Museum of British Surfing

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Museum of British Surfing
Museum of British Surfing.jpg
The museum in Braunton
Museum of British Surfing is located in Devon
Museum of British Surfing
Location within Devon
Established6 April 2012 (2012-04-06)
LocationBraunton, Devon, England
Coordinates51°06′29″N 4°09′46″W / 51.1081°N 4.1627°W / 51.1081; -4.1627Coordinates: 51°06′29″N 4°09′46″W / 51.1081°N 4.1627°W / 51.1081; -4.1627
FounderPete Robinson

The Museum of British Surfing, in Braunton in the English county of Devon, contains exhibits relating to the history of surfing in the United Kingdom.

The collection originally started as a travelling exhibition by a group of friends and still maintains a mobile display which travels to surfing spots around the country.[1] An oral history project, The First Wave, which aimed to collect the memories of early British surfers received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.[2]

The permanent site in Braunton opened in 2012 in the old goods shed of the old Braunton Railway Station on the Ilfracombe Branch Line.[3][4] Several grants have been obtained from local councils and charitable trusts to develop "The Yard" (the building which hosts the museum) and the surrounding area including the management of a local skatepark.[5][6] It was awarded the Collections Trust award for "collections on a budget" as a result of the museums commitment to achieving carbon neutral status.[7]

The founder Pete Robinson,[8] who donated his collection of surfboards and surfing memorabilia to start the museum, left the project in 2015.[9] The museum is now run by a board of trustees, Kevin Cook, Charlie Spurr, Ian Watson and Christian Dormer.

The collection now includes over 200 different designs and shapes of surfboards, many elaborately decorated. Some of the earliest board, known as coffin lids, were made by a local undertaker and used in the 1920s and 1930s. There are also videos and photographs including one of Devonian Agatha Christie with a surfboard in Waikiki.[10] There is also a photograph of King Edward VIII when he was Prince of Wales, also surfing at Waikiki, illustrating the aristocratic nature of the sport in the first half of the 20th century.[11] A recent exhibition concerned the pioneer in agricultural education John Wrightson who is reputedly the first person in Britain to surf when under the guidance of two Hawaiian princes David Kawānanakoa and Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole he took to a board at Bridlington in 1890.[12][13][14]


  1. ^ "Museum of British Surfing". Culture 24. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  2. ^ "Introduction". The First Wave. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  3. ^ "The Museum Story". Museum of British Surfing. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  4. ^ Booth, Robert (24 August 2012). "Wave hello: the birth of British surfing". Guardian. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  5. ^ "Grant Funding". Museum of British Surfing. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  6. ^ "Museum offers fresh hope to skatepark". Western Morning News. 16 September 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  7. ^ "The opportunity for museums in going green". Collections Trust. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  8. ^ "Wave slave brings surf vibe to shore". Express and Echo. 12 April 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  9. ^ "Museum of British Surfing founder leaves to start new projects". North Devon Journal. 20 April 2015.
  10. ^ Dunford, Martin (20 June 2016). "Cool Place of the Day: Museum of British Surfing, Devon". Independent. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  11. ^ Booth, Robert (4 April 2012). "The Prince of Waves: new UK surf museum unveils sport's noble roots". Guardian. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  12. ^ Britain’s original beach boys - The Times 9 April 2012
  13. ^ Hawaiian Royals Surf Bridlington – in 1890! - Museum of British Surfing website
  14. ^ Malcolm Gault-Williams, Legendary Surfers: The 1930s, Volume 3, Lulu (2012) - Google Books pg. 255