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Unearthed: Photos of Prince Charles surfing in Britain

His Royal Aston Martin and Prince Charles : image courtesy Museum of British Surfing


Surf History

Locals donate early '70s images of Prince Charles, reveal that he would drop in on them...

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 14 June, 2012 : - - These images of a young surfer seem like a typical sight on a Cornish beach – but they are in fact believed to be the first-ever images of Prince Charles surfing in Britain. The pictures were taken at Constantine Bay between 1970 and ’73 when the young Prince would often slip into the sea among the local surfers. It is the first time the images have been seen in public and the first known photograph of him surfing in the UK. 

Parked in behind the beach is his treasured Aston Martin sports car, which Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge drove through London after their wedding in 2011.
The pictures were donated to the Museum of British Surfing by surfer Phil Taylor from Plymouth who took the photos. “His bodyguard was on the beach, so we weren’t sure if we would be OK taking pictures but we decided to give it a go as Charles left the surf,” said Phil. “Cornish surfers Mick Wingfield and Nick McBrean were in the water that day, and it may have been as early as 1970.
According to locals, Prince Charles – then in his early 20s – didn’t have the greatest of knowledge when it came to surfing etiquette. They would often swear at the Prince for “dropping in” on them. Britain has a long tradition of royal surfers – from at least the early 1900s our Royals have been taking to the waves here, in Hawaii and Commonwealth countries – often taking advantage of the royal trip to go for a cheeky surf.
It is thought that the Prince was first introduced to the sport on a visit to Australia. Within five years of these pictures being taken, Charles went on to become patron of the British Surfing Association and in 1978 he hosted the British surfing team at Buckingham Palace before they went off to compete in the World Championships in South Africa.
Other royal surfers include Prince William, who learned to surf in Scotland in 2004 while at university and surfed in North Devon during his stag party in 2011. The Duke of Gloucester opened a wave pool at Wembley Stadium swimming pool in 1934 and surfed in New Zealand, while Edward Windsor surfed in Hawaii in 1920. Viscount Ted Deerhurst became Britain’s first professional surfer in 1978.

Source: Museum of British Surfing

Tags: British Surfing, Prince Charles, History, Royal, Museum of British Surfing, Drop-Ins

History: Surfersvillage


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