Posts Tagged ‘Archie Tricket’

Wight Surf History Exhibition Starts

The Wight Surf History Exhibition officially starts tomorrow. The first exhibition of surf memorabilia and photography from the last 50 years at Dimbola Museum and Galleries, Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight on Saturday 14th April 2012 and runs for 10 weeks.

The exhibition will show how boards have changed through the decades, from Archie Tricket’s homemade wooden surfboard from the early 1960s, Bilbo longboards, the early shortboards and modern equipment, including surfboards from three-times Women’s English Champion Zoe Sheath and 2010 British Champion Johnny Fryer.

We also show how wetsuits have changed from the early ‘duck tail’ two-piece wetsuits to the warm winter wetsuits of today. Other items on display will include Trophies, leashes, wax, Isle of Wight Surf Club sweatshirts and magazines. The exhibition will also have photographs showing many of the characters who have influenced surfing on the Island over the last 50 years.

In the early 1960s, surfing was something a small number of friends had started to experiment with on the Isle of Wight. Many of these pioneers started out with belly boards, while some took to the water on homemade wooden surfboards.

There were small pockets of surfers scattered around the Island, all experimenting with surfing in their own ways, until Roger Backhouse and friends – Susan Ellis (Backhouse), Kevin Digweed, Geoff ‘Ned’ Gardner, John Ainsworth, Russell Long and Colin Burgess – decided to try and start an Isle of Wight Surf Club. An advert was put in the Isle of Wight County Press and this brought surfers together from around the Island, including Keith Williams, Glyn Kernick, Ben Kelly and Sid Pitman.

The first meetings of the Isle of Wight Surf Club were held in a tent on the cliff tops at Ventnor. They later moved to Mrs Backhouse’s (Roger’s Mum!) Bed & Breakfast in Ventnor. During the summer Pat Morrell and a ‘Woodwork Teacher’ Mike ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson would join them with their homemade wooden boards.

Once some club members had acquired wheels, it wasn’t long before trips to Cornwall were arranged and wages and savings were spent on the new fibreglass surfboards that were available. Rob Ward had come back to the Island after being in the Royal Navy and had learnt to surf in South Africa and South America. Rob’s surfing was more advanced than many of the island surfers, and in the 1970s, he travelled much of the globe in search of waves. Ex-British Surfing Champion Roger Mansfield and author of The Surfing Tribe once said ‘Rob is the most buccaneering, big wave-riding surf export of IOW’.

During the late ‘60s and ‘70s, Tad Ciastula and Roger Cooper had started shaping boards on the Island and both went on to become renowned surfboard shapers. Meanwhile, Derek Thompson started making the famous Cosmic leashes.

In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, a young Dave Gray had started to dominate the Isle of Wight Surf Competitions and went on to compete in the English Nationals. Many of today’s top Island surfers will say that Dave was a major influence on them and they aspired to be as good as this Island legend. The Isle of Wight Surf Club started its own surf magazine in the late 1970s and many articles joked about other surfers not bothering to enter competitions if Dave turned up, as he only needed to wax down his surfboard to win an event!

In the early ‘90s, Stu Jones took over the mantle of best surfer on the Island, pushing the limits and starting a new generation of surfers who wanted to do aerials and the other latest tricks. In 1994, a young Craig Sharp took the South Coast Champion crown from Stu Jones and was one of many Islanders who took off in search of waves and adventure abroad. At the same time, 10-year-old Johnny Fryer was just making his mark by winning the Under-14 or ‘cadet’ category in the 1994 South Coast Championship.

Johnny dominated the Island surf scene until he moved to Cornwall, and he went on to become British Surfing Champion in 2010.

Into the Noughties, and young Zoe Sheath, daughter of Gail (an early member of the Isle of Wight Surf club, who started surfing in the ‘70s), began to shine. Zoe went on to become English Women’s Surfing Champion in 2007.

Many others have made a big contribution to Island surfing, including Barney Barnes, Ceri Williams, Keith and Steve Williams, Clive Richardson, Dave Phillips, Rog Powley, Xav Baker, Joe Truman and many, many more.

More recently, with the help of the Island-based Rapanui clothing company, the IOW Surf Club has been reborn, with Matt Harwood taking the helm alongside Oliver Harvey, as they successfully ran the Frost Bite Series of competitions in 2011 as well as the South Coast Surfing Championships.


