Posts Tagged ‘Shanklin’

Successful Year For Surf Club

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.

Dave Gray wins the 1980 IOW Surf Club Contest

The 1980 Annual was finally wrapped up on 22 March. A meaty depression prowling round the mouth of the Channel produced totally maxed out Compton with onshore gales and waves breaking way out in the bay half way between the carpark and the most westerly visible point of the Tennyson Down. There was no alternative but to most the contest east of Niton to Hope, where it underway at midday.

A disappointment after the Saturday which was gutsy at 4-5 feet with very nice inside sections, the waves only managed to struggle up to 2 feet at most for the first heat. However, the six contestants in this heat made the most of a bad job, with Marcus Lloyd dominating to the accompaniment of raucous cheering from the kids on the cliff above and ‘Come on Marcus, give it some welly’ from his girlfriend. Mike Smith slid a few to the very inside, as did Dave Jacobs, but Simon Rolfe and Chris Hollis really needed bigger waves to show off their repertoire to its best advantage. Who didn’t?

Heat Two ripped, slashed and bogged out in similar waves – in fact there were a couple of reasonably-sized sets to break the monotony! Perennial champ Dave Gray adopted a ‘ride anything’ policy which paid off – he won his heat. Steve Williams and Mark Todd followed him through to the finals.

Yes, finals! As the tide dropped out, allowing the swell to break a bit bigger and more consistently, the six finalists paddled out for the decider. Keith slid from further out on a borrowed longboard (the right tool for the job?). Steve broke his fin off half way through a kick-out in the shore break and had to swap boards before many minutes of the final had passed. Dave and Marcus, being goofy, rode mainly lefts, the latter obeying his beach-callers instructions, giving it welly wherever possible, whereas the other four shared the remaining rights amongst them.

Final results were:1 Dave Gray, 2 Marcus Lloyd, 3 Keith Williams, 4 Steve Williams, 5 Mark Todd, 6 Dave Jacobs. Thanks to everyone who helped with the contest, in particular the judges Ann Macpherson and Dave Bottrell; Tony Macpherson for providing the duck-caller (modern technology!) and gallons of frothing tea; Steph for the coconut; especially our hallowed Hon Pres, Sir John, for traipsing from one side of the Island to the other with us, in search of waves – bless their cotton Damarts!

(taken from a 1980 issue of Wight Water Magazine)

Morocco by Jim Willis

Wow, where do you start when you’ve just had an amazing surf trip. This was the first time I’d been to Morocco and I’d heard a lot of scare stories, (every surf trip has them) over crowded, dirty water, people getting robbed, surf that’s too big and I have to say I never experienced any of this. O.K, the water quality was a bit bad on some days but no worse than I’ve surfed at Shanklin after a good storm.

Day 1 and we flew from Heathrow at midday and by half past four I was in the line up. It was small but a nice introduction for what was to come and I was surfing in board shorts. That night, after a dinner that cost little more that £3, it was clear the surf was building. The noise as I tried to get to sleep just kept getting louder. I know the phrase “rolling thunder” is a bit of a cliché but it really did sound like rolling thunder and it’s very hard to sleep through when it’s right under your window.

