It was the summer of 1978 and was the place to be for an Arizona teenager on a sunny, hot AZ day! It was an oasis in the desert, jam-packed with teenage sunbathers and surfers. It was Big Surf…in the middle of nowhere, in Tempe, Arizona!
What seemed to be the longest line ever, we would wait impatiently with summer pass in hand. Once inside the gates, we were always greeted by the waft of Hawaiian Tropic and greasy french fries, perfectly adding to this desert beach ambience. Burning our feet on the toasty sand, my girlfriends and I would search for the best spot to place our towels in order to catch ultimate rays. Achieving just the right angle was important to maximize uniform tans… as the sun shifted, so did we! The boombox was tuned-in to 98KUPD, zinc oxide applied perfectly on the nose and bikinis adjusted to minimize tan lines….we were set! And there we would stay, for hours, watching the surfers and checking out the hunky lifeguards from behind our Ray-Bans. We would occasionally dip our feet into the water or take a ride down the water slide to cool off.
After a long day relaxing on this AZ beach, now glowing from the sun, we would stuff our towels into our lockers and throw on a sundress, a little mascara and head over to the after party, dancing the night away under the summer night sky to the greatest music ever!
Big Surf has had a great run since opening their doors in October of 1969. Thanks for the totally awesome memories, Big Surf … you brought endless good times to Arizona kids over the years, providing a fun and safe place for us teenagers to hang out during our long hot summers! The company of good friends, zinc oxide & a bikini sprinkled with a beautiful summer day, good tunes & people watching is all we needed to have a total summertime blast!
Postcard by Petley Studios Inc.