A labor of love

August 22, 2002

Suzie Harrison

He loves what he does and it shows. It is obvious from observing

him, but he also states his passion for the time he spends as a

volunteer at the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum.

In fact, he spends all his time either working odd jobs or

volunteering. Sometimes seven days a week and many nights too, but

that doesn't bother Cisco Torres; he wouldn't have it any other way.


"Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum is an international

museum. Others claim to be but they're not. There are only five in

the world," Torres said.

He explained that the museum has four giant trailers filled with

surfing artifacts, surf boards and paraphernalia all donated by

residents who have inherited the treasures, or by fellow surfers and

surf enthusiasts, dating back to the 1940s.

Torres really knows his stuff. He is now 52 and has been surfing

since he was 8.

"I thank God every day," he said. "I have been around the world

twice surfing."

He gives a complete tour of the extensive collection, explaining

each area and its significance down to the history and detail.

Opening up a scrapbook, Torres explained about the beach blanket

bingo days, as illustrated through the pages. It was a true walk

through history with newspaper articles and pictures of beauty

pageants, tandem surfing, results of surf contests dating back to the

western world's pioneer of surfing, Duke Kahanamoku.

"This is an example of what we get at our museum. Plus we have a

warehouse and underground storage filled. The exhibits change all the

time, at least every other month " said Torres.

The museum has been around for nine years, it's nonprofit and run

by volunteers and the volunteer board of directors.

Showing more of the extensive collection, he pointed out the

surfing pioneer section, surf music section, the Endless Summer area

-complete with Endless Summer movies, the diving section as it

related to surfing and international areas, as well as skateboarding

and areas of surfboards exemplifying the sport's evolution.

"A volunteer's day starts out with cleaning up what was left the

night before," he said. "We also get a variety of questions on the

phone and in person from all over the state, country and


There is also a lot of paper work and filing but he enjoys every

facet, he said. Torres was especially proud that one of the museum's

founders instigated the soon to be released first ever surfing stamp

of Duke Kahanamoku.

"Anne Beasley single-handedly lobbied the government for this," he

said. "It's a really, really important stamp. There is no surfer on

any stamp. It means a lot to the surf culture. It moves it up another


Torres makes sure the background music is constantly playing surf

music. He said it's important that the essence of the music sets the

mode of thinking on nothing else but sun, surf and sand.

What Torres loves most about volunteering is the sense of good

feeling that he gets by being trusted and responsible for watching

the museum. He also appreciates the incredible variety of walks of

life that come through the museum door.

"Another thing I like about volunteering is that I've never done

it before, ever. It's weird -- I get a really ecstatic feeling inside

me when I am thinking of coming here, being here and learning and not

having even a penny to show for it," Torres said with a smile.

Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum is at 411 Olive St.

For more information, call (714)960-3483.

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