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The Surfaris

The Surfaris were an American surf music 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 original band members were Ron Wilson (drums), Jim Fuller (Lead guitar), Bob Berryhill (rhythm guitar) and Pat Connolly (bass). Saxophone player Jim Pash joined after their Wipe Out/Surfer Joe recording sessions at Pal Studios recording. Ken Forssi, later of Love fame, also played bass with The Surfaris.

Ron Wilson's energetic drum solo made "Wipe Out" one of the best-remembered instrumental song of the period. "Wipe Out" is also remembered particularly for its introduction before the music starts, a cracking sound (imitating a breaking surf board), and a maniacal laugh followed by the only two words of the song, "wipe out". "Wipe Out" is often regarded as being the surfing anthem. "Wipe Out" was written in the studio by the four original members on the spot (Berryhill, Connolly, Fuller, Wilson), and was originally going to be titled "Switchblade" which was rejected by the group since the cracking board sound of a wipe out was more exciting.

The band released a series of records, with two other singles,"Surfer Joe" and "Point Panic", having an impact on the charts. (Point Panic is a renowned surfing venue in Hawaii named after the song.)

The Surfaris disbanded in 1966 but have periodically reunited and are still active as of 2008, performing and recording, often re-recording their old and new songs. They still perform as Bob Berryhill's Surfaris and Jim Fuller's Surfaris (two separate groups) all over United States and Europe with a large fan base. Drummer Ron Wilson died 7 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, 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.



  • 1963 The Surfaris Play Wipe Out
  • 1963 Wipe Out
  • 1964 Surfaris Play
  • 1964 Hit City '64
  • 1964 Fun City USA
  • 1965 Hit City '65
  • 1965 It Ain't Me, Babe
  • 2005 Wipe Out


  • 1962 Wipe Out / Surfer Joe
  • 1963 Wipe Out / Surfer Joe
  • 1963 Point Panic / Waikiki Run
  • 1963 Wipe Out / I'm A Hog For You
  • 1964 Murphy The Surfie / Go Go Go For Louie's Place


  • 1973 Yesterdays Pop Scene
  • 1973 Wipe Out, Surfer Joe & Other Great Hits
  • 1976 Surfers Rule
  • 1977 Gone with the Wave
  • 1982 The History of Surf Music
  • 1989 Surfin Hits
  • 1994 Wipe Out! The Best Of
  • 1994 Surf Party!: The Best of the Surfaris Live!
  • 1995 Pulp Rock Instros - Vol 1
  • 1995 Surfaris Stomp
  • 1996 Cowabunga! Surf-Box
  • 1996 Teen Beat - Vol 3
  • 1996 Let's Go Trippin'
  • 1996 Surf Crazy
  • 1997 Guitar Heroes
  • 1997 Hot Rod - Big Boss Instrumentals
  • 1997 Kahuna Classics
  • 1998 Hard Rock Records - Surf
  • 1998 Surf! Sand! Sun!
  • 1998 Wipe Out
  • 1999 Surfers Rule / Gone With The Wave
  • 2000 Water Logged
  • 2000 Teen Beat - Vol 5
  • 2003 Lost Legends Of Surf Guitar - Vol. 02
  • 2003 Basic Tracks w/ Jim Fuller
  • 2005 Wipe Out, Surfer Joe And Other Great Hits
  • 2006 Street Party w/ Jim Fuller


  • One version of the Wipe Out/Ron Wilson drum solo story is that it was conceived from drum cadences used by the Charter Oak High School marching band, where a rhythm was constructed from sixteenth notes played with higher or lower emphasis. Ron basically sped up the tempo and created his own rhythm using that technique. Ron spent four years in Charter Oak and Glendora High School marching bands, competing in parades in Southern California. Another story version gives credit to Hawaiian drum rhythms(Mystic Island Drums).
  • The manic laughing and spoken title at the beginning of "Wipe Out" is the voice of the band's manager, Dale Smallen.
  • "Surfer Joe/Wipe Out" was recorded at Pal Studios in Cucamonga, California.
  • Following the death of television personality Morton Downey, Jr., news reports and obituaries incorrectly credited him as the composer of "Wipe Out" (as well as The Chantays' "Pipeline"). As of 2006, Downey's official website continues to make this claim.
  • Another Southern Californian surf group formed around the same time known as The Surfaris renamed themselves the Original Surfaris following the success of "Wipe Out"
  • Jim Fuller is known as the Godfather of Surf Guitar.
  • "Wipe Out" featured in one of the 1980's Guinness adverts starring Rutger Hauer


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