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

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The Green fly - Atlantic singlefin

There are loads of old boards around with little or no known history ; and getting one with a good or even competition history makes it a lot more interesting. But to have a board like this you either have to get the board from the original (or an early) owner and get the story attached / or have a board that has an easily indentified shape or graphics and get lucky !
This board , the Green Fly is an Atlantic of St Ives which Ryan has just had restored . A pretty interesting restoration which identified it as being an Atlantic from an unreadable logo, and also uncovered the Green Fly writing and artwork, which was previously hidden under paint. A cool result, but the green fly's history  was a puzzle which we didnt expect to solve. Until that is, I was cc'd in on an email from Jerry Bligh to Tony  where he happened to mention - '' Charles Williams made my next board called the Green Fly and i rode it in the first Welsh open championship with Chris Jones, Tigger Newling and James Williams in the final. The trophy is in my trophy case.''
I sat up and thought Green Fly - must be Ryan's board ! and asked Jerry for a bit more of its story. Ryan was of course stoked to hear of this. Jerry was a St Ives surfer and good friend of the Williams brothers. Before the Green Flys Jerry rode a 1966 James Williams longboard with Williams skeg. By the late 60s he was one of the bunch of very good St Ives surfers and an Atlantic teamrider. Jerry now lives in Fuerteventura.

Then I found some photos of Jerry actually riding the Green Fly at Porthmeor in British Surfer mag no5 from 1970 (thanks to Henry ) . What were the chances of that ?!

On speaking to Jerry it turns out there were two Green Flys. The first was made in 1968 also by Charles Williams and was completely green ( see photo below of the Welsh campionships , Jerry is holding it). This was a fave board of Jerry's and as well as winning a trophy in the Welsh, he also took it to France that year and surfed with Nat Young and Wayne Lynch.  Unfortunately this board was stolen a year later from the Porthmeor surfing assoc. board store along with a Bilbo tandem that Jerry rode with Kid Phillips (another St Ives local and Atlantic shaper also known as kid speed).
To replace the stolen one, Charles Williams made a new Green fly in the brand new Atlantic surfboard factory. As Tony says the shape is a take on the 1969-70 bing foil, the board which Keith Paull brought across in 1968 and influenced the surfing world with. This Green Fly is Ryan's one, made in 1969 or '70.
It has competition history too and must have had form because Jerry beat Rod Sumpter on it in the semis of the British champs at Porthtowan . Apart from that Jerry says there are many pictures and films with it in. 3sss films has the best films of it on Porthmeor beach (dont know if these films are available any more though).

Original paper jam fin. The fin would be jammed into the fin box with strips of newspaper, which would then swell up when they got wet and hold the fin tightly in place. That was the theory anywy. In practice many fins were lost, some just from a hard bottom turn. So paper jam fins are super rare today, well done to Ryan for getting this one restored back to original ( it had been glassed in ).

Ryan with the board before restoration . -''I bought this board along with an old Conway and a popout about 12 years ago from a friend for the princely sum of £10, it has been in the workshop until last year when I decided to get it out and restore it ! It was not a pretty sight, the bottom was completely covered in green paint and the fin had been glassed in.  I gave the board to Badger at homeblown and he set about sanding back the paint and found the green fly underneath. Once removing the glass around the fin we found the original paper jam fin, unfortunately the Atlantic decal on top is quite damaged due to the glass pulling away from the blank and leaving half of the decal on the glass ! ''

Charles Williams on a similar Atlantic, 1969/70.

Thanks to Ryan , Jerry and as ever Tony for giving an old tired board a restoration and an identity !!


  1. This is a great example of collecting and shows why provenance is such a key piece of any collectible's story.

  2. the best condition boards don't often have the most interesting stories.....