Australian National Surfing Museum – Torquay

Australian National Surfing Museum – 77 Beach Road – TORQUAY

Torquay – in the beginning – the genesis of The Search…

Day comes with it’s golden eye
Warms me as I stumble to your shore
And I stop and I wonder why
So many things about you I enjoy…      

G. Wayne Thomas – Morning of the Earth

Torquay’s Australian National Surfing Museum is the first accredited – and largest – surfing museum in the world. And well worth a stop-over. You’ll find it just off the Surf Coast Highway behind the Surf Shop Precinct, next to the library.

Adult – $12
Student/Concession, Children under-18 – $8
Family – $25

Curiouser and curiouser – first feel inside the Australian National Surfing Museum is the haunting of all the bronzed and beautiful feet that have danced upon the boards that have danced upon the waves of all the oceans at the dawning of the earth.

The history of Australia’s surfing culture warrants more than a drop in the ocean on the all-things-surfing world stage. You’ll be privy to 100 years of surfing history and memorabilia within these hallowed walls.

In 1969, in a garage just off the Great Ocean Road – heading towards Jan Juc – the first Rip Curl boards were made. And, as if somehow by magic, one of the world’s most renowned all-things-surfing companies was born.

It’s no secret that the boys behind Rip Curl – Doug ‘The Claw’ Warbrick and Brian ‘Sing Ding’ Singer – put Torquay and Victoria’s Surf Coast on the world surfing map. And so it fits well that The Australian National Surfing Museum’s Hall of Fame pays homage to the Rip Curl legend that is the ‘The Search’ and the much-loved and revered surfers who were – and are still – on it. Paying testament to The Search, in the words of one of Australia’s favourite surf sons, and fellow legendary American soul surfer…

“There was no schedule or timeline, only life. I felt like I was in the real world for the very first time and it made me so happy to see the world that clearly.” Mick Fanning

“The Search was, and is, a simple concept that allowed Rip Curl to enjoy an age-old surfing philosophy which by and large, seemed to have been forgotten.” Tom Curren

Curator Craig Baird is a walking, talking almanac of all things surfing. Craig knows pretty much all there is to know about boards, wax, straps, skins and fins – and, of course, the famed and famous who have made surfing such a huge part of Australia’s love of our fearless amphibious surfing heroes and heroines. Test him out. I challenge you to trip him up.

The Australian Surfing Hall of Fame is a highlight. There’s also a working surfboard shaping bay. On display here is Simon Anderson’s three-fin Thruster, let loose in 1981 in radical surf at Bells Beach. Anderson’s design has been at the forefront of every professional world championship ever since.

You can test your form – and balance – on the Surfset RipSurfer, and have your photo taken. After you master it, of course. Looks too easy!

The theatrette hosts film nights and events that showcase Australia’s surfing culture. There’s always some gnarly surf footage and insightful interviews playing out on Surfworld TV’s Youtube channel. The Board Room covers everything you ever wanted to know about the development of the board, from the wooden longboard to the ultra high-performance plank.

Check out Kelly Slater’s yellow board, Stephanie Gilmore’s Roxy rashie, the memorial to Midget Farrelly, spot-on photographic work featuring all the greats. Love the shots of Layne Beachley, Sally Fitzgibbons, Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, Mark Occhilupo, Andy Irons, Fanno, and Rabbit Bartholomew. On and on it goes in here, as the never-ending sets of the ocean…

All credit to pioneering Torquay surfers Peter Troy, Vic Tantau and Alan Reid.

You’ll find the Torquay Visitor Information Centre at the museum, too.

The gift shop here is a rip-curler – so many great tees and local handmade works of art and design, and truly beautiful souvenirs. Nothing tacky in here, bar the wax.

Oh, and no secret, My Surf Coast Life’s favourite Down Under fin fanatics, big-wave crazies and Storm Surfers – Tom Carroll, and Jan Juc local, Ross Clarke-Jones. Start me up, I’ll never stop – Fanno, Julian Wilson. And that’s just the boys.

Feeling pumped for the 2017 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach April 12–24.

And want to see some pretty out-there surfing at Torquay, Jan Juc, Winkipop, Boobs and Bells while you’re here? Keep on walking to the best clifftop seat on the Surf Coast – Surf Coast Walk. You’ll be sure to see the real deal Morning of the Earth stuff from these top-secret, local vantage points.

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