Surfside because the big jetties help set up the sand bars better.”
The University of Houston auditorium used to show surfing movies like “Endless Summer” on the weekends.
“The auditorium was full of other surfers,” Braun said. “You watch and try long enough, and you get the hang of it. One good ride, one good turn is all you need, and you’re hooked. There’s just something about sliding down these walls of water.”
Braun’s decades of familiarity with the Texas surf culture are on display in “Surf Texas,” published by the University of Texas Press this spring.
In it, he captures the euphoric highs of carving the waves – in one shot, a trio of surfers are joined by a dolphin – as well as the quieter moments of hanging out on the beach, all presented in a nostalgic black and white.