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Photo: Inventive: Lewis Rosenberg saw Australians stand up surfing and sketched a surfboard on a match box before using it to create his 8ft longboard
Tally ho chaps! First-ever British surfer caught on film taking to waves on home-made board… in 1929
Experts say the two-hour video footage is a ‘national treasure’
Clip shows adventurer on homemade 8ft board carved from balsa wood
By Emily Allen
Last updated at 3:20 PM on 1st December 2011
This grainy footage captures the moment an intrepid adrenaline junkie became the first person in Britain to surf – in 1929.
Lewis Rosenberg entered the water in Newquay, Cornwall, with a primitive homemade 8ft board he carved out of balsa wood.
He was inspired after watching a clip of surfers standing on their boards in Australia and travelled to the coast from his home in London with three friends.
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Riding the waves: Some of the earliest ever video of surfing which shows Lewis Rosenberg on a surfboard at Holywell Bay in Newquay, Cornwall
The black-and-white clip shows Mr Rosenberg wading out to sea with the longboard under his arm, before attempting to stand up as friends cheer him on.
Experts say the footage is a ‘national treasure’ as it captures the first time stand-up surfing had been attempted in the UK.
The film reel was passed on to his daughter Sue Clamp who kept it in the attic where it lay forgotten for years.
She has now donated it to the Museum of British Surfing and experts have spent the past four years digitising and chronicling the two-hour footage, which is now being transferred to DVD.
Historic: The grainy footage captures the moment Mr Rosenberg tries to stand up on a surfboard 80 years ago. It has now been passed to a museum
Homemade: Lewis Rosenberg entered the water in Newquay, Cornwall, with a primitive homemade 8ft board he carved out of balsa wood
Peter Robinson, founder of the museum in Braunton, Devon, said: ‘When Maxine visited one of our exhibitions and told us the family had film of surfing exploits on a wooden longboard in the late 20s we were totally blown away.
‘We took the reels of fragile 9.5mm stock to the local film archive for them to be preserved and transferred to digital tape.
‘It was only then we realised just how special this film is.
Holiday: Mr Rosenberg, who was aged in his 20s when the footage was shot, travelled to Newquay with his friends Harry Rochlen and brothers Fred and Ben Elvey from London
Precious: Experts say the footage is a ‘national treasure’ as it captures the first time stand-up surfing had been attempted in the UK
‘It is a national treasure as it shows the earliest recorded footage of surfing in Britain.
‘We knew that belly boarding was happening at this time but this film is very significant.
‘Lewis and his friends appear to have seen standing up surfing on a newsreel from Australia and just thought, ‘we would like to have a go at that’.
‘He was a highly inventive man not only did he create a surfboard with no references to draw from but he also created a waterproof cover for his camera and actually took it out on the water.
‘This has changed how the surfing community view their history.’
Mr Rosenberg, who was aged in his 20s wehn the footage was shot, travelled to Newquay with his friends Harry Rochlen and brothers Fred and Ben Elvey.
They recorded the journey on one of the first home movie cine cameras available, which did not have sound.
It is thought he saw Australians stand up surfing and sketched a surfboard on a match box before using it to create his 8ft longboard.
Although bodyboarding was popular in the 1920s it is thought this was the first time stand-up surfing had been attempted in Britain.
British surfing legend and author Roger Mansfield, who has recently completed ‘The Surfing Tribe’ a book on the history of British surfing, hailed Mr Rosenberg, who has since passed away, as a surfing pioneer.
He said: ‘Nobody in the surfing community was aware of this story before now.
‘This is definitely the earliest footage unearthed in Britain of stand-up surfing.
‘I was gobsmacked when I first saw it. The footage gives a real insight into life at that time.
‘This also has an impact on surfing heritage globally.’
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