Isle of Wight featured in issue number 4 of what is thought to be the one of the first ever British Surfing magazines. British Surfer magazine no1 came out in March 1969. Surfing UK magazine published by Lindsay Morgan in Porthcawl in Jan 1969 pipped it to the post by a few months to be […]
Article from a local paper 17/2/68
The first annual meeting of the I.W.Surf Club was held at the Clubhouse, Ventnor on Friday week.
Mr R. Backhouse (chairman) said that surfing was a new sport to the Island and he had encountered literally hundreds of people who had said it could not be done here, but members had surfed successfully and gained much experience. Mr Rod Sumpter, the European Surf Champion and Honorary President of the club, had commented that Freshwater Bay was one of the best point breaks in the British Isles.
From a nucleus of six founder members last April, the club had grown to the present membership of 70 enthusiasts. Well over £1000 had been invested by the 38 individulas who had purchased the costly surfboards. A dozen members had invested in wetsuits at a total cost of £250. Surfers had rescued three swimmers out of their depth at Compton Bay during the season. The Management Committee of the Sandown Shanklin Rugby Football Club (The Hurricanes) had approved in principle a proposition for the Surf Club to use their new Clubhouse at present under construction.
Mr R. Long (hon. treasurer) reported a balance in hand of £16. The membership fee was raised for the coming year from 13s to 21s.
Officers elected were: President Mr Rod Sumpter; chairman, Mr P. Bardon; hon secretary, Miss L. Kent; hon. treasurer, Mr R. Long; Committee, Messrs. R. S. Pitman, I. Vallender, K. Williams and D. Paddon.
While at the South Coast Surfing Championships at the weekend this trophy reappeared having not been seen since the early 90’s. On the trophy there are little shields listing all the previous winners going back to 1973. We would love to find out who the winners of the championship were prior to 1973 and obviously all the winners since. The last one on the trophy is Stuart Jones in 1991. I remember Craig Sharp winning it back in 1994 and Johnny Fryer was also a winner of the South Coast too. Please let me know if you have information of any others.
South Coast Surfing Championships
The Shore Surf Club
1973 – Eric Davies – Shore Surf Club
1974 – Roger Preston – Wessex Surf Club
1975 – Guy Penwarden – Wessex Surf Club
1976 – Rodney Sumpter – Shore Surf Club
1977 – Guy Penwarden – Wessex Surf Club
1978 – Guy Penwarden – Wessex Surf Club
1979 – Guy Penwarden – Wessex Surf Club
1982 – Paul Wiltsher – Shore Surf Club
1983 – Nick Schofield – Brighton Surf Club
1984 – Guy Penwarden – Wessex Surf Club
1985 – Rob Vaughan – Harbour Surf Club
1986 – Nick castle – Wessex Surf Club
1987 – Brian Haugh – Shore Surf Club
1990 – Dereck Dear – Wessex Surf Club
1991 – Stuart Jones – Isle of Wight Surf Club
I also have come across a report from the 1994 South Coast Surfing Championships held here at Niton on the Isle of Wight and have copied it here.
South Coast Surf Competition
After being postponed twice because of the lack of competitors and then surf, the South Coast Surf Comp was finally held on the weekend of November 19 & 20. Surfers from the Island and mainland competed at Niton in a good size wave 2 – 6 foot, helped considerably by the S.W. 5 – 6 wind.
There were a total of 30 competitors, a small number having travelled from ‘over the water’. The competition categories were Longboard, Open and Junior. The Longboard and Open had 4 heats – 1st and 2nd placed surfers going straight into the semi finals – 3rd and 4th placed surfers going ino the repercharge. The Juniors had the semi final and then a final.
Open – The tide had dropped back considerably, and the waves were a good deal smaller than they had been earlier on when the semi’s were held. A close fought competition with the eventual winner being Craig Sharp, beating the 1991 South Coast winner Stuart Jones to second place. Third was Ross Williams and fourth Paul Blackley.
Longboard – Three mainland surfers – Matt Terry, Simon Wilkins and Eric Davies along with well known Island surfer (and surf club chairman) Ray Hutchings, made it to the final. Another close contest, the victor being 1st Matt Terry, 2nd Eric Davies, 3rd Simon Firley and 4th Ray Hutchings.
Junior – 1st Ross Williams, 2nd Craig Sharp, 3rd Nick Dennington, 4th Ian Wardle
Other category winners were Richard Balding – Junior Longboard, Johnny Fryer – Cadet, Nick Dennington – Youth, Master Longboard – Eric Davies.
