Veteran surfer Wayne Winchester knows the surreal beauty of standing on a longboard and gliding on a perfect break.
He also experiences the adrenaline rush of fighting the wild sea to ride a monster wave, a leg rope attaches him to his trusty board like a lifeline for safety.
Today, on the south coast of Western Australia, he shares his memorabilia – and an extraordinary collection of surf memorabilia, including 80 boards – in a new museum celebrating the history of surf culture.
The Evolution of the Surfboard is possibly Australia’s largest private collection on public display.
Collected over 40 years by surfboard shaper Mr. Winchester, the collection is on display in his Youngs Siding gallery, near Denmark.
“These boards are all owned by my wife and I – it’s a family collection that’s unique with museums and surf galleries across Australia and the world,” Mr. Winchester said.
Among the 80 boards on display, a striking orange designed by world famous shaper Gerry “Mr Pipeline” Lopez and longboards from the 1950s.
The collection details the beginnings of surfing in the Pacific Islands and follows changes in design and innovation from boards of the 1950s to boards of today, including those used to ride one of the monstrous breaks in the world. ‘Australia, The Right near Walpole.
Mr Winchester said it was difficult to choose his favorite from the collection, but named a locally made tip as the one he cherished the most.
“There is one in particular called The Mexican,” he said.
“It evokes memories of surfing and 70s imagery.”
Obvious styling changes 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 ’60s surfers were going wild, breaking with the surf rescue movement and running along the coast,” he said.
“Now everyone does it, but it’s still the basic vibe of surfing, the magical feeling of just sliding on 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… that’s all that goes with it.”