Goleta - Santa Barbara - Carpinteria, Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Vision of Blue

By Steve Bissell

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“The Blue Morpho”...  All images ©  2011 STEVE BISSELL

Watch the Slideshow Turn your speakers up!

Vision of Blue

    The slide show says it all…  I had four fleeting minutes to condense a hell of a lot of heaven into something legal you could all swallow…and feel what it was like to run with the Panamaniacs back in the day.  Of course most of us finally joined the human herd, which meant no more borrowing cop cars, or going to jail twice in one most interesting evening.  Actually, there was even some beautiful passing scenery, like perfect hissing tubes here and there among the carnage.  All kidding aside, most of us are very lucky to be alive…some of our best are exploring and tearing up other worlds as I write…lets hope the waves are not too “hot” where they have gone!

    Seriously, though…I truly love Panama and all of us that came together in the begining.  There were bad times when bullets and bombs took both Panamanian and American lives…but even then, the few Panamanian and American surfers were and have always been brothers and sisters, and a little international incident never interupted our tube concentration.  Ruben and Thomas Miro were the very first surfers in panama along with Richard Icaza, then came the first Americans, Scott and Ricky Williams, Kenny Myers and a few others.  As they say, THOSE were the days!  It is with a smile that I share this with you and dedicate this short, but deep love story to all my wonderful, life-loving Panamanian amigos and amigas and fellow American surfers who were as lucky as I was to be born and raised there.

Please enjoy my slide show of home…

“Release the Kraken” ...

Steve Bissell lll


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» wrote on 03.04.11 @ 10:28 PM

The Kraken has been released! Truly masterful imagery and sound track my friend. It certainly invokes our memories to time when our lives and the world was a lot simplier. Those are some of best “Cracking” waves Ive seen in a while. Your best slide show so far!

» wrote on 03.04.11 @ 10:28 PM

BEAUTIFUL Steve, thanks for sharing!! You share the beauty and heart and soul of the ocean and surfing!

» wrote on 03.05.11 @ 01:07 AM

The Space Coon strikes again.  Great stuff as usual. Go Blow Go.

» wrote on 03.05.11 @ 01:25 AM

I applaud you for sharing your incredible imagery that so brilliantly captures the same passion that early Isthmian surfers felt when they experienced the thrill of riding waves during the pioneering days of surfing in Panama.  It makes us proud to know that a local bwai from Panama was able to produce work that has broken through the clutter to gain international recognition.  Your work is truly inspiring and its message conveys the indomitable spirit of never settling for less in the quest to capture the perfect wave.  Thank you Steve, for overcoming the daunting physical task of capturing these captivating images.  We are indebted to you for sharing your wonderful imagery, which so generously affords us a glimpse of the early surfing days in Panama. We are grateful to you and to Anna; Ruben and Thomas; Scotty and Ricky; Kenny and Charlie; Teddy and Penny; and all other people who supported you in documenting the pioneers who were involved during the wild, early years of Surfing in Panama.

» wrote on 03.05.11 @ 02:50 AM

hey Biss , great show , chucha !! brot back those priceless ” mastercard ” moments . U KNOW i WANT THE DVD SO KEEP ME POSTED COMPADRE . saludos , Leo

» wrote on 03.05.11 @ 04:22 AM

my PICk of the PiX ; El chombo solito en la cantina , kinda sez it all . L

» wrote on 03.05.11 @ 11:45 AM

Your work is amazing. Here is the good news…........My huband and I moved back to PPanama after a 27 year absence.
The beuty still exist, you really can go home again.

» wrote on 03.05.11 @ 12:40 PM

5 a.m. ping ding!  The kodachrome memories flood in.


» wrote on 03.05.11 @ 12:51 PM

Loved it!

» wrote on 03.05.11 @ 01:13 PM

Steve ,you know I think your work is the best! you really have a gift, I enjoy all your pics. Your not a bad writer either. char

» wrote on 03.05.11 @ 01:42 PM

Poignantly beautiful.
Heart strings pulled and fond memories of that bohio, friendships and the spot. Even the dose puntas en mi cabeza (12 stitches) I earned surfing those ‘green devils’... LOL.

