SAN CLEMENTE ( — Tucked away in an industrial complex in San Clemente is a little museum that is home to the largest collection of surfing artifacts worldwide.

“This was some of the beginnings of the first performance boards. Some of the first boards with fins on them and it really changed the style of surfing,” Glenn Brumage of the Surfing Heritage & Cultural Center (SHACC) said.

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Today, a few of the gems on display at the SHACC are headed East to be permanently displayed at the Smithsonian Institution.

“And you look around this room, and you can see, surfing was really made up of real men ’cause you needed to be a man to carry these boards to the beach and back up from the beach,” Paul Strauch of the SHACC said.

Among the artifacts headed to D.C. is an unusual looking Hobie foam board shaped in Dana Point more than 50 years ago. It was made for the film, “The Endless Summer.” The board was hinged in the middle and made to break apart in order to fit in the 1960s-era airplane.

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Five historically significant surfboards, including one shaped by Duke Kahanamoku on Corona del Mar Beach in 1928, have been donated along with the iconic surf film, “The Endless Summer.”

“Having an institution like the Smithsonian accept the artifacts, it’s artifacts and cultural totems, as culturally significant items is a big deal for this sport. It’s a coming of age,” Steve Pezman, a former publisher of “Surfing Magazine,” said.

It’s been 50 years since the release of the surf documentary “The Endless Summer.” As the story goes, co-star Robert August was a senior at Huntington Beach High School when he was asked by the filmmaker to go on an around-the-world surfing adventure.

“I can remember telling him, ‘No, I’m going to university.’ I was a good student and I was the student body president at Huntington and I was set to be a dentist. That was my goal. And he said,
‘Well, this is gonna be kind of a big deal,’ ” August said.

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The film put surfing on the map — a sport and culture that is now being celebrated in a very big way.