Day 2 and when I woke the swell had jumped from tiny to clean 8-10 feet lines and everywhere I looked there were point breaks going off. I surfed Panoramas and it was a bit of a humbling experience to say the the least. Getting outback wasn’t to much of a problem and even surfing the big powerful waves was O.K but getting back in was something else. The shore dump from waves that had already broken twice was massive and a bit like running the gauntlet. Boards were broken but thankfully not mine.
Day 3 and the swell had dropped to a nice manageable 6 foot. I was picking waves up on the point at Panoramas and riding them for about 500 yards. They were without a doubt the longest waves I’ve ever ridden. After just 5 waves and a 500 yard paddle back out I’d now paddled 2500 yards but only had 5 waves. My shoulders were killing me so it was time for lunch. Anyone that’s been there knows they grow the best bananas in the world. These are picked ripe, unlike our ones that are picked 6 months in advance and kept in airtight containers until the supermarket wants them. A kilo costs about 80p, the cheapest lunch ever! After they went down it was back out, another 4 waves, another 2000 yards of paddling and I was done. After another cheap meal and not feeling like doing much I was pleased to see a South African guy, James, already setting the projector up in the hotels little cinema. The word cinema doesn’t really do it justice. It’s a chill out area with cushions everywhere to crash on while you choose which one of the 200 surf films they have on the hard drive that you’d like to see projected onto a white wall.
Day 4 and the swell was pretty much the same as yesterday so it was another day at the office and more stupidly long rides. That night though I discovered the place we were staying had an amazing roof garden complete with hammock, guitar and another cushioned seating area big enough for about 50 people. The view, whether it was day or night was fantastic and there was always different people to meet up there. I think I had a drink and a chat with someone from nearly every continent up there at some point. South Africans, Aussies, Americans, Dutch, Germans, French, Irish, and even the Welsh.
Day5 saw the swell drop and by Moroccan standards it was small but still more powerful and clean than your average Island wave. For most of the morning the tide was too high for anywhere to break properly but as it dropped back the point at Panoramas starting working. Because it was small, maybe shoulder high, a hollow wave was running close in along the line of the rocks. Seeing one guy out I ventured out with your typical Brits abroad hangover and had what was one of the defining surfs of the trip. The guy that was out on his own was a local called Salem and after I’d introduced myself he told how the wave breaks, where to sit and what to expect. After some good old fashioned surfers banter, pulling leashes, flicking water and dropping in on each other, I had about 30 good fun waves. We were joined by a few others that day but most of them seemed to be frightened by the rocks so I think we had nearly every set wave. I’d made a friend and he asked me to stop by where he worked the next time it was working.
Day 6 and because of modern technology everyone knew what was coming. The chart was showing 17 foot and although it clearly wasn’t it was still big and ugly. We’d met a German guy called Ulv who was staying at the same place as us. He had a hire car and a sense of humour, I know I know but he turned out to be one of the coolest guys I’d ever met. Anyway, he offered us a lift to Agadir which was about the only place that was going to be small enough to ride. As we pulled into the car park the rain arrived and it was a race to get a surf in before it washed all manner of unspeakable things into the ocean. The wave was hideous. Clean and head high but shutting down in one big close out the length of the bay. I was glad to leave it behind. We spent the next hour driving round the city getting lost whilst looking for the supermarket for that all important ‘beer run’.
Day 7 and everywhere wass still massive and ugly. Ulv had an idea that Imsoune might be good and said he’d be glad of the company. Ims is a small fishing village about an hour and half up the coast, maybe less the way Ulv drives. The Japanese bought the rights to the best fish from this village and in return they built a harbour and fishery. When it’s massive everywhere else there’s a wrap around wave from the harbour that I’d heard sometimes goes on for 500 yards. We were the first to arrive and the tide was too high. Later as the tide dropped back and every surfer in Morocco descended on the place the waves got a little better but never that good. Ulv assured me it was because the sandbanks weren’t right and then added “just don’t mention zee war” which became the catchphrase of the day. As we drove back along the coast there was a point break, I don’t know the name there’s just too many, with one guy out enjoying a perfect overhead evening glass off to himself. Can’t win em all.
Day 8 was the only day I never surfed. There was big waves everywhere and the sun was out but the wind had picked up and after watching countless people fail to get out I decided to rest. All the locals where getting warmed up for the festival of Eid. It’s the biggest festival in the Muslim calender. After being warned that all the shops would be closed for two days I hooked up with a surf guide that worked there for another beer run. The supermarket was packed with Moroccans stock piling food so it was a bit like Tesco the day before Christmas. Everywhere you look you see people buying sheep or goats ready for Eid. They’re tied to roof racks, hanging out of boots or piled high on the back of low loaders. That evening I talked to a local guy called Mohamed who worked at the place we were staying. He explained a lot about his religion, the Berber people and their culture. By the end of the evening I’d made a friend and…T.B.C
Day9 and everywhere was a bit crap apart from one place, Anchors. It seems to be the one place that everyone wants to surf, has to surf and likes to say they’ve surfed but today it was fickle. I’m sure on its day it’s a world class wave, I’ve seen the photos, but today the tide was too high, it was crowded and after a steep take off and short ride it just sputtered out. Four guys on longboards were sat way out back and taking the lions share of set waves but then they were from Wales. I got out frustrated after 3 waves and walked back to the hotel to wait for the tide to drop back. I wandered round to Panoramas and asked Salem if he thought it was going to break. He told me to come back at 4 o/clock and we’d go in regardless of size. I went back and after a race across the rocks with him to see who could get out first I had the second best session of the trip. The tide starting pushing. The waves picked up to about shoulder height and once again we had the lions share. After about 40 waves in blistering heat I was surfed out. That evening I chatted with Mohamed again about his life and family until the wee hours of the morning and…
Day 10 Eid. I came downstairs for breakfast and the local staff had been replaced by the owner and manager. The staff were going home for Eid. Mohamed asked me if I’d like to be his guest and go with him and his brother to their family home and celebrate Eid. Still bleary eyed and knowing what to expect I hesitated before saying yes, I’d be honoured. The surf was pretty much flat everywhere as we drove towards the little village at the foot of the mountains where Mohamed grew up. His family had lived there for generations and I was unsure what to expect. For those of you that are squeamish go straight to Day 11. The houses in the village are simple. Concrete floors, bare walls and small windows, some rooms have none. The main room has a rug and cushions and after slipping your footwear off you’re invited to sit on a cushion while his mother serves breakfast. Fresh mint tea, warm home made bread and dishes of sweet honey, arogan oil, nuts, cake and not a pre-wrapped Kellog sign in sight. After breakfast Mohamed washes ready for prayer while I enjoy the silence with his mother. Nobody else in the little village spoke English and his mother spoke only Berber. It’s a language that most locals don’t write but learn by ear. Once he’d washed I walked up to the open air mosque with him but not being aloud inside I walked into the mountains to admire the view. Words aren’t going to do it justice so I won’t try. After about half an hour he drove up and picked me up with some friends, it was time.
We drove down and he changed into some old clothes, things were going to get bloody. He led me into a little stable with no roof where there were four older guys sharpening knives and his young cousin Mohamed, (popular name in Morocco). His cousin was only six years old but he said it was important for him to see what happens because one day he would have to do it. It’s a ritual that’s been taking place for centuries. One by one two sheep and three goats were lead in and after being laid on their side they had their throats cut. A bush is then placed under the head while the blood drains into the soil. The head is then severed and a sharpened stick is used to pierce a hole in it’s leg.
One of the men place their lips around the hole and the animal is then blown up like a balloon. Once inflated they beat the dead animal with a stick to loosen the hide. It’s then strung up, skinned and gutted. While this is happening women come in and out leaving washing bowls and water to clean and carry the innards. Apart from the blood nothing is wasted. After the third animal I was starting to feel queasy so I stepped out for some air. Little Mohamed followed and even though he didn’t speak a word of English he took me on a tour of his village. Once again I was invited into another home and more tea, bread and sweet dips appeared. The owner of this home had just finished doing his own sheep outside his front door and wanted me to take a picture of him holding the freshly skinned animal in his arms. I obliged and being the uncle of Mohamed he told that his home was now mine and I was welcome there any time. I arrived back at the stable just as the last carcass was being taken away to a kitchen and the teenagers were making away with the hides for later on. We went back to Mohamed’s and with little or no ventilation the place was filled with the smoke of cooking meat. Once again we kicked our shoes off and took our places on the cushions. First up was a skewer each with various parts of the animals internal organs including the lung. After that it’s the main course which is meat on the bone braised in a kind of gravy. There is no cutlery and everyone just tucks in with their right hand. Warm bread is dealt out like cards by mum to mop up the rich gravy. When this is gone and you feel like you can’t eat another thing a large plate of fresh fruit is placed on the table and everyone eats as much as they can as quickly as they can. I can only assume it’s to add some much needed roughage to the Eid diet. When the feast is over I ask to wash my hands and I’m led to the kitchen where water is poured over my hands with a cup. This is because the government have cut off the water supply because they want the land and everything is carried into the homes in whatever holds water. It seems they want to develop it and turn it into another Benidorm. After so much food it was time to walk it off and Mohamed took me to his beach, the beach he grew up on, the beach his grandfather carried a boat down to everyday to work the fish rich waters. Again, I can’t do it justice so I won’t try. To be taken in by a local and treated as one, to join his family for their biggest celebration, to be fed and watered and be asked for nothing in return but friendship was an honour, a privilege and the perfect end to the surf trip. Tomorrow I was going home.

