GC: Warm up to waves at the Texas Surf Museum

Jessica  Rodrigo By Jessica Rodrigo

Nov. 16, 2011 at 5:16 a.m.

Surfing is synonymous with Hawaii, the Great Barrier Reef and other popular coastlines, but most people wouldn't associate Texas with the popular water sport.

Texas' more than 350 miles of Gulf coastline offers surfers waves and swells comparable to those in other clear-blue hot spots.

With warm waters nearly year-round, the Gulf lures many surfers just as the fishermen are lured out for their catch for the day.

One of those surfers is Charles Henry.

Henry is the museum manager at the Texas Surf Museum in downtown Corpus Christi, just a few blocks from the Gulf. The museum is the only museum in Texas dedicated to the sport of surfing.

Exhibits at the museum change once a year, usually in June, and the 2011-12 exhibit is a tribute to the surfers of Texas Gulf Coast. "Texas Top Guns: The New Millennium of the TGSA (Texas Gulf Coast Surfing Association)" gives guests an opportunity to recognize those surfers.

"It's about the people who have won state championships over the past 10 years. We have about 20 boards dedicated to the surfers themselves, and there will be boards for the people up and coming in the competitive surfing and boards from the sponsors," the manager said.

He added that the Gulf's competitions can attract somewhere between 100 to 150 surfers among the three major surf spots: Galveston, South Padre Island and Corpus Christi. TGSA holds various competitions throughout the year.

"Surfing itself in Texas is a yearlong sport," he said. "(Competitions) will go to Galveston, surf Galveston. They come back, surf Corpus. And they surf South Padre, so they do move around."

As part of the Top Guns exhibit, the museum will play a video from the Surf Riders Association about a surf camp for the blind.

"The Surf Riders Association sponsors this every year, and they actually take (blind students) surfing," he explained. "It's pretty cool."

Throughout the day, the surf museum plays a combination of films, ranging from a few minutes to 15-20 minutes, related to the sport of surfing and Texas.

A veteran of the surf industry for 11 years and member of the surf community since the 1980s, Henry knows his way around the waves and wakes in Texas.

"I've seen the days during the era where everything was shortboards and then the longboards came back, and now there are both," he said. "I try to get out and play when I can."

Another surf-related attraction, within a stone's throw, is the Executive Surf Club.

"A lot of people think of the Executive Surf Club as fancy, but people can come in wearing shorts and T-shirts," said manager Daryle Cuherpin. "It's a casual restaurant and bar."

He explained that owner Brad Lomax, who also owns the Texas Surf Museum, had a group of friends who called themselves the "executive surf club" because they held various executive positions and all enjoyed surfing in their off-time. The logo of a man in a suit and tie carrying a surfboard provides a fitting image.

"We get a lot of people who go from the restaurant, to the museum, and to record shop," said the restaurant manager.

But there's more yet.

Lomax's Surf Club Records, completing the surfing triad in the Water Street Market in downtown Corpus Christi, offers another facet of the Texas Gulf's surfing community.

The store sells merchandise and other memorabilia from local artists and musicians.

Get a share of the waves without hitting the water with some surf history, eats and tunes with a trip to Corpus Christi.



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