The Eighties

IOW Surf Club Guide to Learning to Surf

I have been very kindly lent the IOW Surf Club’s 1983 guide to ‘Starting Surfing’ by Keith Williams. The guide was put together by Dave Phillips and Rog Butler with cover by Clive Richardson. Part 1: Isle of Wight Surf Club Guide – Learning to Surf Learning to Surf There is only one way to […]


Keith Williams

Keith Williams finds a little barrel on the inside at Compton during a lovely little swell in the 1980’s.


Dave Gray shapes a board as a school project

Wight Surf History has been given a surfboard originally thought to shaped by Dave Gray as part of a school project Dave passed the board onto Russell Farrel during the 1980’s and then passed to his brother Steve who has kindly given the board to Wight Surf History. Dave we would love to know a […]


Tad Ciastula

Tad Ciastula started shaping boards with fellow British Hovercraft Corporation (B.H.C.) apprentice Dougie Clarke, spending their spare time out in the old tin shed at the training centre near Osborne House designing and shaping a knee board like the one George Greenough rides in Crystal Voyager with a scooped deck. Surfing became a big part of […]


Crossing The Atlantic – Part 3 by Rob Ward

Crossing the Atlantic and Returning Home (The Midnight Hour – Part 3) From-Multihull International, August 1990 By Rob Ward Antigua – Flores (Azores) initially making for Bermuda Having returned to Antigua for the second time from the Grenadines and many strange and wonderful anchorages in between, Tris, Ray and I set about preparing The Midnight Hour […]


The Midnight Hour – Part 2 by Rob Ward

The Next 5, 000 Miles (The Midnight Hour – Part 2) From-Multihull International, July 1990 By Rob Ward This is written in Prickly Bay, Grenada. The Midnight Hour arrived in Barbados a week ago. We stopped in Bequia and Martinique and then took our charterers to their plane in Antique before picking up some friends, […]


Construction and 1st 5,000 Miles of The Midnight Hour – by Rob Ward

The Construction and First 5,000 Miles of The Midnight Hour From-Multihull International, March 1990 By Rob Ward With merely my third year’s subscription form for MI on the desk it may seem a bit presumptuous to put a new ribbon and double spacing on this battered Olympia and write a few words, the need to […]


Surfers win Cracker Race

IOW Surf Club wins the Annual Ventnor to Sandown Cracker Race – by Tony Macpherson

This race took place in the early 80’s. We had a surf club meeting in the Castle Inn in Newport and this peculiar race was mentioned. It got everyone interested and we decided to enter.

I offered to build the cracker and others were happy to do the run.

The rules required a cracker which was 12ft long by 3ft diameter. It had to be decorated and six runners had to complete the course with it in fancy dress. The race was from Botanical gardens in Ventnor to Sandown pier.

Annie and I worked on the cracker, it had a 6 inch x 12ft plastic water pipe as the backbone, courtesy of Southern water, six carrying handles, two telescopic handles front and back for passing through narrow spaces and several hula hoops as the frame. Annie and I covered and decorated it ready for the run.

On the day the surf club ran superbly and won, we also won best decorated cracker. My memory is not so good on the next details but I think we won the following year as well.

In the third year we failed to win as some teams broke the rules and used collapsible crackers which could easily pass through the narrow spaces along the course. Not sure what happened to the race after that.

The runners were Dave Jacobs, Mike Smith, Colin Graham, Dave Downer, Neil Smith and Simon Richardson.


Two Closely Matched in Senior Final

A Stiff onshore breeze rendered the three to four foot surf bumpy and unpredictable for the IW Surf Club’s 17th annual competition at Compton Bay on Sunday, but an increasingly high standard of surfing was displayed as the competition progressed.

A close first heat saw Clive Richardson, Graham Skelley and Steve Williams proceed to the next stage in favour of Wayne Bradley, Mike Smith and Gail Streets, the only lady competitor.

Heat two produced and clear winner in Ray Hutchings. Barney Barnes and Dave Downer knocked out Roger Butler, Colin Graham and Dave Jacobs, thereby joining Hutchings in the final.

