Peter Smith

Peter Smith contacted me this week with his concerns over the proposal to build a harbour from Freshwater Bay saying he used to surf on the Island back in the 1970’s. Peter now lives in Newport Beach, California and is owner of Avalon Wine. I asked him to tell me a little more about when he lived and surfed on the island and this is what he had to say.

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I met Sid Pitman when my dad and I were lodging at Dimbola above Freshwater Bay during the winter of 1973 when I started lower 6th at Carisbrooke and my dad was head of the catering dept at the Isle Of Wight Technical College. Dad and I used to walk down to swim at the bay, and one day there was a decent swell and one guy out there all by himself. Got chatting to him, and he told me all about the surf spots on the island and the surf club…

Peter in South America

We moved to Newport after a while (during that winter I think) and from there I used to catch rides with Rog Cooper, Brian “the screw” Hill, Tony Macpherson. I used to walk down to Tony’s house on Pan Estate before light with my “fare” – a pack of biccies to share, then we’d go in one of their cars by rotation. I was by far the youngest (and only “young”) surfer on the island at that time.
During my upper 6th year Steve Chase arrived from Portsmouth, and was working at the garage at the bottom of the hill below Carisbrooke High School, so I’d get lifts with him also (often not getting back to school if the waves were good, hence only getting 2 A levels instead of 3…). I also got the use of my parents’ 1960 Morris 1000 traveller when I learnt to drive, so could get out more by myself when I had money for petrol.
Dave “turf” Salero was very active then too – I think he’d won the IOW championship the year I arrived (at about 40 years old after only surfing a couple of years).
The Club house was not even close to the edge of the cliff at Compton, movie nights by Pete Brown and Annie (now married to Tony Mac I believe)… lots of great times.

 

“Postman” Tad with his stories of Peniche in Portugal, the other guy I forget the name of who’d moved away, but came back for a while and lived in a converted hearse or London taxi cab… the connection with Genevieve Berrouet in Guethary where I ended up spending 7 months in 1976 and again in 77…
And I remember those special days when we’d come over the hill and see lines stretching out to the horizon, and we’d flash by Compton to FB… and those VERY special days when it was working. One day Steve’s dog got so excited at our hollering he peed himself all over me on the front seat!

Peter & Family

 

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I contacted Sid Pitman and he told me about a trip Pete, Dave Salero and Sid did to Woolacombe, meeting up with Roger Cooper. Sid remembers Pete cooking an omelette for him and Dave which was a complete mess while in the camper next door Roger Cooper had managed to cook a full roast dinner followed by trifle which he finished off all by himself.

One Response to “Peter Smith”

  1. peter brown says:

    Congratulations on this nostalgic web
    Great memories of those early and unforgettable IOW surfing days.
    I was the only ( regular) surfer who lived on the west side of Freshwater Bay in those days.
    Board design in the early seventies was very much a work in progress and Compton, The bay or Niton were ( lets face it ) bleak cold wet places on an average winter morning.
    But,when I drove past the little thatched church just beyond Farringford and a small part of the eastern end of The bay came into view, if I caught a glimpse of white water at the base of Stag rock, there was nowhere else on earth that mattered and nothing better to be doing.
    The years have flown by and I now live in Sydney and still surf ( slightly dodgy knee! ). My two sons also surf.
    Here the water is always warm and clear and the sun generally shines, but choppy small Compton or those cold, misty, still days at Freshwater, when a deep low off Florida had pushed clean large waves into The bay, remains with me. Island surfing. There was nothing like it.

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