South Coast Surfing Contest – by Keith Williams

After several meetings with the South Coast Surf Club guys at various venues over time, they said it would be a good idea to have a strictly South Coast competition, held on the Island.

Having organised  several club competitions, the committee thought it would be just a case of more of the same. So it was for the first year, but by the 2nd or 3rd years people from other clubs were  expecting a more professional approach following the British Surfing Association’s guide lines with ‘proper’ judges etc, not the ad-hoc arrangements that had suited us over the years.

I should mention at this point that, in addition to the South Coast Surfing Club there was the Wessex Surf Club, a club from West Wittering, the Ordnance Survey Surf Club from Southampton, Brighton Surf Club, the London Surf Club,  Hayling Island Surf Club and the East Kent Surf Club all clamouring to take part. What had started as a bit of fun rapidly deteriorated into grumblings and protests about the somewhat amateurish  organisation over the course of 3-4 years. This was a shame because the majority of visiting surfers actually enjoyed their visits to the Island.

At the first contest, I was fortunate enough  to progress as far as the semi-finals with local knowledge playing a major part in my success. There were many others from the Island who took part over the years, but I believe the most successful was Sid, who made the final one year. Maybe the time has come, with local surfers getting towards the top of the UK rankings, to reprise this South Coast only event.

by Keith Williams


Below are some Newspaper clippings from 1969 mentioning the up and coming South Coast Surfing Championships. The picture below shows three very well known Island surfers Sid Pitman, Roger Cooper with one of the first surfboards he ever shaped and Rory Angus, finalists of an IOW Surf Club Contest. The article mentions the next big surfing event to take place to be the South Coast Surfing Championships with teams coming from Bournmouth, Brighton and Middlesex.

The first three in the championship (from the left); Sidney Pitman, Roger Cooper (holding his home made board) and Rory Angus

The article below also mentions the South Coast Surfing Championships and that mainland surfers had competed in the Annual IOW Surf Club Championships.