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Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Origins of Lincolnshire North Sea Surfing

The origins of Surfing in Lincolnshire's often inhospitable and fickle North Seas has been a difficult one to pin down, we had known about a Lincolnshire surf club in the 1960's, but little else. So we were fortunate to meet Mick Rampton recently, who is proclaimed to be Lincoln's first surfer! Below is a short profile of local surfing back in the day kindly written by Mick Rampton, which casts light on surfing origins in our part of the world 40 years ago.

My first taste of surfing was in the summer of ’68 whilst on holiday in Perranporth, Cornwall.  I hired a board from a lone Aussie on the beach for £1, which was my total spending money for the day. (wages then were £23 per week, so not cheap).  

There were only half a dozen surfers out, not like today’s crowded waves.  After persevering all day without tuition I was able to catch waves and ride.  This is all it took for me to get hooked. 

Upon returning to Lincoln I was frustrated by the lack of awareness of this great sport, also the lack of equipment and suffered ridicule from my friends who insisted that you could not surf at the East coast.   

After a bit of research in the winter of 1968, I discovered that there was a surf club in Scunthorpe of all places, the founder members being Pete and Ross Maw. Desperate to have a board, I bought one from Pete Maw; it was a 9’ Bilbo pintail.  I wish I still had it as it was brilliant for catching East Coast waves.   Other names I can remember at that time were Alan Taylor, Mickey Davies, Ken Brocklebank and Johnny Bush.  The last two lived in Grimsby where there was an affiliate club.  In the winter we used to meet in a club house in Cleethorpes to watch surf films that had come from New Zealand. This would be 69/70.  There were enough of us plus wives & girlfriends to have an annual dinner. 

We were all in to making our own boards at that time and even gluing together our own wetsuits from kits. I subsequently made two surf boards of my own one in 1970 and the other in 1975 and with my new found friends surfed all over the UK but the club’s home beach was Sandilands, near Sutton- on-sea.

 At weekends we would dash off to Scarborough or Cayton Bay or even Cromer.  Some of us lost surfboards off flimsy roof racks on the way!  There were no surf reports in those days so it was basic instinct and guess work whether there would be any surf when we got there.  The locals would say, “Ah, you should have been here yesterday, it was 6’, green and glassy”, so nothing changes. 

By 1972 Lincoln’s contingent of surfers had grown to four and I had persuaded Sceptre Watersports to stock a small selection of boards. By then most of our summer holidays were spent in Cornwall, North Devon or The Gower Peninsular, mainly for the surfing. 

I stopped surfing seriously in 1986 after a nasty experience on Fistral Beach, Newquay.  Surfing alone early in the morning I lost it on an 8’ plus and was dragged under water by my leash, feet first and I was close to drowning when I finally surfaced.  None the less I have since surfed in New Zealand, Hawaii and Portugal whilst holidaying but the heady times of the 60’s and 70’s were the best.  We had nothing of today’s hype and equipment but we still had fun, fun,funHappy surfing guys.  

*Picture: Sandilands 1972. Thankfully wetsuits have improved since then

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