By Laura Rico
Some of the world’s best surfing beaches are just minutes from UC Irvine. Closer still is a special collection at UCI’s Langson Library that documents the history of surfing and surf culture in Orange County.
“It’s a small collection but one that appeals to a growing number of our patrons – UCI undergraduates” says Steve MacLeod, public services coordinator in Special Collections & Archives. He started gathering materials for the collection five years ago.
It’s part of a much larger collection on Orange County history that encompasses environmental activism, Irvine Ranch, Mission San Juan Capistrano, the city of Irvine, ranchos, the Irvine Company, 19th century actress Helena Modjeska and local politics.
It was a good fit for MacLeod, a Palo Alto native who learned to surf in Santa Cruz as a teenager. “This was before wet suits,” he says, recalling the chilly Northern California waters.
Starting Wednesday, Feb. 23, selected surfing collection materials – books, vintage photos, movie posters, etc. – will be on display in Langson Library, near the fifth-floor entrance to the newly renovated Special Collections & Archives department.