Culture of Surfing Showcased at the California Surf Museum
The California Surf Museum chronicles the rich history of surfing through fascinating exhibits, programs and memorabilia. Former board member, Boyd Scofield, shares his insights on how the museum started and the direction that it’s taking with Visit Oceanside’s Guest Blogger, Jolee Pink.
About Boyd Scofield: Local Business Consultant, Emcee/Announcer, Media/PR, Musicologist at Ghost Rider Productions. Greater San Diego Area Public Relations and Communications. National Award Winning Radio Personality/TV Announcer. Owner/CEO of Surfbooks.com. Oceanside Resident for 7 Years. Avid Surfer.
Jolee Pink: What’s your personal connection to surfing?
Boyd Scofield: My love and afinity for Mother Ocean has been a lifelong endeavor. Over the past 54 years, I have surfed the entire West coast fromBrookings, Oregon to Land’s End in Baja. I moved to Hawaii in 1980 to pursue my budding radio career and lived there for 29 wonderful years. During my Hawaii tenure, I would vacation here yearly and eventually moved back to Oceanside to be closer to family. The town has always held a special place in my heart. I still work for Surf News NetworkHawaii and have been an announcer for the prestigious Triple Crown of Surfing as well as the annual Duke Kahanamoku Ocean Fest. I served on the board of directors for the California Surf Museum (CSM) as their media and PR guy for four years. I still consult with CSM on an informal basis regarding Surf Magazines and Books and surfing history. I currently own the business and website of Surfbooks.com the world’s best resource for surfing literature. I also still attend their exciting events and exhibits. It is a wonderful, evolving facility and a valuable community asset.
JP: What year did the surf museum open?
BS: The initial “seed” idea was planted in 1986 by Encinitas surfer Stuart Resor, and George’s Restaurant owner Jane Schmauss. They both realized the important, positive impact surfing has had on the world and the importance of preserving that history. To begin, they began displaying older surfboards and historic surfing artifacts and photos at George’s Restaurant. As people’s interest grew, and after several venue changes, CSM moved into their current Oceanside facility on Pier View Way in 2009. Jane Schmauss still actively remains on staff as the official CSM Historian and is always happy to exchange her wealth of stories and information to one and all upon request.
JP: How many square feet of exhibit space does it house?
BS: I believe it to be around 5,000 square feet of exhibit space. This is good because enthusiasts are continually bringing in and donating items of historical interest. Due to the donors generosity I’m sure that somewhere down the road CSM will need to move into a larger facility. As you know, today, interest in surfing, and, in particular, its history has never been higher. With the growth of social media and the internet creating even more awareness of this exciting sport, CSM will be bulging at the seams pretty soon. Surfing was just recently accepted by the IOC as a new sport within the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
JP: What is the general mission of the surf museum?
BS: I quote from their website: “The California Surf Museum serves as an international repository and resource center on the lifestyle sport of surfing through capturing, preserving, and chronicling its art, culture and heritage for the education and enjoyment of future generations.”
JP: Is there a particular display or surfboard that you find astonishing?
BS: There are many really. The Bethany Hamilton surfboard, the one she was riding when she lost her arm in that vicious shark attack on Kauai years ago, immediately comes to mind. I have watched vistors marvel at the size of the missing chunk of surfboard foam the shark took along with Bethany’s arm. The very fact that she survived the attack, recovered and then returned to the sport she loves months later to compete and eventually win contests is truly inspirational. The Hollywood film “Soul Surfer”, I believe, did a great job of telling her story. Looking at the surfboard she rode that fateful day still gives me, and visitors alike, what in Hawaii is known as a “chicken skin” moment. A viewing is not to be missed and it’s right here in Oceanside on display at CSM.
JP: What are some of the more interesting exhibits and/or events in the past?
BS: Well, how much time do we have? (laughs). ALL of the exhibits are fascinating and informative and presented in a way that is not overwhelming or boring. Which can be the case in some of the stodgier museums you might visit. I for one, really admire the older wooden boards that were ridden back at the turn of the last century and beyond. Many weighed over 100 pounds and you wonder how did they lug them down to the beach? Having started surfing myself in the 1960s, I also enjoy viewing the boards of that golden era that have now grown tremendously in value since then. Many that were discarded or thrown away by their original owners years ago now can command thousands of dollars at auction. It’s astounding! I enjoy it all. The historic photos, the trophies, the beachwear, the music, the lifestyle and the many surviving surfing legends that you can meet on any given day at CSM is exhilarating.
JP: Any exciting news on tap for the future?
BS: Exhibits and events are continually rotating and evolving. I encourage all residents and visitors alike to check the CSM website, sign up for their email newsletter and I guarantee they will find some fun event they want to attend or an exhibit they wish to view. They’re open 7 days a week from 10am to 4pm with extended hours on Thursday until 8pm to accommodate the Sunset Market crowds in the evening. At only $5 for adults and only $3 for seniors, students and military, it’s the best deal in town!
JP: How does the museum provide a positive resource for the community?
BS: CSM provides families an inexpensive, educational and inspirational venue to spend a few fun hours. Surfing has grown up from its initial “beach bum” image years ago into a multi-billion dollar industry that exudes a positive contribution to the community and a healthy lifestyle for young and old alike.
JP: What are some of the more interesting items available through the museum store?
BS: The CSM store is loaded with ocean related T-Shirts, Surf Mags and Books, artifacts, posters, awesome photography and more. It’s the perfect place for gift items for friends far and near.
JP: Is there anything you would like to add?
BS: Only that I am glad my Mother took me down to the Oceanside Pier on that memorable day in 1962 where I discovered the sport of surfing. It literally changed my life forever in a very positive and often, for me, spiritual way. Riding a wave to shore is an experience that is difficult to put into words. The fun, exhilaration and health benefits are well documented by many others than me. I concur. I also want to encourage your readers to visit CSM not just once, but often. It will always put a happy smile on their face. Now, let’s go surfing! Aloha!
Throughout the year, Oceanside plays host to a variety of surfing tournaments and contests for all ages and skill levels. For additional information and listings of the upcoming competitions, or about your personal favorite, check out the Oceanside Surf Contests page!
About the Author
Jolee Pink is an Oceanside-based writer, designer and artist. She runs the popular Eat Drink SD Facebook group and is also the organizer of North County’s premier, annual culinary arts event: Foodie Fest. Her Wabisabi Green lifestyle blog focuses on art, design, food and travel. For more information, please visit wabisabigreen.com.