» wrote on 03.05.11 @ 03:05 PM

Once again Stevo we are blessed with your perfect eye. What an amazing amount of soul in each pic. Please put together the long , live version of this show. You will need a much larger venue than the days of past but if you build it they will come.  Miss you Steve! You too Anna and the boys!

» wrote on 03.05.11 @ 03:06 PM

Oye Daddy-0 !!!     
      “Me Quede Asombrado loco !!!”
    fantastic of course!.... just sent this on to
    Tommy y Ruben and others.
      “We miss ya papa… come home sometime..”
        de parte de..the RioMar point Boyz
        y tu hermano Ruperto

» wrote on 03.05.11 @ 07:13 PM

you are a genius.

» wrote on 03.05.11 @ 08:49 PM

GOOD for my soul…Blue water, BIG surf and OOOOoooo the MEMORIES…LOVE your work bebe, this video slide show IS the BEST!!! Mil Gracias Amigo!

» wrote on 03.05.11 @ 10:43 PM


Please share with your friends.

http://www.SurfingTravelPackages.com  (Panama Surf Trip)


Once again ‘thank you’ for sharing your stoke with others.

» wrote on 03.05.11 @ 11:06 PM

What Stuart Warner said… smile So beautiful!! I love you Steve!

» wrote on 03.06.11 @ 02:58 AM

Thank you so much
I was one of the lucky ones who spent time anchored in the lee of “Island of the Moon” back in the day.
We never met. No total connectivity then as now but damn we had that place to ourselves for decades.So much so that we never crossed paths. ( you probably spent way more time there than I)  Google me and get in touch. If your up for an adventure I’d be proud to have you along
dale dagger

» wrote on 03.06.11 @ 04:00 AM

Very well done

» wrote on 03.06.11 @ 04:32 AM

Epic footage, totally got the vibe! Stoked!!!

» wrote on 03.06.11 @ 04:33 AM

You are space cowboys of the sea…....stones are da; best. photoes super duper!.

» wrote on 03.06.11 @ 12:22 PM

Blast from the past. Glad you put it back together and with ‘new’ music.
Those images bring back great memories of your slideshows in the 70’s.
Keep it up.

» wrote on 03.06.11 @ 01:10 PM

Bro , what have you wrote in photos , memory provoking! A tale of adventure and things lived that most will never have the chance to live . I savour your memories and even today cherish the moments of now but I as well long for the days of before ! PURA VIDA y un BIEN HECHO from A Friend en Costa Rica !

» wrote on 03.06.11 @ 01:28 PM

Awesome, bro…
What a thrill those days must have been.

» wrote on 03.06.11 @ 01:52 PM

Steve, GREAT SLIDE SHOW!!! You brought back many memories of the great times we had at Rio Mar.

» wrote on 03.06.11 @ 05:04 PM

could not load show. Surfed great waves in Panama in 70 with Nering Mark Hill Mickey (labios) Mark Darden. Whatever happened to Cottonhead and Dee Dennerline

» wrote on 03.06.11 @ 05:33 PM

Yesssss!!! Folofo Boy The Classics!!! brought tears to my eyes and soul. Especially the shot of our beloved Brother Mike. Our hearts go out to him and all our brothers who have fallen. May our Lord give them all peace and rest.
God bless you Stevo your the Mon!!!!

» wrote on 03.06.11 @ 09:19 PM

I have always enjoyed your photographic views… These shots are excellente como siempre. So many memories of different places and people. Thanks for a visual treat of home.

» wrote on 03.07.11 @ 01:14 AM

Thanks Steve,
My time in Panama was brief. I did Tits and Rio Mar most. Best was Farfan before a good blow.
Your memories here are deep and sweet.

» wrote on 03.07.11 @ 11:42 AM

Steve- The photography was an excellent capture of such a vital part of so many Pamananic’s lives and treasured memories!!!  Thanks

» wrote on 03.07.11 @ 04:11 PM

Hey Steve, Really great photos.  As an amaturer photographer, I want to say Your photography is excellent..!
If You don’t remember me, I played guitar in the band, where you had a slide show at Sherry’s Birthday party at Balboa Heights…Hank.

» wrote on 03.07.11 @ 10:14 PM

This was a great show…lots of familiar places and faces…..abrazos…..

