Home » Surfing » Timeline: History of Surfing in the UK

Timeline: History of Surfing in the UK


Controversy spurs over the £3 million bill Boscombe Surf reef, have taxpayers money been soaked up or is there still hope for its flaws to be fixed? Here is a timeline that takes you through some of the most important moments of surfing.

1778- Captain James Cook first saw people riding waves on wooden surfboards in Hawaii.

1928- Australian champion and surfer Charles ‘Snow’ McAllister gave a demonstration of surfing in England

1950- The sport was becoming popular and was carried forward by pioneering individuals in Cornwall and the Channel Islands.

1962- A cult group of surfers came together riding the new fibreglass surfboards in Newquay

1963- Australian lifeguards – Bob Head, Ian Tiley, John Campbell and Warren Mitchell played a major role popularising surfing in the UK.

1975- Second Skin Surf shop manufactured over 30,000 wetsuits in the UK, becoming Britain’s most popular surf brand.

1987- the Animal brand, based in Poole started when two surfers needed a durable watch to survive in surfing conditions.

1993 – Bournemouth ‘unofficially’ becomes a recognised spot to surf.

2008 – Europe’s first articifial surf reef is contracted to be built in Boscombe, Bournemouth.

2009 – The surf reef is officially opened after a one year delay is deemed ‘sub standard’ and is not found to be not working as well as it should be.

2010 – Boscombe surf reef is criticized for not working as well as it should, it is accused of being dangerous and the council are advised not to pay any more money to the European company behind the construction of the surf reef until it improves.



  1. Very interesting timeline here! I had no idea! Keep up the blogging!

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    • I don’t mind at all that’s no problem!
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Peter Fowler

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