Not many beachside communities in California still exhibit the surf lifestyle, and only one that does can formally claim the title of Surf City USA. Huntington Beach, though evolved over the years, still maintains its surfing appeal, and its pier rises out of the Pacific Ocean as an icon of the sport. Some know the 100-year-old story behind the man who surfed the first wave in HB, and some do not. For those in the dark, allow us to briefly enlighten you.
Back in 1914, railroad and real estate mogul Henry Huntington asked Hawaii-born surfer George Freeth to ride the Pacific Electric Railway coastline train down from Redondo Beach and put on a surfing demonstration at the new concrete municipal HB Pier on its opening day. That he did, and he famously did so on his 8-foot redwood board on June 20. Only a brief mention was printed in a local newspaper, but he certainly left his mark on the town. Nine years later Hawaii-born Duke Kahanamoku surfed HB, further bolstering the seaside spot as THE place to surf in California. This week's "In The Pipeline" column by Chris Epting paints an epic picture of Freeth's momentous ride.
Flash forward to today, and a century of waves and surfers have crowded the pier, which has been rebuilt about five times since 1903. Here's a look at surfing and fun at the pier through a vintage lens—a nostalgic peek back at our beloved Surf City.
Don't miss surfing exhibition "When Men Were Men & Boards Were Made Of Wood" on Saturday, June 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the pier.