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

Monday 31 January 2011

late 60s Westcoast surfboards singlefin

Here's the most recent addition to the board shed, in as found condition. A 1968/9 transitional hully shape made by Westcoast of Woolacombe in Devon, not a make you see everyday and this is the first one I've seen in the flesh. On first meeting I liked the shape with its slim delicate 50/50 rails, hully underside, and it still feels amazingly light for its size - 7'6 x 20 1/2 . Not a heavy glass job. It also still has what looks like hard paraffin wax on the deck and an ancient leash made of string and rubber gone hard and cracked, and a healthy amount of dust. On the down side, someone has sprayed black paint over it, luckily not keyed in, and it looks like the logo must have delamed , cos its been removed and replaced with a layer of car filler.
And so begins some tlc ,a bit of work and it will be sliding again.
I don't know much about Westcoast so I have borrowed this piece from the Surfing museum's facebook, written by ex employee and rider Tony Cope,
"Westcoast was run by the late Clinton Fitzgerald, known to everyone as just ` Fitz `. He had around him a few people who did bits & pieces to help, one being Roger Lyndon, from Piha, NZ, who was a beachguard in Woolacombe . Roger came to the `factory` ( old wooden stables in South St.) in the evenings to sand & finish boards. Clive Barber had his own surfboard company in South Africa, but spent the summers in Woolacombe shaping Westcoast boards. Fitz & I were best buddies & shared a house, until we both got engaged & lived with our girls. My job was to show surf movies summer evenings on a circuit of village halls in the weekday evenings. Weekends I went to every surf contest, riding & showing the boards. We were hoping it would take off big time, but it didn`t, & Fitz hated the weather & short season so eventually emigrated to SA to work with Clive."

Saturday 29 January 2011

Ocean Magic team board by Mooney McAllum

Sean saw this board in Newquay the other day and sent in some photos -
A rare Ocean Magic 'Team' board shaped by Pete Mcallum . This was shaped in the period pre Nigel Semmens ownership . Channeled bottom , swallow tail , 5"7" x 21" x thick . Twin Fin .Un- numbered . Probably dates from 1979 or 80 and is similar to the short, wide swallow tailed boards Nigel was riding at the time. Its rare to see a 'team ' board like this, who it was made for I don't know - Nigel , Steve Daniel, or one of the numerous young Newquay surfers who were sponsered by Ocean Magic in the early 80s. A cool board, thanks Sean.

N S and Steve Daniel in Oz for the Stubbies 1980, photo by Alex

Here's an O M ad from way back , 1973 to be precise , from Surf Insight no 4 .Which is confusing as I've read an interview with Pete McAllum where he says he started OM in '76 .


A Bilbo in the woods - well actually someone's garden. Lots of old boards are left outside like this one to battle the elements. Owners not interested in using them any more, too heavy to get rid of etc. .This one had last been used as a bathing platform up a river. Luckily it has been bought, saved and restored and is surfing again. Others might not be so lucky. Photo taken in 2007.

Thursday 27 January 2011

Bilbo longboard made by Rod Sumpter

Here's Jason's other Rod Sumpter longboard, a really nice looking board with its single competition stripe and tinted Volan cloth - which hints at it being rather a special board. It has a simple and understated Bilbo logo, and on the stringer is written 'shaped and finished by R. Sumpter' .It must date to around 1967/8 ish ? Here's what Jason has to say about it -

'This is my other Rod Sumpter, although it has a bit of water stain damage it is way more advanced than the other Sumpter, way more bladey, bit more of a cut down fin, and lovely rails. I reckon it might have been one of Rod's competition boards.
In fact i did an exhibition of my vintage boards in Woolacombe a couple of years ago, I had around 30 boards on display, in the afternoon a guy can in,he was middle aged but fit and had the that cool,calm experienced look about him. He studied every board, feeling the rails, looking at the template, he didn't say a word though, just walked away after spending an age looking at them. Turns out it was 'Rich Pavel' who was taught to shape by Steve Lis who shaped early Fish/knee boards back in the early 70's. He was over for Gulf Streams Fish Fry. While I was packing the boards away he came over asked if he could have a look at this board. He loved the rails and went into a deep conversation about them,lost me completely! Above 50/50 rails apparently!!
I got the board in woolacombe, someone had on their roof rack, I asked if wanted to sell it, didn't know it was a sumpter at the time so offered him the princely sum of £100, deal done!'

