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‘Drop in’ To the History of British Surfing with a New Display at the Maritime Museum

From 27 June 2013

A new display launching on July 8 at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall celebrates the early pioneers of British surfing.

The First Wave Project charts the development of surfing in Britain, from its early origins of lone surfers riding waves on make-shift wooden boards, to its current status as a cultural phenomenon.


It includes nostalgic, inspiring stories from some of the most influential people of the British surfing scene and features over 100 audio and video clips of how surfing in Britain has changed over the decades.

60 years ago surfing was an almost unthinkable pastime in Britain and was confined to just a handful of brave pioneering souls.  It is a very different story now with thousands of surfers braving the Atlantic’s moods all year round and with Cornwall becoming an internationally established surf destination.

Cornish surfing is steeped in history and everyone who has ever had the privilege of riding a wave on these fine shores will have a story or two to tell. The First Wave aims to deliver this to the public, and maintain the sports rich heritage.  Exhibitions Manager and keen Cornish surfer Ben Lumby says: “We are delighted to be supporting the First Wave Project and including their display here at the Maritime Museum.  Having spent many happy hours surfing Cornish waves and being involved in the local surf scene, this small display provides a fascinating glimpse into the early years of the sport. We would also like to thank the Museum of British Surfing for lending us a couple of their boards to include in the display." 

The new display at the Maritime Museum will feature first-hand accounts from the people who were there, showcased alongside a limited selection of historic surfboards from the Museum of British Surfing’s extensive collection.  The display will be at the Maritime Museum from July 8 until September 15. You can find out more about the First Wave Project at www.thefirstwave.co.uk