The Surfboard Museum in WA is one of the largest private collections on display
Veteran surfer Wayne Winchester knows the surreal beauty of standing tall on a longboard and sliding into the perfect break.
He also knows the adrenaline rush of battling the wild sea to ride a monster wave, a leg rope tying him to his trusty board like a lifeline for safety.
Now, on the south coast of Western Australia, he’s sharing his memories – and an extraordinary collection of surfing memorabilia, including 80 boards – in a new museum celebrating the history of surf culture.
The Evolution of the Surfboard is perhaps Australia’s largest private collection on public display.
Brought together for more than 40 years by Mr Winchester, a surfboard shaper, the collection is displayed in his gallery Youngs Siding, near Denmark.
“These boards are all owned by my wife and I – it’s a family collection that is unique with museums and surf galleries in Australia and around the world,” Mr Winchester said.
Among the 80 boards on display are a striking orange designed by world renowned shaper Gerry “Mr Pipeline” Lopez and longboards from the 1950s.
The collection details the beginnings of surfing in the Pacific Islands and tracks changes in board design and innovation from the 1950s to the boards of today, including those used to surf one of the monster breakwaters of Australia, The Right near Walpole.
Mr Winchester said it was hard to choose his favorite from the collection, but singled out a locally made board as the one he treasured the most.
“There’s one in particular called The Mexican,” he said.
“It conjures up memories of surfing and images of the 70s.”
The style changes evident over the decades are reflected in the boards.
“Each era has its own unique identity. In the exhibition we tried to capture that,” he said.
The collection also includes skateboards, which have become intrinsically linked to surfing, and traces the evolution of surfers over the past 40 years.
“In the 1960s, surfers were going wild, breaking away from the life-saving surfing movement and running up and down the coast,” he said.
“Now everyone does it, but it’s still the basic vibe of surfing, the magical feeling of just riding a wave – it’s a beautiful thing.
“But it’s not just about riding the wave, it’s the journey to get there, it’s the involvement of your mates and partners…it’s all about it.”