The act of riding waves is three thousand years old. The history of surfing is full of stories, documents, surfboards, photographs, videos and ancient craft. Let's open the door to the best surfing museums in the world.
The world has nearly twenty surfing museums open to the general public. From the mainland USA and Hawaii, to Australia and Europe, the heritage of surfers is secured and protected against the power of time in lovingly built museums.
Surfing museums are usually set up by local councils, regional governments, mayors and surf historians; as nonprofit organizations. Ticket fees and private donations usually fund their endeavors.
Architect Stuart Resor established the California Surf Museum in 1986. The space can be visited in Oceanside. It works to actively preserve surfing heritage with its collection of antique artifacts, trophies, boards, magazines and exhibitions.
The Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum was founded in 1988 by Natalie Kotsch. Gawk at the bust of Duke Kahanamoku. Or check out the paddleboard designed in 1935 by surfing innovator Tom Blake.
The Santa Cruz Surfing Museum opened its doors in 1986. Located in the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse, the space has a breathtaking view over Steamer Lane. It is one of the oldest surfing museums in the world. Get ready for incredible surf memorabilia.
The Santa Barbara Surf Museum was established in 1992. This Californian space displays unique surfboards by Swastika, Pacific Systems, Phil Edwards, George Greenough, Greg Noll and Velzy Jacobs. You can also discover unusual skateboards, musical instruments and vintage surf clothing.
The New Jersey Surf Museum was founded in 2010, and covers the origins of surfing in the region as far back as 1912. The museum also explores the close connection of surfing to the environment, and looks at the science of waves. There is a large collection of surfboards, along with memorabilia, surf art and a Surf Simulator.
The Florida Surf Museum was established in 1999. It engages the community in surfing culture with exhibits and educational events, as well as community outreach programs for all ages. The space preserves and documents the unique history and culture of East Coast surfing.
The Texas Surf Museum opened in 2005 at Corpus Christi. Although Texas is not usually known for its surfing roots, the space showcases hundreds of classic boards, replicas, surf shaping tools, and surf movies.
The Honolulu Surf Museum was founded in by James O'Mahoney and Jimmy Buffett. Get in touch with the gold ring worn by Captain James Cook during his exploration of Hawaii aboard the HMS Resolution; see the original surfboard featured in "Apocalypse Now"; check out iconic paintings; and look at some original surf movie posters.
The Surfing Heritage & Culture Center is located in San Clemente. This museum aims to preserve, present and promote surfing's heritage for the appreciation and education of current and future generations. They claim to display the world's largest collection of historic surf images and surfboards.
The North Shore Surf and Cultural Museum was founded in the 1990s by Mark Fragale and John Moore. The space showcases a collection of antique surfboards, including the first motorized surfboard, first snowboard, and old, hollow wooden boards.
Peter Robinson established the Museum of British Surfing in 2012. Europe's one and only surf museum has what's believed to be the largest and most comprehensive public collection on the Old Continent. Here you will find vintage surfboards, documentaries, rare photos, old surf books and art.
The Surf World Museum was founded in 1993 by Peter Troy, Vic Tantau and Alan Reid. Located in Torquay, Australia, it's the world's largest surf and beach culture museum and is home to the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame.
The Surf World Gold Coast was founded in the mid 1990s by Daryl Barnet. This surf museum, located in Currumbin, Australia, houses fascinating exhibits and extensive displays of surfing memorabilia; including surfboards, artwork, movie posters and historic photos.