IOW Surf History on BBC Countryfile

A few weeks a go I was contacted by BBC Countryfile saying they were filming on the Island later in the month and had come across the Wight Surf History website and were interested in showing the history of surfing on Island on the show. One of the BBC Countryfile presenters would have a surfing lesson and speak to some of the surfing legends about the legacy of the sport on the Island. One of the people they were particularly interested in talking to was Betty Tricket and too see Archie’s old surfboard and wetsuit.

The BBC Countryfile team turned up at Compton on Thursday morning in style with a lovely blue VW Camper from Isle of Wight Camper Van Holidays. Ellie Harrison met up with Scott Gardner of Wight Water and son of Geoff ‘Ned’ Gardner, (one of the first to surf on the Island back in the sixties) to have a surf lesson.

The car park was a busy place while the film crew got ready for the days shoot and Scott got Ellie set up with a board. Ellie got a few tips from Sid Pitman one of the first members of the Isle of Wight Surf Club that was formed in 1967.

The conditions weren’t ideal with strong onshore winds but the sun came out and there were waves and Scott went out and grabbed a quick wave showing Ellie how it’s done. After a few lessons on the sand and a some warm up excersises Ellie and Scott finally hit the water for the lesson. After a couple of initial tumbles Ellie looked like she was getting the hang of it and having a blast at the same time. By the end of the lesson Ellie was up and riding waves and getting huge cheers from everyone on the clifftop (sorry I missed you standing up Ellie, I’d gone to pick up Archie’s surfboard).

Rob Drake-Knight from Rapanui (and recently ‘Come Dine with Me’ fame) went in the water as spotter for Jules Benham the BBC Countryfile researcher and water cameraman. After Ellie’s lesson some of the guys from the Isle of Wight Surf Club went out and grabbed a few waves too. I just got back in time to see Joe Truman take out a 1970’s Tiki single fin surfboard to try out.

Ellie then went onto speak with Matt Harwood (Chairman of the Isle of Wight Surf Club), Mart Drake-Knight (Rapanui), Alan Reed (British Masters Longboard Champion), Mark New with Betty Tricket about Archie’s surfboard and wetsuit from the sixties.

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Alan Reed then got to take Archie’s homemade surfboard for a surf. Archie had surfed until he was 74 and the board hadn’t been in the sea for 15 years. Betty was really looking forward to seeing the board in the water again and remarked as Alan started to paddle it out that it reminded her of seeing Archie paddling the board all those years a go.

Al came in after catching a few waves saying how well it rode and it was a really lovely moment when Betty walked up a agve Al a big hug. Archie’s surfboard got a lot of interest and many of the the boys said how the shape of the board was actually ahead of it’s time with quite a lot of rocker in it.

At the end of the days shooting I bumped into Steve Williams who remembered Archie when he used to turn up the beach in his old Ford Anglia and walk down past the wreck to catch a few waves.


