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

Saturday, 4 February 2012

1965/6 Bickers longboard

I was very happy this week to be given the chance to buy a Bickers longboard ;this sort of opportunity doesn't come along every day as they're pretty scarce now in any condition. This is a one owner board and Brian had looked after it well so it only needs a few small repairs before its out sliding again - not bad for a 46 year old board !
Brian and his family used to come down on holiday every summer to Newquay from Derbyshire. The favourite spot was Tolcarne and Brian soon got in to trying surfing, with malibu riding the new sport to hit Newquay. After a few summers he decided to invest in a board, and after chatting to a surfer on the beach who recommended Bickers he headed up to the factory - this was summer '65. At the Bickers factory they sized Brian up and told him what sort of board they were going to make him. Bickers was a small outfit producing one to three boards a week so its unlikely they had any boards available off the rack. Brian didn't come to pick his board up till his summer holiday in 1966, although he does remember popping in to see the board just before it was done - a lad in a mask was sanding it down before the final gloss coat - probably John Conway.

Brian loved surfing the board at his favourite spot Tolcarne, and also Watergate, Fistral and Crantock. He brought the board down to Newquay every year bar one between '69 and '79 as the registration stickers show. Brian remembers going to a lifeguard hut at Towan to get the stickers, which were compulsory in those days for third party insurance. Brians board got a thump from a loose board at some point ( these were the pre leash days with 30 lb boards flying around in the whitewater) and the orange stripe on the deck hides a wound.

I love the shape of this board and the beautifiul black fibreglass d-fin. At 9ft x 21 1/4 its smaller and slimmer than a standard Bickers (usually about 9 1/2 ft ) so I think this is the noserider model, quite radical in its day.The weight was cut down to 25 lbs from the standard weight of 30 lbs . John Conway in the red top is holding one in the group Bickers photo below. Unfortunately John, Fred Bickers and Brian Schofield have all passed away so the history of Bickers is quite hard to find apart from one mag article written by John Conway in the late 90s. ( Malibu magazine issue 3 , 1998 , pubd. and edited by John Conway).

French polisher / master glosser Brian Schofield with a similar board probably made at the same time.

Dave Friar, John Conway (with noserider) ,Brian Schofield and unknown with a selection of Bickers '65 or '66. The company only had a life of three years - from learning to blow their own blanks in '64 to ending in '67, but remains an important boardmaker in our surf history. At this time there were only a small handfull of professional board factories in the UK.

Tolcarne beach late 60s - the Bickers can be seen in the foreground.

more photos from Brian's family holidays to Newquay. On the left his son and the board at high tide Tolcarne late 60s; and on the right Brian at Tolcarne in the early 70s.

1968 -'69 season Newquay town council registration


  1. what a beauty,a real bit of history,would be great to see the mag article on bickers that you mentioned.

  2. I'll scan or type in the article when I've got a bit more time.... cheers Al

  3. Amazing! Used to surf for Fred Bickers in the early sixties along with my best mate at the time John Conway. Weird that I'm sitting in Johor Barhu Malaysia looking at pics of Newquay indulging in a bit of nostalgia and come across this! Also the pictures of Tolcarne Beach where I did a summer as a deckchair attendant and lived in a shed under the cliff! Best summer of all time! Nice to see some history preserved in your Web page!