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, 29 November 2011

John Conway singlefin

A sought after classic, early 70s John Conway from Henry's collection. Apart from making boards John is best known for starting Wavelength, the UK's longest running surf mag , taking loads of classic surf images which is now the Wavelength archive, and for bringing surfing professionalism into the UK through the world tour events held at fistral in the early 80s.

After an apprenticeship at Bickers through the mid 60s he started shaping under his own label at the end of the 60s and soon got a reputation as a quality maker. This classic rounded pin is from the early 70s shaped in Newquay. The unusual logo placement is a sign of John's different and creative approach to boardmaking. The purple bottom is not original but still looks nice with the green and red pinlines , and like Henry says its a part of the boards history and worth keeping as it is.



John with ale 1981

Saturday, 26 November 2011

60s moves & grooves

Boards for sale

NOW SOLD Classic late 70s Freedom, in Newquay, offer closest to £180 gets it. A couple of very minor dings need done, otherwise very nice condition. 6'9 x 20 in. Email me and I'll pass you on to the seller.

-SOLD- Fancy a winter project ? late 60s transitional Bilbo 8ft 4, a rare board and a nice shape, check out that big stringer. This one was found in an old bath in Jersey ! but is now in Plymouth. Its got some delam and some stress fractures up in the nose area, but looks solid enough to be a worthy restoration. The seller is willing to take a realistic offer considering the work needing done, email - .You don't see these very often, could be a CJ or Bill Bailey .

Friday, 25 November 2011

Celtic surfboards

Celtic is one of those short lived labels which has been forgotten about over the years - this is the first one I've seen. It belongs to Chris Jones and has hung around his factory for a few years, and he still can't find anything out about Celtic. Judging from the shape it was made between '69 and '73, and from the name made in Wales or Ireland , although it could easily be any part of the UK's surfing communities. Its strange that the logos are upside down .
If anyone remembers anything about Celtic or you made this board yourself - leave a comment or send me an email.

Thanks to Tony Cope who has come up with some info on the maker of Celtic boards, who was from New Zealand, having been friends with him back in the late 60s/ early 70s around Woolacombe. -
'You can now publish to the world that the Kiwi was Roger Lyndon, from Piha, NZ, who became a beachguard in Wooly in 1969, sanded boards for Fitz at night, learned to glass & shape a few during that season, and carried on making them in the same premises ( old wooden stables in South St. ) after Fitz emigrated to SA in 1970. He used up the remaining Westcoast logos, then went on to Celtic, as far as I know.
He was back in Piha by `76 - there`s stuff online - also he`s in a video called something like ` the guys on the point` about the early days of surfing on the west coast of north island, NZ.'

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Circle One quiver

1972/3 ad
Here are some more classics sent in by Shaun, three '70s Circle Ones made by Jeff Townsley at Exeter. And more interestingly Shaun says these were all Jeff's personal boards. This is a varied quiver, with the oldest board being the classic swallow tail stinger on the right, a fashionable shape in the early to mid 70s. I like the one in the middle , made a bit later with swallow tail , two pairs of hips or flyers and classic spray. Jeff did a lot of the sprays himself.
The twin fin egg is quite an unusual shape, a super wide and squat disk to motor through British slop, and channels to speed it up. Another classic spray. Thanks to Shaun for the photos.

Jeff shaping - and below spraying in the early 70s

Jeff at his Exeter showroom early 70s

Monday, 21 November 2011

Three piece suite by Bickers

Imagine this scenario - you're refitting your vw camper and want to put in a nice table. Do you
a) get a nice piece of wood and polish it up
b) get an old piece of wood and give it that annoying shabby chic look
c) dig out the old man's mal which has been hanging round for years, saw it into three pieces and use the middle bit with the pretty logo on as the aforementioned eating platform.
Well you've probably guessed by now thats what some guy did, and the old mal happened to be one of the UK's most sought after 60s boards a Bickers ! The guy had no idea what a schoolboy error he'd made until he happened to mention his surfboard table to Alex, who quickly let him know a bit of a traversty had occured.
The guy must have been wrestling with the guilt because now comes the news he's sending it to Chris Jones for a full restoration !
Its a saddening but slightly amusing tale and it'll be interesting to see how the board comes through at the end.
Note to Skelly - brace yourself theres some Bickers vandalism coming up ...

Saturday, 19 November 2011


Todays forecast delivered with smokin waves everywhere in sight. Close to perfection and with a good bit of grunt behind it. Unfortunately I'd had 7 betty stoggs and 5 hrs sleep the night before, but the first duck dive put me right and some sweet waves were had. Photo- Gwithian this morning by saltshots

Friday, 18 November 2011

Lookin forward to some of this tomorrow down the local beach. November has been a classic month for swells, long may it last