Meanwhile, a thriving junior section enabled the club to stage a special event for the under 16’s in which they demonstrated the rapid progress made this summer.

A worthy winner of this section was Paul Blackley who was presented with a trophy.

Conditions for the senior final improved with the diminishing wind, making for smoother if slightly smaller waves.

Hutchings, Richardson and Williams quickly established themselves with good, solid surfing in the available action., and a close result became likely.

Barnes, Skelley and Downer all surfed with competence but were eventually outclasse.

Richardson consolidated his earlier success with several long, left and right breaking waves which earned him thrid place.

Williams, riding a conventional single-fin board, and Hutchings, on a tri-fin design, were closely matched throughout the event.

It was Hutchings , however who edged ahead in the closing stages with a right-breaking wave, tightly ridden earning him a high score.

Final placings awarded by judges Dave Jacobs and Ann Macpherson were –

Ray Hutchings, 82 points
Steve Williams, 76
Clive Richardson, 67


Dave Gray wins the 1980 IOW Surf Club Contest

The 1980 Annual was finally wrapped up on 22 March. A meaty depression prowling round the mouth of the Channel produced totally maxed out Compton with onshore gales and waves breaking way out in the bay half way between the carpark and the most westerly visible point of the Tennyson Down. There was no alternative but to most the contest east of Niton to Hope, where it underway at midday.

A disappointment after the Saturday which was gutsy at 4-5 feet with very nice inside sections, the waves only managed to struggle up to 2 feet at most for the first heat. However, the six contestants in this heat made the most of a bad job, with Marcus Lloyd dominating to the accompaniment of raucous cheering from the kids on the cliff above and ‘Come on Marcus, give it some welly’ from his girlfriend. Mike Smith slid a few to the very inside, as did Dave Jacobs, but Simon Rolfe and Chris Hollis really needed bigger waves to show off their repertoire to its best advantage. Who didn’t?

Heat Two ripped, slashed and bogged out in similar waves – in fact there were a couple of reasonably-sized sets to break the monotony! Perennial champ Dave Gray adopted a ‘ride anything’ policy which paid off – he won his heat. Steve Williams and Mark Todd followed him through to the finals.

Yes, finals! As the tide dropped out, allowing the swell to break a bit bigger and more consistently, the six finalists paddled out for the decider. Keith slid from further out on a borrowed longboard (the right tool for the job?). Steve broke his fin off half way through a kick-out in the shore break and had to swap boards before many minutes of the final had passed. Dave and Marcus, being goofy, rode mainly lefts, the latter obeying his beach-callers instructions, giving it welly wherever possible, whereas the other four shared the remaining rights amongst them.

Final results were:1 Dave Gray, 2 Marcus Lloyd, 3 Keith Williams, 4 Steve Williams, 5 Mark Todd, 6 Dave Jacobs. Thanks to everyone who helped with the contest, in particular the judges Ann Macpherson and Dave Bottrell; Tony Macpherson for providing the duck-caller (modern technology!) and gallons of frothing tea; Steph for the coconut; especially our hallowed Hon Pres, Sir John, for traipsing from one side of the Island to the other with us, in search of waves – bless their cotton Damarts!

(taken from a 1980 issue of Wight Water Magazine)


Old Clarks’ Glossary of Surfing

Image: Chris Slater riding the wave at Compton with Dougie Saunders in the line up. The image has no relation to the below article.

Old Clarks’ Glossary of Surf – taken from Wight Water Magazine 1981

Being an Authoritive Guide to an Old Sport and New Pastime, in Alphabetical Order and Fully Cross-Referenced. Essential to Gremmie and Old Salt alike. First Pub. at Hulverstone 1981. Compiled by JW and RA Clark.

A

Awful Tea. Brewed by the National Suss (q.v.) since AM 1979 (After Munt q.v.)

B

Burt’s – often used in cases of depression (q.v.) or packs of six, but works better as a laxative.

Bogs – (at Compton), locked in winter, full up in summer.

C

Cretin. Species of lunatic, (see Grockle)

D

Dumper truck, suitable for removing burnt out remains of Surf Club Huts

E

Ephriam Prenderghast; obscure missionary and collector of Hymenoptera, sent to the Pacific Islands in 1850 to convert natives. Last seen ripping six foot tubes and lying on the beach surrounded by dusky maidens. Coined the phrase ‘far out’. (q.v.)

