The Surfer's Cross is used by surfers as a talisman to distinguish the surfer from the rest of society. Its origins are in 1960s surf culture and the most common design is based on a German Iron Cross and features a surfer on a board in the middle of the front side of the cross. The German military decoration was co-opted because young surfers would wear their fathers' war trophies as an anti-establishment statement; eventually, the genuine Iron Cross was replaced by one manufactured for that purpose. The famous custom car designer Ed "Big Daddy" Roth sold various "surfer accessories" in the 1960s that were based on WW 2 German items, like his "surfer's helmet" that is a plastic copy of a German helmet and he also manufactured his own Surfer's Cross. By 1966 Roth claimed to have sold 51,800 crosses and "that Hitler did a hell of a public relations job for me."
Notes and references
Rat Fink: The Art Of Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, Douglas Nason and Greg Escalante, Last Gasp Publishing also Time Magazine, April 22, 1966