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France and Peru Join In

Joel de Rosnay, Biarritz
Biarritz, France, 1966
Club Waikiki, Peru, 1955
Miraflores, Peru, 1956
Club Waikiki, Peru, late '50s

Surfing slowly caught on around the world during the 1950s. Apart from Australia, the typical non-American surfing community was small and static, located on or near a resort beach, with a dozen or so lifeguards and weekenders happily riding their outdated planks and hollows. Compared to the United States, surfers overseas tended to be older and more settled, and the sport was often taken up in an atmosphere of wealth and glamour. This was the case in both France and Peru.

In 1956, screenwrit...

Joel de Rosnay, France’s first national surfing champion, wasn’t anywhere near the best surfer in the world, but as a teenage member of the Paris University ski team, surf instructor to Catherine Deneuve, and future PhD-holding director of applied research at the Pasteur Institute, he was without question the most debonair.