What Jason said about it being one of Rod's personal boards got me wondering, so I emailed the pics through to Rod via a friend, and this is what he replied ( good news for Jay) -

'The board marked shaped and finished by r.sumpter is a personal rider and is very rare because I finished very few, (maybe 5) you can see the 3 inch overlap in the rails due to the use of Volan fibregrass on the bottom which Hobie in California promoted.

I can remember cutting the cloth and trimming the excess after the Volan ( a green translucent weave) was dry to give that look.It may have been called a competition model (personal and competition names tended to blend!), but was not one of my competition boards that I used. (I don't think because of the fin shape, fins I had were refined edges, but then again theres always the exception to the rule that I often did!)

Thanks for sending, its great to see them, keep em out of the light (or tape over the pencil markings to protect) to save em another 45 years'
Needles to say, Jay had one of those stoked 'antiques roadshow' moments when he read this ; good on him his hunch was correct - a Rod Sumpter personal rider, one of only five shaped and finished by him ! Who knows where the other four are ?

Sumpter takes the open title at the British champs, Watergate september 1969.

above - with the famous Britannia model.
Thanks to Jay, Rod and Graham.

Tuesday 25 January 2011

a fishy bolt

Just found this ad in Surf Insight from summer 1973, mystery solved its a British board, with a big Hawaiian influence...
This looks like another classic case of logo rip off. For sale on UK ebay, 'Gerry Lopez vintage litening bolt', £300 starting bid ! It turns out this was actually shaped by Bob Groves , probably at St Leonards on the south coast of England. I guess he hoped to sell them more easily with the look-a-like Lightning Bolt logo.

Monday 24 January 2011

Chateau 41 twin fin

Andy sent in these photos after seeing the post about my Chateau '41 twin fin. I didn't think I'd see another one but here it is - a very similar 1st generation 6ft twin fin along the ideas of Corky Carroll . Made in Wales at Canton in Cardiff by Alan Williams. Dating from 1971/2 it's got the same classic logo and same looking shape with that huge slab of tail, and tiny little fins which weren't canted so you could get stuck going in one direction ! The one of Andy's could also be a custom job , mine was made for Tim Jones. Andy says he's just got it off a mate and doesn't know a lot about the board - which is excusable as they're very rare these days and this is only the second Chateau 41 I've seen. Needless to say the design wasn't a great hit with the majority of riders and other more successful twin fin designs later took over.

My board, which I got hold of last year. Haven't surfed it yet though !

Sunday 23 January 2011

80s Vitamin Sea by CJ

Here's a cool early 80s Chris Jones Vit Sea with the 80s rock style logo. This one's owned by my mate Geordie Al. Its 5'8 with channels, hips, and a rare pair of not broken star fins. I knew there was a pair somewhere. CJ shaped loads of nice twinnies for Vit Sea during this time, most of the pro model boards etc.

A couple of Al's twins

Paul Bassford and Grishka Roberts early 80s, similar Vit Sea

Sam Jenkins, Fistral 1984

Martin Wright, Porthtowan comp., early 80s. These shots by Alex Williams

Goofy rips

One for the kids - or the big kids. Goofy tries his hand at surfing in this classic 1937 disney. By 3.36 and 7.41 he's perfecting the most stylish way of getting out back I've ever seen.

