Page last updated at 06:20 GMT, Friday, 24 July 2009 07:20 UK

Surf's up for sport's book launch

Surfers in Gower
The book features the people who shaped surfing in Wales and many of its most popular breaks

Many of the key figures from Welsh surfing have gathered in Mumbles near Swansea to celebrate a book documenting the rise of the sport in Wales.

Cornish surfer Roger Mansfield's 'The Surfing Tribe' features south Wales breaks such as Langland Bay, Aberavon, Porthcawl and Freshwater West.

It also focuses on those who shaped Welsh surfing including Linda Sharp, Carwyn Williams and Pete Jones (PJ).

It traces the history of UK surfing from its beginning to the present day.

Mr Mansfield said it was the south Wales launch of his book and a celebration of 50 years of surfing in Britain.

He said Swansea had been at the forefront of surfing in south Wales since the early 1960s with the area producing numerous British champions.

Pete Jones (PJ) is among the Welsh surfers featured in the book

Due to the fact they face directly into the Atlantic he said the beaches of Gower and Pembrokeshire, along with those of north Devon, Cornwall and the Channel Islands, had always been at the centre of surfing in the UK.

Having started surfing at the age of 11 Mr Mansfield came to Wales as a student at Cardiff university in the early 1970s.

But he said: "This is not my story, it's the story of all the Welsh surfers."

He said although body boarding on wooden boards was popular, it was not until the early 1960s that surfers in Wales really started buying or making their own longer boards so they could stand and ride the waves.

"By 1965 the Gower Surf Club based at Langland had been formed and that represents the spiritual home of Welsh surfing," he said.

"But it would be very unfair to ignore another early outpost at Porthcawl.

"Within a matter of months, if not a year, a significant group was developing in Porthcawl."

He said surfing also started to take off at Anglesey but was mainly down to visitors from north east England.

"The essence of the story is how over time, as the sport grew bigger, a national identity came together," he added

Book cover
The book is having its south Wales launch at Langland on Friday

"There have been many surfers from Wales who have made an international impact."

He named PJ, Linda Sharp and Carwyn Williams as three Welsh "icons".

The idea of the book - which he said was the first to document the rise of the sport from a British perspective - came as a result of an exhibition he put together which toured the country five years ago.

He was being joined by surf legend Chris "Guts" Griffiths and Welsh champ Lloyd Cole for demonstrations during Friday afternoon at Langland Bay, followed by a 'Locals and Legends Night' at Mumbles restaurant Ninety Three.

"Many of the characters represented in the book will be there, celebrating not only their appearance in the book but the first full and complete document of Welsh surfing," he added.

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