Stuart Resor, an Encinitas resident and surfer, says…
“I got the idea to start preserving our surf history when I saw Woody Ekstrom walking down the beach at Grand View in Leucadia. It suddenly seemed to me that the early days of surfing were slipping behind us and if he and others were interested, we could display old surfboards and photographs for future generations to see.”
In February 1986, after an article appeared in The Coast Dispatch and The Citizen newspapers, several interested people came together at George’s Restaurant on Coast Highway in Encinitas to discuss forming a surf museum.
The dozen or so people who showed up for that first meeting became the founding board, a mix of men and women, surfers and non-surfers, connected by an avid interest in surfing and a desire to collect its history for the enjoyment of generations to come. The founding members were Mike Cates, June Chocheles, Don Fine, Steve George, Kevin Kinnear, Parry Payne, Stuart Resor, Jane Schmauss, Ian Urquhart, and Catherine Woolsey.
The California Surf Museum took shape as a small display of surfboards and surf collectibles at George’s Restaurant, owned by Jane Schmauss, in 1986. The restaurant was open 7 days a week and had a little corner alcove dedicated to promoting the museum concept. The Board voted to use the name “California Surf Museum” after discussing the merits of the Encinitas Surf Museum, the North County Surfing Museum, and numerous other names, believing that the broader term would one day link to a string of museums up and down the coast, such as the “California Surf Museum, Ventura,” and the like.
After many months of organizing and putting together a logo design contest (won by Ed Nava), Encinitas businessman Paul Rotsheck offered the fledgling California Surf Museum free space in his newly built Moonlight Plaza, on the corner of Encinitas Boulevard and the Coast Highway. CSM mounted its first exhibit, “Surfing: Trestles to Tourmaline,” on August 13, 1988, with a grand opening September 28, 1988.