Hang 10, far out dude, walk the Malibu, Rip Curl, Quicksilver, these are all terms and brands associated with surfing. Surfing plays a big part in the mystique of the Australian lifestyle. Australians love the beach from surfing, swimming, body boarding or just going for a walk. Tourists flock to Australia to experience the surfing life, coast, sun, sand and surfing lifestyle.

Torquay Australia is on the Victorian south coast and plays a huge part in the surfing industry. From being the location of where the Rip Curl and Quicksilver international surf brands started to being the home of the world’s oldest professional surfing contest, The Bells Beach Easter Classic. Surfing has grown from a hobby of the few to a sport enjoyed by millions all around the globe. People chasing waves from spots in Australia to Hawaii to all around the world. I also forgot to mention that Torquay is the start of the world famous Great Ocean Road.

surfing life

Enjoy the Surfing Life history & shopping in Torquay

We at Wyld Family Travel recently had a short stay in Geelong, so we headed the 20 kilometres down the surf coast highway to Torquay to visit the Australian National Surfing Museum. To say we were blown away by this museum is an understatement. For me, like a lot of Australians, surfing played a part in my teenage years. My friends and I would grab our used surfboards and bodyboards head to the beach at any opportunity. So for me, I was familiar with the sport and some of its history. Bec and the kids, on the other hand, had no previous knowledge of this sport. The great thing about this museum is that it’s interesting for all with or without any knowledge of the sport.

Where did we stay in Geelong

We stayed with Discovery Parks once again. Just 5 minutes’ drive from central Geelong, this holiday park offers easy access to the Great Ocean Road and several beaches. Discovery Parks – Geelong features self-contained cabins with kitchen facilities and air conditioning. Guests enjoy a swimming pool, free parking and a children’s playground. Some cabins boast a spa bath or balcony. All cabins include a seating area, a dining setting and a TV. Additional bedding is available in some cabins.

For the latest prices and bookings at Discovery Parks CLICK this button

The museum is located in the Torquay tourist information centre that sits just behind the Surf City Plaza. The Surf City Plaza is all things surfing life with retail outlets for Rip Curl, Quicksilver, Oakley and O’Neil just to name a few. So this is a great place to stop anyway to get the low down on what’s happening in the area, to get your information on the Great Ocean Road or even the latest Torquay surf report.

The Australian National Surf Museum was quickly acknowledged by the International Surfing Association as one of the most significant centres showcasing surfing heritage in the world.

Where did surfing originate?

surfing life

You enter the museum into the first room which is all about the history of surfing in Australia. You are greeted by 2 vintage surfboards that more resemble slabs of wood than what one today considers a surfboard. These vintage surfboards are the earliest surfboards brought to Australia from Hawaii in the early 19th century. The room showcases these boards and pictures of some surfing pioneers in Australia such as Hawaiian Duke Kahanomaku who was first pictured in Sydney in 1915. Both the girls were very happy to see women surfers as well dating from a long way back in their old style swim suits. Surfing seems to date way further back in our history with sketched pictures from Captain Cooks voyage to discover Australia showing surfing in Tahiti in 1700’s.

surfing life

We moved on into the next room which featured a short film on big wave riding. The room had surfboards that were turned into artwork by local artists. It was a story based on a young boy called Maurice. He had run away from home to find the big waves and the front of the surfboard was a post card home to mum and dad. The other side was the replies from his mum and dad. It was a really unique was to use the boards and the girls got a laugh out of some of the postcards home! This room featured the first Thruster board made by Simon Anderson that revolutionised surfing.

The Thruster board featured 3 fins which made the surfing boards extremely manoeuvrable. Surfing had come along way in 60 years from the vintage surfboards.  One piece of equipment popular with modern culture was a surfing wetsuit that was used in the original Point Break movie with Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. A funny piece of trivia from that movie is that the last scenes show Bodhi (Swayze’s character) paddling out into massive surf at Bells Beach in Australia. In reality, it was shot in the Pacific Northwest of America and looks nothing like Bells Beach.

surfing life

We headed into the biggest room in the museum. One wall resembles a wave with surfboards of all shapes and sizes adorning it in a stunning display. This room is fun for kids. There is a kinetic sand pit for them to play in, chalkboard surfboards for kids to write and draw on (I have taught Marley well she wrote our website address on it!) and a surfboard to ride. The surfboard is set up like a balance board to mimic riding a wave. It was fun watching the girls stand and pose on the board. Bec was a little unsure but with a helping hand I got her up on the board for a picture.


surfing life

surfing life

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We moved into the Australia Surfing Hall of Fame. This room has boards adorning the walls with pictures of each surfer and their achievements on it. There are some amazing names in this room and a fitting tribute to the many ASP surfing world champions that Australia has produced. Australia has a long history of producing ASP surfing world champions. The Australian surfing hall of fame is doubled as the theatre. In the theatre, there were surf movies playing showcasing the evolution of surfing from Malibu boards to aerial specialists. Marley showed a keen interest in watching this especially the guys performing the aerial moves.

surfing life

surfing life

A real highlight is the shaping room. There is an actual surfboard shaper working behind glass making boards as you watch. It shows you the hard work and precise detail that is required to build a surfboard. The process of starting out with a cutout template to being fiberglassed and finished takes over 2 weeks to complete when done by hand. In this room, you will also find many innovations that have come and gone over the years. The evolution of the leg rope, surfing wetsuits that plugin for warming before you go surfing and boards made out of different materials. It was all fascinating.

surfing life

surfing life

The Combi was early symbol of the Surfing Life

Finally, you enter the surf culture room which displays items from modern surfing life culture. A surfing monopoly game, a statue of the Silver Surfer and a combi van chopped in half. Whether you realise it or not surfing is intertwined into our culture one way or another. These days you will see The Quicksilver surfing brand with a store on the Champs Elysee in Paris which shows the merging of surfing brands into full fashion houses. 20 years ago it was cool to wear Rip Curl and Quicksilver and today it’s still so. Once a male dominated sport, girls and woman enjoy the sport and have their own surfing brand in Roxy these days. All you need to do is go to your local beach to see a number of kids surfing and bodyboarding to know that surfing is mainstream.

The ANSM is an amazing way to spend a few hours at the start of the Great Ocean Road and come face to face with the past, future and present of the surfing. Maybe this will tempt you to head into a Torquay surf shop and by a board or try out surfing with Torquay surf hire. Head to Torquay Australia today to get your surfing life experience.

Drive from Melbourne to Torquay in a little over 1 hour


Where is the Australian National Surfing Museum
The Australian National Surfing Museum is situated at 77 Beach Road, Torquay Australia

Open Hours
9 am to 5 pm, seven days a week, 364 days a year; only closed Christmas Day.

Admission Prices
Adult $12, Student/Pensioner Concession $8, Child (aged 16 and under) $8, Family $25.

Here are two more articles from Wyld Family Travel we hope you will like. Read about the unique foods of Australia and the iconic Melbourne bay cable car. just click the images to be taken to the story.