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Historic pictures of Prince Charles riding waves donated to surf museum

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: June 16, 2012

Prince Charles at Constantine Bay in the early 1970s Museum of British Surfing

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Last weekend I managed to get a mammoth three-hour session in the water on the south coast.

The clean little swell came as a bit of surprise to me, noticing the lines while out on a Sunday walk and then having to quickly make my excuses to disappear off to the beach.

Unfortunately, due to a general lack of surfing on most other days of the year, a three-hour session meant I struggled to walk and lift anything heavy for the following few days.

Someone else who does not seem to be going surfing as much these days is Prince Charles.

Last week, pictures believed to be the first-ever images of the Prince of Wales surfing in Britain were donated to the Museum of British Surfing by Phil Taylor, from Plymouth, who took the photos. "His bodyguard was on the beach, so we weren't sure if we would be okay taking pictures, but we decided to give it a go as Charles left the surf," said Phil.

The pictures were taken at Constantine Bay between 1970 and 1973 when the young Prince would often slip into the sea among the local surfers. It is the first time the images have been seen in public and the first known photograph of him surfing in the UK.

According to locals, the Prince of Wales – then in his early twenties – did not have the greatest of knowledge when it came to surfing etiquette. They would often swear at the Prince for "dropping in" on them.

It is thought that Prince Charles was first introduced to the sport on a visit to Australia. Within five years of these pictures being taken, he went on to become patron of the British Surfing Association and in 1978 he hosted the British surfing team at Buckingham Palace before they went off to compete in the World Championships in South Africa.

It is doubtful whether Prince Charles would be tempted into the water again now until the weather calms down a bit. Next week, with the winds easing off, the surf should get a bit cleaner, but it might all but disappear with very little swell on the horizon.

Hopefully there will be waves for the UK's first ever surf competition for people with learning disabilities, at Newquay's Fistral Beach next Friday. Around 80 participants are set to take part in the Wave Project Surf Challenge 2012.

Surfers will take to the water to show their skills to a panel of professional surfing judges from Surfing GB, as part of a week of events co-ordinated by Cornwall Council.

The competition is being organised by The Wave Project, which offers free surfing lessons to children and young people with learning disabilities and emotional difficulties.

Entry forms are available at www.waveproject.co.uk

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  • NOOSAHEADSCG  |  June 18 2012, 7:19AM

    Phil Turner Not TAYLOR, pics taken on old istamatic by marguerite (now wife) regards Phil Turner

  • NOOSAHEADSCG  |  June 18 2012, 7:17AM

    Phil Turner not Taylor, pics taken by marguerite, i was in the water, regards Phil TURNER