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

early 70s Freedom fish

This little stunner was made at Freedom in Jersey ,probably shaped by Steve Harewood in '72 -'74. Its a very progressive shape for the time , 6 ft x 20 1/2,and was one of the first batch of twin fin fishes made over here. The classic outline is very familiar these days with the rebirth of retro keel fishes made in the hundreds and thousands ; this board actually knocked around the Gulf Stream factory for years and probably had a few templates taken from it.
In the winter of 1972 - summer of '73 UK boardmaking went through something of a tail revolution .The swallow tail - also called the split tail and the fish tail back then - was the new design to be seen on and offered alot of advantages for British waves. In the World championships in California in October '72, held in pretty junky surf, the new fish tail design had taken four top placings out of five, with Jimmy Blears 1st and David Nuuhiwa 2nd. Steve Harewood, who was in the British team at the time, scoped out these new shapes and started making them when he got back to Jersey. Soon he and fellow Worlds team mates Graham Nile, Pete Jones and Charles Williams were all riding Freedom fishes and swallow tails.
Benefits of fish tails at the time were advertised as -greater bite in critical situations in the wave and less spinning out (swallow tail), extra planeing area gives far greater speeds in mushy surf so greater manouverability in most UK conditions (fish). 'Putting the fun back into surfing, getting out of the narrow trips that just bog down in average waves ' . This all made a lot of sense - but there were some who went against the fish design. Tiki in '73 said the fish encourages a jerky style of surfing and is a step backwards from the long narrow singlefin, so wasn't something to get 'hooked' on.

After a winter of trials and test rides Freedom hit the marketplace in Summer '73 with a lot of progressive and stylish swallow tails and keel fishes , the latter of which didn't sell in great numbers because surfers were advised against them or found them hard to surf compared to the longer boards on the market. Nevertheless this is a sweet board and shows the quality of Steve's shaping. I don't think the underside spray job is original, and as for the keels - they look pretty experimentally made and I guess must be original. Pretty unusual colours on them. The bird decal was used on a lot of Freedoms from this early period.

Surf Insight 1973

Freedom ad summer '73

Tiki's opinions on the keel fish ,'73

Zak Harewood with one of his dad's shapes, early - mid 70s

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Ezy rider

A clip from Jimi Hendrix's 1972 film Rainbow Bridge, shot in Maui. Ezy rider must be one of the most apt surf sountracks of the 70s, and here's David Nuuhiwa ripping it up, doing 180s, switch stance ,tail first take offs, dropping in, cutting people up you name it he did it. Within a few months he would be riding twin keel fishes, and this style of board would be taken up by makers in the UK including Freedom, Tris, Creamed Honey and Wavecraft.
Those who have seen Rainbow bridge will probably remember a Mike Hynson singlefin being cut up for drugs smuggling. sacriledge...

The offending druggies

Mike Hynson

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Bro and Paul's quiver

This collection belongs to Bro and Paul at Diplock Phoenix surfboards . Most board factories have one or two old boards hanging around for various reasons - for reference, for display, or to surf on and go back to the roots for a while. Bro and Paul have more than most, which includes some pretty rare singlefins.

Don't know the make of this first one, two early 70s Bilbos and a Carl Hayward (Huntington Beach, USA)

rare late 60s Stuart of St Ives (Pete McAllum) , Tigger Newling keel fin and Tig stinger, and mid 70s early Ocean Magic by Pete McAllum.

Some great old boards here. I was surprised to see the Tigger Newling keel fin, similar to what Wayne Lynch was riding in the early 70s for a bit, and Nat Young was riding in Crystal Voyager. Added to that the rare Tig stinger and I thought Tigger should see these photos as he's usually pretty interested in his old surviving boards. This is what Tigger replied (he lives in Australia now) -

''Great to see those two boards surviving - a very unique pair. I do remember the keel fin. The keel was part of the original board design, not added later. I think I tried to ride one (maybe even that one) for a bit but I found it difficult to do my usual stuff - very stiff in turns and prone to spinning out. But it did go awfully fast in a straight line! Probably just required a different riding approach like the finless wooden boards (alaias) that are back in vogue (over here) now.
I think my inspiration for the keel design was Wayne Lynch who experimented with keel fins for a bit. I like the planshape - pretty much a gun for long fast waves.
The stinger is interesting too. Can't remember who it was built for unfortunately. Also more a big wave board, given that the stinger is so far up, making the tail pretty narrow, Ben Aipa was probably the inspiration for that one, Buttons (Full name - Montgomery Earnest Thomas Kaluhiokalani!) and various hot Hawaiian surfers popularized that design in the early 70s. I notice it has a fibreglass leash point between the swallows. That was a chunk of fin offcut laminated in to the deck with a hole drilled through. What I came up as an attachment point before leash plugs became available.

I was driving thru Murwillumbah (my nearby country town) and saw a pile of old boards lying kerbside in a heap for pickup in what we call the Council Clearout. I screeched to a halt and found a 6'0" Keith Paull squaretail single fin from the late 60s, a little sub 6'0" twinfin with a psychedelic bottom, and a big old vintage fibreglass surfski. They look good after a hose down and turps wax strip. At least 20 years of accumulated grime. The twin fin still had the original leash attached. A length of surgical tubing with a nylon cord up the centre.
Will send you a pic when I get organized. Maybe I have now caught the board collection bug, thanks to you. One thing is for sure, I am not going to find any of my boards at the kerbside over here.
I was happy to get the Keith Paull board as I knew the late great man: he visited Europe and Cornwall in about 1969 when he was then Australian Champion. He stayed at our house in Treyarnon and we once had a fun surf at Trevone with Corky Carroll from California who was travelling with him.''

Thanks to Tigger for giving details on his old boards, it really brings their history back to life and I'm sure the guys at Diplock Phoenix will be interested to read it. Good find for Tigger too getting those boards before they hit the landfill - the start of a collection ??

Wayne Lynch with keel fin, early 70s. photo by Rusty Miller.

Thanks to Shaun for taking all the photos - much appreciated.