We buy interesting old boards 60s/70s/early 80s in good condition. Email alasdairlindsay75@gmail.com . Also wanted - Surfing UK , British Surfer and Surf Insight magazines .
Above photo - copyright Rennie Ellis photographer archive

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Cornish and Open, Porthtowan 1967

 Here's a priceless bit of film shot by Pathe in 1967 , of a contest at Porthtowan so its likely to be the Cornish and Open, which was the biggest meet of the Cornish calendar. The first Cornish and Open was in 1966 , when local surfers were stunned by the skills of the newly arrived Rod Sumpter and his friend Glen Short.  Rod can be seen quite a lot in this film - he was a white band at the bottom of his shorts . The other surfers are likely mostly to be from St Ives and Newquay - the Williams brothers, Dave Friar, Roger Mansfield, Chris Jones etc ? The boards are looking good, nice lightweight mals made by Bilbo , Williams or Bickers. Theres definately a Bilbo being taken along the beach at the beginning of the footage. And the gun was obviously more readily available than an air horn !
The start of the paddleboard race, 1966 Cornish and Open at PT


  1. The big guy looks like Gordon Burgess ( Jersey ). The one with arms down but hands up (!) is Charlie Williams; and Dave Friar`s got the light coloured hair. As you say, Rod`s everywhere......he was a class act.

  2. Hi Al,
    At 1.17-1.19 on the right is Charles Williams.
    At 4.20-4.25 is James Williams.
    Unmistakeable, I spent hours watching them at Porthmeor as a gremmie! Always slop for a contest in those days too.

  3. Thanks guys for spotting some of the surfers. Its good to see these well known names in action at last , shame about the sloppy waves as you say . I wonder if footage exists in decent waves ?

  4. The next year (`68 ) it was huge onshore slop. Things had changed completely. Rod was one of the few still on a long board, most Brits had 8` stubbies, but Keith Paul the newly-crowned Oz champion had a 7`6" Bing Foil, which was promptly copied by all. Rod won of course as the wild conditions & gale force onshores were way out of KP`s experience !

  5. The armed judge is Allan Phillips. Later went on to co-form Sidmouth surf life saving club with his fiend Keith Roberts. Both were surfers and clubbies in Porthtowan in the 60's. Al can still be seen at the boathouse, HQ of Sidmouth Rescue on any weekend. I have a lot to thank those two guys for as started surfing because of them.

  6. Patrick Davies Perth Western Australia11 May 2017 at 16:13

    After travelling on my motorbike from Praah sands I spent a cold night sleeping in the judges tent a two storey affair. Waiting for the surf contest to continue next day.