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

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

60s & 70s skateboards

I was lucky to find this Cosmic skateboard in my local 2nd hand shop. Cosmic, based in Penzance, were big producers of surf leashes through the 70s. The skateboards are pretty rare, and this one is probably mid 70s. Someone has customised it with a little Garfield -'ramp cat' .

1977 Surf magazine

                                       Chris Ash, at Paignton in 1966 .
Roving reporter and interviewer Tony Cope recently went to visit South Devon surfer Chris Ash. Chris and his friends surfed all over in the 60s but Saunton was their regular spot. Chris has some great photos from the 60s, including these ones of him skateboarding -
 Below - Chris & friends used to stop at Milehill, Cornwall, in 1966 on the way back to Devon after surf trips . Those with skateboards would go all the way down it, those without had to drive the cars down & pick them up .Back in those days there wasn't much traffic ! Their boards were either Hobie imports ( Bilbo & Bob Groves sold them ) or homemade jobs.

Chris says- 'the first skateboards we made were homemade decks. I think Paul Blackwell got the trucks from the US as he worked in a sports shop in Torquay. Our first proper skateboards came from Bilbo and my last skateboard came from Biarritz in 1968. ' Chris still has them but probably skates a bit less these days.
John `Flipper` Stacey at Saunton Hill, N Devon, in 1969. Flip later formed Chapter Surfboards with Merv Beard . Now lives in the Midlands .
In 1968 they went off to Biarritz & on to Portugal , finding these `Roll Surf`skateboards ( made in Hossegor, Fr. ) on the way. Back then there were about 15 francs to the pound, so the skateboards only cost a few quid.
So who was the first commercial skateboard maker in Europe ? Apparently the French got there before us says Guilhem, making Midonn in 63/64 and Kamikaze. The first boards to hit France were probably US Makaha imports with clay wheels in early 60s. Bilbo started producing boards in 1965 , with a Bilbo deck and wheels by Hobie.

 Tony Cope  - ''a still shot from a Standard 8 film shot by Bob Groves when he was selling Hobie skateboards, mid-60`s .One Sunday AM he took Bill Davies & I to the Tricorn multi-storey car park in Portsmouth & filmed while we skated down 4 ramps and levels, ducked under a barrier & shot out into the road . Some very surprised motorists managed to avoid us while they got their first sight of skateboarding in GB.''
mid 60s Hobie skateboard ad. The wooden decked model was the one we got in the UK.
Rare Bilbo skateboard 'how to skate' brochure sold with their boards, and below is Gavin's original Bilbo skateboard, from around 1967.

Graham Looker at the slope, Towan beach Newquay mid - late 60s. Probably on a Bilbo ?
Thanks to everyone for the photos

a busy late 70s day at Watergate bay with Nigel Semmens, Steve Daniel, Lenny Ingram and others, shot by Neil Watson.

Surf contest and skateboarding, California mid 60s. RIP Donald Takayama.
Graham Rosewarne at St Ives - photo by Robbie Walker
Graham has emailed with memories of the first skateboards in St Ives -
''Thanks for posting those great B/W skateboarding photos. I was a 15 yr old St Ives gremmy in 1966 and I can remember a mate of mine “borrowing” his sisters roller skates and selling me one for half a crown (small fortune & a rip off)!
We cobbled together 2 skateboards using some half inch marine ply for decks, I supplied the Pop and Op Art paintjobs using Humbrol enamel.

The first proper trucks we could get hold of had wheels that resembled stone rather than rubber, they skidded like crazy and quite frankly scared me. Finally got hold of some great quality trucks from a place in Camborne that had wheels with real grip (I’m sorry I can’t remember the manufacturers), a whole gang of us would spend Saturdays at Porthgwidden car park practising moves and making ramps from old bellyboards!''


  1. Loved the old vintage skateboard.

  2. Look out for the new movie "over plywood" out soon - it has lots of my super 8 footage os watergate and other parks in the 70's

  3. I remember you Graeme, surfing at Meor in the sunset. Hope you're doing okay. June

    1. It's 2 years (or 45 years) late but if you read this June I'm doing OK and I hope you are too.
      Those sunsets were pretty fine!

  4. You need a longer deck.
    When was that photo - 1967?
    Great times!

    1. Hi Geoff,
      Couldn't afford any more marine ply!!! '66-67 I think. Great times indeed