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The Cribbar, also known as the ‘widow maker’ which breaks monster 30ft waves off Newquay when a ‘perfect storm’ of oceanic variables all come together (huge swell, low tide and southeasterly winds) is looking to be commemorated into surf folklore by the installation of a bronze statue if one team of supporters have their way.

“When it’s on, it’s one hell of a spectacle. Want to see some of the biggest waves in Europe? Want to witness some thrilling big-wave surfing? Want to feel the earth shake? Then Newquay is the place.” Geoff Tydeman organiser of the Cribbar Surf Heritage crowdfunding campaign told Drift.

Ben Skinner charging The Cribbar. Photo: © Geoff Tydeman

Ben Skinner charging The Cribbar. Photo: © Geoff Tydeman

The campaign plans to celebrate 50 years of surf culture and big wave riding in Britain by installing a bronze surfboard sculpture overlooking The Cribbar at Towan Headland.

It was back in September 1965 that surfers Bob Head (Aus), Rod Sumpter (GB) and Jack Lydgate (USA) became the first to paddle out to The Cribbar and ride it. The waves were huge – triple overhead, with 15 to 20 foot faces.

Without wetsuits, leashes or any kind of rescue backup the three surfers paddled out to the lineup

Bob and Jack were experienced lifeguards who’d ridden solid waves in Australia and Hawaii. British-born Rod was the new kid in town, just 17, but he also had a Hawaiian season under his belt. Without wetsuits, leashes or any kind of rescue backup (besides each other), the three surfers paddled out to the lineup…

High drama at The Cribbar in 1965: Bob Head (left) pushes his 10-foot board over a set wave while Jack Lydgate (right) looks on. Rod Sumpter is out of view behind the peak. Photo: © Dennis White

High drama at The Cribbar in 1965: Bob Head (left) pushes his 10-foot board over a set wave while Jack Lydgate (right) looks on. Rod Sumpter is out of view behind the peak. Photo: © Dennis White

Bob and Rod both caught waves during the short session that followed, with Rod getting the best one, a booming right-hander. But Jack was caught inside by a huge clean-up set and he lost his board, which was swept onto the rocks and smashed.

That signalled the end of the session and the three surfers headed back to shore, Jack ‘doubling up’ on Bob’s board. Although the session was short and only witnessed by a handful of the surfers’ mates on the headland, it was nevertheless a significant milestone for British surfing.

In fact it marked the birth of big wave surfing in Britain

In fact it marked the birth of big wave surfing in Britain. To recognise and celebrate this important anniversary, Geoff is trying to raise £15,000 to put up a bronze surfboard monument on Towan Head.

“In its simplest form, the sculpture will be the size and shape of an authentic 10-foot Malibu surfboard, exactly the type ridden by The Cribbar pioneers in the mid 60s. It will be cast in a metal foundry, after a mould has been produced from a board shaped by Chris Jones (who made boards for Bilbo in the 60s and 70s).” Geoff said

Photo: © Geoff Tydeman

Photo: © Geoff Tydeman

“We want to celebrate 50 years of surf culture in the UK and honour the pioneers of big wave surfing here in our own backyard.” He added

The campaign has the backing of local surf pros including Ben Skinner who said

“I support the campaign because I think it’s important that we remember where it all began and remember our roots. I feel stoked to be a part of it.”

To get your slice of the action head over to the crowdfunding page here

 

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