As Galactus tried to eat Zenn-La, the home planet of the Zenn-Lavian, Norrin Radd made a fateful descision and headed out in a spacecraft to meet with Galactus - offering to become a servant of Galactus to help him finding worlds for food. Galactus agreed to this and so spared Zenn-La, before giving Norrin a portion of his 'Power Cosmic' and - using the image from a fairy tale pulled from Norrin's memories - he transforming Norrin into a silver skinned being with a surfing board that contained the Surfer's cosmic powers.
From this time he was called the Silver Surfer. When the Silver Surfer and Galactus reached Earth, the Fantastic Four caught the Silver Surfer and he helped them to defeat Galactus. As punishment for his actions, Galactus put a barrier around the Earth that prevented the Surfer from leaving.