F

Flat; no surf (see summertime)

Far Out! – uncertain meaning, perhaps applied to low tide (q.v.)

G

Grockle; much suffered complaint of NW Frontier, viz., pain in the Khyber Pass

H

High Tide – alcoholic soap powder.

I

Isobars; Lines on a map connecting pubs at the same height above sea level.

J

Join – the Isle of Wight Surf Club!

K

Kelp; Health food, manure and an unholy stinking fly-ridden beach on a hot day.

L

Low Tide – Little soap powder left.

Laxative; The Bay at 10 feet.

M

Mortgage; essential for buying a new surfboard.

Munt, Mr. Friendly local capitalist, now retired.

N

National Suss. Brewers of Awful Tea

O

Ocean. Large Volume of oxidised hydrogen containing dissolved salts, and other people’s rubbish. Causes many problems, mostly by not coming across with the necessary.

P

Polysiphonia Elongata – does not mean ‘many long drawn-out tubes’ but does mean you can get very tangled up whilst surfing (see Kelp).

Q

Queen. What the hell’s she got to do with it?

R

Rubber Suit; protective device.

S

Summertime. Period of year given over to flatness (q.v.) Grockles (q.v.), and fickle sunshine.

Surfboard; expensive implement of self-torture often connected with Rubber Suits (q.v.)

Surf; inferior soap powder.

Sand; ingrdient of beach lunches, tea and canned beer. Occurs naturally in shoes and socks; used as a floor covering during Summer (q.v.) in VW Micro-buses (q.v.) and French bordellos.

T

Ten; Hang Ten. Pointless excersise popular in the 1960’s now almost impossible of boards of current length.

U

Underpants. Essential element incorporated in the Davy Lamp Principle as described in Sid Dipman’s ‘Varp Lightning’, previously published in a back number of Wight Water, and abstracted from the greater work ‘Things to do on Flatulent Days’.

V

VW Microbuses; for transportation of picks, shovels, surfboards and other implements of destruction.

W

Wistful, waiting, watching, weather map and Winter – (c.f. Summertime), period of year given over to Rubber Suits (q.v.)

X

Xenoiphobia; pathological dislike of foreigners (see Grockle).

Y

Yesterday (overworked word).

Z

Zone

Sub-littoral surfing area
O – you can smell it at low tide (q.v.)
Disaster; Swimming Area
Forbidden; Good Surfing Area
No Parking; Right next to the Good Surfing Area
Erogenous; After-Surf entertainment
Inter-tidal; Rubbish tip
War; Surfing Area

Zombie; soulless corpse given the appearance of life by witchcraft (see Grockle)

THE END (See Grockle)

(slightly edited to protect the innocent)


The Exlife File

She was riding intuitively, riding on nerves and instinct, with no time for thought or rational assessment. It was all happening so fast – yet she’d been on this wave all her life. The stoke was unbelievable! Every manoevre better than the last, flying out of the turns and, well, just plain rad! Ooo-ee!! The boys would love this one! As the wave humped up, steepening for its final attack, Gran Slick marshalled all her faculties – and pulled off the best re-entry of her short career, a vertical magic carpet ride which defied description.


The Great Storm of ’87

On 16 October 1987, one of the worst night of storms in most peoples memories hit the south of England. Coastguards on the Isle of Wight said the winds were too strong to be measured on their instruments. The storm hit the Island at about 2am, and Shanklin Pier nearly a century old, disintegrated into a pile of wood overnight. It was broken into three pieces as a result of huge waves. Plans to rebuild the pier were abandoned, and the rest of the pier was demolished. A monument now stands in front of what used to be the pier entrance.

I had gone to the Court Jester Night Club in Sandown and driving home just after 2am we found that roads were already blocked by fallen trees but we were still unaware of the full power of the storm and the damage it would cause during the night. When I woke the next morning I was already late for work as my alarm hadn’t gone off because of a power cut. I threw on my clothes and set off for work at HW Morey’s in Newport. There were slates and tiles all over the roads and pavements and when I got to the Morey’s gates I saw that a house opposite had most of its’ gable wall littered all over the road. As you can imagine it was very busy at Moreys’ that day with firemen and builders rushing in the get materials but all I could think of that there must be some awesome waves somewhere on the Island.

