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Five-minute history lesson on Cornish surfing

'Tigger' Newling, 1973. Photo courtesy Orca Publications



Surf History

Boardbuilding has been going on in Cornwall for 75 years

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 25 October, 2013 : - - Surfboards have been built in Cornwall since 1938, when Pip Staffieri constructed a hollow wooden ‘cigar-box’ board, based on a Tom Blake design.

However, it wasn’t until the first fibreglass boards arrived in the county, a quarter of a century later, that the exponential growth of surfing began. Key figures on the Cornish scene in the ‘60s included Bill Bailey and Rod Sumpter, and they in turn inspired the standout Cornish surfers of ‘70s such as Charles Williams and Tigger Newling.

In the decades that followed, Cornwall’s beaches were the training grounds for a stream of outstanding British surfers: Nigel Semmens, Grishka Roberts, Spencer Hargraves, Robyn Davies, Russell Winter, Lee Bartlett, Sam Bleakley, Alan Stokes, Reubyn Ash...the list goes on and on.

The achievements of these and many other Cornish surfers will be highlighted in lecture, with new stories and new photographs bringing a fresh perspective.

“It gives me great pride to be involved with this special event as a contributor,” commented Mansfield, author of the acclaimed book, The Surfing Tribe. “The exhibition and lecture present a unique opportunity for the story of British surfing’s genesis in Cornwall to be told in word, image and artefact.”

A lecture by surf historian Roger Mansfield will be held at the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro, at 2.30pm Saturday 26 October. The talk is part of the Museum’s ‘Surfposium’, a day of special surf-themed events organised in conjunction with the exhibition Endless Summer: The Evolution of Surfing.

Chris Power

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