There’s a million cultural and religious things I learned there that I haven’t touched on because I’m aware this is a surf story. All in all I’d say Morocco is one of the best surf destinations for a number of reasons and a few people from the Island that have stayed there agreed. Firstly it’s not a long haul flight so it’s cheap to get there and relatively quick. It’s still quite cheap as it’s not a part of the dreaded Euro. The dry sunny climate means there’s not a mosquito in sight, major bonus. The surf is excellent and I lost count of the amount of uncrowded and unridden point breaks in such a small area of coastline. Lastly, the Berber are amazingly warm and friendly people and if you treat them as a friend you will be treated as such yourself.

Surfing Lessons at Shanklin

A huge thanks from all who participated to Cathy Budden and the West Wight Landscape Partnership for organising and putting on surfing lessons with ISurf and Chris Mannion.

With the strong wind and swell Chris had decided that the best and safest place to surf on the Saturday afternoon was at Small Hope Beach in Shanklin. Chris initially takes them through the basics on the sand before they all enter the water and it wasn’t long before there were hoots and high fives with huge smiles all round.

Hurricane Katia brings a few waves to Shanklin

Hurricane Katia may have tracked north but it still delivered a few waves to us here on the Island. Last Sunday and Monday I got down to Shanklin capturing some of the action.

The Great Storm of ’87

On 16 October 1987, one of the worst night of storms in most peoples memories hit the south of England. Coastguards on the Isle of Wight said the winds were too strong to be measured on their instruments. The storm hit the Island at about 2am, and Shanklin Pier nearly a century old, disintegrated into a pile of wood overnight. It was broken into three pieces as a result of huge waves. Plans to rebuild the pier were abandoned, and the rest of the pier was demolished. A monument now stands in front of what used to be the pier entrance.

