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Surfing Introduced to Southern California

George Freeth Bust at Redondo Beach Pier

George Freeth bust at Redondo Beach Pier. Los Angeles Almanac Photo.

George Freeth, born in Hawaii in 1883 to a mother who was partly Hawaiian and to an Irish father, was brought to Southern California in 1907 as an attraction by Henry Huntington who, while visiting Hawaii, was impressed by this "man who walked on water." It was at Redondo Beach that Freeth first introduced the ancient Polynesian sport of surfing to Southern California beaches. He is now considered the "Father of Modern Surfing." In 1910, according to the Census of that year, Freeth rented a room in Redondo Beach at 106 Pacific Avenue. Sadly, as a victim of the global flu pandemic, he died in 1919 in San Diego at age 35.


George Freeth, 1910

George Freeth in 1910.