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Atlantic Surfing Museum – Vision

 In John Severson’s 1964 classic Modern Surfing Around the World, he closes the book with the quote “Surfing is one of the great sports.”  

As of this writing, forty four years later, John is still with us (The October 2008 issue of Surfer carries a photo of him on page 66 surfing on Maui holding a Fender guitar, redoing the famous promotional stunt picture from 1966).


What the above means is that we who surf on the shores of the Atlantic have been participants in and beneficiaries of an incredible era, one which goes on, in which our “great sport” has grown in popularity and interest, almost without negative press or connotations, accusations of commercialism, or overt sensationalism.  In the last fifty years, surfing has truly proven itself as one of the great sports.


The Atlantic Ocean aspects of this great sport and this ongoing era are worthy of being memorialized.  In 1960, there were virtually no Atlantic surfers (in John’s 1964 book, 134 out of 141 photographs are of Pacific Ocean surfing, leaving only 4 of the Atlantic (3 are of the Indian Ocean)).  Today, there are millions of surfing men, women and children on Atlantic shores, ranging from beginners to seasoned veterans, and millions more watching, enjoying and investigating. 


While the Ocean itself is and should remain the primary focus, an Atlantic Surfing Museum goes a long way in showing where we started and how we surfed from here to there.


The Atlantic Surfing Museum takes as its mission statement the following:


"As a non-profit center for exhibition and education, the Atlantic Surfing Museum is dedicated to collecting, conserving and researching the culture, heritage, art, lifestyle and science of the sport of surfing for the public’s enjoyment.  We will work to honor the Atlantic beaches, our playground."


To express the full impact of the Atlantic Surfing Museum vision, it is useful to elaborate the above statement clause by clause, with examples.


Our goal (as a not-for profit institution) is to be the center for exhibition and education regarding Atlantic Surfing, stressing culture, heritage, art, lifestyle and science.  Moreover, this goal is intended for, and dedicated to, the enjoyment of the public.


Examples of institutions created with the same spirit include:


1.  The Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame and Museum – Cleveland, O

2.  Alexander Graham Bell Museum, Baddeck, NS, CA - a smaller, lower budget museum in a small Nova Scotia town that is well respected and beautifully executed.

3.  Surfing Heritage Foundation – San Clemente, CA


Based on its mission, the Atlantic Surfing Museum has an open charter to collect, conserve and research the culture, heritage, art, lifestyle and science of the sport of surfing.  As envisioned, this will embrace accounts and stories from and of individual surfers, surfing clubs, associations and institutions.  It will trace history, events and developments, and celebrate achievements, milestones and personalities.  Surfing has shaped us all, and this great sport will continue to affect enhance the lives of generations to come.


It is in furtherance of this spirit that the last sentence is a feature of the Atlantic Surfing Museum mission statement. 


We will work to honor the Atlantic beaches, our playground."


It has been our privilege and our pleasure to enjoy this playground, and, hopefully, by telling its (and our) story, others will have the privilege and pleasure of enjoying it as well.