California hits St Ives

 
It’s 1960 and you’re in your second year at St Ives Grammar School.
 
Your hair is square, your clothes are stiff and you can’t dance. 
 
Enter Charles and James Williams from Zimbabwe, and a spark is lit.
 
They hang out with the Griffin brothers on Porthmeor beach, where you do your one cool thing – paint abstract seascapes.  
 
But the St Ives modernists who shook the art world are about to take a back seat in town to a hipper new bunch - the surfers.
 
You get hooked and join St Ives Surf Lifesaving club.
 
Copies of Surfer magazine find their way to this Cornish outpost, but surfing in St Ives goes gangbusters the day Dave Rochlen of Malibu, California, comes to town. 
 
Dave is here because Pete Griffin wrote to him at Surfer magazine, then tipped up at his house with some St Ives pals, hung out, surfed, smoked, drunk, kipped on the couch and lived the California life.  
 
Dave surfs Porthmeor and stays the summer. Overnight, locals say ‘Bitchin’ and start to twig that ‘surfing is more than just a sport – it’s your clothes, your shoes, your car and how you move on the dance-floor’ as Charles Williams puts it.      
 
By ‘63, local visionary Keith Slocombe is shaping boards in Lelant and Charles Williams opens the first specialist surf shop in Britain. 
 
You enter Britain’s first surfing contest on your home beach of Porthmeor and feel a part of the tribal mix of California, Hawaii, Australia and South Africa that’s flooding the town. 
 
You put up Vietnam draft dodgers, party animal Aussies and all kinds of surfers living life on the road and in the water. 
 
Charles becomes the face of British surfing and the rest of Cornwall catches on and an industry booms decade after decade. 
 
As you grow old, you stay young, by living by your motto ‘a wave a day keeps the grim reaper away’.