Having a wide ranging and diverse wave riding quiver has never been as celebrated and encouraged as it is right now.
You only need to watch Tom Curren doing skimboard step offs, or JOB on a foamie at Pipe, or Ryan Burch on one of his asymmetrical sliders to realise that pig-headedly sticking with you 5’8 thruster, whatever the weather, is just not the route to maximising fun in the brine.
Enter Dick Pearce & Friends, a Newquay based start up who are looking to reinvent the old school bellyboard as a vital addition to any fun-centric wave riders quiver. We caught up with bellyboard fanatic (and owner of Dick Pearce) Jamie Johnstone to tell us more.
WL: Tell me why you think that bellyboards are due a modern day resurgence?
JJ: They are just so fun to ride – they really let you get the most out of all conditions. Whether it’s your first time in the water or you’re a seasoned surfer, they are just fun. Everyone that tries it out loves it – it’s a simple pleasure! People also love the look and feel of the boards. With the current surge away from plastic and disposables it’s really nice to use a board that’s sustainable and made locally. We hand make all bellyboards from start to finish in Newquay – they are really durable and will last for years. Wood is good!
WL: What sort of waves and conditions are they most fun in?
JJ: We surf ours in all sorts of waves – from knee high spinners to pumping shorebreaks and wedges! With swim fins you can tackle almost anything, although hollow waves are always good! Our bellyboards are always in the car ready for when the waves are not surfable. They’re also suited to kids and riders who aren’t so used to the water – you can just walk out to waist deep water in almost any conditions and catch the whitewater. It really helps your wave reading and catching as your timing has to be good. Being so close to the water and immersed is a rad feeling.
WL: Tell me a bit about the design and making process?
JJ: We manufacture all the boards start to finish in our Newquay workshop. All the equipment that we inherited from classic board-maker Dick Pearce was rescued from his workshop and set up here. We use exactly the same antique kit and templates and time-tested production methods that he did. We’ve modernised some aspects and improved the finish and board quality, but in essence the boards are very similar to the ones being ridden 50 years ago. The board graphics are hand screen printed with the original wooden screens and hardwearing inks. We really want to make our boards bright and fun so they stand out on the beach and in the water!
Find out more about Dickpearce and get your hands on a board here.