The Surfing Tribe by Roger Mansfield

This book is saving my land-locked holiday! It is 'A History of Surfing in Britain' written by Roger Mansfield who was born in Newquay in 1952, started surfing in 1958 and was British Surfing Champion in 1970. I liked the look of this book from the moment I saw the cover with its muted 50's looking colours and photograph of the Jersey Surfboard Club from 1959.

It actually starts with a look back to the first reports of surfing in Hawaii by Captain Cook in the late 18th century and then slips into fantastic stories of the beginnings of surfing in the UK with Jimmy Dix and Pip Staffieri (with his 165lbs homemade board!). It then outlines the infectious spread of surfing and surfing culture from Jersey through Guernsey to Cornwall and on...

The book is a fantastic read for me as I get into surfing and have it all to discover, but it's also nostalgic as I realize how surfing culture has touched me from a very early age in many ways. It's also amazing to consider how relatively recent the whole surfing culture / art thing is. It's also interesting to see how surfing's evolution was suddenly transformed by the invention of fibreglass surfboards. (Now modern surfboard design is much more varied: the tradition of technological advance being embodied by carbon fibre boards whilst we are also enjoying the re-emergence and refinement of traditional materials like wood and bamboo.)

I'm rambling now, better get back to reading. You can go to Roger Mansfield's site here and buy signed copies of The Surfing Tribe from the Orca Shop by clicking here.


  1. Land locked sucks ! My deepest sympathy.
    I have managed to avoid the whole going on holiday thing this year, and so far so good.


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