Veteran surfer Wayne Winchester knows the surreal beauty of standing aloft a longboard and gliding on a perfect break.

He also know the adrenaline rush of battling the wild sea to ride a monster wave, a leg rope tethering him to his trusty board like a lifeline to safety.

Now, on Western Australia’s south coast, he’s sharing his memories — and an extraordinary collection of surf memorabilia, including 80 boards — in a new museum celebrating the history of surf culture. 

The Evolution of the Surfboard is possibly Australia’s largest publicly displayed private collection.

Gathered over 40 years by Mr Winchester, a surfboard shaper, the collection is on show at his Youngs Siding gallery, near Denmark.

Surfboards on a wall
The museum features surfboards from across eras, starting in the 1950s.(ABC Great Southern: John Dobson)

“These boards are all owned by my wife and I — it’s a family collection which is unique with museums and surf galleries around Australia and the world,” Mr Winchester said.

Among the 80 boards on show is a striking orange one designed by world-renowned shaper Gerry “Mr Pipeline” Lopez and longboards from the 1950s.

Man with surfboards
Wayne Winchester has shaped surfboards for decades and says the evolution in design continues. (ABC Great Southern: John Dobson)

The collection details the beginning of surfing in the Pacific islands and follows the changes in board design and innovation from the 1950s to today’s boards, including those used to surf one of Australia’s monster breaks, The Right near Walpole.

Mr Winchester said it was difficult to choose his favourite from the collection, but nominated a locally made board as the one he treasured most.

“There’s one in particular called The Mexican,” he said.

“It evokes memories of surfing and imagery of the ’70s.”

Skateboards from recent and past decades feature in the exhibition.(ABC Great Southern: John Dobson)

Obvious changes in style throughout the decades are reflected in the boards.

“Each era has its own unique identity. In the exhibition we’ve tried to capture that,” he said.

The collection also includes skateboards, which have become intrinsically linked with surfing, and traces the evolution of surfers over the past 40 years. 

Surfboard workshop
The museum includes Wayne Winchester’s workshop.(ABC Great Southern: John Dobson)

“In the ’60s surfers were running amok, breaking away from the surf life saving movement and running up and down the coast,” he said.

“Now everyone is doing it, but it’s still the fundamental vibe of surfing, the magical feeling of just gliding on a wave — it’s a beautiful thing.

“But it’s not all about riding the wave, it’s the journey to get there, it’s the involvement of your mates and partners … it’s the whole thing that goes with it.”