History of Surfing in Spain - Surf Guide
Since its appearance in the islands of Hawaii, where the natives used to get on a board to ride waves, surfing has not stopped growing and expanding all over the world, becoming a way of life for many of those who dedicate body and soul to this sport full of emotion, fun and adrenaline.
In the early 20th century, surfing began to be known outside of Hawaii, first arriving in California in the United States around 1907.
By 1912, Hawaiian Olympic swimming champion Duke Kahanomoku was responsible for bringing surfing to the American East Coast; in 1915, Kahanomoku himself brought the thrill of surfing to Australian shores when he was invited to do some exhibitions.
First surfboard in Spain
In Spain, surfing made its appearance in the period between 1963 and 1970 and it has been established that the first person to use a surfboard in Spain to stand up on it was Jesús Fiochi.
Between 1965 and 1970, surfing grew quite rapidly, especially in the northern part of the country.
While in 1965, surfers could number little more than 10 people, by 1970, the number had risen to about 200 people who surfed on a frequent basis.
Trailer of the documentary "La Primera Ola", which shows the beginnings of surfing in Spain through the experiences of its protagonists.
First Spanish surfers: Asturias
In Asturias, surfing had its beginnings in Salinas; the person responsible for this action was Félix Cueto Serrano, "El Inventor", who made his own boards, the first in Spain.
In 1963, Cueto Serrano made a second board and proceeded to test it initially in a swimming pool and then in the sea.
Amador Rodríguez, who was a friend of Félix Cueto, took part with him in these adventures with surfboards; we can say that they were the pioneers of surfing in Asturias.
Shortly afterwards the two friends were joined by Carlos García, "El Escayolista" and Félix's brothers, Javier, Gonzalo and Luis.
Félix Cueto Serrano, is for many the first surfer of Spain, nevertheless, he remained a little hidden, unlike Jesús Fiochi, since he was not interested in the competitions.
In Asturias and Galicia, was very evident the contribution and influence of Felix Cueto Serrano for the world of surfing.
Asturias, was during the 70's, a place of national surfing competitions, organised by the National Surfing Section; these competitions took place regularly.
Photograph of Félix Cueto Serrano "El Inventor", testing his first surfboard in the swimming pool of his house, in Salinas. | Source: http://desdelacroa.blogspot.com/
Spain's first surfers: Cantabria
Before the arrival of the first surfboard in Cantabria, surfing was already practised in its waters; the sportsmen surfed "bareback" or using the famous "plankins" of Godofredo.
Antonio Sáez used the so-called plankins, a kind of rudimentary boards, to which they shortened the tail and even placed a kind of keel at the bottom.
In 1964, Jesús Fiochi brought the first surfboard to Cantabria from Paris and was the first to ride waves on the beaches of Sardinero.
Soon after, the members of the Santander Underwater Research Centre joined the practice with their boards and in 1968, the first surfing championship in Spain was organised in Zaraut, which more than a competition, turned out to be a meeting of pioneers.
Photograph of Jesús Fiochi, first person to use a surfboard in Spain, at the Sardinero, 1967. | Source: https://olosurfhistory.com/
First Spanish surfers: Basque Country
Information suggests that the origins of surfing in the Basque Country go back to the 1960s, when French surfers came to the Basque coasts. Due to their proximity to France, they were the first to practice surfing, which favoured and facilitated the entry of this sporting speciality.
There is a story that refers that Ignacio Arana, from Vitoria, returned from the islands of Hawaii, where he was consul of Spain, in 1912 with two surfboards and a book called "The Surfrieders Of Hawaii".
During the Civil War, the boards disappeared, but the book remained, and therein lay the origin of the relationship between surfing and the Basque Country.
Creation of the National Surfing Team
The history of the surf federation in Spain dates back to 1969, through the Euromar Club in Zarautz and the idea of creating a national surf federation.
This attempt ended up being the National Surfing Section (SNS), attached to the Nautical Ski Federation in Barcelona.
Then in August 1971, the first official Spanish championship was held and a month later, the Spanish National Team had its first participation in the European Surfing Championship, held in France.
In the 80's, the SNS does not manage to become the National Surfing Federation and disappears completely.
In 1997, the constitution of the Spanish Surfing Federation (FES) was formalised, which obtained the approval of the Consejo Superior de Deportes, two years later.
In 2000, the Spanish national surfing team took part in a World Championship and in 2003 the Spanish team became European champions at the Eurosurfing, held in the Canary Islands.
Currently, Spain has 27624 members, 155 surf clubs and 37 annual competitions.