The Little Book of Surfing  –  It might look small but it’s packed with facts

“There is a sense of Cornishness about it,” says the writer and researcher of The Little Book of Surfing, and that’s certainly no exaggeration. The earliest surfboard designs were crafted from coffin lids by a Perranporth-based undertaker; a Cornish surfer fashioned the first neoprene wetsuit in 1962; Britain’s first female stand-up surfer was Truronian Gwyn Haslock – who at 69 can still be seen riding the waves on Cornwall’s north coast; and the UK’s self-styled surfing capital can be found in Newquay.

The Little Book of Surfing is packed with fascinating facts about the origins of the sport both nationally and internationally and comes accompanied by archive photographs and stunning images from the present day. Emma Mansfield’s collection of Little Books – which also cover The Seaside, Pasties, Devon, Dorset and Cornwall (of course) – present all the important facts without the waffle, so you can learn lots quickly.

“I always thought it would be a great book to write. But I’ve really got to get it right – surfing is held very dearly in the hearts of many people,” says Emma, who, as a beach lover and Cornwall resident, is the perfect person to put together a book on one of the county’s best-loved sports.

The Little Book also hits a more serious note, with details about work done by Surfers Against Sewage to keep beaches clean, as well as the life-saving work of the RNLI lifeguards. As the book states: “Between May and September, RNLI lifeguards patrol over 200 beaches in the UK and Channel Islands. In 2013, they responded to 14,519 incidents and assisted 16,414 people. Two out of three people take a trip to the seaside at least once a year. 7,000 of them get into life-threatening difficulties along our coastline.”

It for this reason that £1 from every book sale will be donated to support the work the RNLI to keep our beaches safe – an issue close to Emma’s heart, after she lost a friend to a rip current at Mawgan Porth.

Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or merely curious about the sport, this book is a valuable insight into the booming industry that is as much the epitome of cool today as it was when it first began.

Buy your copy of The Little Book of Surfing (and meet the author) at the National Bellyboarding Championships at Chapel Porth on Sunday, September 7,; or order online at