The Beginnings of Surfing in Spain

In Spain, surfing began at almost the same time in several pioneer centres along the long Spanish coast, and without a knowledge of one other during the first months, even years, of the genesis of surfing in Spain. The first pioneer centres began in northern Spain (San Sebastian, Sopelana, Santander and Salinas) in 1964-65, and in Southern Spain (Cadiz) circa 1964. Other centres begun some years later, as Zarautz (1967), Coruña (1967), Canary Islands (circa 1968), Vigo (1969) and the last relevant pioneer centre, Malaga, the first Mediterranean surfing centre of Spain, that began in 1970.

Daniel Esparza (Olo Surf History)

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Esparza, D. (2016) “Towards a Theory of Surfing Expansion: The Beginnings of Surfing in Spain as a Case Study”, Ricyde, Vol. 12 (44), pp. 199-215.

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The first discovered visual surfing reference in Spain: Elejoste, a surfing precursor in Spain

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Elejoste on the left, with Pradera, circa 1960s.

“The first discovered visual surfing reference in Spain from a surfer is from José Luis Elejoste, who at the cinema Actualidades in Bilbao watched in the 1940s a documentary about Polynesia where images of surfing appeared. He consequently read in an issue of Reader’s Digest in 1944 that there were two surfing clubs in California and Hawaii. He wrote them a letter in order to obtain a surfboard (how to buy it, transport it and pay for it), but he did not receive any answer. He practised bellyboarding over a 20 years period and even made dozens of little planks for other people. He finally bought his first surfboard in Biarritz (France), in 1965, and took it to in Vizcaya, where he inspired others to surf, like Juan Carlos Pradera, Estanis Escauriaza, Raúl Dourdil, Chema Elexpuru, Goyo Ituregui or Jon Susaeta, who years later became relevant surfers at the Spanish competition” (Esparza, 2016: 204).

In: Esparza, D. (2016). Towards a Theory of Surfing Expansion: The Beginnings of Surfing in Spain as a Case Study . RICYDE. Revista internacional de ciencias del deporte [International Journal of Sport Science]. 44(12), 199-215.

More information in: “La Historia del Surf en España” [The History of Surfing in Spain], a book reviewed by The International Journal of the History of the Sport.

Pepe Almoguera: Surfing Pioneer in the Spanish Mediterranean Sea

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Pepe Almoguera was not probably the first person who surfed in the Spanish Mediterranean Sea, but he was the first local who developed surfing in this western area of the Mediterranean sea. That means the pioneer. He started in 1970 at the age of 16. He lived in the fishing neighbourhood of Pedregalejo, Málaga, right next to the sea, so was consequently familiar with various sea sports. Surfing, however, was still unknown to him, until he discovered it after watching an American film in cinema Albeniz, where he saw certain images of people surfing in California. The important thing is that after the film, he wanted to immediately try surfing and asked about it in all the sport shops of Malaga. No one, however, knew about a surfboard, a surf what? He consequently had no other choice but to design a surfboard by himself, with the help of others in the Nereo shipyard, near his house where his father, Julián, worked as carpenter. He surfed alone with his rustic surfboard, even in winter, for more than a year, until he inspired other people to surf like Javier Gabernet, the brothers Antonio and Paco Gutiérrez-Espejo, Rafael García, Carlos Sauco, Francisco Soria, Joaquín Fernández, and the sister of Pepe Almoguera, Pepa. All of them founded, in 1974, the first surfing club of the Spanish Mediterranean, the Malaga Surfing Club. Pepe Almoguera was the president. Among other things, Almoguera is considered the first known shaper (Acacias surfboards) in the Spanish Mediterranean, and he was the first surfer from the Mediterranean who participated in the Spanish championships. Charismatic, visionary, humble and beloved by all, he unfortunately passed away in Málaga at the age of 60, the 7th of April, 2014.

Daniel Esparza, Palacky University



Resumen: “Tomando la hipótesis de que Ignacio de Arana, cónsul en Hawái, fue el primer surfer en Europa, pues llevó a España desde Hawái dos tablas de surf y el primer libro de surf de la historia en 1914, este informe recaba mayor información sobre su estancia en Hawái y su regreso a España con el fin de refutar dicha hipótesis. La búsqueda se ha centrado principalmente en fuentes hemerográficas (de España, EEUU, Brasil y Reino Unido), que fueron los últimos destinos del cónsul, antes de morir en 1918, a la edad de 38 años. Este trabajo de investigación ha conseguido saber más sobre Arana, sobre su relación con el deporte y la sociedad hawaiana. Además se ha corregido una fecha clave para la historia del surf en Europa: su regreso a España con aquellas tablas no fue en 1912 sino en 1914”. Click abajo para descargar el PDF completo (a veces hay que insistir hasta que se cargue bien).



Conoce tu historia. En

Conoce tu historia. En