» wrote on 03.08.11 @ 03:32 PM

Thanks again ,the music is just my taste .this was the best slide show i’ve seen from you. do it again, as just played is again, and again and yes I did flash back too my time in Costa Rica,as Panama was always on our road trips.in Central American As Bob Hope used to say thanks for the memories .

» wrote on 03.08.11 @ 10:25 PM

Que bueno…including the infamous RC….thanks for putting this together, and for allowing us to share with friends.
—Fugitive from Rio Hato ‘accomodations’

» wrote on 03.08.11 @ 11:14 PM

Great photos of a very special place. I actually think I remember some of these from mags in the 70’s? Makes me homesick for Panama again, but blessed to have spent my youth there. Thank you.

» wrote on 03.09.11 @ 03:08 AM

Steve, Can’t thank you enough for being the visual historian of the best years anyone could imagine in Panama. Is that Stars & Stripes Jeep Teddy Henters? Do you remember when I took Freeman & McGillavary to film Rusty Miller at Malibu & the Jeep sunk? I’ll bet they still have the footage, would be intresting to see.Wish you had some shots of us out in front of Ruben & Tomas’ house with the sharks in the background & all the turds floating up on our boards!

» wrote on 03.09.11 @ 06:40 AM

Wow, I love what you did again…always so beautiful and talented in all sensory modes.  It feels like it was yesterday! Love ya, kiks

» wrote on 03.09.11 @ 11:26 AM

Que Pasa my ex brother in law.  Great show.  Last year I visited Panama after a 30 year absence and Rob Roy and his wife took me to Rio Mar and as I stood on the beach the surf scene passed before my eyes.  I visualize all the friends who surfed and the many great times we had and hope to return soon.

» wrote on 03.09.11 @ 05:11 PM

Thanks for shearing Steve! Your eye and Panama were born together - hope to have you soon in this land that greets you, so you could see the smile of many panamanians while they admire, through your art - the beauties of our green country. Cheers!

» wrote on 03.10.11 @ 12:35 AM


Great slide show…the pictures look like they are on a blu-ray HDTV—GREAT shots. I thoroughly enjoyed the show, any more???

Your old Diablo neighbor,

Camille Hendricks Harrington

» wrote on 03.10.11 @ 06:36 PM

Thanks for allowing an outsider in.  The waves and friendships still remain as warm as the waters

» wrote on 03.10.11 @ 08:34 PM

Awesome—brought back many memories!  Thanks.

» wrote on 03.10.11 @ 10:37 PM

A touch of class with memories in the mind.

» wrote on 03.10.11 @ 10:43 PM

Hi Steve!!!!.....Incredible Shots!!!....Rio Mar!!!.... Teats!!!...Santa Cata!!!!..and so many other great shots…Brought back so many memories lived so long ago, back in the 60´s and 70´s when I was a pelaito!.... Really enjoyed the second one with my Uncle Ruben staring, probably into Da Surf, and really young…. tremendo young buay!!!....Will have my Dad see this slide show…..Definitely!!!....

Muchas gracias por este gran regalo para todos nosotros y un gran abrazo desde PTY!....Siempre!!!....

Beto Miró

» wrote on 03.11.11 @ 04:03 AM


I remember the trip we took to this lovely place. You did a great job as usual…. My heart still yearns for those days again and I will never forget….
Thanks for the memories…


» wrote on 03.11.11 @ 06:27 PM

Outstanding Steve!  The beauty, the memories, the music and you captured it all!  Thank you, thank you! 

Becky Brenner
CHS - Class of ‘66

» wrote on 03.11.11 @ 09:36 PM

Awesome Amigo!

Gold Coast alive and well.

Thanks Steve you got de magic eye Mon….

» wrote on 03.12.11 @ 03:32 PM

Thanks so much for the beautiful memories…hoping to get back soon.  This makes it harder to put it off.
Mary Pope

» wrote on 03.12.11 @ 04:16 PM

I made my first visit to Panama in 1996 and found Santa Catalina with a map a Panamanian drew for me on a bar napkin with a note in Spanish.  I dont speak Spanish.  He told me to give to to the school teacher in Santa Catalina who would set me up with a place to stay.  Thats when I first met Punky.  Many had come before me, but I treasure those memories.
Thanks for sharing.

