A major new exhibition at the award-winning Museum of British Surfing will look at the decade when modern surfing culture first washed ashore on the UK’s beaches in the 1960s.
Exactly 50 years after the Britain’s first surf shop opened its doors, ‘Sixties SURFER!’ will tap into the source of this new wave of surfers, and the enduring footsteps they left in the sand for generations of dedicated wave-riders to follow.
Museum founder Peter Robinson sets the scene: “A massive sea change occurred in the swinging Sixties when the UK met Malibu, Bondi and the Beach Boys head-on, and a new surfing culture was imported from foreign shores. In the 70 years before this surfing had been quite a genteel affair with a handful of hardy pioneers, wooden surfboards & woollen bathing suits.”
‘Sixties SURFER!’ will be the biggest display of original British surfboards and memorabilia from the 1960s ever seen in the UK, and will sample the films, photography, music and fashions of this groundbreaking decade.
“Make sure you come along and ‘hang ten’ with us this year, and check out the radical ‘baggies’, ‘Malibu boards’ and first wetsuits that changed the face of British surfing forever,” says Peter.
The exhibition has been made possible by sponsorship from businesses across Devon and Cornwall including 1960s wetsuit pioneer Gul, Wavelength surfing magazine, Finisterre clothing, Skinners Brewery, The Thatch pub, Marsdens Cottage Holidays, Parkin Estates and The Red Barn pub.
The Museum of British Surfing is a registered charity and opened in Braunton, North Devon for the first time in April 2012. It is the first and only dedicated museum celebrating surfing history in Europe.
Alongside the new temporary exhibition, there are sections on early surfing history, North Devon surfing and the environment and special children’s activities.
The earliest recorded surfing in Britain took place in 1890 when two Hawaiian princes and their English guardian rode waves at Bridlington on the East Yorkshire coast.