1960s surfing pioneer Percy Blandford passes away aged 101

Percy Blandford, who enabled hundreds of British surfers to ride their first wave with his hollow wooden surfboard design, passed away yesterday at the grand age of 101.

A naval architect from Newbold on Stour in Warwickshire, he is known and respected worldwide for his home-build boat and canoe designs. Around 1964 Percy hit upon the idea of creating cheap, hollow wooden surfboards that surfers could make themselves at home. In May 1965 his plans and instructions were published in the famous Boy’s Own Paper under the headline: “Make your own super surf board for £4”. At the time custom fibreglass surfboard cost around £30.

Percy was interviewed, aged 100, in 2013 by Museum of British Surfing trustee Richard Gregory for our oral history archive. He very generously donated his 1964 prototype hollow wooden surfboard which will be on display in our 2014 exhibition ‘The First Wave – surfers & their stories’ as a tribute to his wonderful legacy.

Percy Blandford talks about his wooden surfboard design for the Boys Own magazine from The First Wave on Vimeo.

Percy’s funeral is being held in his home community of Newbold at 1pm on February 6th 2014.

You can see a selection of images in the slideshow below showing Percy, his prototype hollow wooden surfboard and blueprints now on display at the surfing museum in Braunton, North Devon and the cover of the Boy’s Own Paper published in 1965.