Surfing Diffusion: Types of Surfing Genesis (the Case of Spain and Europe)

Some Types of Surfing Genesis

By Daniel Esparza (Senior Lecturer Palacky University)

(…) once the data has been examined and compared, it has been possible to formulate first, and classify later (inductive approach), the level of foreign influence in every pioneer centre studied in this article. It has been observed at least four different types of genesis based on the level of foreign influence, that I have provisionally labelled with the following names until a superior way of classifying it is found: I) endogenous genesis; II) quasi-endogenous genesis; III) mixed genesis; IV) exogenous genesis. These four categories can be grouped inside of the following two: (i) consolidated genesis, and (ii) non-consolidated genesis. As far as the latter is concerned, these types of cases are perhaps the most interesting from a historical point of view since they mostly remain to be discovered. These types of genesis consist of attempts at surfing by one or several individuals, but were interrupted without continuity by these individuals, as it happened in the case of Ignacio Arana, Spanish consul in Hawaii (1911-1914), who took two surfboards to Spain in 1914, the case of Nuno Fernandes in Figueira da Foz (Portugal), in the 1940s, the case of Rosenberg (1929) and Pip Staffieri (1941) in England.

Let us describe and classify all the four examples of consolidated genesis:

I) Endogenous genesis. There is no foreign influence. This type of genesis was related to those places where surfing was born as a natural longue-durée process of a relationship between natives and the waves. As far as this research has concluded, this only occurred in Polynesia, where surfing (he’e nalu in Hawaiian) was a natural and cultural activity among the ancient Hawaiians. It is also known that in Tahiti, surfing (in its stand-up style, not prone, as it was usually practised in the rest of Polynesia), was eventually practised by natives.

II) Quasi-endogenous genesis. In this type of genesis the local pioneer surfer does not have any direct contact with the surf, but virtually only through the mass-media (films, magazines, documentaries, etc.), but decided after this virtual contact to shape their own rustic surfboards. This was the case in Salinas (Asturias), where Félix Cueto created a surfboard inspired by the front cover of the Surfing USA L.P., in 1963. The case of San Sebastian (Basque Country), where Iñaki Arteche shaped a surfboard inspired by the cover of Life magazine (issue 25th October, 1963, where a red surfboard appeared). The case of Pepe Almoguera, Malaga (southern Spain, Mediterranean) in 1970, where he designed two surfboards, after watching an American movie at the Albeniz cinema, where background images of people surfing in California appeared.

III) Exogenous genesis. The influence of foreigners is completely direct. Local surfers learned about surfing observing it from the shore and finally borrowed or even bought their own surfboards. This was the general case on the Canary Islands at the end of the 1960s (and the beginning of the 1970s). It was also the case for Tapia de Casariego (Asturias) in 1968, introduced it by the Gulley brothers from Australia; and also the case of San Vicente de la Barquera (Cantabria), where Peter Viertel introduced it.

IV) Mixed genesis. By mixed genesis it means those that share both elements from quasi-endogenous genesis and exogenous genesis. This means that the pioneers became familiar with surfing for the first time through the mass-media (quasi-endogenous), but did not design surfboards, but instead ordered them or bought them abroad (exogenous characteristic), as was the cases with Jesús Fiochi in Santander, who ordered and bought his surfboard in France in 1965; similarly, the case of José Luis Elejoste, from Vizcaya, who in 1965 bought a surfboard in Biarritz (France).

*** There is a need to improve this theory with further information from other parts of the world (additional case studies). There is consequently a need to join forces with other colleagues around the world. This should result in the formation of a more robust theory and a deeper knowledge of surfing expansion.

More information in: ESPARZA, Daniel (2016) Towards a Theory of Surfing Expansion: the Genesis of Surfing in Spain as a Case Study, Ricyde, n. 44, pp. 199-215


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)

IMG_0007 copia
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

Elejoste y Pradera 1965 copia 2
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.

Libros historia surf españa

Pepe Almoguera: Surfing Pioneer in the Spanish Mediterranean Sea

Captura de pantalla 2016-04-07 a la(s) 00.06.37

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

Libro Malaga Surf presentación
La historia del surf en Málaga y España. A la venta en
Portada y contraportada Surf Espana solo
A la venta en



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