» wrote on 03.12.11 @ 07:00 PM

Hi Steve!  (and Anna and Sunday)
WOW what unbelievable photos Steve.  I remember many of those images and things and people from my childhood, particularly that jeep with the flag on it.
YOu are so unbelievably talented.  Thanks so much for opening up the Panama Memory Hatch for me!  I’ve watched the slide show many times.

» wrote on 03.12.11 @ 10:16 PM

“Bissell the Missel” You have always had the Voodoo spice in you and all your magic has bewitched us who have laughed with you through all the Pana-mania. Thanks Amigo for letting us look through the lens with you.You are a clear and positive print on our photosensative minds. John

» wrote on 03.13.11 @ 02:53 PM

Loved it.

» wrote on 03.14.11 @ 10:34 PM

Total INSPIRATION. Thanks for the memories.

» wrote on 03.15.11 @ 11:14 AM

Dad, as much as I love your photos I love your reading your thoughts and hearing all the crazy stories about you and your friends growing up and surfing in Panama. Thank you for putting this together again for everyone to enjoy. I don’t know how you got it down to just a couple minutes. It’s been so fun to read all the posts from the many people who I grew up with around the house and haven’t seen in years.  Rhonda Call Stabler….call me 805-766-1366.

» wrote on 03.23.11 @ 01:44 PM

The passion that is relflected in these images is pure gold!  This slide video has been tremendously enjoyed by the students in the surf club I sponsor at school here in Florida.  What screams is the genuineness of the country.  Panama is truly a gem and you have brought out its richness!  Compelling!

» wrote on 03.23.11 @ 06:22 PM

hey steve… and anna!!!  o have been wanting to call you for years and so now this!  i am so glad to have seen these photos again, especcccially of you anna, pointing at the sun, in your bathing suit.  sunday sent ronda an old photo of you and me way back when.  so many memories of us and ouar girls going to the pool down to panama and buying material… i am so thrilled that they have gotten in touch again.  i remember going to your house and blasting the music and watching the show. i am so happy for you steve, that you’re getting into your photography again.  i will always remember us.  anna, call me at 608 244-2809

» wrote on 06.14.11 @ 12:14 PM

The true ‘genius’ of the artist is borne over time, as if during this period we expected our photos to be of such enlightening stuff. Behold these 36 years pass by, and, a deeper appreciation of our world now comes to pass. How lucky we are to be alive (still, now) with the magik (and mischief) imprinted for prosperity by this master photographer.  Steve captures the soul of surfing and reveals it for us, inspiration touching a deep emotional cord….....you the MAN !!!! Thanks tr

» wrote on 09.02.11 @ 12:10 PM

Stevo…...Awesome memories! The 2nd to the last foto has my old logo on Ratman’s board…........ would luv to get a print. We will talk @ Stokefest!

» wrote on 12.21.11 @ 05:36 PM

Hey Steve, remember me? It has been about thirty years. Gary Ward was part of our crew, do you still see him? Steve shot the sick photo of Gary standing on the cliff above Rincon on a sick day. I think it was a Surfer cover. I am just kicking back on kauai. Contact me if you see this.

» wrote on 12.27.11 @ 03:54 PM

Steve-Don’t know if you’ll remember me but I’m Cindy Stabler’s sister and Ronda’s aunt. Ronda sent me this slide show and it’s SOOO beautiful. I’ll need to watch it periodically since our winters here in Wisconsin can be oh so long and cold-it will surely ward off cabin fever and I thank you for that. Take care. Carol.

» wrote on 01.16.12 @ 02:38 AM

Wow these photos are so artistic and there are so many photos I really like.
It takes me back to a time when surf spots were kept “secret” and had to be sought after.
The journey in those days to the surf spot was just as important as surfing these spots.
Thank you for sharing! Are you planning a show soon of all your work?

