Although there had been a few individual surfers in the post WWII era, surfing in Ocean City began in earnest in the early 1960s. With no local surf shops at the time, wetsuits were purchased from the Diver’s Den in Baltimore and paraffin wax from the local supermarket.
Prior to Ocean City’s first surf shop in 1964, surfer Danny Herlihy recalls ordering his boards from California and having them shipped to Salisbury by train.
There were no restrictions on surfing until June of 1963 when the mayor and council decreed no surfing be allowed between 10am and 5:30pm. Some of the surfers moved up the beach to 94th Street (not in the city limits until 1965) while others surfed at Assateague and near the Indian River Inlet in Delaware.
The documentary film “The Endless Summer”, songs by The Beachboys and Jan and Dean, and the silly but popular Beach Party movies helped spread surfing to a whole new audience. By the mid-l 960s surfing in Ocean City was here to stay.
To purchase one of Bunk Mann’s books, click over to www.vanishingoc.com.
Photo courtesy Danny Herlihy