Surf city: Getting radical in the 50s, 60s and 70s installation view Photo © Jenni Carter for Sydney Living Museums

Surf city

Surf city at the Museum of Sydney returned to the beaches of the 50s, 60s and 70s and showed how Sydney’s love affair with surfing has left an indelible, salt-stained mark on this beach-crazed city. 

From the arrival of Californian ‘malibu’ surfboards in the 1950s through to the unleashing of the triple-finned ‘thruster’ in 1980, Sydney was Australia’s surfing capital, its ‘surf city’. It started with a young, restless generation – with their ‘finned’ fibreglass boards, rock ’n’ roll, cars and bad attitudes – hitting the surf and clashing with an outraged alliance of surf-club officials, councillors, police, disapproving parents, a spellbound media and a wide-eyed public. The evolution of surfing in the 60s and 70s saw Sydney surf writers, publishers, film-makers, bands and businesses gain international attention as innovators and stirrers.


Sponsors: Destination NSW, Let's go SurfingManly Council

Supporters: Avant Card, Coastalwatch, Surfing NSW,, NSW Events

Before long, surfing was ‘king’ and as its fashions and new-found freedoms were ignited, Sydney produced a line-up of top riders and cutting-edge board designers.
24 September 2011 - 18 March 2012