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29th March 2013

Skinner’s Help Preserve Surfing History

Skinner’s Brewery is supporting an exciting new project which is recording the history of surfing in Britain.

‘The First Wave’ is capturing people’s memories about the early days of surfing and how it has changed over the decades, by collecting up to 100 audio and video interviews with the people who have been involved in its development.

These will be available from the National Maritime Museum Cornwall and the Museum of British Surfing in Devon; edited clips and a short film will be on a new website and a display of work will be in the Blue Bar at the end of July, alongside the Cornish and Open Surf Championship in Porthtowan.

Steve Skinner, Chief Executive of Skinner’s Brewery, is delighted to be involved with the initiative, providing an interview for the memory bank, as well as sponsoring the initiative through his business.

Steve learnt to surf 40 years ago in Jersey, where his son – Ben Skinner who is 16 times British Champion and ranked 2nd in the World Surfing Games – also learnt; Ben is also supporting this project.

Steve explains: “Ben launched the project last year by encouraging a group of students from his old secondary school, Richard Lander in Truro, to think about surfing’s history and what it’s like being a professional surfer today. Surfing in Britain has a fascinating history with just a handful of pioneering people, some of them from Jersey where Ben was born and we both learnt to surf, inspiring the thousands of people who surf today. So much has changed, even in the years that we have been surfing. We are very much looking forward to the stories that will be recorded and shared”.


‘Helen Munro Berry from The First Wave said:

“We are grateful to Skinner’s Brewery for supporting this initiative with sponsorship and fundraising initiatives which will ensure that the history of surfing is told and shared by as many people as possible.  We were delighted to be able to interview Ben and Steve for the project.”


The First Wave was initiated and is being delivered by Porthtowan Surf Life Saving Club, one of the first surf clubs in Britain and home to some of Britain’s earliest surfers, with support from the Museum of British Surfing, the National Maritime Museum Cornwall and the Cornwall Audio Visual Archive.  As well as sponsorship from Skinner’s, the project has received a grant of £44,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.


The Museum of British Surfing based in Devon is a partner in the project and has the largest collection of surfboards and memorabilia in Europe; its continuing research has uncovered surfing in Britain as early as 1890.


Director of the Museum, Peter Robinson said:

“Recording people’s personal histories is vital to the preservation of Britain’s rich surfing heritage. Talking story is an essential part of surfing culture – as surfers we love to talk about the waves we have ridden in our lives, and express our deep feelings about how surfing affects our lives.”


The interviews will be displayed in an exhibition at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall from mid-July, alongside a number of surfboards from the Museum of British surfing’s extensive collection.


Ben Lumby from the National Maritime Museum Cornwall says:

“Cornwall oozes surfing heritage and we are really pleased to be able to showcase this material over the summer months. It should make for a fascinating and colourful display.”


For more information on Skinner’s Brewery please visit




Editor’s Notes


Contact: Helen Mulhern at Eventy – Marketing & PR on 01326 376273 /


Photo: Please find attached a photo of (from left to right) Ben and Steve Skinner; also one of Ben surfing.  Higher res versions and a range of alternatives are available upon request.


Further Information: Skinner’s Brewery is a microbrewery in Truro that produces traditional cask and bottle conditioned ales and beers.  The ‘Betty Stogs’ bitter has won more national and local awards than any other Cornish beer.


About Porthtowan SLSC: Porthtowan Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC), was founded in 1955 – one of the first surf clubs in Britain. It was set up in order to employ lifeguards and prevent loss of life. It also encouraged (and still does) a love of the ocean, organising activities and providing equipment for people to get more involved in the water. In the ‘50s and ‘60s it became a centre for those interested in surfing and fostered the development of the radical new sport in Britain.  The first ‘Cornish and Open Surfing Contest’ was organised by the club in 1966 and soon became a highlight in many surfers’ calendars. The second longest running surf competition ever, it attracted great talent and inspired hundreds of young surfers. Porthtowan SLSC’s main aim is still “to save life”- whether by prevention or by rescue from the sea. Website:


About the Heritage Lottery Fund: Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage.  HLF has supported over 30,000 projects, allocating £4.6billion across the UK. Website: