If you're south of the Huntington Beach Pier Saturday and you notice surfers with a noticeable lack of wetsuits–let alone surfboards made out of fiberglass–you are not seeing things.
Henry Huntington, the railroad magnate and real estate tycoon, invited Hawaiian waterman George Freeth to the opening celebration of Huntington Beach's first concrete municipal pier in 1914. Asked to demonstrate his "surf riding" skills, Freeth became the first surfer at the pier–on a wooden board, of course.
As part of the yearlong celebration of a century of surfing in Surf City, a demonstration titled "When Men Were Men and Boards Were Wood" will have 50 experienced surfers riding vintage or new wooden surfboards Saturday, including one "celebrity" surfer who will reenact Freeth's first ride on a replica of his original handmade wood board.
Awards will be presented for "Best Old Wood Surf Board Ride" (among boards from 1964 or older) and "Best New Wood Surf Board Ride." The International Surfing Museum-sponsored event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The museum, which is a couple blocks from the pier, also opens a new exhibit at 10 a.m. Saturday. "Century of Stoke," co-curated by surfing's first world champion Peter Townend and museum Exhibit Director Dave Reynolds, encompasses the major milestones of Huntington Beach surf history and how they helped shape modern surf culture.
Sunday at 10 a.m., the city of Huntington Beach celebrates the 100th anniversary of the first concrete municipal pier with a display of historic images, greeters in period costumes and a ribbon cutting by Huntington Beach Mayor Matthew Harper and City Council members.