This weekend marks 50 years of surfing in Whanganui ... give or take.

"That's the funny thing, there was a bit of debate about when the 50th actually was," Wanganui Boardriders past president Matt Edmonds says.

The club is holding its 50th reunion on Saturday with a ball at Lucky Bar + Kitchen and a function at Morgan St earlier in the day.

"The first sign of the club was a little journal that was going around and they talk about the Wanganui Boardriders," Edmonds says.

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"But it was also the late 60s, records were not being kept very well. There was rumour that there were people surfing and there was a club."

Surf culture in New Zealand took off in the 1960s and in Whanganui it formed around Morgan St and Castlecliff Beach.

Wanganui Boardriders members Matt Edmonds, Jarred Quirk and Jarred's son Beau will be celebrating 50 years of surfing in Whanganui this weekend. Photo/Lewis Gardner
Wanganui Boardriders members Matt Edmonds, Jarred Quirk and Jarred's son Beau will be celebrating 50 years of surfing in Whanganui this weekend. Photo/Lewis Gardner

It's always been an eclectic bunch of people - lawyers, doctors, teachers and the "good old blue collar crew" - with steady membership hovering about 40-60.

"In the water everyone is very equal," Edmonds says.

"It's a funny old thing, surfing, because you're not drawn to the water naturally unless you are.

"You can't force somebody to be comfortable in the ocean just because it's cool.

"You can tell yourself you're a surfer till you're blue in the face but if the Jaws music is playing in your head when you're knee-deep in the water you're never going to be comfortable out there."

Edmonds says the surf off Castlecliff is good but the torrid West Coast beach has its unique days.

"When the river's flooding and you're paddling around logs and the water's brown like chocolate and the surf's heavy and it's breaking hard and it's cold in the middle of winter - it takes a bit of bottle to convince yourself you're a having great time.

"That dedicated few that come down to do that you just have a natural brotherhood and respect for. There's a very tight bond in the water."

In 2017 the prospects for the club are as good as ever.

"Right now it's at its finest," Edmonds says.

"There's some outstanding young fellas in the water at the moment who are just learning their trade and are going to carry the torch."

And, of course, the surf community is enjoying being in the centre of the Castlecliff rejuvenation which is beginning to transform the suburb.

"It's nice to see Whanganui recognised as a place with a beachside suburb and all power to the people who are working to make that happen."

Edmonds says the reunion is about "getting together people that have surfed under the boarders banner" but is open to everyone.

The reunion is on this Saturday. Tickets are $60 and available from Lucky Bar + Kitchen.