It has two major forms:
largely instrumental surf rock, with an electric guitar or saxophone playing the main melody, largely pioneered by Dick Dale and the Del-Tones, and vocal surf pop, including both surf ballads and dance music, often with strong harmonies that are most associated with the Beach Boys.
The surf music sound was dominated by electric guitars played through spring reverb and using the vibrato arm (tremelo or whammy bar) on their guitar to bend the pitch of notes downward. Surf music was one of the early adopters of the electric bass. Surf music often used an electric organ or an electric piano featured as backing harmony.
Many notable surf bands have been equally noted for both surf instrumental and surf pop music, so surf music is generally considered as a single genre despite the variety of these styles. During the later stages of the surf music craze, many groups started to leave surfing behind and write songs about cars and girls; this was later known as hot rod rock. Surf music is often referred to as simply surf rock, even though the genre has many forms.
Surf music is a genre of popular music associated with surf culture, particularly as found in Orange County and other areas of Southern California. It was especially popular from 1961 to 1966, has subsequently been revived and was highly influential on subsequent rock music.
- defintion from Wikipedia -