www.skewjack.co.uk

WELCOME TO Skewjack .co.uk. This site uses the header of the original English surf camp. It's aim is to keep the name alive.

 

IT'S A LITTLE BIT OF BRITISH SURF HISTORY

If there was ever the true, original, definitive surf camp then this was it. Started before 1973, it came to fame during the summers of 75/76 and on.

Created, managed & run by an amazing and esoteric bunch. The two Chris's: Tyler and South, Bryan, Gill McNeil who brought Patchouli Oil to Cornwall, Terri in the shop.. The original Bistro Girls,Sarah, Jan & Isobel. Phil 'Piglet' Rowley, the original Dr Fun, Barry the original lifeguard. Michelle & Duncan. Fran (14 and never at skool) Sylvia in reception. Barman Godfrey.

It would be safe to say that Skewjack led and every other followed...........

Click to see the

original

 

Off the wall visitors like the London boys, the Welsh Biker Crew, (remember the hearse?) The Custom Car Magazine runs. Local surfers, Harvey, 'Wog', JMO,The Cattrans, JA, Cosmic. Resident Aussies: Curly, Worther, Jeff. Locals like the The Bryants, The Tin Miners, Joe Crowe, Nicky, Jeremy Gilbert, DJ Martin, Rob Smith, Barry, photographer Charlie Roff, ex Lands End owner Charles Neave-Hill, Sara, now at Boardwise and many many more.

WHO AM I TO TALK ?

OK a quick bit about me. My name is Graham Shephard, ex Skewjack Surf Instructor & Lifeguard.

Now a lecturer in Travel and Tourism at the University of Brighton. I started surfing in 1966, when to meet other surfers was unique. I was the surf instructor and lifeguard at Skewjack Surf Village from 1975-1980. Lived in Cornwall for many years and currently live in Eastbourne. If you should want to know more, click on the 'About Me' link below


IT'S HERE

THE SKEWJACK BROCHURE

SKEWJACK TODAY

Hopefully in the due process of time it will be possible to build a history of Skewjack from the early "anything goes" days, to the last dying moments as the camp closed for the last time and the new owners dumped thirty tons of rock and mud in the gateway to deter unauthorised entry. The photo below is the current site today. It is, I believe, a "Switching Station" for the Transatlantic cables that come in at Porthcurno and is one of four terminals serving a £1 billion "figure of eight" fibre optic link between two terminals in the USA and another in France. On completion, it doubled the total transatlantic telecommunications capacity.

Skewjack today, courtesy of Google Maps.

If it centres on Porthcurno, click the left arrow (West) a couple of times and the up arrow (North) a couple of times and the new building should appear at the top of the map. Centre it and zoom in. The old house and barn are still there!


View Larger Map

 

VIEW THE ORIGINAL BROCHURE

Jeremy Braithwaite has sent a copy of the earliest brochure and original map Click on the button below to view. Check out the price for a week!

Many thanks to Jeremy for this one

TIMES ARTICLE FROM AUGUST 4th 1971.

Even 'back then' surfing made the headlines.

Again many thanks to Jeremy, he says "I did a lot of the early marketing & PR for Ron. This included escorting a Times reporter to Skewjack - which resulted in the attached story which I think was on the back page of the Times.
We also got a really good feature in Custom Car magazine which resulted in a steady flow of visitors with interesting machinery and we offered nurses half price - which has the desired effect and filled the place with girls."

SO WHAT IS THIS SITE ALL ABOUT ?

Skewjack Surf Centre was a brilliantly simple idea. It could be argued that it was far ahead of its time, both in concept and outlook. Loved by some, loathed by others. It evolved over the years and developed its own following of devotees. Several of the people involved in its conception, management and use still live within thirty miles of the old site whilst others are as far away as Australia. Many many of the 'Punters' or guests still have fond, if hazy memories of the site, its bar and no doubt its infamous chalets. Young surfers will have heard of it but will have no idea of what it really was about. In it's time, it was a focal point and cultural centre for nearly all the far South West's surfers.

This site hopefully will allow the presentation of photo's, recollections, anecdotes etc. from all who were involved in the place and thus build up a true history and establish Skewjack's rightful place in the evolution of British Surfing.

I know already of one Skewjack discussion board and I know of other allied interests and obtuse links to the site...

So if you read this and have anything to add about Skewjack and your experiences, good or bad, E Mail them to me at: gram at (@) skewjack.co.uk. I have done it this way and disabled the email button for now as there are huge amounts of spam arriving in the inbox daily now.

