OCEANSIDE — Surfing legends and founding museum board members gathered at the California Surf Museum on Feb. 19 to celebrate the museum’s 25th anniversary.
Supporters celebrated the progress of the museum that started as an idea drawn on a cocktail napkin by North County local Stuart Resor in 1986.
Resor had finished renovation on a Woody station wagon when the idea hit him that surfboards are worth preserving too. “Old surfboards have value like a Picasso or Rembrandt,” Resor said.
A meeting at George’s Restaurant in Encinitas, owned by Jane Schmauss, followed.
Soon vintage boards were hanging from the restaurant ceiling and surfing posters and framed articles on the sport filled the walls. “The restaurant become a hangout for a lot of the surfing crowd,” Schmauss said.
Schmauss is now the museum historian. She has stood by the dream for 25 years and seen the California Surf Museum through six different locations. “I thought it was a great concept,” Schmauss said.
Among the original board members was June Chocheles, who had worked at the Smithsonian. “She guided us through the right steps,” Schmauss said. “We did all the paperwork to get a 501c3 classification and were off.”
The museum continued to expand its collection as it moved into bigger facilities. “We have DVDs, CDs, records, clothing, boards, leashes, wetsuits, photographs,” Schmauss said. “We’re growing constantly. People keep bringing us stuff.”
The California Surf Museum moved to Oceanside in 1991. In 2009 the museum found its present home in the custom renovated building at 312 Pier View Way. “Oceanside embraced us,” Schmauss said. “We couldn’t be happier.”
The museum has extensive room for exhibit displays, an archive room and storage space for its collection. “It’s phenomenal to see the changes in the last two years,” Julie Cox, museum operations manager, said.
“I’m really impressed with the extensiveness of the stories they’re telling,” Chocheles said. “They’re really compiling the history of surfing in the Southern California region. I was involved in the early years when it was just a kernel of an idea.”
Despite the museum’s expansion over the last 25 years its core remains the same. “At the first meeting there were 12 people — surfers, nonsurfers, men, women,” Schmauss said. “The board makeup is still the same today.”
The mission of the museum continues to be to collect, protect and preserve the history of surfing. For more information, see www.surfmuseum. org.