THREE decades of the Mornington Peninsula’s surfing history are being carried around in a mobile museum.
The seven new surfboards in the museum represent the pointy end of surfing – the evolution of boards used and preferred by surfers.
Dillon Milenkovic said it had “always been a dream” to order new surfboards from all local manufacturers “and see what eventuates”.
His wish was granted through a $10,000 “creative arts” grant from Mornington Peninsula Shire and a decision to focus on the history of surfboard making and design.
The craftmanship and innovation shown in the completed “new but old” boards is also a conversation starter whenever Milenkovic unloads his historic cargo.
He also hopes seeing the surfboards will encourage people to “fall in love with them that much that an order is placed with the local craftsman”.
An avid supporter of the surf industry on the peninsula, Milenkovic sees the mobile museum as a natural progression to the Salt of the Peninsula podcasts he started in April 2022 (Time dissolves as ‘salts’ look back, The News 9/4/22).
At that stage he had interviewed more than 15 surfers, mainly surfboard makers, about their times and lives chasing waves, for the podcast’s 19-episodes. Salt of the Peninsula (Spotify and Podbean) now has 32 episodes, runs for about 100 hours, and has been downloaded more than 30,000 downloads.
“To verbally extract the information from all podcast guests and to rely on listeners’ prior knowledge was what Salt Of The Peninsula was about, up until now,” Milenkovic said.
“To have the surfboards in the flesh means people who listen to the podcast can also see what sort of quality and skill was put into these locally manufactured surfboards. Supporting locally built surfboards, is what drives my podcast and project.”
While looking for a permanent home for the mobile museum Milenkovic has taken it to surf clubs, events, surf shops, exhibitions and other general gatherings. The boards are transported in his van, and he hopes to be able to exhibit them at least once a month.
He said the seven board builders decided to make replicas of designs that were ground breaking, from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
“It’s brilliant that all seven boards are so different, this really increases the interest of each surfboard and craftsman,” Milenkovic said.
“Salt Of The Peninsula now not only has audio history but has objects that the general public can see with a lot of thought and skill behind the project.
“As the surfboards are all so different, you simply can’t compare and like one more than the other. They should all be marvelled on their own individual characteristics.”
In true surfer style, the board makers have also stuck to the imperial measure.
The 1970s Shady Hollow is a 6ft 6in single fin; Eastern Light a 5ft 10in twin fin with laminated marine ply fins; the 6ft 2in flip tail twanga twin fin Parkinson comes with a comet-inspired swirl by Geoff Coker; the 6ft belly channel double flyered thruster Oke recalls the 1980s; the Trigger Bros – A 6ft 6in stinger is a single fin swallow tail flyer with a mural by Mick Marchant from the original Trigger decal; Bruce “Bean” Fewings of Balin made a 7ft 6in Indo gun that he was famous for in the early 1990s; and Steve Friedman made his signature 7ft 6in Friedman flyer from the 1970s.