The competition was sponsored by Sola, G & S clothing and Offshore Sports. The winners and runners up receiving prizes ranging from bags and sweatshirts to vouchers for £20 .00-£100.00 to use to purchase a new Sola wetsuit.
The owners of the Castlehaven Caravan site were very hospitable. Snacks and hot drinks were very welcome amongst the cold surfers and damp spectators.
FULL LIST OF RESULTS
Longboard Master – Eric Davies
U16 – Nick Dennington
U14 – John Fryer
Junior Longboard – Richard Balding
Open Master – Eric Davies
Comments about South Coast Contest
Oops!! – Everyone saw the ten foot sleeper, bobbing past Castlehaven on Sunday everyone it seemed except for Ray!! CRASH ! Ray did a neat little manoeuvre straight into the path of the king sized log. Consequence, one flattened fin! Must be the underpants!!!!!!!!!!!
Watch out Paul!! – Picture the scene Sunday morning – earlyish! One cafe with stripy awning, one orange VW Camper with Roof Rack. BUMP one cafe without awning, one VW Camper with roof rack and smashing stripy awning. UMM Men Drivers
Testy Rigsy! – Chris – you ‘performed’ really well on Sunday morning, when Big C sent you out to test the paddle out and strong rip. Shame you didn’t ‘perform’ so well in the heats – what happened?
Unlucky – Recently returned from living in Newquay – it was almost a foregone conclusion that with his longboarding skills, Alan Reed would reach the longboard final. Or so it would have seemed. Unfortunately after two unintentional interferences, one in the first heat, and second in the semi’s it was a shame to se him knocked out.
Little’un – Well done to ten year old John Fryer from Brighstone. He was by far the youngest and the smallest competitor in the competition. He surfed in tough conditions over the weekend, but came away with the prize for the best cadet surfer.
BANG, BUMP, CRASH, SMASH – To all those hits and near misses – which involved short boarders, longboarders, surf skiers and bodyboarders – COME TO OFFSHORE SPORTS for all your ding and repair kit needs.
The sport of Hawaiian kings originated using huge Redwood boards is now practiced on a lighter more manoeuverable piece of equipment , made of plastic and fibreglass, and the challenge is as great as ever. The greatest surf is found where the final issue of the storm at see expends its might; the steep sloping beaches of the world. The beautiful North Shore of Oahu, the middle Hawaiian Island. The rocky Pacific coast of Peru; Australia’s Queensland coast-noted for cyclonic surf; the misty California coast. The Basque coast of France where the gulf of Gascogne leads the continental shelfto within a few miles of the land capturing swells from the North Atlantic depressions. Here are the Eigers of the surfer. Here men can still play a dicey game of catch with nature itself, ptting coolness of mind and fitness of body against the inscrutable wrathchild of storm and sea; the wave.
The most sought after wave is the long lining glass green swell held steep and smoothed by an offshore wind. It peels fluently along its length as it is tipped by an underwater point, a reef or sandbar. Good spots where the sea bottom disciplines the swell correctly are not common and are well known throughout the surfing world. Their names are often poetic. The aboriginal beach names of Australia: Avalon, Cronulla, Narabee and Dee Why point. Hawaii’s Waimea, Banzai Pipeline and Sunset Beach. California’s urbanely tagged beaches – Los Angles 42nd Street, Pacific Pallisades, Huntingdon Pier and further South the Spanish names of Malibu and Rincon del Mar (Little Corner by the Sea). This wave, produced by storms thousands of miles distant, smooth, regular and powerful is a far cry from the local wind swells for which a surfer has no love. Especially if the wind is still blowing on-shore the wave is rough, flat and slow. Meaning to the surfer no speed, no place to go – the wave breaks everywhere.
Let us go to the home and paradise of surfing; Hawaii in the winter. In the North Pacific storms are churning angrily, like big hands dipped in the sea they send out gigantic trains of swells. The swells march south and waiting for them is the coral-volcanic bed of Sunset beach. From the south the Trade Winds blow over Monaloas blunt peak. Milleniums ago a fault formed a deep channel at Sunset which runs directly seaward. To the right of the channel the swells are refracted and concentrated on the under water point. They are peaking four hundred yards out. They tremble, hiss as the offshore wind tears spray back off their tops and finally collapse, hurling their burdens forward. The waves are tubing as they break, trapping a tunnel of air which compresses and blasts a cloud of water vapour out of the tube. From the shore one hears a continuous roar punctuated by canon shots from the outside reef. The surfer is standing on the beach, his 11 foot board under his right arm. He is scared – this is big even for Sunset.
