With a permanent collection which chronicles the history of surfboards and wave-riding, the museum also offers many revolving exhibits each year. In its current facility, it houses a rare set of archives and collections gathered over more than 30 years, comprising one of the world’s richest troves of surfing history.
The museum has grown into a major attraction for Oceanside, San Diego County and Southern California.
The California Surf Museum’s history is defined by the multitudes of passionate volunteers who have given thousands of hours of time since before its founding in 1986 to make CSM what it is today. Many businesses have also supported CSM through its growth and transformation. The City of Oceanside has welcomed CSM by providing affordable space since 1996.
Enthusiasts have donated many valuable treasures and artifacts to CSM — including significant surfboards, trophies, magazines, rare photographs and more — in order to share and preserve them. Through 2018, nearly 650,000 visitors have entered CSM’s doors to see and read about the surf lifestyle and history. CSM’s top priority is sharing with you, the public — it is your interest, enthusiasm and support that keeps CSM going!
The California Surf Museum serves as an international repository and resource center on the lifestyle sport of surfing by capturing, preserving, and chronicling its art, culture and heritage for the education and enjoyment of current and future generations.
Meet Our Team
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
A former Editor and Publisher of Surfer Magazine, Billabong USA’s Director of Media, and Marketing Director for TransWorld Publishing, Jim Kempton wrote Surfing the Manual, a book on the history of surfing told through the performance techniques of the world’s best surfers. He served as the Manager of the Surfrider Foundation Advisory Board, as well as the board of directors for the San Onofre Foundation and Surfing America, the National Governing Body of the sport. A world traveler who has surfed in over 20 countries, he wrote and edited a book on the history of surfing at San Onofre. His career includes stints as the Director of the Quiksilver Crossing, Vice President of Content for Hard Cloud Boardsports internet portal, and President of the San Clemente Historical Society.
A native of coastal Southern California, Eric has a degree in Physical Geography (SDSU) and was trained in Baja California for surf travels around the world. Career experience includes planning staff for the cities of Del Mar and Carlsbad, and private sector land use consultant with a focus on coastal planning. Community service includes president for the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation and board member for the California Shore and Beach Preservation Association. Other roles include writer, public speaker, author, and TED Educator for coastal issues (including Caulerpa taxifolia). With a passion for ocean health, surfing, and coastal communities worldwide, Eric is honored to be on the leadership team for the California Surf Museum and to advance the goals of our Mission.
Louise Ravera Balma is an artist and architect who designed and supervised the build-out of CSM’s building. She spent 25 years in marketing/promotions and events, notably for TransWorld Media working in the action sports industry of surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding. Born into a conservative Italian farming family in Southern California, Louise started surfing while in high school. After college she took up windsurfing, outrigger canoe paddling and snowboarding. Louise’s career includes 15 years in the architectural field, designing and project managing for many restaurants, custom homes, and small commercial projects. Serving currently as a City of Oceanside Planning Commissioner, she lives with her entrepreneurial husband of 25 years on a beautiful 25-acre avocado farm in Oceanside.
John Bishop has been affiliated with the CSM since its inception and has served on the Board of Directors since (YEAR). An Ocean Beach native, he grew up roaming Sunset Cliffs and fishing and diving in Mission Bay. John began surfing and working on fishing boats in the late 1950s and has been an avid waterman ever since. Professionally, he’s worked in the health and natural foods industry and general contracting, where since the 1970s he has been founder and owner of The Bishop Company. He helped build surf shops and manufacturing plants for Gordon & Smith and Joe Roper, and designed the beach-themed lobby of the former “W” Hotel in downtown San Diego. An avid surfboard connoisseur, he has an extensive personal board collection and is a noted broker and surf historian.
A retired professional longboard surfer Shea serves as President for the Swami’s Surfing Association. Along with three Rob Machado Festival wins under his belt, he is a three-time CSF champion, a two-time NSSA College Nationals finalist and the 2019 United States Senior Men's Longboard Champion. Shea has successfully coached two ISA champion longboarders and four California State champion high school competitors and is now Torrey Pines High School Surf Club coach. Born and raised in Cardiff, California, he attended MiraCosta College studying Art History of Oceana and Small Business Management. He has a human resources background and currently works as an advisor/auditor in the hospitality industry. His focus is on bringing the younger surfing generation to the museum as well with promoting and organizing special events.
Born in Santa Monica California, Schildge spent his summers on Catalina Island the late 50’ s early 60’ s, diving for coins at Avalon. He learned to surf at Santa Monica, becoming a competitive swimmer in high school and Jr. College. Schildge created his own advertising and graphic art business. An accomplished professional photographer, he is also competitive bodysurfer competing in the World Bodysurfing Championships and helped organize the sport of Bodysurfing in France every year in September for 10 years from 1988-1998. In 2014 Schildge curated the bodysurfing exhibit and has since curated several others including the Wave Buoy in collaboration with Scripps Institute of Oceanography, a Bodysurf/Handboard exhibit, a surf wax exhibit and a kid’ s exhibit. He is a graduate of San Diego State University with a degree in Graphic Arts.
