The jumpy rhythms and sinewy melodies of "Surf Rider" originally began life as another song, "Spudnik," by another band, the Ventures. But the Orange County surf rockers the Lively Ones were respectful and asked the Ventures if they would allow them to use a few "musical phrases" from their song.
"We were pretty surprised when 'Surf Rider' became a hit as a note-for-note cover of 'Spudnik,'" the Ventures' Bob Bogle lead guitarist said in the band's biography. "We had no problem with that, as long as they directed royalties to Nokie [Edwards, bass]." Later, when the Ventures needed another surf song to follow-up "Pipeline" in 1963 they just rerecorded "Spudnik" and called it "Surf Rider."
As a result of the Lively Ones' recording on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack making it into the end credits as John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson walk out of the diner, the Ventures have gotten multiple platinum plaques for the song – something rhythm guitarist Don Wilson said initially was a reminder they had even written the track in the first place.