Friday 21 January 2011

Bilbo longboard by Rod Sumpter

Here is one of Jason's Rod Sumpter made Bilbos. A super rare board, made in around 1965 according to Rod, with the earlier fin type and logo. Rod, born in Watford but emigrated to Australia when he was a boy, came back to live in Newquay around 1965 and became Britain's first true pro surfer . Rod was virtually world junior champion, having won in Australia and California. He joined Bilbo who sponsered him with boards and paid him to shape some signature models, and in return Rod contributed greatly to board design improvements, and helped showcase Bilbo through his surfing and contest results.
This is one of those rare surviving boards from the first year of Bilbos production, and Jason had to do a bit of a deal to secure it -
'I got it in a three-way swap involving my equally as rare St. Ives 'Williams' longboard, it took some persuading to let that one go but the chance to have two Sumpter's in my collection was too much. The deal was done in Gulf Stream's surf shop and those involved where Skelly,Pete Robinson and Me. We all live in North Devon and I can't imagine there is a place in Great Britain where there is such a concentration of vintage surfboards!'
Thats probably true Jay, there must be over 300 boards in those three collections alone. Down in Cornwall there seem to be smaller collections spread all over, I guess the biggest might be the Gul one at Bodmin, and part of it is on display at the bar by Fistral beach.

Rod, 1966

Rod at Fistral, september 1966.


Back to the days before we had glossy surf magazines and a multi £million surf industry .....copies of Surf from the mid 70s, black and white photocopy pages stapled together with an occasional flash of colour on the cover, 10p a copy ! I like the simplicity of the covers - a title, a photo and a couple of features, job done.

Thursday 20 January 2011

the tale of a bolt

Roland Lansdale Spain 1976

Have you ever wondered what has happened to the old boards you have known in the past ? Are they still alive and cherished and being surfed , or are they covered in dust forgotten at the back of someone's garage; or worse still, twenty feet under slowly rotting away in landfill ? And what's the chance of coming face to face with them again ? Here's a tale of a board Alex knew well in the 70s, a red Bolt, which unmistakably popped up again at his local break 30 years later !-
'My mate Roland Lansdale, who grew up surfing at Bantham then went to OZ for several years before returning and lifeguarding at bantham, took me and a mate on my first surf trip to France and Spain in 1976. He told us about all the different spots that we could hope to surf. We hoped to be able to get some good swell, so we could go to Mundaka.
Back a few years before Roland had spent a couple of winters staying there. One winter he turned up and lost his board. While he was there ,there were a couple of Californians who had lived in Hawaii and worked for Lightning Bolt. They had made a board there and were travelling with it. The red Lightning Bolt. They left just after Roly turned up to go to Morocco, Their nick names were TreeBeard (big tall guy with beard) and Burnout! (too many drugs) while they were down in Morocco Roly lost his board. When they came back short of money Roly bought the board when they left for home.

We went down on our trip and surfed all the spots that Roly had told us about including Mundaka. We did the whole trip in an old Fiat 128!! that was a small rusty car. On our way home we had all of our boards on the roof on this small roof-rack coming back from Mundaka to Rosscoff when half way up through France a lorry clipped the roof-rack or the force of the air sucked the racks off!!! boards went everywhere! The bolt hit the tarmac and took the nose off. On return Roly and my mate Lawrence fixed the nose with a nice bit of mahogany he had.

A year or so later Roly decided to go back to Oz and sold the board to Bilbo Plymouth 1978. Roll forward to 2006. I was out surfing at Bantham on a nice 3/4ft day, on an old John Hall single fin board and I got a little cover up by the channel as a guy was paddling out, He commented that it was good to see that the ''old boards could still go'' and he had one in his van! a lightning bolt!
Back in the car park I found the guy parked almost next to me and asked if I could look at the bolt? He said yes, no probs it was a red one! I replayed its not 7'4'' Bat tail with a wood nose block? Yes he said, you know the board ? So I told him the story. He got the board in a shop in Bude about a year later, which he learnt to surf on and so has his son. He lives in Newton Abbot now after moving from Bude area. The surf shots of him are by Pete Ash in the Bude area.

Unfortunately I do not have his name as I lost all contacts on my last

Roland 1976

The Bolt's new owner

Thanks to Alex for the pics and the tale !