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

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Bilbo longboard and V-bottom

Happy New Year ! Looking forward to classic surfs in 2014. And more time to get in the water.!
Here are a couple of classic Bilbos . First up is this standard longboard from 1967 or 68, near to the last longboards Bilbo made before the board lengths began to get chopped. This board is one owner from new ! and has the owners initials on the underside so must have been custom made for him. These boards are pretty heavy but still nice to surf and always put a smile on your face in small surf. The nylon plastic fin would originally been red but it goes this pinky colour with age. The bungee leash was not a good idea !
Nice competition stripes on the deck and thick single balsa stringer . A classic Bilbo of the era and still looks in good nick and watertight.

And here's a rare , and rather more battered find . Pulled from a hedge by Andy some years ago , a 1968 Bilbo v- bottom by Chris Jones. V bottoms were around for such a short period of time (between longboard era and the Bing foil design) that they are very scarce now, and its even harder to find British ones. Most were copied straight from the boards of Aussie or South African surfers visiting England or France. 
''Looks like one of the Bilbo's made in May 1968, when South African Trevor Espey and mates arrived in Newquay with stubbies. Until then I think Bilbo made only longboards. A very small window this one,  because Keith Paull arrived immediately after with his Foil, so Bilbo went from mals to Foils in a few weeks. If so, there aren't many of these around.'' Tony Cope

And while we're on the subject of Bilbos , here's a classic photo of Jonty Henshall taken in 1979 with his Rhosneiger surf crew and two Bilbos. Jonty has lived in Cornwall a long time but grew up surfing the waves of Anglesey in North Wales - much the same as I did fifteen years later. Back in Jonty's day there werent many local surfers to learn from so they just had to work it out themselves. 
Jonty (left) is keen to know if his boards are still out there ! Since his brother sold them while he was off travelling. -
''The boards were 2 Bilbo transitional era, one about 7'6" clear MP style squash tail, with orange gloss in the fin area, the other was a more unusual 8' ish round pin, clear bottom, orange gloss deck. Both had glass stringers, greenough 4A style box fins, and western logos. I have attached a pic from 1979 of us with the boards. I assume they were made by CJ around 70?''
Since the boards are still pretty long they must date from around 1970 as Jonty says. Some classic wetsuits there too !
If anyone has info on the boards let us know.


  1. Re: the V-bottom, Bilbo were making about 60 boards/week at this time ( CJ + either A. Mc Bride or J. Mac shaping ) so if there were about (say) 120-180 V boards made, only a handful will still be around now .