Vintage Surf meet 2019 coming soon !

Vintage Surf meet 2019 coming soon !
Free to take part
We buy interesting old boards 60s/70s/early 80s in good condition. Email . Also wanted - Surfing UK , British Surfer and Surf Insight magazines .
Above photo - copyright Rennie Ellis photographer archive

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Ted Deerhurst lightning bolt singlefin

Ted was born Viscount Coventry and affectionately known as Lord Ted .He grew up in Britain and then moved to California, and was the first european to join the IPS world tour. He was a popular 'playboy' character on the tour who made his mark and flew the flag for Britain . In reality he was skint for long periods of time on the tour and often had to sleep in his car. He fearlessly surfed solid waves in Hawaii and his career high came in 1978 (?) when he got through to the semis of the Jose Cuervo classic at 12 ft Sunset beach, knocking out Cheyne Horan and Shaun Tomson's brother.

Ted surfed Parrish Lightning Bolts in Hawaii and when he returned to Britain , probably to earn some cash, he started shaping and was allowed to use the bolt logo. This board is from that era, its 6'8 x 19 x 2 1/2 . He emigrated to Australia in 1979 and started his excalibur label. He died of heart failure in 1997.

Ted was deeply commited to surfing and was full of the British never say die optimism. At one point he decided to take up snowboarding with the famous last words 'at least you can't drown in the mountains' , he spent the next six months in hospital ! He starred on the cover of Surfer mag in 1982 as 'aristocratic lord ted ' with his bolt quiver and hunting hounds outside the family pile ; if anyone has a copy I would love to feature it.

 Here's a piece from Shaun Henderson about his memories of Ted Deerhurst . Thanks for sharing Shaun !
Hello World,

I have been out of the water for awhile rehabbing an injury. Recently I found myself reflecting on how surfing has played such a big part in my life. I started thinking about the time I met Ted Deerhurst. Wow, it's been so long that I have thought about Ted and was pleased to find this homage to him. I am also pleased that everyone seems to have the same common memory of Ted as a fun loving and thoughtful person. Here is my story:

I was in full grom mode, ha! This was back in high school (around '86 or '87, maybe '88). I grew up on the Jersey Shore and worked at a restaurant called Hook, Line & Sinker (no longer exists). I was a buss boy and became friends with the cook, a guy named Ronny. Ronny's roommate was a charismatic and eccentric guy by the name of Ted. It wasn't until later that I got to know the "Lord Ted" story. Ted was also a waiter at the restaurant and apparently (according to Ronny) an exceptionally good surfer. Ronny used to take my brother and I surfing. This was before I had my driver's license, so it was a treat to be given rides to the beach. Ronny even let me drive his jalopy at one point, ha! Here's a little Joisey Shore surfing tidbit: Ronny, my bro and I surfed The Cove on Sandy Hook before they filled it with sand. Epic!!! Anyway, one day Ronny starts to tell me the story of his "famous" roommate. If you've made it this far in your Ted Deerhurst Google search, you probably know "the story": Traded his aristocratic upbringing for a life of surfing, was England's first pro surfer, etc. Ronny showed me a video (VHS!) that Ted had. It was Ted holding the camera and enthusiastically narrating while walking around a party. It was Mark Richard's birthday party. I'm pretty sure I remember seeing Tom Carrol in the video and some other famous surfers. Needless to say, this blew my grom mind! This was my friend's roommate and a waiter at the restaurant I worked at, hanging out with the upper echelon of the surfing world. I've been reading a lot about Ted online lately but nothing that explained how and why he ended up becoming a waiter in New Jersey. Ronny once said that he believed Ted was meant for greatness. He had the personality for it. At the time I didn't think to ask the questions I am now wondering. How did New Jersey fit into Ted's narrative arc?

