Century Old, First Book On Surfing Goes to Auction

Handmade Book by ‘Father of Surf Photography’ A.R. Gurrey, Jr. Includes Iconic Images of Hawaii’s Surf Legends, Including Duke Kahanamoku

The Surfing Heritage & Culture Center today announced that The Surf Riders of Hawaii, a truly unique and exclusive historical piece of surf history, will be one of the hallmark items in the Surfing Heritage Vintage Surf Auction, May 11, 2013 at the OC Fair & Events Center in Costa Mesa, California. Presented by Quiksilver Waterman Collection, the “California Gold” themed auction will feature historical surfboards and memorabilia with California flair from the 1920s through the 1990s. The auction will also include a live online option for those rare book and surfing enthusiasts who want to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity from anywhere in the world.

Made by hand by A.R. Gurrey, Jr. between 1911 and 1915, The Surf Riders of Hawaii holds a revered place in the world of surfing. Initially made to sell in his local art shop in the still desolate Waikiki beach in the early 1900s, A.R. Gurrey, Jr. was one of the first photographers to capture the surfing phenomena, thereby opening the sport to world-wide attention. With only eight known versions of this book in existence, the one available at the live auction was the copy that was found by Gurrey’s family in his personal belongings.
“Just over one hundred years ago, surfer and photographer A.R. Gurrey, Jr. hand made and self-published the first book dedicated to wave riding,” said Surfing Historian Tim DeLaVega. “The rarity of The Surf Riders of Hawaii, combined with the dramatic story of the book’s creation and re-discovery over the last 10 years, testifies to the fact that the only copy sold at auction was at Sotheby’s in 2012 for $37,500. We are excited to see this piece of surfing history bought and preserved by someone who will appreciate its value and history.”

The book is comprised of six leaves of heavy brown woven paper, with eight mounted gelatin-silver photographs of native Hawaiians surfing Waikiki. The pages are stab sewn into stiff mottled wrappers with a decorative cord as the binding agent. Inside the book, there are three printed pages of text featuring eight black and white silver prints and a poem titled “Childe Harold,” by Lord Byron.

“The Surfing Heritage & Culture Center is honored to be working with the Gurrey family heir to provide such a unique opportunity to surf enthusiasts everywhere with the sale of The Surf Riders of Hawaii,” said Scott Bass, Auction Director at The Surfing Heritage & Culture Center. “Preserving surf culture and having the opportunity to exhibit and auction such a valuable piece of history is a highlight of this year’s event.”

Stay up to date with all event news by “liking” our fan page at https://www.facebook.com/VintageSurfAuction or on twitter: @SHSurfAuction. To pre-register for online bidding, please visit the website at http://www.thevintagesurfauction.com/. Visitors can also pre-purchase bidding packages for the event in Costa Mesa. Also available to those who are interested in previewing the book for auction, is a video on YouTube located at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=f9jSkdJg6nQ#!.

Prior to the auction, from March 2 – May 4, 2013, The Surf Riders of Hawaii will be on exhibition at Surfing Heritage & Culture Center. The exhibit consists of reproductions from each page in the book, the book itself, and reproductions of all the known photographs to have been in the book. Additional photographs by his wife Caroline Haskins Gurrey will also be included. The exhibition is open to the public from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily except Sunday and Surfing Heritage & Culture Center is located at 110 Calle Iglesia, San Clemente, CA 92672.

About The Surfing Heritage & Culture Center
The Surfing Heritage & Culture Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving, presenting and promoting surfing’s heritage for the appreciation and education of current and future generations; and to achieving our goal of surfing being more accurately understood, represented and enjoyed. For more information on the foundation and how you can help support the cause, visit www.surfingheritage.org.

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