1962: The Surfaris

 Nov, 03 - 2013   no comments   1960s Music

The Surfaris were an American surf rock band formed in Glendora, California in 1962.

They are best known for two songs that hit the charts in the Los Angeles, California area, and nationally by May 1963: “Surfer Joe” on the A-side and “Wipe Out” on the B-side of a 45 RPM single.

The Surfaris.

The Surfaris. (Photo credit: ancient history)

The original band members were Ron Wilson (drums, vocals), Jim Fuller (lead guitar), Bob Berryhill (rhythm guitar) and Pat Connolly (bass).

In the fall of 1962, Southern California high school students Jim Fuller and Pat Connolly called friend and guitarist Berryhill for a practice session at Berryhill’s house.

The trio practiced for about 4 hours and met drummer Wilson at a high school dance later that evening, whereupon the band was born. “Wipe Out” was written and recorded by the quartet later that winter, with the song reaching #2 nationally in 1963 before becoming an international hit.

Saxophone player Jim Pash joined after their “Wipe Out” / “Surfer Joe” recording sessions at Pal Studios. Ken Forssi, later of Love, played bass with The Surfaris after Pat Connolly.

English: Musicians, surf rockers the Surfaris

English: Musicians, surf rockers the Surfaris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The band released a series of records, with two other singles, “Surfer Joe” (written and sung by Wilson) and “Point Panic” (another group-composed instrumental), having an impact on the charts. Point Panic is a renowned surfing venue in Hawaii after which the song was named.

The original 1963 membership remained intact until August 1965 when Connolly departed before their Japanese tour. Ken Forssi replaced him on bass for the tour. Fuller resigned after the tour and the band folded in early 1966.

The group has periodically reunited and are still active, performing and recording, often re-recording their old and new songs. Drummer Ron Wilson died on 12 May 1989, one month short of his 45th birthday. Wilson had released an album of his songs, entitled Lost It In The Surf, on Bennet House Records of Grass Valley, California, which was recorded in June 1987.

A very small number of cassettes of this album were produced. Lost It in the Surf included a cover of “Louie Louie“, complete with Scottish bagpipes. Forssi died from a brain tumor in 1998, and Pash died from heart failure in 2005.

Bob Berryhill currently performs under the Surfaris banner as “Bob Berryhill’s Surfaris.” Jim Fuller currently plays with his own band, “Jim Fuller and the Beatnik.” Connolly has since left the music business.

  • Pop/Rock
  • Frat Rock
  • Instrumental Rock
  • Surf
  • Early Pop/Rock
  •  Glendora, California
  • 1962
  •  1962 – 2010s
  • Bob Berryhill *
  • Jim Fuller *
  • Jim Pash d.2005
  • Ken Forssi
  • Pat Connolly *
  • Ron Wilson * d.1989
  • 1963: Wipe Out (Dot 3535)
  • 1963: The Surfaris Play (Decca 4470)
  • 1964: Hit City ’64 (Decca 4487)
  • 1964: Fun City USA (Decca 4560)
  • 1965: Hit City ’65 (Decca 4614)
  • 1965: It Ain’t Me, Babe (Decca 4683)
  • 1994: Surf Party – The Best of The Surfaris Live (GNP Crescendo 2239)
  • 2005: Wipe Out

Year /Song Title /Highest US Chart Position

A Surfer’s Christmas List
Batman 1963 The Surfaris Play
Jack the Ripper 1963 The Surfaris Play
I’m Leaving Town 1964 Fun City, U.S.A.
Little Deuce Coupe 2005 Hit City 64 / Fun City, USA
Hi-Heel Sneakers 1965 Hit City ’65
Louie, Louie 1964 Hit City 64
Surfaris Stomp 1963 The Surfaris Play
Surfing Drums 1963 The Surfaris Play
Hot Dog Graveyard 2008 Fun City, U.S.A. / Wipe Out
She’s a Woman 1965 Hit City ’65
Murphy the Surfie 1964 Fun City, U.S.A.
Gone, Gone, Gone 1965 Hit City ’65
My Buddy Seat 1965 Hit City ’65
Scratch 1964 Hit City 64
Wiggle Wobble 1963 Wipe Out and Surfer Joe and Other Popular Selections by Other Instrumental Groups
Similau 1963 The Surfaris Play
Wild Weekend 1963 Wipe Out and Surfer Joe and Other Popular Selections by Other Instrumental Groups
Catch a Little Ride With Me
Wax, Board and Woodie 1964 Hit City 64
You Can’t Sit Down 1963 Wipe Out and Surfer Joe and Other Popular Selections by Other Instrumental Groups
Torquay 1963 Wipe Out and Surfer Joe and Other Popular Selections by Other Instrumental Groups
Don’t Hurt My Little Sister
Hot Rod High 1964 Fun City, U.S.A.
Surfer Joe 1963 Wipe Out and Surfer Joe and Other Popular Selections by Other Instrumental Groups
Mystic Island Drums 1964 Hit City 64
Hiawatha 1964 Hit City 64
I Wanna Take a Trip to the Islands 1964 Hit City 64
Go Go Go for Louie’s Place 1964 Fun City, U.S.A.
Hey Joe Where Are You Going
Leader of the Laundromat 1965 Hit City ’65


Wilson’s energetic drum solo made “Wipe Out” one of the best-remembered instrumental songs of the period. “Wipe Out” is also remembered particularly for its introduction. Before the music starts, Berryhill’s dad broke a board (imitating a breaking surf board) near the mic, followed by a maniacal laugh and the words “Wipe Out” spoken by band manager Dale Smallin. “Wipe Out” was written in the studio by the four original members (Berryhill, Connolly, Fuller & Wilson) and was originally going to be titled “Switchblade”. It sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc

  •   Decca Records
  •   Dot Records
  •   GNP Crescendo Record Co.

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