Christian Surfers was born in the late 1970’s by a group of Australian teenage surfers who had a vision for reaching out to other surfers. Australia went on to become the first national movement with their first full time worker in 1983 - 23-year-old Brett Davis.
Other nations followed the Australian model, led by New Zealand in 1985, then the USA in the late 1980’s, South Africa and the UK in 1990 and more recently groups in Tahiti, Portugal, France and Japan since 1998. The dynamic Surfistas de Cristo of Brazil have been operating since 1990 and affiliated in 2001. Other South American groups in Peru and Venezuela also affiliated in 2001.
In 1993 Christian Surfers were challenged to consider how would it reflect God’s heart for world mission. CS initiated the world’s first international Christian surf conference held on the North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii. A network called Surf Ministries International was established. A second conference was held on the North Shore of Hawaii in 1995 and strengthened these links.
By the 3rd 1997 New Zealand conference, CS was challenged to consider something far more serious than a casual network, to actually become an intentional international mission movement. In 1999 Brett Davis and his family visited every surfing ministry worldwide to mobilise this vision and step up to the role of the International Director. Christian Surfers International was born and affirmed at the 4th International Conference in Santa Cruz in 2000.
The Surfers Bible was launched in 2001 and other translations published in French, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish in the following years. In 2002 a website, leadership school and new Board of Directors was launched, along with the 5th International Conference in Australia where the SMI network was disbanded.
The first International Leadership Team meeting was held in 2003 and core strategies were developed. The role of Regional Coordinator was established in 2004 and the 6th International Conference was held in France as the first purely as CSI.
In 2006 a new structure was launched at the 7th conference in Brazil 2006, with a full representative council giving affiliated missions a greater influence in the future of the mission. This structure was reinforced in South Africa 2008 and key strategies were affirmed including Chaplaincy.