He waits for a lull – throws his board in and paddles hard. If he is caught in the hard breaking shorebreak, board and body can be damaged. A rip current is running from the right to the left, hitting the channel and runninf out to sea at four or five miles and hour. He paddles into it. Waves seldom break in the rip.
He strokes out until the waves are breaking inside him. He paddles further yet. He is familiar with the bluebird or loomer twice normal size that sneaks in and plucks him from his board. The resulting ‘wipeout’ may throw him twenty or thirty feet under water leaving him starved of air as the rest of the ‘set’ of maybe five waves repeats the process, then there is the swim in.
Now he examines the ‘line-ip’ carefully. Watching the waves as they peak up, feather and crash down. He must position himself in the Lion’s mouth if he is to take a wave. Now is the time when he must really desire to ride a wave. If not he will certainly call discretion the better part of valour and paddle in. The noise is tremendous, the wvaes obscure the horizon, as they march in. The people on the shore are no bigger than sand crabs. As he gingerly paddles into the line up from the channel, he rises and falls as a set goes through and explodes inside. Outside the sea darkens in four green lines and the horizon shudders as if shaken by an unseen hand; it is the top of the biggest wave of the set. The first wave rears , its face wind hollowed and sheer, to fifteen feet. It threatens to crash down on him. Judging that the wind will hold it he paddles across to the point through which the peak of the crescent swept through. The wave holds and collapses ten yards inside, drenching him with spray. Number two is his wave – it lines up like number one but it is bigger. Some fourteen seconds behind number one giving him just enough time to paddle out ten yards to meet it. He swings round to face the shore. Prone on his board he paddles for all he is worth. Now the critical seconds – the surfers moment of truth. A glance over his shoulder tells him that he is well lined up, he feels the swell lift him, strokes down the face. Suddenly he starts to drop – almost free fall. He has swung to his feet. He hits the bottom of the wave and leans right hard; the board sweeps into a turn and the wave drops where he was a second ago. The wave is peeling fast and below him. The wave threatens to break ahead, the surfer walks two paces down the board and crouches into a ball – he accelerates through. He walks back and kicks off the now flat shoulder of the wave. He screams with exhilaration. The initial thrill of surfing won’t have worn off yet, he’s only been at it for five years.
This is Surfing. Skiing a fluid mountain carved for you only once by nature. An avalanche on a moving mountain of green glass. A unique experience – no two waves are the same.
Mark you it is not always like that. Sometimes conditions are bad. Sometimes the waves are small as to be puny. This is when surfing becomes more light hearted fun. No crushing wipeout to fear. No half mile swim. Now the surfer concentrates on hard turns, a radical style of surfing. Walking on the board, noseriding – controlling the board from the front tip; touchy and fun. So surfing has chameleon moods and surfers talk the common language.
It is hard to capture on paper the ethereal excitement and poetry of surfing. But if you want tangible proof, take a surfer down to the sea on a good day and feel his pulse. Better still, take a board and join the club. You’ll never look back; there is no such thing as an ex-surfer.
The Isle of Wight Surf Club
About a year ago six or seven young people on the Island realized the possibility of surfing locally with Malibu boards. They formed the Isle of Wight Surf Club on April 11th. Roger Backhouse was chairman and his surfing fiancée the club’s secretary. Rodney Sumpter the British champion accepted an invitation to become the club’s honorary president. He has brought much prestige to the club by becoming 5th in the World Championships at San Diego in California. The founder members were John Ainsworth, Colin Burgess, Geoff (Ned) Gardner and Rusty Long. Now only 8 months from its conception the club numbers at a cool 74.
Every Friday the club meets at Clare Cottage, Springhill in Ventnor, but now they face the task of finding new premises as the cottage is required by its owners. Any suggestions? The meeting is invariably held in audible enthusiasm whilst Roger clinging precariously to the chair reads the weeks correspondence and outlines the coming weeks business. From time to time there are films. The last met a full house of eighty (in one small drawing room!) The rest of the meeting is not “organised” and generally one can find members chatting about the past weeks surf, the possibilities of the weekend to come, wrangling over the finer points of board design or recalling ‘hairy’ wipeouts. When it comes to shop talk surfers leave golfers and sailing types cold.
Many of the club are planning trips abroad to surf and viable targets include France and Ireland. The U.S. is on the list too and some members have had good fortune to surf in South America and South Africa.
During the early 1960’s a group of friends had started to hang out on the cliff tops between Ventnor beach and Steephill Cove. These bored teenagers soon began to focus their attention on the ocean. The Island at that time still had many unexplored pockets of coastline or so it felt to this group of friends. The ocean soon became their playground.