I had gone to the Court Jester Night Club in Sandown and driving home just after 2am we found that roads were already blocked by fallen trees but we were still unaware of the full power of the storm and the damage it would cause during the night. When I woke the next morning I was already late for work as my alarm hadn’t gone off because of a power cut. I threw on my clothes and set off for work at HW Morey’s in Newport. There were slates and tiles all over the roads and pavements and when I got to the Morey’s gates I saw that a house opposite had most of its’ gable wall littered all over the road. As you can imagine it was very busy at Moreys’ that day with firemen and builders rushing in the get materials but all I could think of that there must be some awesome waves somewhere on the Island.

On the Saturday I managed to get a lift to the beach with Steve Williams and we headed straight for Shanklin, by this time the swell had dropped and was very messy but the devastation we witnessed was something I will never forget. Shanklin beach was littered with driftwood, fruit machines bits of metal and the remains of the pier. At Compton the Isle of Wight Surf Club hut had been completely demolished and the surfboards were to be found in farm fields all along the Military Road (Where did those boards end up?).

Craig Sharp

Craig Sharp is an Isle of Wight born surfer and now businessman of Pocean Vacations, Surfing and Self Catering Holidays and in less than 3 years employs about 30 people. Pocean life offers a wide range of surfing hoidays alongside activity holidays in Portugal. Pocean Life is located in the cultural town of Ericeira, which boasts some of the best waves in Europe.

Craig’s business was recently featured in an article in the Telegraph ‘Business in Lisbon: opportunities for British companies in Portugal’.

During the early Nineties the surfer on the Island leading the way was Stu Jones who was starting doing airs and seeming to get amazing speed out of any wave he rode. But not far behind him was a young Craig Sharp was starting to turn heads.

November 19-20th 1994 was the South Coast Championships and it was being held on the Isle of Wight. Stuart Jones was the last Islander to win it in 1991 and it was all set to be a great event. The event was held at Niton in good size waves helped by a force 5-6 south west wind. The final was between Stuart Jones, Craig Sharp, Ross Williams and Paul Blackley. Paul and Ross didn’t get a look in as Craig and Stuart battled to become champion. It was very close but the young Craig came out on top to become the 1994 South Coast Champion.

I managed to get hold of Craig a few weeks a go and this is what he had to say;

I have just sat down to think about the IOW surf scene and what it all meant to me growing up on the island. So here we go:

I remember skateboarding at Shanklin pier around 1990… At this time just a few of the boys surfed liked Edd Thompson , Dave Grey and Paul Wilson. They were the Shankers boys and I watched them from the pier end where we all used to skate.. To be honest at that time I preferred the skate scene as I just thought the surf looked kind of slow.. However after a little persuasion from Edd Thompson I managed to have a session down at Wight Waters on the foamies.. Well of course one wave was all it took for me to be totally hooked. I then asked my mum to buy me a board sooo she did and it was from Raf .. A 6.8 critical section., thanks Rick !! So I surfed everyday until dark and on all conditions.. I would call Edd every day about the surf and we became the shakers groms hahaha..

I really grew into the surf when I started to go to Niton.. I think the wave made me a better surfer as it allowed me to do turns which I always watched in movies from the likes of Kelly Slater, Luke Egan and Shane Dorian… They were the guys for me.. But I must say Stu Jones had an influence over me to perform, he was a radical surfer and I looked up to him for that, so I really wanted to beat him in a competition which came about in the south coast championships.. I was so pleased to win the event on the island it was a special surf scene for all of us at the time.. What a great day !!

After that I journeyed onto some amazing surf trips with Blackley, having surfed some of the best waves in NZ and growing up mentally as a surfer, I was now ready for the surfers path. Since The IOW I have competed in competitions around the Globe which have provided me with a lot of fun and at times financial rewards but the main thing for me today is that surfing is a lifestyle and without the Isle of Wight none of this would be possible. Thank you to all the surf breaks on the Island and all my friends who were of my life. Now I am in Portugal still surfing and making my life from the surf so come on boys lets do an IOW surf session in Coxos..

Barney Barnes

From the Virgin Islands they traveled onto America, working their way across to the west coast. They stopped in North Carolina to stay with Barney’s sister Rosie who was at university there. Word had got around about Barney and Chris’s travels through Europe and across to the Caribbean and onto the U.S.A. and the university president had questioned Barney’s sister Rosie where they would be staying. When he found out that they were staying at her small flat he made arrangements for them to stay at his mansion. The staff were never to remember Barney and Chris’s name properly and they soon became known as Bonnie and Clyde by the them.

The Girls were there too…..!

During the early sixties it wasn’t just the boys enjoying the waves, there were some pretty hardcore girls surfing on the Island with no wetsuits or leashes too.