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 up two Riverside Motors Ford Transit Vans; Gail Sheath with Annie and Mick Thompson driving the van with all the boards and gear, while the rest of us (Paul Blackley, Sid Pitman, Richard Harvey, Alex Farr, Jon Hayward, Chris Salter, Malc Dregde, Mike Smith, Graham Skelley, Dave Jacobs) were loaded into the other Transit Van, Keith Williams VW Camper and others various vehicles. It was a very bumpy trip down in the back of the Transit vans, but I didn’t care as I was looking forward to the waves of the west.

We had to put up a tent that nobody had ever put up before and arriving at the campsite in the dark, I’m sure we had poles in the wrong places and the outer inside out, we must have been to the pub before!!!!

The waves didn’t exactly turn out to be anything special, and after all the talk in ‘The Castle Pub’ about how good it could be, I was a little disappointed. Especially with comments like ”the waves down west are a bit more powerful than the Island nipper…..’, but it was still a great trip, with some memorable moments.

I remember surfing Croyde and thinking even though the waves were small they still had enough power to have a bit of fun. With the swell dropping off the more experienced guys got out a map and planned a route south to Sandymouth Bay. I remember Keith Williams leading the discussions on what breaks we should head for, but I really didn’t care as long as we got back in the water soon. So we all crammed into the vans and I remember Alex Farr having to sit on Dougie Saunders lap as we must have had extra people in the van (A memory that still gives him nightmares today) and headed down to Sandymouth Bay.

The sun was out, more fun waves were found and we had it almost to ourselves. A nice old lady at Sandymouth gave us a huge bag of scones and some plasters for Alex’s foot, a fin cut from his crab island 5’10” (he’s still got the scar). Alex’s primus stove packed up so he ended up eating cold food for the rest of the weekend.

I remember Chris Salter having a new board shaped at Wave Graffitti just before the trip, it was supposed to have been shaped by Craig Hughes but he’d had to leave the UK a bit swiftly (Richard Harvey came across Craig Hughes shaping for Town & Country in New Zealand about 6 years later) so it was done by Chris Beynon. The board arrived two or three days before and Chris had only been on it once at Compton briefly. Chris used it at Croyde and Sandymouth during the weekend and for some reason he just didn’t like the way it rode. On the way home we stopped off in Braunton and he went in to Windjammer Surf Shop for a look. They had a orange/yellow 6’ rounded pin shaped by Craig Hughes so he did a deal with the  girl, his board and £20.

Chris Salter’s  orange/yellow 6’ rounded pin shaped by Craig Hughes turned out to be one of the most popular boards ever to come to the Island. Chris says it was the best board he ever owned and thinks Bryn Saunders had it after him but it seemed to go around most of the grommets on the Island for a few years.

Does anyone know what happened to this board?

Were you on this surf trip? Do you have any memories you would like to share with us?

One Response to “Morthoe Surf Trip 1987”

  1. Chris Salter says:

    ‘Great write up about the infamous Morte Hoe Trip. On reading the piece another thing twigged with me,
    The Crab Island board that Alex Farr had, I sold him about a week before the trip, and I also remember slicing my ankles as well on the fins even after sanding them down’

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