On the Saturday I managed to get a lift to the beach with Steve Williams and we headed straight for Shanklin, by this time the swell had dropped and was very messy but the devastation we witnessed was something I will never forget. Shanklin beach was littered with driftwood, fruit machines bits of metal and the remains of the pier. At Compton the Isle of Wight Surf Club hut had been completely demolished and the surfboards were to be found in farm fields all along the Military Road (Where did those boards end up?).


1985 Isle of Wight Surf Club Calender

In 1985 The Isle of Wight Surf Club produced a calender for sale to its members. It was pre-printed with all the years events, meetings and the tide times at Compton at the weekends. Highlights for that year were;

Thursday 3rd January – Slides/Talk by Roger Mansfield (Former UK Champion) 7.30pm, Sail Loft, Union Road, Sandown

Friday 18th January – Agm/Video, Teachers Centre 7.30pm

Friday 8th February – Fancy Dress Disco

Saturday 2nd March – Jumble Sale, Wilberforce Hall, Brighstone

Saturday 16th March – Swim Marathon

Friday 12th April – Surf Film/Video

Sunday 26th May – Longboard Contest 3.00pm and barbecue

Sunday 9th June – (Back up date for Longboard Contest) 3.00pm

Friday 21st – Sunday 23rd June – Camping Weekend/Compton Farm

Saturday 6th July – Open Day/Barbecue 12 noon onwards

Saturday 10th August – Paddle Race/barbecue 4pm onwards

Saturday 7th September – Barbecue/Frisbee Contest

Saturday 28th September – Shortboard Contest 10am

Sunday 13th October – (Back up date for Shortboard contest) 10am

Frday 15th November – Surf Film/Video

Sunday 15th December – Cracker Race

If you can shed some light on any of these events please get in touch. Some one told me that the IOW Surf Club won the Cracker Race in Sandown? 3 years in a row???


The Camper Era

The Camper Era

After returning from this trip, which I wouldn’t have missed for the world, I bought my first camper van, an ancient Commer with a nice conversion in back. This opened up the way for me to get away to the West country more often and to retrace my steps back to France & Spain once a year, not to mention numerous weekends camping out at Compton. There was a trip to Rhosilli at Easter one year with a bunch of other guys who camped in tents. It was so cold that Jake put all his clothes on to go to bed and the boards were covered in ice in the morning.

Needless to say, I was snug & warm in the Commer. On a trip to Newquay in the Commer in September 1976, Jake & I would surf Great Western in the morning on a rising tide and Crantock on the ebb in the afternoon as the edge was taken off the swell.

One afternoon, we were out in the line-up at Crantock when Dave ‘Turf’ Salero & Brian Hill turned up on the beach, but couldn’t get out through the crunching inside section. We’d just remarked on this, when Jake saw a monster set rear up out back. As he was clearly a bit nervous, I said, “Don’t worry Jake, it’s only water”. Funnily enough, that didn’t seem to reassure him. Suffice to say that we were both cleaned up & washed in and felt no desire to venture out again that day!

That Commer eventually gave way to a bigger Commer Highwayman. This was a coachbuilt conversion & would sleep 4 in comfort. It was a big, slow beast though & the journey back from Freshwater West in Pembrooke with Mick Thomson & Magic took all day. In time, that van was superseded by a rising roof Bedford.

Unfortunately, a coming together with an 80mph drunk a week before a planned trip to Ireland meant the Bedford was written off, to be replaced, eventually, by a VW. That served me well for several years with trips back to Biarritz, Spain, Ireland, Wales & the West country before being replaced by another VW.

