Amazing Photo Discovery from Pensacola

Pensacola native and surf history sleuth Tom Hutson came across this amazing photo that adds to our knowledge of early Florida surfing history. Here is Tom’s commentary:

Surfer, Pensacola FL 1941 Photographer unknown. Submitted by Tom Hutson

Surfer, Pensacola FL 1941 Photographer unknown. Submitted by Tom Hutson

This is a “game changer” for you Pensacola guys interested in local surf history.Over the past few years I’ve been fascinated talking to some of my surfing elders about the surf history before me. The common thread behind the stories was that surfing first appeared on Pensacola Beach around 1959 when Scott Bush and Tom Grow first started. West coast, navy guys who were stationed here brought boards with them.
Then this photo appears from 1941! Johnny Swindell posted it originally, and Barry Eller brought it to my attention. Since it was taken from the pier, I wondered if we even had a pier back then, until I realized the first pier was built in the 1930’s. I called Mrs. Swindell, Johnny’s mom, and she graciously took time to talk with me. She said her now deceased brother used to take a lot of photos around Pensacola Beach until he joined the military for WWII. I believe he worked for the News Journal. She said he probably took the photo.
Check out the Tom Blake era wooden hollow board. This means surfing has been going on at our beach for at least 75 years!
How cool is that?

 

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