Browse Exhibits (8 total)

Sharing Waves: An Oral History Collection of the Everyday Surfer



In partnership with the California State University Oral History Program, a series of interviews with surfers from Southern California have been included to document the experiences of these surfers and to understand how they influence the greater culture of Californians.  By curating the memorabilia of everyday surfers through the medium of a digital archive, the characterization of this imagined community begins to take shape. This work-in-progress has infinite potential due to the collaborative effort be used to educate millions interested in California cultural history with regards to surfing.

Our Gallery hosts a series of collections of various items to explore. Items in the archive chronicle the progression of surf culture over the years in relation to the everyday surfer.  All items are open to users who can comment on the items in order to facilitate the surf history narrative. Take a minute to listen and/or watch each item, then leave a comment.

The Bill Kent Interview was conducted with a retired everyday-surfer from Southern California, Bill Kent.  Bill Kent and another retired surfer Dennis M., discuss the emergence of California's surf culture through the presence of clothes, music, food, cars, and movies.

The Narrative juxtaposes clips from the interview and interpretive analysis of significant symbols of surf culture to foster a necessary dialogue on the ordinary surfers role in supplementing California culture and assisting in maintaining coastal areas. Click on each picture to learn more about each item.

Surf Films


Surfing and surf culture has been the theme of many popular films.

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Music In the Surf World

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During the 1960's, surf culture was a prominent influence on life in Southern California. Surf culture affected all aspects of society and was an integral part in the development and expansion of Southern Californian beach cities. One avenue where Surf Culture had strong elements of influence was in music and the music culture. Music was directly changed in Southern California due to the surf world. The following exhibit will reflect on the reaching influence of surf culture across the music world in California. 

Surfing in Cinema


Films that showcase surfing.

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Beach Car Advertisements

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Spanning from the 1950s-1980s, surf culture and beach life was used to market and sell a whole plethora of items, including cars. Car advertisements showcased the appeal of the ocean and beach living while showcasing the car, wanting the customer to believe that they will get that life of luxury if they owned the car. This was especially present is California, mainly Southern California, where advertisements placed new cars on the sand along the beach, with men and women having a good time at the beach. These advertisements also had somewhat of a sex appeal, as bikini-clad women were almost always present on the sand within the advertisements and helped to further promote that life of luxury. Most importantly, the size of the automobiles was usually highlighted, in order to not only emphasize how many possible beachgoers could fit within the car, but also how much equipment for a day at the back could fit in the car, mainly surfboards, as normal cars would not be able to have that much space. These advertisements ultimately incorporated these elements to sell their product to customers who yearned for a life of luxury, highlighting the appeal of surf culture and beach life.

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Black Lives Matter


California surfing communities showing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Surf Culture

This is just a few pictures of surf culture and a professional surfer from the 1960s to now.

Some of the pictures are as advertisements and so forth.

Some include both male and female surfers.

The Evolution of Long Beach Surf Culture and Beach Life


This exhibit's goal is to showcase the change of Long Beach's surf culture and beach life from before and after the building of the Long Beach shipyard. The shipyard was known for minimizing the size of the waves that the coast would experience and, as a result, minimized the surf life as well.