The Wilson Brothers (and cousin, and sometimes friend), better known as the Beach Boys, once released a song that shared the same name as this essay and pictorial. In it they lamented (as much as any Beach Boys song could be a lament) that though they had “been all around this great big world, and…seen all kinds of girls” they couldn’t “wait to get back to the States, back to the cutest girls in the world,” which they posited were California Girls.
And in August 1982 we didn’t disagree. The below feature, with words by Herbert Gold, candidly caught the Californian beauties at their finest: surfing, soaking up the sun and dabbling in the general pleasures of the West Coast. Today we bring it back for you to enjoy while the summer sun still sits high in the sky.
They appear for early test runs in Malibu, La Jolla, North Beach, Big Sur and Carmel, Mill Valley, Mendocino; and sometimes they hurry off coltishly to jobs in San Francisco, L.A. or San Diego, even to San Jose and Sacramento, where they reconstitute springtime for everyone. In coffeehouses, alighting from sports cars, in the racquetball and squash clubs, on the tennis courts—everywhere in California—the California Girl, bless her, has a tendency to turn life into a festival. A festival that starts on the first day you see her.
“Ees bettair zan a keek in zee behind” may not be the finest French compliment the California girl has ever received, but a French friend accustomed to the green-skinned winter girls of Paris found that so much health required getting used to. His heart was broken by a series of laughing ladies who were more athletic than he, sometimes taller, surely sweeter-smelling and more carefree than an international investment banker. The one who did him in worst worked in microchips in the Silicon Valley of Santa Clara, could decode Japanese symbols and Japanese menus and had a pink, uncoated tongue and brain impasted with layers of I.Q.
We are all proud of the fact that California is the ninth largest industrial power in the world. The summer girl contributes to that power from her command post on the beach—with her toes wriggling with delight in the sand…
Read the rest of Herbert Gold’s essay and see the full nude pictorial from the August 1982 edition of Playboy Magazine in iPlayboy.