Copyright © 2017 by Malcolm Gault-Williams
All rights reserved.
Surfing along the coasts of the British Isles is far older than most people realize.
It used to be that we thought of surfing in this part of the world as beginning in the 1960s. There is an element of truth in this belief as stand-up surfing did not really catch on in the British Isles until then. However, there had been stand-up surfers long before, as well as the far more numerous “surf bathers” who rode wooden body boards prone off the coasts of many resort areas.
Fact is, Hawaiian surfers first rode at Bridlington, in 1890; a local Briton in North Devon in 1904; numbers of vacationers in Newquay in 1921 and St. Ouen’s Bay in the mid-1920s. At Newquay, surfing on body boards and surf boards has continued to present day.1
In collecting all I could about the subject, I am greatly indebted to the work of Peter Robinson, founder of the Museum of British Surfing; Roger Mansfield, author of “The Surfing Tribe”; the Museum of British Surfing; and J. M. Ormrod, author of “Middle class pleasures and the safe/dangers of surf bathing on the English South Coast 1921-1937.”
For images, my thanks to the Museum of British Surfing and Jeremy Oxenden.
The Chapter as Ebook
This chapter in the LEGENDARY SURFERS collection is available as an ebook for $2.99. To purchase, please go to: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075FRGWZ8/.
The advantages of the ebook are that it is portable, you don't need an internet connection to read it wherever you want to on a PC, tablet or phone. Additionally, it is shareable with friends and family for two weeks and the file is for yours to keep.
I hope you enjoy learning about the earliest days of prone and stand-up surfing in the British Isles!
1 Museum of British Surfing: http://www.museumofbritishsurfing.org.uk/. The 1904 date for Hobart Braddock has not been completely verified.
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