Sid Pitman sadly passed away while on holiday in the Mediterranean last week. Sid will be greatly missed by the whole Isle of Wight Surfing Community. Are thoughts at this time are with Sid’s wife Jan.
Sid started body boarding during the early sixties with a homemade plywood board, curved at the front and painted blue. After watching surfing at Makaha on the television Sid decided to make himself a surfboard from polystyrene, with an oak stringer and covered in newspaper, cascamite and fibreglass before being painted blue. Sid went on to have many blue surfboards, sadly a story we never did get to talk about. Sid surfed this board for a few years before it went to Rob Clarke.
After answering an advert in the County Press encouraging surfers to come and join the newly established Isle of Wight Surf Club, Sid and his mate Ben Kelly went over to Ventnor meeting up with Roger Backhouse and his girlfriend Sue Ellis, Geoff (Ned) Gardner, Rusty Long, Jon Jon Ainsworth, Colin Burgess, Colin Hickey, Bob Booth, Steve Brown. Others joined the club shortly afterwards including, Keith Williams, Roger Cooper, Rory Angus, Ian Vallender, Mary Hughes, Dave Bottrell, Glynn Kernick, Rob Eldridge Dave Saleroe, Doug Saunders, Mr Cosmic(Derek Thompson) and many others.
Sid is not only recognised as one of the best Island surfers of his time but also not bad at making the odd surf movie, Surf Rats and Brown Water to name a couple. But there was one movie in particular that Sid made with Mike Smith which included the famous mud slide adventures (sadly another story we never got to complete) that went on to win a National award. Some of Sid’s surfing footage was also used in an episode of Countryfile in 2012 on surfing on the Isle of Wight.
Sid was a big part of the Isle of Wight Surf Club over the years and instrumental in saving the surf club hut from falling over the edge of the cliff by organising a huge crane to lift the hut and move it back to a safer place, giving the hut a few more years life. I certainly appreciated having the hut to get changed in when the wind blew from the North east on a cold February morning.
Sid loved to travel for waves surfing most of the west coast of Britain. In the early days sleeping in an army sleeping bag under hedges or between cars close to the beach so he could be in the sea at first light. Many stories have been told of surf trips with Sid but one that always gets a mention is Varp Lighting, which involved large amounts of baked beans, beer and a lighter. A trip that Sid remembered fondly was to France in 1980 when about 15 members of the Isle of Wight Surf Club met up at Bidart getting great waves and having great times.
Anyone who knew Sid would tell you how much he loved surfing and has been a huge influence on the Island Surfing Community over the years. Sid was a great surfer and an inspiration to many surfers over 6 decades. While Sid couldn’t get in the water in recent years he was still passionate about the sport and in protecting the waves we have on the Island, and he was very vocal in his support for opposing any harbour proposal at Freshwater Bay. Sid loved to surf Freshwater Bay, so next time you paddle out at the Bay take a moment and think of Sid.
Please feel free to leave comments at the bottom of this post. I have copied comments left on Facebook here.
Dave Gray – Sid Pitman bloody amazing huge influence
Ian Pacey – That’s awful news mate I didn’t realize he had passed! Gutted to hear this! Nice tribute though!
Pam Young – xxx
Matt Harwood – Sid was a pioneer and a such lovely man. What a real loss. Still lives on as an inspiration. Love to his family. X
Amy and Len Parker – R.I.P Sid
Alan Reed – R.I.P Sid. Huge respect .
Clive Trevor Guy – Sad News, R.I.P Sid
Chris Salter – R.I.P. Sid! A true sportsman and a real Gent!
Roger Powley – Dreadful news. So sad. R.I.P. Sid, an Island surf legend.
Steve Bollen – Rip Sid he’ll be missed
Pete Heather – Such a shame
Gail Sheath – A very sad day, truly iconic surfer and real nice guy, surfed with him many a time and he was always so “stoked” about being out there.
Chris Blackley – Great tribute Paul, IW Surfing Legend, top bloke and a big influence on the Island surf scene #respect very sad
Ian Hobbs – R.I.P Sid, always had time to chat, top bloke
Bob Booth – OMG Sid and I go back to the 60s at the Isle of Wight Surf Club I’m so sad and shocked I was only talking to him and Jan the other day. Must send my condolences to Jan, I’m so sorry.
Alan Jones – Rip Sid
Peter Smith – Sid was the first surfer I met when I moved to the island in ’73 (or ’74?). Out on his own at Freshwater. I was 16, swimming in the bay with my dad, and had no idea there was any surf on the island till that day. Great guy, always there to encourage young surfers. I remember his “kidney warmer” wet suit, the hats we used to make for snowy mid-winter sessions, the story of his board-building adventure that set his garage alight… Not sure if they still make ’em like Sid…
Very sincere condolences to Jan, and to the IOW surfing community.
Barry Flood – Such a sad loss of a great guy and a first class engineer and hot rodder rip mate
Isle of Wight Surf Club – Sid was such a lovely human being, full of pioneering spirit and surfed for all the right reasons. Such a loss. Love to his lovely wife and family. Love Matt H x
Steve Chase- Sad news indeed. I first met Sid when I moved to the island in the early ’70s. He was one of the leading lights of the island surf scene, always a giver and always the one to encourage young greenhorns like me.
I have great memories of Sid knee paddling out on the big days on a blue board that resembled a Persian slipper at the nose and had a deck shaped like a pigs back . How he ever managed to ride it was a mystery, but ride it he did and very well too.
The other abiding memory relates to the famous ‘varp lighting’ , which I witnessed one dark night in Braunton. We were on a surf trip and decided to visit a local hostelry, so all piled in to Brian Hill’s Commer van. As we turned into the high street Sid decided to demonstrate the said art. Leaning back, legs in the air he lit a whopper. Much laughter ensued and only by luck did Brian avoid the shop window.
Halcyon days indeed.
Goodbye Sid old mate. Although I haven’t seen you lately I am proud to have known you and call you a friend.
Alan Jones – Rip Sid
Jaimie Bundell – R.i.p x
Kay Ounsworth – Sorry for your loss
Caroline Sheasby – RIP Sid x
Paul Blanchard – R.i.P Sid