Vintage Surf meet 2018 coming soon !

Vintage Surf meet 2018 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, 27 January 2011

Bilbo longboard made by Rod Sumpter

Here's Jason's other Rod Sumpter longboard, a really nice looking board with its single competition stripe and tinted Volan cloth - which hints at it being rather a special board. It has a simple and understated Bilbo logo, and on the stringer is written 'shaped and finished by R. Sumpter' .It must date to around 1967/8 ish ? Here's what Jason has to say about it -

'This is my other Rod Sumpter, although it has a bit of water stain damage it is way more advanced than the other Sumpter, way more bladey, bit more of a cut down fin, and lovely rails. I reckon it might have been one of Rod's competition boards.
In fact i did an exhibition of my vintage boards in Woolacombe a couple of years ago, I had around 30 boards on display, in the afternoon a guy can in,he was middle aged but fit and had the that cool,calm experienced look about him. He studied every board, feeling the rails, looking at the template, he didn't say a word though, just walked away after spending an age looking at them. Turns out it was 'Rich Pavel' who was taught to shape by Steve Lis who shaped early Fish/knee boards back in the early 70's. He was over for Gulf Streams Fish Fry. While I was packing the boards away he came over asked if he could have a look at this board. He loved the rails and went into a deep conversation about them,lost me completely! Above 50/50 rails apparently!!
I got the board in woolacombe, someone had on their roof rack, I asked if wanted to sell it, didn't know it was a sumpter at the time so offered him the princely sum of £100, deal done!'

What Jason said about it being one of Rod's personal boards got me wondering, so I emailed the pics through to Rod via a friend, and this is what he replied ( good news for Jay) -

'The board marked shaped and finished by r.sumpter is a personal rider and is very rare because I finished very few, (maybe 5) you can see the 3 inch overlap in the rails due to the use of Volan fibregrass on the bottom which Hobie in California promoted.

I can remember cutting the cloth and trimming the excess after the Volan ( a green translucent weave) was dry to give that look.It may have been called a competition model (personal and competition names tended to blend!), but was not one of my competition boards that I used. (I don't think because of the fin shape, fins I had were refined edges, but then again theres always the exception to the rule that I often did!)

Thanks for sending, its great to see them, keep em out of the light (or tape over the pencil markings to protect) to save em another 45 years'
Needles to say, Jay had one of those stoked 'antiques roadshow' moments when he read this ; good on him his hunch was correct - a Rod Sumpter personal rider, one of only five shaped and finished by him ! Who knows where the other four are ?

Sumpter takes the open title at the British champs, Watergate september 1969.

above - with the famous Britannia model.
Thanks to Jay, Rod and Graham.

1 comment:

  1. what a board !
    and great confirmation of it's pedigree, nothing better......

    I have to come clean.... I love volan, the colour, the look of the overlaps, the feeling of invincability and strength it gives (guess I must have a volan fetish....), special stuff back in the day....