One day, Ronny and "Lord Teddy" took my brother and me surfing. By this point I kinda knew Ted's story. This day stands out for me as one of my more inspirational surfing moments. Ted was already a legend in my mind and he was taking me surfing! And the waves were as good as Jersey gets (which I can now say as a much older and wiser and well traveled surfer, is still pretty darn good! Patience is what you need as a Jersey Shore surfer, but it does get epic). We surfed First Jetty on Sandy Hook. I forget what month is was but we were all wearing full 5/4 wetsuits, hoodies, gloves and booties; good ol' freezing cold Jersey. The waves were as big and clean as I have ever seen at the time and my brother and I (and Ronny) were all noticeably nervous. I think Ronny decided to sit this one out, if I recall. Ted of course was calm as could be. I paddled out and I remember catching a few shoulder waves but mainly I was making sure I had Ted in my eyes. He paddled waaaay outside and sat there for set after set. I remember thinking that he was too far out until THE set came through. Ted paddled effortlessly into it and dropped in right in front of the rocks. Sitting on the shoulder as I was, I had a perfect view of The Man Himself pulling into a cold, dark, intimidating barrel. What I remember most is that he looked comfortable. Not, "Holy crap, this thing is huge!" But comfortable. Right in front of the rocks on a bomb. He made it out, rode down the line, hit the lip a few times, and kicked off the back of the wave. People in the parking lot were honking their horns. Pure style! Never claimed it. He paddled past me and the first thing he said was, "How are you doing? Are you catching any waves?" Legend :) I was always grateful that I had the opportunity to share that moment with him.

Not long after that, Ted asked me if I wanted to volunteer in a contest he was organizing, The Excalibur Cup. I didn't realize it at the time, but I now know that he mainly held these contests as fund raisers, not for his own financial gain. The contest was held at Seven Presidents Park in Long Branch, New Jersey. Kelly Slater was rumored to be attending (he didn't). The contest day had small to non-existent waves. I remember at one point a cargo ship went by in the distance and Ted wondered out loud how long it would take for the boat wakes to arrive in the lineup. He even asked me to start calling shipping companies to see if I could convince someone to go back and forth in front of the beach. I thought he was joking but in retrospect, I realize he probably wasn't! Trip Freeman won the contest and his girlfriend won the bikini contest. It was cold and we were all wearing jackets and hats and they had a bikini contest, haha! Most memorably, Trip somehow found a kite that was floating in the water, paddled over to it, and managed to get the thing up in the air and started flying it in the middle of his heat. I remember joking with Ted that Trip should win the contest for that alone. Getting a water logged kite to fly requires talent! I also remember that Trip managed to catch air on a wave (actually, I think it was the boat wake!) and amazingly, pulled into a barrel.

Ted also made me a surfboard. I have owned lots of boards. The first board I ever owned was "The Original" Simon Anderson Thruster. If I had known any better, I should've kept that board and the board that Ted made for me. They would probably be collector's items nowadays. The board Ted made for me had his logo the sword painted on the entire bottom, and the Martin Potter-esque tie die bulls-eye painted on the top.

Ted made it clear that he didn't like being called "Lord Ted". I remember getting a kick out of the idea that he gave up his "royalty and riches" to be a surfer, but I don't think he thought of it that way. He was a truly humble person. He had a lot of energy and enthusiasm, and was an early influence on me as a grom. I do remember a certain restlessness to Ted. I always remember what Ronny said about Ted being destined for greatness, and that his job as a waiter in New Jersey was somehow a necessary stepping stone in his life. He was already great in my mind. Ted was "much older" than me and I remember thinking that this guy somehow justified my obsession with surfing. A lot of what I have read about Ted says he never really made it as a professional surfer because he never placed that high at contests. But I would disagree. He truly embodied the spirit of surfing in my mind. And as far as I was concerned, he was the most talented surfer I had ever paddled out with. I guess it's now 20 years since his passing. Funny that I took this long to Google his name but pleased I did. Here's another gem of a Google find if you want to read about his family:

R.I.P., Ted Deerhurst! It was a pleasure to meet your acquaintance.


  1. TED! he came to Oceanside for our first Stubbies contest. I'll never forget when he climbed up my balcony and came in through my kitchen door because I snubbed him at the beach that morning and he wanted to have "breakfast" with me. WE were childish california girls back then and he wanted to be next to us. I am sad to hear he passed away. Thinking of him during that summer always makes me smile. Many blessings Ted. xoxo

  2. Ted in the the late 70's would stay at my place at Whale Beach, Sydney... they were good times, the laughter and feeds.
    I'm saddened to read of his passing today and fondley remember his spirit as inspirational and a true mate i will cherish all my days, thanks for the times Ted.

  3. Ted,
    Britain will always remember you as our first pro. You surfed big Waimea and Sunset fearlessly and the maximum respect will always go to you, you were a champion bro.
    Always, ride on....

  4. Ted,
    A new 'Lord on the Board' is born! Ted Coventry born 02/10/10. Future European Champ? Just keen to passed on the love of the water and surfing as a way of life. May well adopt the lightening bolt as trade mark though!

    Loving the comments/memories.

