As a sport, or as a lifestyle, surfing is an indelible part of California’s character. Yet, not the what of surfing, but the where surfing occurs — surf breaks and surfing areas — are authentic sites of culture, history, recreation, community and leisure. And worthy of recognition, illumination and protection.
The State of California’s Points of Historical Interest allows the Long Beach community the opportunity to recognize, illuminate, and better interpret this history. A community meeting will take place in the next few months to discuss Long Beach’s surf breaks and surfing areas as candidates for the Points of Historical Interest program.
The culture and history of surfing have deep roots in our city. Duke Kahanamoku first planted the seed of Long Beach surfing when he gifted lifeguards with a “paddle board”. In 1938, held between the Pike and Rainbow Pier, Long Beach became a host site for one of the first international surf and paddleboard contests outside of Hawai’i. Though the waves that once helped fuel the evolution of surfing in Southern California, and subsequently the world, aren’t as consistent or even existent in some cases, in Long Beach they are still well remembered.
Bryce Leisy, coach of the Wilson High School Surf Team and a Long Beach Surfrider Core Volunteer, along with Michael Blum, founder of the nonprofit Sea of Clouds and former Malibu Surfing Association President, have begun researching the application of the Points of Historical Interest registration program for Long Beach and its infamous surf breaks such as the LA Flood Control and the Pike. The account of these spaces that survive today are found in archival photographs and the memories of those few who had their toes in the sand during the early 1900’s.
The Long Beach Chapter of Surfrider will continue to keep the community up to date regarding this recognition project. If you have feedback or questions, please contact Michael Blum at firstname.lastname@example.org or Bryce Leisy at email@example.com.