Waves Gone By
The museum’s exhibits start with the earliest days of surfing at St. Augustine’s beaches – 1915 to be exact. That was the year local media first featured homegrown surfing pioneer Preston Floyd who made surfboards from cypress planks he got from the nearby railroad workshop. By 1918, board construction became far more sophisticated when St. Augustinian Antonio Capo began creating much more practical hollow boards. The museum features “Driz” Drysdale, Capo’s nephew and local high school athlete who wowed beach goers that year with his Patriotic Surfboard painted battleship gray with red, white and blue stripes. The museum explains by the 1920’s, St. Augustine had fully embraced surf culture. For instance, the interesting display on the evolution of swimsuits includes a 1924 ad from a local department store that offered women “a snappy, tight-fitting attention-attracting bathing suit.”
Although housed in one of the city’s many ancient buildings, it’s easy for museum visitors to get those “good vibrations” immortalized by the Beach Boys while learning how, by the 1960’s, St. Augustine had become a major destination for surfing enthusiasts. Numerous surfing competitions began here and some, like the Hugh Shaw Memorial Long Board Classic continue to attract surfers from around the world. The St. Johns County Ocean Pier is featured as the center of local surfing and a photo opportunity not to be missed by surfers from throughout the country. There’s even a scale model to explain the pier’s popularity with surfers along with an exhibit focusing on the conflicts that sometimes erupt there between surfers and fishermen.