One day I was talking to a bunch of guys, a couple of whom I knew, when one of the guys I didn’t know very well said, “You’re Keith Williams aren’t you? You’re the guy who caught the best wave ever at Compton” I was a bit stunned by this pronouncement, as you can imagine. Having thought about it, I remembered a Saturday afternoon a few months previously, in October 1986, when the conditions were the best I’d ever seen at Compton. The swell was 6-8 feet on a rising tide with no wind to speak of. At the time, I’d gone back to long boards and had a ‘Chapter’ popout. I’d caught a couple of 4-5 footers and got tubed on the inside when I saw a big set approaching. I was able to get outside everyone else and was lined up just right for the first wave. It peaked & peeled perfectly and I decided not to attempt anything clever, so as not to risk falling off this beauty prematurely. I crouched and dragged my hand, easing forward on the board and tucked up into the curl for what seemed like several minutes before pulling out over the top as the wave closed out nearer the beach. There were many other waves on that day, but none came close to bettering that one; so maybe that was the one the guy meant. I was so stoked with the session that I hardly slept that night, still buzzing on the adrenaline rush.


The 1980 Trip – by Keith Williams

Was it coincidence that saw 18 Islanders make the journey to Biarritz in the summer of 1980? I think not. As I heard someone say at the recent film night, the surf club was different then; we all knew each other pretty well from years of surfing together and the trip was arranged as much as a social event as a surf trip.

Having arranged to meet up with Sid, Jake et al at the camp site at Moliets Plage, I arrived there one sunny afternoon and on enquiring at the reception desk about where Les Anglais, Monsieur Jacobs et Monsieur Pitman might be pitched, I was told, after much misunderstanding & arm waving, that they were not registered on the site. Disappointed, I decided to head on to Bidart, where I was sure I’d meet up with them, arriving early enough for a surf before dinner.

I don’t now remember the details, but one by one we began to assemble. I do remember being in the bar at Tamarisk Plage with Sid, Mick Thomson, Magic & my newly arrived brother Steve, when a tremendous thunderstorm hit & all the lights went out.

Steve’s VW CamperSomo
Steve’s VW Camper

I headed off to Somo for a few days to meet up with Rob Clark & enjoyed a few quiet days on the beach there before returning to Bidart. We used to be able to drive onto the breakwater at Plage des Cavaliers & park up in those days & I remember sitting on the rocks lining the breakwater with Sid watching the waves.

The best waves we had all trip were at Cote des Basques. On several days running we had 4 – 6 foot waves peeling fast across the beach in glorious sunshine & warm water on a rising tide. I know Jake was made up with it, especially after 4 o’clock, when the local schoolgirls paddled out for a few waves! The weather was hot & sunny most of the time & poor old Sid’s head suffered a bit with sunburn. Even in the hottest weather, it was common in those days for doughnuts to be sold at the beach. At Bidart, a rather overweight youth used to stagger up & down the beach with a tray slung round his neck, full of apricot doughnuts. These were actually quite delicious and we reckoned that the youth was so fat because he had to eat all the unsold doughnuts at the end of the day.

There were many visits to the cafes in Bidart square & I remember Sid discovering wine in plastic bottles with flip off tops in the local Carrefour for about 30p a litre. The best bit was that they didn’t break if you were too pissed to hold onto them properly!

Cote De Basque
Cote De Basque

Whilst in Bidart, I parked the VW up on the beach road, behind the shed that housed the beach cleaning machine. The advantage of parking there was that you were shielded from the headlights of cars coming down the hill during the night to check the surf, or other nefarious activities; the disadvantage was being woken up at 6 a.m. every morning when the cleaning guy started the massive diesel engine & clattered off down to the beach. Perhaps not though, as an early start always got me into some solitary offshore waves, well solitary apart from Rob Clark who was also parked up at the beach.

Living by the beach at Bidart was one of the most unforgettable experiences. An early surf, followed by breakfast, preceded a walk up to the village (much quieter than it is today) for essential shopping & the first visit of the day to the café. Back to the beach for a sunbathe & a doughnut, followed by another surf before the tide gets too high. Then a long, hot, lazy afternoon before dinner and another walk up to the village for some more serious drinking & maybe a visit to the Pelote au Chistera at the Municipal Fronton before staggering back down the beach path to bed. I remember many evenings sitting on the wall overlooking the beach with Jake, watching the lightning storms over the Spanish side of the Pyrenees, hoping that they would clear by the morning, as they invariably would.

