In the ‘60s, Surfing Contests were usually run by Surf Life Saving Clubs and were mainly aimed at Surf Life Saving Club members. Surf Clubs started to appear in the mid 60s, to cater for those surfers that just wanted to surf, compete with each other and have social events, in their village.
Croyde attracted some surfers, but most surfed at Woolacombe, Putsborough or Saunton. Croyde Beach had a bad reputation for rips (remember there were no leashes in those days). Woolacombe had a surf club, The Red Barn, surf contests and The Long Bar at the Narracott Grand Hotel. We used to surf Croyde and then drive to Woolacombe for the evening. On the way we’d stop off at the Kings Arms in Georgeham and usually didn’t get much further! That was the evening meeting place for the Croyde surfing community.
In the mid ‘70s the Thatched Barn Village Tea rooms became a public house and, along with the Beach Club a little later, became the haunt of many of the local surfers. We didn’t have to leave the village any more!
By the late ‘70s many of the local lads were surfing well enough to enter and be successful in National competitions. Several were chosen to represent their country in British, European and World Contests. Most of the important competitions were being staged by British Surfing Association Officials, often in Cornwall. We had to redress the balance.
The initial idea to form a club came in 1979 from Tim Barrow, Peter Oram and Richard Carter sitting in Pete’s van one horrible day in down end car park. They went back to Pete’s house in church street where Leonie Oram put everything down on paper. Pete was the chairman, Leonie the secretary , Richard the social secretary and Tim was the contest director, after that we recruited Keith West, Terry and Liz Veitch, and Simon Pearse, who all paid their part. So big up the girls, who did all the tedious work, couldn’t have done it without YOU and thanks to all who paid there dues hereafter, there are so many
The main aim was to focus the obvious surfing interest in the community in order to be able to run our own contests, grow the surf talent of the village, have local social events and host, organise and run Regional and National Contests.
Forming the club was pretty easy, as there was a lot of local support, although we had to have Parish Council approval to use the name Croyde! During the ‘80s, we hosted and ran many local, Regional and National Contests, won many National Inter-Club Championships and had several early successes from within the ranks. The social side was pretty good too ! Croyde Surf Club parties in the ‘80s Beach Club/ Cave Rave days, will live forever in the minds of all who were fortunate to be there and are still able to remember!