Surfing history preserved by Skinner’s Brewery

Surfing history preserved by Skinner’s Brewery

An exciting new project which aims to record the history of surfing in the UK is being supported by Skinner’s Brewery. ‘The First Wave’ aims to trigger people’s memories and think back to the very early days of British surfing and how it has changed over the ensuing decades. The project hopes to collect as many 100 video and audio interviews with those most involved in the development of the sport.

Once completed, they will be available for viewing at both Devon’s Museum of British Surfing and the National Maritime Museum in Cornwall. A short film and edited clips will also appear on a new website and a display will take place in the Blue Bar in July to tie in with the Cornish and Open Surf Championship taking place in Porthtowan.

Steve Skinner, Chief Executive of Skinner’s Brewery, is delighted to be involved with the initiative, providing an interview for the memory bank, as well as sponsoring the initiative through his business.

Steve learnt to surf 40 years ago in Jersey, where his son – Ben Skinner who is 16 times British Champion and ranked 2nd in the World Surfing Games – also learnt; Ben is also supporting this project.

Steve explains: “Ben launched the project last year by encouraging a group of students from his old secondary school, Richard Lander in Truro, to think about surfing’s history and what it’s like being a professional surfer today. Surfing in Britain has a fascinating history with just a handful of pioneering people, some of them from Jersey where Ben was born and we both learnt to surf, inspiring the thousands of people who surf today. So much has changed, even in the years that we have been surfing. We are very much looking forward to the stories that will be recorded and shared”.

‘Helen Munro Berry from The First Wave said:

“We are grateful to Skinner’s Brewery for supporting this initiative with sponsorship and fundraising initiatives which will ensure that the history of surfing is told and shared by as many people as possible.  We were delighted to be able to interview Ben and Steve for the project.”

The First Wave was initiated and is being delivered by Porthtowan Surf Life Saving Club, one of the first surf clubs in Britain and home to some of Britain’s earliest surfers, with support from the Museum of British Surfing, the National Maritime Museum Cornwall and the Cornwall Audio Visual Archive. As well as sponsorship from Skinner’s, the project has received a grant of £44,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Museum of British Surfing based in Devon is a partner in the project and has the largest collection of surfboards and memorabilia in Europe; its continuing research has uncovered surfing in Britain as early as 1890.

Director of the Museum, Peter Robinson said:

“Recording people’s personal histories is vital to the preservation of Britain’s rich surfing heritage. Talking story is an essential part of surfing culture – as surfers we love to talk about the waves we have ridden in our lives, and express our deep feelings about how surfing affects our lives.”

The interviews will be displayed in an exhibition at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall from mid-July, alongside a number of surfboards from the Museum of British surfing’s extensive collection.

Ben Lumby from the National Maritime Museum Cornwall says:

“Cornwall oozes surfing heritage and we are really pleased to be able to showcase this material over the summer months. It should make for a fascinating and colourful display.”