This film is part of Free

The Big Board at Newquay

This historic masterpiece, from Lewis Rosenberg, records one of the earliest Cornish surfing holidays ever captured on film

Home movie 1929 10 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Screen Archive South East


This amazing film from Lewis Rosenberg begins with him and his friends travelling by train to Newquay before later arriving at a campsite in Holywell. After setting up the tents and enjoying an outdoor Cornish cream tea, the group, carrying homemade surfboards, head off to the beach where the surfing action begins. With his camera in a waterproof housing, Lewis manages to create shots from the surfer's perspective. The action-packed day ends with picnics on the beach.

Lewis Rosenberg was born in London in 1906 to immigrant working class Polish Jewish parents. He was in his twenties when he bought his first cine camera and, despite a lack of formal training, took it with him when he went on camping holidays with his friends, mostly to Cornwall and Guernsey. Inspired after seeing Australian surfers in cinema newsreels, Lewis and his mates made their own surf-boards. Lewis also made a waterproof housing for his camera, enabling him to capture some unique surfer’s viewpoint shots, which are seen in this film.