Surf history stokes the generations

The son & grandchildren of a man who donated a rare 1960s surfboard to the Museum of British Surfing had a surprising reunion with it yesterday afternoon.

Jonathan Hilder used to ride the board as a kid in the 1970s, but didn’t recognise his dad Frank’s ‘Bill Bailey Malibu Surf-Board’ as it used to be covered from head to toe in white yacht paint. It went through a painstaking conservation process with museum volunteers to reveal its original colours, design and decals.

Jonathan is pictured here with his daughters Charlotte and Georgina enjoying the British surfing pioneers exhibition now showing, ‘The First Wave’.

The 9′ 3″ board was shaped in Newquay between 1962 & ’64 by the ‘father of modern British surfing’ Bill Bailey (who later co-founded Bilbo) and is the only example known to survive. Frank Hilder from Chester bought the 9′ 3″ surfboard second-hand around 1970: “I got it from the Tuckers, owners of Putsborough beach in North Devon – it was an ex rental board and they were changing to the new shortboards that were coming into fashion.”

The Museum of British Surfing in Braunton, North Devon is the national registered charity responsible the UK’s surfing heritage. We’re looking for British surfboards from all eras to add to our permanent collection – if you have a surf or beach item that you’d like to donate to create a lasting legacy of your surfing, please get in touch by email if you can help.

The gallery below shows Frank Hilder donating his surfboard, and the late Bill Bailey with a similar example on the beach in Newquay with partner Doug Wilson in the mid 1960s.