What sport began using coffin lids?
- Credit: Dick Pearce
Bellyboarding outdates surfing and body boards by many years – but like its supersized cousins, it all began in Hawaii.
It first came to these shores in the early 20th century – when those seabathing-loving Brits were looking for a faster pace of fun. The wealthy travelled to the Polynesian Islands to learn the skill which grew to become popular until the mass produced cheap polystyrene body boards became widely available. The popularity grew and at one point even coffin lids were utilised asd makeshift boards.
Newquay’s Dick Pearce brand dates back to the 1960s when Dick Pearce’s father was inspired by Hawaiian surfers and aimed to develop a more achievable method of wave riding.
Using the same antique craftsmanship to resurrect this wonderful British heritage, Dick Pearce and Friends have breathed new life into the sport and are encouraging people to ditch the foamie board and invest in something beautifully made. Jamie Johnstone and Andy re-launched the first British, hand-crafted, wooden belly board created from their workshop in Newquay (of course). These colourful, innovative and eco-friendly boards suit a range of abilities. Jamie – who used his grandparents surf-riding boards which date back to the 1960s.
“I’ve got very happy memories of learning to surf on my grandparents’ bellyboards from the sixties,” says Jamie. “The boards are still in the shed to this day, with the original (faded) logos on them! Bellyboarding was, for both of us, where our love for the ocean began. We want to bring this amazingly simple, exhilarating sport back into popularity.”
St Agnes hosted the World Belly Boarding championships on alternate years and this year takes place in September. The competition has been running in alternate years since 2003 at Chapel Porth beach as a very simple, back-to-basics comp. participants – which numbered 300 at its height – were banned from using wetsuits, no leashes and no swim fins. Instead competitors took wood and a swimsuit as all you would need.
Experience the fun to be had belly boarding in their first trailer This Is Bellyboarding featuring shore breaks, barrels, sunset socials round the campfire, and the next generation of shredders showing us how it’s done.
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