Archie Tricket – 1922-2011

Archie Tricket R.I.P – 1922-2011
Sadly Archie passed away on Friday 18th November 2011.
It was a very peaceful death with many of the nurses who had looked after him for the last two years at his side. Betty was with him all afternoon and he had managed to hold her hand for a while.
Betty had commented to the nurses a while ago that she didn’t like the pictures on the wall in his room and the next time she went in they had down loaded the photo’s of the surf board etc from the Wight Surf History website and stuck them over the offending pictures! It really made Betty smile… such a lovely thought!
Betty has asked a carpenter to make a coffin from the collection of wood he had stored up in the shed…including a bit salvaged from the pub re-vamp. Something he would have loved that!
Archie had been in long term residential care in Shackleton unit in Ryde since 2009 due to Alzheimers and was looked after with great care and affection by wonderful staff until he slipped peacefully away on Friday 18th November 2011.
Betty still lives in their wooden house in Brighstone that they built together nearly 60 years ago.
Archie William Trickett, born 9th March 1922 in Brighstone and started work as an apprentice Carpenter with Buckett and sons at 14yrs old. He joined LDV (local defence volunteers) 1940 and later the Homeguard, joining up for the RAF 1942.
Archie went all round the UK training and eventually went to India and had many adventures, some involving Dutch Nurses! Once home he was very reluctant to ever travel again!!
Archie met Betty at Atherfield Holiday camp and married in 1955. They had two daughters Ann and Sarah.
In the mid 1960’s he got into surfing! Archie made his own surfboard and wetsuit and was still surfing in his 70’s. He loved watching the younger surfers catching waves and just wished he could stay out as long as they did, his hands used to go white with cold and he’d have to come in!!
Archies’ daughter Sarah came across the Wight Surf History website when by chance she decided to google her fathers name. Sarah remembers her Dad loading the surfboard up on top of the motor bike and sidecar… it was quite a sight! They also had a Ford Anglia (like Harry Potter!) with a purpose built wooden roof rack on top for the board. Archie would roll up all there ‘swimmers’ in beach towels, put the roll on his head and balance the board on top of that to walk along to the best bit of the beach…(before all the grockles and those weird lot of people who inhabited other parts of the Island over the downs invaded!!)
He carried on surfing into his ’70s and Betty still has that surf board he made all those years ago. He taught Sarah to surf on it when she was about 7. Sarah remembers quite happily standing up on it! Archie also made Sarah her own wetsuit from the offcuts of his homemade suit… Sarah thinks she may have been the first child to have a wet suit on the IOW! ‘I certainly don’t remember ever seeing another child with one,’ she says. ‘Once the zip got stuck and I remember I small group of young men round me with a pot of vaseline trying to get me free!’


Betty Tricket

When Archie built his Wooden Surfboard it wasn’t just for him to ride but something the whole family would enjoy. So it wasn’t long before Betty was also paddling the great big heavy board down at Compton. Archie and Betty used to come to the beach on their motorbike and sidecar parking half way up the hill and walking down over the cliff just past the wreck.

Archie new to stay in te water for any length of time they would need wetsuits and so found he could order all the material needed to make their wetsuits from a company near Portsmouth. The kit came with everything you needed, the wetsuit rubber material, zip, the eyelets and hooks and the very strong glue. Betty still remembers Archie measuring her up for her wetsuit which she still has today.

Betty also still has the second wetsuit that Archie made for himself and remembers that this kit also came with a pattern and the wetsuit rubber was also lined which made it easier to get on and off and more comfortable.

With the left over bit of material Archie made a little wetsuit for his daughter Sarah. Sarah remebers the trips to the beach with the big wooden surfboard above her head on the sidecar.

Betty & Sarah with wetsuits and surfboard

Here is a great picture of Betty wearing her old wetsuit and sitting on their surfboard in the sea at Compton.


Archie Tricket

Just over a week a go Archie’s daughter Sarah put her fathers name into google and one of the early Wight Surf History articles came up with a small mention about Archie being one of the first people to surf on the Island. A few emails and phone calls later and I got to meet Sarah and Archie’s wife Betty at Betty’s home in Brighstone. Sadly Archie now 89 has alzheimers but he did manage to surf right into his 70’s.

I vaguely remember Archie turning up at the beach in an old Ford Anglia with his homemade wooden surfboard and old wetsuit in the 80’s and early 90’s. Archie was a guy that just loved life and loved the ocean. I spent a lovely hour or so, chatting to Betty and Sarah. They told me it all started on one trip to Compton when they saw a couple of people with wooden bellyboards catching the waves. As soon as they got home Archie was in his workshop making wooden bellyboards for all the family. It wasn’t long before Ron Munt owner of the shop on the clifftop at Compton saw how much fun they were having and got Buckets the builders in Brighstine whom Archie worked for to make them for his shop to sell.

Archie and family were very good friends of the Colemans and Jim Coleman the father was a boatbuilder. Sometime during the early 60’s Jim Coleman being a person who also loved the ocean decided to build a surfboard (Betty hopes to find out where he got the plans from). Jim had pondered how he was going to stop the deck being too slippery and decided the best method was to use sand. This obviously worked very well but was very painful and sometimes led to bleeding … Ouch!…. Not long after this Archie had copied his design making his own surfboard (minus the sand).

Sarah remembers all the family learning to surf on Dad’s surfboard, Archie pulling her into waves when she was only 7 years old on this huge and very heavy wooden surfboard. Sarah says they nicknamed their surfboard the QE2 while the Coleman children called their surfboard the Queen Mary and would often be seen paddling the two big boards around Compton Bay and the old wreck.