Newquay vintage surf meet coming soon ....

Newquay vintage surf meet coming soon ....
We buy interesting old boards 60s/70s/early 80s in good condition. Email alasdairlindsay75@gmail.com . Also wanted - Surfing UK , British Surfer and Surf Insight magazines .
Above photo - copyright Rennie Ellis photographer archive

Monday, 12 July 2010

Bickers

Below - Bickers 9'6 made for John Conway in summer '65 ,weighed in at 30 lbs. From the Bowgie Inn collection.

In mid 60s Newquay one producer stands out as a giant and an unprecedented success story - Bilbo. But there was another label in Newquay, where quality and finish were the trade mark and a small workforce produced just three boards a week - the Bentleys of surfboards, Bickers.
Fred Bickers was a cabinet maker in Newquay on the site of todays supermarket. He had made ply bellyboards for the tourists in the past but the arrival of Brian Schofield (Philips dad ) as french polisher made him aware of bigger boards. They started blowing foam with varying success and had cracked it by spring '65, and brought in 16 year old apprentice cabinet maker John Conway as labourer in the factory, which would change the course of his life for the better. Dave Friar came over from Bilbo with knowledge and the first Bickers were hitting the beach by summer '65. Bilbo were in mass production by this stage, producing 20-30 boards a week. However Bickers' slow production was because of a superior quality with wood nose and tail blocks, gold leaf on the logos, and Brian's superior mirror finish. During that winter it was back to cabinet making, and in early '66 the board factory opened again, bringing in radical Aussie shaper Mick Jackman. Mick also sold and hired out Bickers through his Maui surf shop in Newquay, where Graham and lots of other groms first got into surfing.
John Conway learnt his trade at Bickers, sanding , polishing, doing pinlines and Mick showed him how to do psychadelic resin designs. But in '67 Fred closed down the factory for reasons of his own. Brian went to Bilbo and John stayed on shaping and finishing the leftover stock, including 10 clark foam blanks.
Bickers were expensive in their day, £25 - 30 each ( 5 to 6 times the weekly wage of an apprentice like John ) so good luck finding one now !! The st Thomas road factory was taken over by John and went on to produce Conway skateboards and surfboards, Eagle surfboards and Atlantic Surfer mag.


Dave Friar, John Conway, Brian Schofield and Bob Scott with Bickers boards by the island on Towan beach. John has a radical for its day 9ft noserider. Photos by Fred Bickers.


John Conway outside the factory, note the rival Bob Head surfboards t shirt



Brian Schofield










6 comments:

  1. Great bit of history - keep up the good work

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  2. A big thumbs down to the guy who cut his dad's bickers in half to make a table in his vw camper and threw the other half away !!

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  3. Fred Bickers was my dads Uncle (He sadley passed away in 1998), He remebers going into the workshop when he was 10 and seeing the boards being made. Thank you for putting this info up as it's as rare as these surfboards seem to be.

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  4. Fred Bickers was my dad, and he was a great man. Believe it or not we dont have any of his boards anymore and i would love to get hold of one, if anyone knows anyone who is getting rid of one please contact me. (sarahbickers72@ymail.com)

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  5. hi Sarah,
    these boards are very rare now and I have never seen one for sale myself, so all the best in finding one, cheers Al

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