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Rare Hawaii surfboards, photos highlight new Bishop Museum Surfing exhibit


“There are not many surviving surfboards from back then so these are wonderful historic artifacts,” said DeSoto Brown, the museum’s library and archives collection manager. “Visitors will get a sense of the evolution surfboards have gone through.”

The Bishop Museum’s archives are home to Hawaii’s largest collection of historic photos. A selection of these related to the Islands’ surfing history will be part of the exhibit.

“A lot of the photographic research I did years ago for my book on the historical background of surfing (Surfing: Historic Photos from Bishop Museum Archives) was the foundation of how this project came about,” said Brown. “The exhibit is an opportunity for people to see rare photos that haven’t been published before.”


A handful of the photos in the exhibit are from Duke Kahanamoku’s personal collection, which was donated to the museum by his widow. The exhibit will also feature examples of surfboard design and construction over the years—from simple wood planks to modern materials.

And sign us up for this one: The exhibit will also feature a modern surf simulator for visitors to test their boardriding prowess.

The Surfing exhibit is housed in the Bishop Museum’s Castle Memorial Building. The museum is open Wednesdays through Mondays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is closed on Tuesdays.

For more information on the exhibit and directions to the museum, visit the Bishop Museum’s website.

Photos courtesy of Bishop Museum Archives

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