» wrote on 03.07.12 @ 05:11 PM

Steve, Anna~Sunday….So long ago on Salinas street Santa Barbara California…Steve your photos bring back memories when i was surfing at Rincon on a double over head day and who was in the water? Rene Yater, John Ikeard, Herold Iggie and me Bob Armijo with those great surfers, well over head was to say the least. We were paddling to the outside sets but the others kept getting bigger so we kept paddling….I thought damn this is big! So i finally turned around and started paddling got in went left for a bit turned right after a long drop and was screaming across the face went up to the middle and was about to wipe out the white water was forming that giant tube the lip was getting me….i thought this it going to wipe out and to my big surprise who was under me in the same wave? John Ikeard the wave was that big that he pushed me back on my board and saved my ass that day we crossed over each other 4 times before i kicked out.Thought i better share that with you before i forget. One day i will come visit you again all the way from Europe…Email me when you have time amigo~ You bring back memories….Thanks’ Bob~

» wrote on 04.13.12 @ 05:51 AM

Every time I view your photos I think back of all the fun we surf rats had back in the 60’s.  Not to mention the other crazy Santa Barbaria times.  You are such a fine photgrapher and friend.  My love to you and Anna.
Helen, first surfer girl to hit those warm waters, circa 1965.  We are so blessed! P.S. chihuahuas rule!

» wrote on 05.09.12 @ 09:46 PM

It can’t be you?  Love and kisses.

Your old friend from the CZ


» wrote on 05.09.12 @ 09:49 PM

Hey was that naked Kiki???

Forgot to leave my email.

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

» wrote on 12.28.12 @ 12:58 AM

Stevo, brings back many fond memories of riding with you and da boys in the red, white and blue jeep. Will never forget those beautiful times at Malibu (the Panamanian one), Rio Mar, the great waves, all the other great spots, and all the fun we had. T’anks for de memories from one of your bro’s.

» wrote on 12.28.12 @ 09:29 PM

Typical classic Bissell majic!

» wrote on 01.25.13 @ 03:45 PM

Great show! Warm beautiful photos! The thrill of an adventure and love of nature and friends! I remember…. Got to connect to that kodachrome excitement! Thank Steve!

» wrote on 02.01.13 @ 02:58 AM

Awesome slide show! You couldn’t have said it any better “those were the days”. Those of us who grew up in Panama were fortunate because we grew up in a paradaise! Everyone was happy when they headed to the beach! We were loving life. Que viva Panama, I love that place and will always cherish the memories!

» wrote on 02.01.13 @ 02:06 PM

Steve, Great job and you still have it.  Living at Playa Malena near Mariato, not far from Morrillo surf break.  Please come visit one day.  Keep up the great work.  I also loved reading all the comments.  See if you can find the photo of Diana standing by the palm at Rio Mar.  love ya brother. Pablo de Malena

» wrote on 02.01.13 @ 09:39 PM

Such happy memories of the magic of surf life of Panama through the eyes one of our own…  Your images remind me of the many colorful characters populating Rio Mar, Malibu, Rio Teta, and the great Catalina waves.  Thanks for sharing your photos!

» wrote on 04.16.13 @ 06:59 PM

Falofo,thanks for sending this to me.Brings back a lot of good memories.Panamaniacs,Ican’t think of a better word to describe us all back in the 60’s.Tu amigo Pablo.

» wrote on 01.06.14 @ 01:49 AM

Outstanding work. Perfect song selection.

» wrote on 01.20.14 @ 02:40 PM

BB went east on a jet plane to puerto rico, I went southwest to islands and like three water spouts off sb, we collided & J. Boyd became iconic image our time and spot.  it’s a just shot away.  .  .

» wrote on 03.09.14 @ 01:21 PM

Amazing, como siempre, Steve.  And, I agree, la foto del negro en la sala de pindin does say it all!  Panama’s beaches retain their beauty.  You need to visit! Saludes, Islay.

» wrote on 08.04.14 @ 05:00 PM

Steve!  Have been thinking a lot of you and Anna.  Even googled you.  I never did see the video you made of me and Anna at Tits Beach!  Hope you have that in your archives and dust it off sometime.  Would LOVE to see it!!

» wrote on 08.05.14 @ 05:16 AM

Stevo your still the master with the camera.Reflections of a time long lost,but never forgotten,especially with reminders of this caliber.love ya Brother.

» wrote on 08.05.14 @ 05:21 AM

Stevo you still the master,with the camera.flash back of times long lost but never forgotten.especially with thesekind of flashback reminders.love your work Brother.
William Tell Still rides.

» wrote on 02.09.15 @ 11:21 PM

Freddy Frog would have loved this. I wish Rio Mar still looked like this!

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