Please attach photos by all means.Thanks

ANOTHER 'LOCAL' VIEW

Surflines: Skewjack Surf Village
I first heard about “Skewjack” when I was solely into Hot Rods and Custom Cars (surfing was strictly for blonds way back!). Every summer I would read about the Custom Car magazines Annual ‘Surf + Cruise’pilgrimage to Sennen. It was a kind of auto/surf holiday and car show which somehow re-invented itself as the ‘Run to the Sun’ in Newquay when Skewjack closed in the mid-1980’s!
But that was one week in the summer, the rest of the summer Skewjack was Thee place to holiday, party, and surf (apparently the contemporary equivalent the infamous 18-30 holiday) has got nothin’ on what used to go on at Skewjack. Sun, sea and....scrumpy?!
I actually thought about writing this article after purchasing a beat up old twin fin at a boot sale for £5, with Skewjack emblazoned upon it! The phone number on the decal say’s Hank-287. Reckon that dates to the early 70’s -Skewjack’s hey day.
When I spoke to Essex Tyler about it ( his father, Chris Tyler, ran S.J. from ‘74 to ‘84) he said they also made wax, tees, posters etc. and showed surf films.
Sadly Skewjack closed in the early ‘86 and was demolished in 2000, but you can still check it out thanks to the wonders of modern science..

The legend lives on!
Lowdog.

That is no twin fin.....!

Published in the Cornishman Newspaper. With thanx to Robbie Macintosh.

 

Latest News: August 2012

Nearly 19000 hits since the site has been going over the years. Thank you to all of you who still mail me with news and information. Interest in Skewjack still continues, there is a Facebook Page but not run by me and interest is sure to go up with the release of the new surf movie The Endless Winter. A movie based on the UK surfing culture which looks to be great perspective on this amazing culture with Skewjack featuring to some extent I believe.

The Museum of British Surfing goes from strength to strength under the guidance of Peter Robinson, supported by ex Skewjackers such as Nick Padem who gave his classic Tshirts to the British Surfing Museum. They are still looking for one of the original Skewjack surfboards so if you have one, or any Skewjack memorabilia,, do let Peter know.

Still love the great eMail from John Edwards which I reproduce below... Sums it all up beautifully..

One of my mates sent me a link to the site. We were trying to remember when we were there - 1974 or 5, 1978 and 1979. It was a fantastic place. The first year, we drove down in his car, almost falling asleep and crashing on the way. We slept in tents that year. The second time, I came down on my Bonneville and just drank Carlsberg 68 for two weeks. The third and last visit, I drove down in my Mustang which was cool and then locked myself out in the car park after I arrived before breaking back into it with a coat hanger. I remember trying to surf and being rescued by the lifeguard at Sennen Cove. We had some terrible weather and tiny waves but above all, it was a laugh. We all wore surf beads and tried to pull, occasionally we got lucky. I've attached some snaps, I've still got the original brochure and a receipt for my deposit.

Thanks for the memories, I wish we could all go back and "do it again".

a red mustang at skewjak 1979

"The epitome of cool"

Chris Tyler spotted in Mousehole, July 2008

Picture Alex Wade

Alex Wade, author of Surfnation, who now lives at Porthcurno and who wrote the now extinct, yet excellent Surfnation blog in the Times, caught up with Chris Tyler in Mousehole in July and I reproduce his excellent piece, with his full permission here. Have a read, it is really well done then check out his new blog site here hosted and posted by A1surf.com.

Posters and T shirts discovered in lofts and guitar cases, what else is out there????

Skewjack TeeShirts

Skewjack Poster (Thanks Eddie)

 

Latest memories from: Mark Nicolls, Nick Paden, Eddie Gozdecki, Tiffany Newell, Maxine Hartshorn.

Skewjack featured in the April 2008 issue of Drift Surf Magazine. Click on the image below to see the online version

Guys it is SKEWJACK and not SKEWJACKS!

Quick links

2004 Sennen Watermans Dinner.

The Times Online in April 07

Andy Magin's Photos

Barbara Duckpond's Classic Photos

 

Got to say a big thank you to Peter Robinson at the Museum of British Surfing for the link to the site.

Check this fascinating review of British surfing history at

Congratulations to Gabe Davies on becoming the first Partron of the Surf Museum

You may have heard of the huge, March 5th, 2008 storm that we had, coinciding with a big spring tide. Check out the astounding images of Sennen below

Dave 'Curly' Curl was an original Aussie visitor from about 1974/5 check some of his photos on the link below.

Older Memories and eMails

Have split the memories page so it is now not such a huge read. So there is now a Latest Memories page which will be changed every two months (ish)

 

 

The New Skewjack.
A PRECAUTIONARY DISCLAIMER. I have grabbed the URL but only as 'guardian, I claim no ownership or right to the the name Skewjack or to the logo presented here. However the name Skewjack refers to a physical geographical location in West Penwith and thus lies in the public domain.

Cape Cornwall. How big? Check wave size against the house!

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Last modified:16th August 2012