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

Monday, 15 August 2011

One mixed up Tris

I picked up this Tris a couple of weeks ago. The poor thing has had the surfboard equivalent of two sex changes along its strange and turbulent life. It started out as a mid 70s ('74 ish ?) Tris 6'4 x 20 1/2 twin keel fish - which is a great start as these are very rare boards now and it'd be great to have an original fish in the quiver. However ....soon after it was made it was converted into a singlefin - which seems a bit crazy to me when you look at the width of that tail. At that time some top surfers and shapers in the UK were speaking out against fishes, saying that riding them would have a negative effect on your surfing, and that singlefins were the best set up for British waves. Mabye this swayed the owner to getting the board converted - probably back at the Tris factory. The keels were ripped out and the red and blue stripes were to hide the keel holes - although you can still see them; and a classic Tris wooden fin was put in.

The board survived in this guise until the 80s, when some bright spark decided to turn it into some kind of windsurfer or waveski ?! A hole was bored in the deck and took a screw in attachment for a mast I'm guessing (which I have repaired and cunningly hid with a sticker ), and two fin boxes were put in on the underside, which are too narrow for a surfboard fin to fit in. And to top it off the deck was spray painted like some 80s music video nightmare. At this stage the Tris probably wondered what the hell it was ! All it needed was an outboard motor and it could go on fishing trips too.

That was the story until I bought it, and I'm in the process of stripping off the add ons and getting it back to being a pure surfboard. Even with its sex changes its actually in amazing condition - hardly any damage, clean and hardly surfed , but a little weighty - hopefully that will improve when those fin boxes come out. The dark areas around the fin boxes are just dirt on a bad finish, not staining on the foam.
The big question is how far do I go in returning it to its original state ? Do I keep the singlefin in a board that was shaped for twin keels , or do I go the whole hog and reinstate a pair of keels which are as close to originals as I can manage ? I'd be interested to hear your views. I guess it could get quite a pricey project, but how many of these UK fishes still survive ?

You can just see the hole made by the keel fin under the blue stripe.

This is the only other Tris keel I've seen in the flesh, a kneeboard owned by my mate Myles. The keels are quite crude with basically a straight edge at the back. This looks to be the same tail set up as my board.


  1. My vote is for the twin keel restoration - go Al.

  2. hi kk, yes I think I'll go for it - if the budget can take it !