    Respect to T.D

    1. Ted would have loved this homage to him. I hope the little dude has his looks, his wit, his charity and his mad surfing skills.

    2. Ted would have loved this homage to him. I hope the little dude has his looks, his wit, his charity and his mad surfing skills.

  5. I met Ted in 1991 while living in Santa Cruz, California. I believe we met upon my walking into his Excalibur surfshop on 41st avenue, a block or two away from where I lived at the time. Ted dropped by the house quite a bit, and for awhile he was parked outside our "crews" place in his camper-truck. Ted had depth, thought critically, and was a senstive soul plagued by some personal demons during the time I met him. He was starting to go back to school from what I recall, shaping boards, involved with teaching the handicapped to surf, and concerned about a woman his younger, who supposedly was in a relationship with an abusive significant other. From what I remember, that experience motivated him to contemplate law as profession.

    Upon reading his obituary tonight, I was happy to hear that he actually was attending law school in Hawaii prior to his passing. He was a diligent man.

    I was both surprised and sad when I heard of his death - I heard it from a friend during the late 90's.

    At 41, close to the age Ted died, I am at home, restless, my wife is fast asleep, and I am on the internet reminiscing via looking at old surf videos and reflecting a bit. The reflecting made me think of Ted and do a little research about the "Brittish Lion". As a tribute and in memory I would like to somehow get a print of the Atlantic Surfer Magazine shot of him. All relationships are significant to me, and I am thankful that Ted and I crossed paths during that time in my life. If anyone knows how to go about getting a print, that would be great. I have some pictures from that time that I would like to attach them to the back of the print and write out some personal reflections. You were a good man Ted. Rest in Peace.

    1. Wow very touching words,I met Ted back 1981 when he moved to Qld Australia,it was a privileged to be able to swap boards with him as I was also shaping my own boards at the time,i was in or of Teds lion head logo it stuck in my mind as it was very out there,very sad loss of a great guy who lived for what he loved, over the yrs I have also been able to purchase a few of his boards which are treasured...

  6. there was no one quite like ted! he put his complete heart into surfing & everything he did & never gave up...he is missed!

  7. So pleased to find this, Ted was my Step Brother, I knew him for the last 8 years of his life, we hit it off straight away (pretty difficult not to) and got into loads of trouble together lol, I often scour the internet to try and find memories about him, he was a genuine guy, a character and a gentleman, I still think about him all the time, he made a big impression on me and made me a better person from knowing him, not many other people I can say that about.
    I know he'll still riding a wave somewhere :-)

    Rest in peace Ted

  8. I knew Ted In the final days. I was a Doorman at The Catalyst when I first met Ted. He came in with a lady friend of mine who recently won 2nd runner up Mrs America '94 or '95. Not sure. She introduced us and we became instant friends. His little trailer was in a trailer park 2 blocks from where I lived. His Mother had a trailer in that park. He was hesitant to introduce her to people. I met her once. She could be a little cranky shall I say. He was wanting me to buy that little trailer when he decided to buy the condo at Turtle Bay. He wanted me to move back and forth and we would start a tow in service for surfers. I visited him a few times in Hawaii, but could not get away from Santa Cruz. He visited frequently. I still have Hi 8 vids of some partys and surfing days. His greatest passion in the last days was helping the Locals on North Shore with stopping over development of land with Condos.. He went on loud rants over the problem and I was just as mad. He was proud to be a part of that, something worthy. My twin brother died a year before Ted . When We lost Ted I guess I kinda died as well. Ted was there for me through the death of my brother and to lose him Ted as well broke me down. I have just found this website about Ted. No need to tell those that knew him what a "REAL" person he was. I miss Ted and my brother equally. Both were exceptional beings. The Lightning Bolt are the early boards, he was most proud of the Excaliber line. He came over one time with a buddy of his from Australia. "He said I think you guys will click. He has some commercials he would like put put one promo pack.I was able to do that and after a week of partying they left for Hollywood to meet up with Heather Locklear. That guy was David Beckham. Never heard from Beckham again. Ted came back to visit many times. Ted had a penchant for ladies with big boobs. I knew many ladies as I had been a male stripper after landing in top 10 Man of the Decade for Playgirl Magazine. Being a Doorman at the Catalyst I was able to introduce him to many ladies to try to get his mind off whats her name. I could go on and on but will stop here. If any wants just email me.

  9. Loved the Jersey Shore homage. Ted was known to us Kiwi groms from the late 70s via Surfer etc. Dead set legend. We didnt believe Poms could actually surf!