Mike Burner was instrumental in the building construction and development of CSM’s current location, acting as liason with the City of Oceanside. Growing up in Pacific Beach in the 1950s, Mike started surfing in 1957 on a 9′ 10″ balsa board. He worked as a glasser for legendary board-building firm Gordon and Smith, and was a charter member of both the Pacific Beach and WindanSea Surf Clubs. In 1963 he won the West Coast Surf Championship paddleboard relay race and that same year competed in the World Surf Championship at Makaha, Hawaii. He served in the San Diego Fire Department for 35 years and retired as Deputy Fire Chief-Fire Operations
Eric Franklin "Big Frankie”
Retired U.S. Marine Corps Master Sgt. Eric Franklin, served from February 1993 to November 2015, working as a Communications Electronic Maintenance Chief. Eric deployed twice to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and 2005. Eric was stationed on Camp Pendleton with I Marine Expeditionary Force. Eric, a Crookston, Minnesota, native, learned to surf in Jacksonville, Florida. As a Marine stationed on Camp Pendleton he had the convenience of Church and DMJ’s to choose from for daily surf. Now as a retired Marine, Eric works aboard Camp Pendleton alongside Marines still to contribute to the community. Eric is also the originator for the Pendleton Surf Club. As a board Member he continues to bring his leadership and his passion for the sport of surfing to the Museum.
Daryl Dick grew up on the east coast and spent a lot of time body surfing the coasts of Virginia and North Carolina. He started board surfing after moving to California in 1982. In 1991, he began volunteering with the California Surf Museum and joined the Board of Directors later that year. Daryl served as the President of the institution for 14 years and helped oversee bringing CSM to its current location. His professional career was in the nuclear power industry where he monitored and managed environmental releases – important, since the San Onofre Nuclear Power Station overlooks one of California’s most famous surfing beaches.
Tara Lee Torburn
Intensely involved since its inception, Tara Torburn joined the California Surf Museum Board of Directors in 1991. Over the last 28 years she has served as both Secretary and Treasurer of the organization. Born in San Carlos, California, she attended UCSB, and later traveled with her late husband to Burleigh Heads, Australia where they lived and worked in the surf industry. Upon returning, she moved to Oceanside and became involved with the Oceanside Longboard Surfing Club, where she served as Secretary and Treasurer. In 1988 she was inducted as an honorary lifetime member and was awarded OLSC’s “Waterman’s Award” in 1997. She helped legendary woman’s surfer Rell Sunn run her annual Menehune Contest in Makaha Beach, Hawaii. Since 1987 she has been a self-employed graphic designer.
Rick Wilson is a 4th-generation Californian who has surfed in southern California since 1962. An Oceanside resident since 2007, he is a regular dawn patroller at San Onofre, Oceanside Harbor and a secret reef break in Carlsbad. His day job is working as a Senior Staff Scientist for Surfrider Foundation, where he has been employed since 2002. He works on water quality and coastal preservation issues for Surfrider and represents Surfrider on several technical advisory committees. With a chemical engineering degree from Stanford University Rick worked for 30 years as an environmental engineer, manager and consultant before “retiring” to devote his time to protecting the coast and preserving surfing.
Jane Schmauss is one of the founding members of the California Surf Museum and a major figure in its development. Over the past 30 years, Jane has served as a volunteer, Board Director and President, and now enjoys her position as Historian. A San Diego native and graduate of San Diego State University, she has helped edit Surfing San Diego, a book on the region’s surfing history. Schmauss heads the CSM docent program serving as one of the museum’s most knowledgeable tour guides. She loves spreading the stoke of surfing to people from all over the globe come into this unique museum. Jane credits her son with teaching her the remarkable impact surfing has had on the California lifestyle and the world.
A highly experienced store manager Camille Cacas is an ocean lover who is active in long distance swimming. An enthusiastic observer of the surfing culture her whole life, Camille works at her “dream job” as the Retail Manager at the Museum. She was Captain of the Women’s Field Hockey team at UC San Diego where she graduated with a BA in Sociology. She owned and operated Camille’s Hallmark store in San Diego for 13 years where she won the gold crown status award. After the store closed she took a trip around the world starting in Turkey and ending in Tahiti. Camille has worked in the gift and home décor industry for most of her career.
One of our most valued staff members, Gabe Burris has been with the California Surf Museum for over 5 years. A lifelong surfer, Gabe uses his all-round multiple set of skills to assist with everything from exhibit mounting, store sales, repair and maintenance of the interior and exterior facilities, along with logistic operations for events and exhibits. A professional painter, he also works in the construction business when he is not talking care of California Surf Museum needs. His favorite surf break is South Rock, Oceanside, where he can be found when not at duty at the museum. Gabe is a native of Oceanside, where he has resided for over 30 years.
Newest staff member Tom Dahnke honed his surf skills at Huntington Beach and Newport Beach, and still drives up to Bolsa Chica to catch some waves when he can. A graduate of Cal State Fullerton with a degree in history, Tom had a successful career with BMW and also is an accomplished musician. He began as a volunteer docent and was hired in November. Asked why he wanted to be a part of the CSM team, he said: “Oh my gosh – history and surfing are my two passions. I feel so lucky to be in touch with both here at the museum.” Tom and his wife Patty live in Oceanside.
BOARD OF ADVISORS
Jack (Woody) Ekstrom