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San Clemente Journal

Alan Gibby Godfather of Televised Surfing

Sep 21, 2023 10:49AM ● By Mike Chamberlin
by Mike Chamberlin

Some call him the “Godfather of televised surfing.” San Clemente resident Alan Gibby saw the future of the sport and acted on it. In the early days of the sport, surfing was largely dispersed via films being shown in high school auditoriums. Then the Gidget movies brought a disjointed view of surfing to a large population. But something was missing … realism.

Alan hanging with Olympic Snowboarder Shaun White

 Alan had a vision to bring the real sport of surfing to living rooms all over America and around the world. He formed a company called DynoComm in the 1980s and staffed his production company with state-of-the-art cameras and editing facilities costing millions of dollars. Next, he had to form alliances with different surf organizations like the PSAA and ASP to broadcast entire tours up and down the coast of California and eventually all over the world. Alan said it was timing. “We were there at the right time; the surf industry was growing from a million-dollar industry to a billion-dollar industry, and it needed television to expand and reach kids all over the world.”

With Kelly Slater 1994.


For the first time, surfing was being recognized as a true sport, finding its spot on Prime Ticket and ESPN on a weekly basis. Names like Tom Curren, Dino Andino, Kelly Slater, Shane Beschen, and many more were becoming household names thanks to weekly televised surf contests. Alan said it was a labor of love. “I loved every surfing event we covered; every single contest was unique. Hawaii, Australia, Fiji, Europe, Indonesia, South America, and yes, Huntington Beach in front of 100,000 screaming fans.”

The logistics in televising worldwide surfing was a challenge, arranging flights and hotels for his traveling technical team, transporting a ton of broadcast gear, and then filming or videotaping the events, hustling back to edit all the material, and delivering it to the networks to be shown all over the world. His on-air broadcast team consisted of myself and the first world surfing Champion Peter Townend, who is known as P.T. We traveled the world together covering the sport we loved so much. P.T. praised Alan and his accomplishments. “Alan Gibby was a modern pioneer of surfing on TV in the ‘80s,’ 90s and beyond.” He added, “Alan captured some of the most memorable moments of the sport like Kelly Slater’s first big win at Trestles in 1990 at the Body Glove Surfbout, and his documentation of the sport through the end of the century is invaluable to the history of the sport.”

Gibby working the crane at the 1986 OP Pro.


It has taken decades to understand the mark Alan Gibby has made on the sport of surfing. Even though this humble man will tell you it was his DynoComm team that made his projects a success, the underlying fact is that Alan was at the helm, and he’s received accolades from every corner of the surf world. Bob Hurly, chairman and founder of Hurley, said, “Alan Gibby is arguably the single most important figure in the astonishing accelerated growth of the action sports industry, he provided access to millions of viewers on sports that were largely unseen to the general public.”  

But Gibby did not stop there. He tackled skateboarding, jet skiing and snowboarding. He put the word “action” into action sports on TV. He launched 1,300+ Action Sports TV Specials over 25 years, including 750 world televised surfing events. Alan admitted, “For a kid inspired by ‘Endless Summer’ and ‘Five Summer Stories’ it was all a dream come true.” And with a smile on his well-tanned face he concluded, “We had fun doing it!” 

My hope is that one day Alan Gibby’s name will appear on the Huntington Beach Walk of Fame and the San Clemente Sports Hall of Fame. It’s only fair and fitting.