There was also a massed dinner one night at the restaurant by the traffic lights at Guethary, now sadly a double glazing shop, with most of the 18 of us in attendance.

France Crew 1980

The thing from this trip that really sticks in my mind was getting stranded at Cherbourg on the way home by a French fishermen’s strike, which closed the port for 3 days. It was a bit of a bore, but bearable for me as I had all the comforts of home with me in the VW, but for others, particularly families with young children, trying to live in car packed with holiday paraphernalia, parked up in the port with hundreds of others, it was no joke.

I remember the first ship to break the blockade was a Townsend Thoreson ferry which had charged through the picket line of French fishing boats with the fire hoses aimed at the strikers and ‘Rule Britannia’ being broadcast over the ships tannoy! I could even make out one of the officers on the bridge wearing a Viking helmet! This really annoyed the French, though, and negotiations to lift the blockade were brought to a halt, but their action did give us stranded Brits a psychological lift. When the time came, it was a relief to finally get onboard to sail home. The final indignity, though, was being docked 3 days pay for being late back to work!

I don’t suppose there will ever be another trip like the 1980 trip. That was just about the last year where there was the freedom to park up anywhere (except Guethary, eh Magic?) and stay overnight and before the advent of Ryanair flying vast hordes of horrid English people into Biarritz for £1. Bidart, in particular, has changed almost out of all recognition with development, new hotels, car parks, crowded breaks & hordes of the aforementioned horrid English people, although once on the beach, it is possible to lay back with your eyes shut & drift back to the golden era. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.


Extreme Skateboarding

Surfers started Skateboarding on the Island back in the 1960’s after hearing about the craze taking off in California. It all started with wooden boxes or boards with roller skate wheels slapped on the bottom. Eventually companies were producing decks of pressed layers of wood similar to the skateboard decks of today.

By 1963 there were already big downhill slalom or freestyle competitions taking place. By 1965 it seemed that skatebaording had died and that it was just a craze. Coincidently it was probably about this time that surfers on the Island started their own experiments with wooden planks and roller skate wheels.

In 1972, Frank Nasworthy invented urethane skateboard wheels, which are similar to what most skaters use today but it was to be many years before this new invention was to be seen on the Island. In 1978 a skater named Alan Gelfand (nicknamed “Ollie”) invented a maneuver that gave skateboarding another revolutionary jump. He would slam his back foot down on the tail of his board and jump, thereby popping himself and the board into the air. The ollie was born, a trick that completely revolutionized skateboarding.

By the end of the 70’s skateboarding looked to be having it’s second death. Public skate parks had been being built and on the Island I remember one at Golden Hill Fort, but by the 1980’s they had started to crumble and were in a terrible state. Skateparks were starting to be forced to close. Through the 1980’s skateboarders started to built their own ramps. Skateboarding began to be more of an underground movement, skaters making the whole world their skatepark.

In April 1990 the first known advert for a mountainboard appeared in a freshly-formed Transworld Skateboarding Magazine. Although many people tried off road wheels on skateboards over the years no one has a true claim to have invented the first All Terrain Skateboard.

During the late 1980’s I remember being at Compton on a very small wind blown day and it was the sort of day you could guarantee that Dave Grey, Jason Matthews and a few of the others would be found skating the car park. There were a few of us hanging around chatting when I noticed Dave and Jason checking out the the grassy slope that was the way down to the beach (Where the top steps now are). This is long before anyone had thought of, or even seen off road wheels for skateboards on the Island. I grabbed my camera from Clive’s car thinking I was going to get some pics of great crashes.

Jason and Dave soon mastered the top bank and would come down the new concrete path a great speed each time eyeing up the muddy bank down to the beach. It was just too un-even and muddy and they eventually had to give up on the idea of getting all the way to the beach (but not without giving it a pretty good go). Dave wasn’t prepared to give up now and started to climb the cliff to the side of the path. At this point I really thought it was going to get messy but Dave get persevering. Although the drop from the top of the cliff turned out to be impossible Dave managed a pretty hairy drop from at least half way up the cliff.

