Britain’s First Surfers

This post first appeared as “Footage Shows Jews Were Britain’s First Surfers” on The Shmooze blog at the Forward.

Four Jewish friends from London’s East End were the first Brits ever to hang ten. A recently discovered, long-forgotten home movie from 1929 showing Lewis Rosenberg, Harry Rochlin and Fred and Ben Elvey standing up on a homemade surf board on the waves of Holywell Bay in Cornwall has been authenticated as the earliest evidence of the sport in England.

Inspired by a newsreel they saw of Australian surfers, the teens decided they wanted to try the sport out for themselves. Rosenberg carved a 7-foot board out of balsa wood, and the group headed out to the seaside.

A reporter for the UK’s The Jewish Chronicle who has viewed the film reports: “The soundless black-and-white film, recorded on fragile 9.5mm stock on one of the first home movie cameras, captures the excitement of one of the boys, sticking his head out of the train window, grinning, pipe in mouth as he heads for the coast…The friends smile and pose for the camera. At the beach they lie flat on the surfboard, and attempt to ride the waves standing, often falling and splashing back into the sea.”

Click here to read more.

© 2011 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

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