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

Monday, 29 July 2013

So bad they're good

These mid 70s ads from Bez Newton's Surf magazine are a world away from the professional layouts and super sharp photography of todays surf mags. In some ways they are terribly basic - hand drawn, hand written and some with stencils which resemble a school project rather than a grown up surf mag. The printing is poor quality too, just photocopied sheets , and in some surfing photos its almost impossible to see the surfer !
But there was a reason for this -  British surf mags up to the mid 70s had a very short life spans. Surfing UK lasted 3 issues, British Surfer lasted 6, and Surf Insight lasted 4 . These were high quality mags, two in newspaper format, and British surfer a well laid out and stylish small magazine/ booklet . But these cost money - especially printing and distribution, and to a growing but still relatively small surfing population. Plus there were strong surf clubs - who would buy one copy and pass it round all the members !
Surf by Bez Newton lasted for many years through the 70s, and is a priceless look at what was happening in UK surfing especially between the demise of Surf Insight in '73 and the start of Atlantic Surfer in '78. During these five years Surf was our main mag ; it may not be the best quality (although it improved a lot in '77) but it was produced on a shoestring and kept going when few others could - good on em.
Here are a few classic ads from Surf - so bad they're good  !

How to find Tigger's factory , Aug 1974
Creamed Honey, Dec 1975
Saltburn surf shop,Sept 1974
Freedom surfboards, Sept 1974
Tube surfboards, Aug 1974
Flying Fish surfboards, Penryn ,Aug 1974
Inner Visions surfboards, Dec 1975
Cosmic leashes, Sept 1974
Tiki ,May 1975
Charles Williams surf shop, May 1975

Gul wetsuits, Dec 1974
Tiki, Dec 1974
Wavecraft surfboards, Aug 1974
Tris, Aug 1974
Graham Nile, Aug 1974
Evans board lock 1974
Dec 1974


  1. Think it was 4 issues of Surf Insight or I am missing one that I never new about?

  2. Yes your right - i shouldnt rely on my memory when writing these things ! Glad someone is checking me

  3. Hi Alasdair,
    Have you seen The Biarritz Gun in the Freedom's Ad ?
    From now my purpose in my life is to find and to surf a Biarritz Gun !
    A bientôt

  4. It was made for you ! Good luck with your search Stephane

  5. You have to remember Bez produced his mag under extreme conditions - from the back of his car at one time, and also from a tiny caravan on Watergate carpark. At the same time he maintained amazing correspondence with contributors such as myself, either handwritten or knocked out on his trusty typewriter. Apart from reflecting the growing British scene, Bez added unique knowledge from his world travels. The mags may not have looked much compared with later publications, but their contents were pure gold.

  6. hi Neil, I do agree with you totally, it was a mag on a shoestring but everyone involved mucked in and made a great mag even if it visually looks pretty basic. And for historical and reference reasons its worth its weight in gold now.