Were Dave and Jason the first to achieve off road skateboarding on the Island, probably not, but here is the proof that they did it.


1980 France – by Sid Pitman

In July 1980 Dave Williams(Magic), Mick Thompson and myself arrived at Moliet Plage south western france having travelled down in Daves VW Camper, as the advance party for the Isle of Wight Surf Club. We were waiting for Dave Jacobs, Steve Williams, Keith Williams, Ann and Tony Macpherson and there parties to arrive.

Magic and Sid at La Barre

Whilst there we would get acclimatised to the French way of life. Our days started with an early morning surf, followed by breakfast, mid morning surf, followed by lunch, (which usually consisted of Baguettes, cheese, tomatoes, a bottle or two of red wine all for the equivalent of 1£) then a siesta in the sand dunes behind the beach. A late afternoon surf, evening meal with another bottle or two of wine, then an evening surf before bedtime.

Keith, Mick, Sid, Neal and the back of ‘Magic’

This formed the pattern of our days, and as we wound our way through the camp site every morning we would acknowledge a Dutch family camped further nearer the beach with a smile to start with, next day we were greeted with a broad grin, then the day after followed laughter by the end of the fifth morning they greeted our journey with unrestrained laughter. We never did discover what they found so amusing but after the forth day we had run out of milk and Mick had resorted to putting red wine on his cornflakes. Dave never did get the wine rings out of his Formica table top

Back Row: Steve Williams, Dave ‘Magic’ Williams, Jenny Jacobs, Neal Fordham, (Steve’s friend?), Jo Clark, Rob Clark, Keith Williams, Annie Macpherson, Tony Macpherson.
Front Row: Mick Thompson, Paul Jacobs, Mark Jacobs, Dave Jacobs, Kathy Watson (Wheeler), Sid Pitman, Sue Fordham


The Perfect Day

It was a day when you surfed until you just couldn’t surf anymore and your arms were like jelly. You would come up to the car park and grab something to eat and drink and talk about your waves until you couldn’t watch the swell rolling in anymore and go in again. It never seemed busy, only about 15 people in the line up at any one time but people surfed all day and into the night. Keith Williams as I remember was one of the guys who surfed all day on his Chapter Longboard and was catching wave after wave right from outside the wreck right upto the beach where there used to be a couple of lumps of concrete just under the waters edge at high tide. Steve Williams also stood out and seemed a master a riding Compton. Ray Hutchings was doing amazing cutbacks and just knew exactly where to put his board staying right in the critical part of the wave. Clive Richardson togot his fair share of waves too, going left or right seeming to always pick a perfect wall. Jason Matthews was about my age and started surfing at the same time as me, but was a much better surfer than me. Jason was a goofy foot and would smash the lip on his back hand through the inside at Compton.


IOW Surf Club mugs

Over the last few months we have been given these lovely mugs that were given out at the 1982 and 1984 Isle of Wight Surf Club competitions. On the mugs it says they were sponsored by Burts Brewery. We would love to know more about the mugs and the competitions, if anyone has further information […]


Morthoe Surf Trip 1987

Isle of Wight Surf Club Trip to Morthoe 1987 In 1987 The Isle of Wight Surf Club organized a Surf Trip to North Devon about a week or so before the infamous storm of ’87. This was my first ever time to the West Country and my first ever surf trip with friends. We loaded […]


Best be Ready

‘Best be Ready’ from Tube News “I’ve seen it good here. I remember, it was an August Sunday, one of those days when it seems everybody goes to the beach. This place was packed. The sky was that deep blue you associate with a clean and dustless atmosphere; it was sweltering, the sun a fireball, […]


A Pre-Gran Slick Era Report From Sea Area Wight

This is a piece written by Steve Williams for Tube News which was published by Wessex Surf Club in 1985. A Pre-Gran Slick Era Report From Sea Area Wight by Steve Williams Winter on the Island was confined mainly to the first three months of the year. A reasonable menu of waves – from ankle-snappers […]


IoW Surf Scene through the Eighties

Paul Blackley during the early Eighties.

Were you surfing on the Island during the 1980’s? Tell us your stories and send us your images.