The Museum of British Surfing
The surfing museum project began in 2003 with a generous donation from the family of the late Viscount Ted Deerhurst, Britain’s first professional surfer and a personal hero of our founder Pete Robinson. Since that time it has staged touring exhibitions at museums all over the UK that have been seen by around 400,000 people. In 2009 it became a Registered Charity (1131433), establishing itself as the national body responsible for looking after Britain’s rich surfing heritage that dates back more than two centuries. In the true spirit of the surfing community, surfers have stepped forward to help create something really special in our adopted home of North Devon – a huge thank you goes out to everyone who has made us feel so welcome in the ‘green county’ and helped to get us open.
The Museum of British Surfing itself opened its new exhibition and event venue in the centre of Braunton on the North Devon coast for the first time on Good Friday – April 6th 2012. It won a national museum’s award and had more than 3,000 visitors through its doors in just the first three months of opening. Surfing has taken place on the area’s beaches since the early 1900s, and the village became a hub for the fledgling surfing industry in the 1960s and early ’70s with its position as a gateway to the beaches of Saunton, Croyde, Putsborough, Woolacombe and Westward Ho!
The bulk of the museum’s collection was purchased between 1997 and 2012 by Pete Robinson, and donated to the charity as his founding gift. In the last few years it has been boosted by many public donations of surfing and beech items, and now has the most extensive and historically significant collection of vintage surfboards, literature and memorabilia on public display and for academic research in Europe.
Our policy with vintage surfboards is to collect at least one example of each British shaper. We also take in foreign-made surfboards if they have an important connection with British surfing.
Exhibitions and events
We’ve developed a flexible and innovative museum – each year you’ll see a new themed exhibition at our venue which will then go on tour around the UK. Alongside this we have smaller outreach displays and regular events at The Yard and other locations in North Devon and beyond, featuring music, film, art and culture.
There is a special focus on young people and those who might never have been to the coast – we plan to take them to beach and our collection ‘on the road’! Look out for our special beach days, and surfing & skateboarding events. You’ll continue to see our touring exhibitions at venues around the UK, along with other exciting installations designed to keep us flowing like a surfer on a wave.
For information about our current exhibitions, please visit our What’s On page: http://www.museumofbritishsurfing.org.uk/events/
Our admission times vary throughout the year so please check on our website, or call us for up-to-date information.
We have a small entrance fee which then entitles the visitor to free re-admission for the rest of that year. Again, please check our website for further information.