Take a look back in time at the beautiful photos that depict what surfer Fred Van Dyke toted as "the greatest feeling the world" --- surfing the big waves on the North Shore of Oahu.
Vintage Color Photos Capture the 'Peril and Ecstasy' of Surfing in 1963
Caption from LIFE. Nick Beck of Honolulu gets up enough speed on his light board to become synchronized with a wave. George Silk—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images.
If there was one message LIFE magazine had for readers in May of 1963, as the surf craze swept the U.S. and popular images of surfers tempted newcomers into the water in the days before wetsuits were common, it was that surfing was fun — but it wasn't all fun and games. It was also dangerous, especially when it came to the waves found off the North Shore of Oahu.