Getting the hang of surfing at Wrightsville Beach, 1909

“[In a letter to Collier’s Weekly] Burke Haywood Bridgers wrote that people in Wrightsville Beach had tried out surfing during the summer of 1909 without great results. The Lumina [Pavilion], then one of the area’s premiere attractions, hosted a ‘surf board riding contest’ over Labor Day, in fact.

“Bridgers went on to describe the kinds of boards that the locals were using and the nature of the Atlantic Coast surf. The surfboards he described were built with local juniper wood, a traditional favorite of boat and ship builders, as it is resistant to wood-boring worms.

“It is impossible to claim a ‘first’ in East Coast surfing, but Bridgers’ experiments certainly would have been among the earliest appearances of surfboards in the Atlantic Ocean. The surfing that occurred in the Wrightsville Beach area in the early 1900s is the earliest documented in the state of North Carolina.”

— From “Surfers Catch A Wave In Wrightsville Beach, 1909” at This Day in North Carolina History (April 7)