Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Museum of British Surfing becomes a charity

Congratulations to The Museum of British Surfing which has just become a charity. "This is wonderful news and a massive boost for the museum project, it is recognition of Britain's surfing heritage and our status as the national body to preserve and celebrate this amazing history on behalf of the British public," said founder Peter Robinson, a former ITV News reporter. "It is also formal backing for the work we are planning to do on education, the environment and health through surfing." The charity application was made possible thanks to the donation of legal fees by Thea Longley of the law firm Bates, Wells and Braithwaite in London. Thea is a bodyboarder and proud VW camper owner who regularly holidays in North Devon.

Plans to open the surf museum in a new purpose built home in Devon are still on track for next summer, and North Devon Plus are helping to get the core funding in place. The Museum of British Surfing has won support from all over the world, including the Surfing Heritage Foundation in California and the Surf World Museum at Victoria, Australia. Alex Dick-Read the editor of the British-published international surfing magazine The Surfer's Path said, "Britain needs a centre for the collection, care, maintenance and dissemination of our rich history and the Museum of British Surfing has been the answer to our prayers. The founders have shown exemplary understanding of archiving, collecting and storing the DNA of UK surfing, but have also successfully enabled this to be spread to people across the country via education and exhibitions in which the surfing and non-surfing public can learn from this store of collective knowledge." Partnerships are being established with the British Surfing Association, the University of Plymouth surf science degree and the environmental campaign group Surfers Against Sewage, along with local organisations such as North Devon's unique Biosphere Reserve.

The first Britons to have a go on a surfboard were members of Captain James Cook's crew in 1779. The earliest references to surfing in Britain date back to the mid 1800s and film exists in the museum's archive of a group of surfers taking to the waves in Cornwall on a homemade wooden longboard in 1929.

Photo shows surfer Hobart Braddick (left) on a North Devon beach in the early 1900s (copyright Museum of British Surfing/Braddick family)

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