Thursday, 25 December 2008

Ho Ho Ho .... Merry Xmas to you all !

Christiaan & I would just like to take time to wish you all a very merry Xmas & a Happy New Year !
Heres to a year of perfect waves & even better rhubarb crumble !!

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Surf Art

Found this whilst trawling the tinternet , Good to see others enjoying not only the practical use of ply but revelling in their intrinsic beauty dead or alive .. Artist is Ben Cook .. could find a contact email but would be good to hear from him if he reads this ..

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Come back summer .. all is forgiven !

After moaning so much about how crappy our summer was for weather & waves I sure do miss it now as we dodge the snow & NE winds !!

Monday, 24 November 2008

Calling all invisibles!!!

Hello all you ply peepers out there!

John and I are so happy to be engaging with so many lovely passionate prone peeps, but we would love to encourage more interaction on the blog from the visitors to prone to belly.
We are striving to create something which documents and celebrates the multiple perspectives that you all have on prone surf riding and we can't do this without you.

So this is a call to action!
Whilst the cold winter winds are keeping us confined to our cosy, comfy chairs, please take the time to share with us and educate us all, on your own prone surfing experience/perspective.
We know you might be shy, but once you have made one comment, I assure you that it will become strangely addictive and mass collaboration will enable the formation of a balanced view of this stoke fuelled ply & paulonia party!
We have many invisible watchers, whom we would like to become active contributors. Traditional surf-riding is all be about inclusivity and we are certainly keen to nurture a community approach.
It's much more fun if we do things together.... so step up and share the stoke!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

The Life of Ply

Here is The Life of Ply awarded 'Most Inspirational film' by Mark Kermode at the Board Shorts event, Cornwall Film Festival 2008. The film features the talents of the wonderful Dorothy and Peter Long, as well as some beautiful music from 'The Loose Salute'
I hope it fires your soul, stay stoked, Christiaan.

Monday, 10 November 2008

A Life of Ply inspires all.

News Splash:
'The Life of Ply', a film by Christiaan Bailey, featuring the talents of Dorothy (aka: Dot) and Peter Long, was voted the 'Most Inspirational Film' of the Board Shorts screening event as part of the Cornwall Film Festival.
The prize, sponsored by Leap ( and awarded by a panel of highly respected judges, was accepted by Dorothy Long from Mark Kermode (BBC, Respected Film Critic), on behalf of Ocean Motion Pictures and Christiaan Bailey, to a tremendous clamour of cheers, clapping, wolf whistles (Dot's still got the magic!), and hoots from the very appreciative crowd.
The award winning film will be available to view on this blog very soon!
Stay stoked everyone!

Friday, 7 November 2008

Obama Bodysurfs !

At last a new school dude in the White House , & dig this , he surfs ! Now all we need to do is to add a bit of ply to the equation & world domination will be ours !

Monday, 3 November 2008

Timber teasers at Board Shorts film event

To all of you moving image enthusiasts. There is an exciting surf movie screening event, taking place at the Sandsifter (a cocktail lounge bar, which is rather popular with beach going folk), near Gwithian in Hayle, this Saturday the 8th of November.
Rumour has it that there will be some hard-core ply action (a short film and a slide show) featuring amongst the eclectic blend of entertainment on offer; which also includes music from the Dodge Brothers (skiffle band) and some lovely Disc jockey types (Sir Vinyl of the Fattest).
There is limited seating for those of you who might have weary legs, but if you get there early, you stand a good chance of sitting comfortably throughout.
Doors Open at 7pm, Tickets can be purchased on the night, or in advance direct from the Sandsifter ( or The Princess Pavilion Box Office (01326) 211222 (
I hope to see you there, no doubt you will see me, as I am hosting the evening, I hope to make it a most enjoyable affair.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Championship catch up.

Hello to all you lovely, sporting folk.
John and I, hope you all managed to catch "CountryFile's" piece on the 2008 World Championships. If not, don't worry, you can now view it on BBC iplayer. It's the one that aired on Sunday 12th October. The piece on the Championships is about 40 minutes in.
Your's truly was in attendance and shot the water footage for the Beeb, I have put some highlights in the movie above, but rest assured there is plenty more material and I will try and get it posted over the next couple of weeks. Enjoy!

Monday, 6 October 2008

What a pair of beauties!

Ever since my induction to prone timber surf riding, I have reveled in a thrill so in tune with the wave face and all the natural elements, which bring so much joy.
The timber board in all it's fin-less, tuned in simplicity, is certainly a treat to be cherished.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Pawlonia Swallow

Sorry its been a while since the last post .. ive been in N Devon enjoying sunshine , no waves & brown water ! Scored a few gems though , nice early Riviera Speedboard & 60's Italian Swimfins .. will post pics soon xx
In the meantime .....

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Loads more WBBC 2008 pics here

The World Championships 2008

A messy onshore swell provided challenging but fun conditions for all contestants in this years World Bellyboard Championships at Chapel Porth beach . Costumes were rife , one plucky fellow sporting a gold lame catsuit ?! The sun shone as always as Sean "Frank" Harris was crowned World Champ .. The biggest thanks must go to Chris Ryan who selflessly slogs to put this wonderful event on for everybody !
Anyone who wants to contribute to the upcoming book or wants photos please contact us here !
Heres to next year !!

Saturday, 30 August 2008

World Bellyboard Championships 07/09/08

Not long now ... get your ply ready ...

Monday, 25 August 2008

Petes Got Wood

Pete Robinson was kind enough to share the British Surfing Museums latest donations with us , Pete has amassed the most comprehensive collection of surfing in the UK & funnily enough doesnt ignore the fact people rode waves before lifeguards from Australia brought us Malibu boards !

Sunday, 17 August 2008

A Hawaiian perspective by Neal "Sponge" Miyake

Wooden Bellyboards -- Cornwall 9/92

Many surfriders in the Cornwall area enjoy riding wooden bellyboards, an apparent offshoot of the Hawaiian paipo boards. These boards have been ridden here at least since the early 30's and look suspiciously like snowboards. People of all ages and gender walk out to the shorebreak and prone all the way to shore, grabbing the top of the board for control. It was refreshing to see sixty-something year old "grommets" bellyboarding in only surf trunks in the 55 degree water. Stoke takes on a whole new meaning.
Borrowed from:

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Pushing Ply (Part 1).

Hello to you all, please find a video of some bracing British summer surf, perfect for pushing the ply.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Tiaans superhero technique

A lot of swell , a lot of wind .. summer in kernow

A days fun was spent chasing a rideable wave along the North Coast of Kernow this past Monday .. Christiaan proves a worthy role model for follically challenged young men across the South West with his derring do style whilst a young upcoming buck , John Hickman startles the surf school with his tucked up cover ups on his 1950's style ply sled ... roll on September !

Sunday, 10 August 2008

The first documented 'Wegener' alaia turn.

For those of you interested in how alaia's turn, here is Jacob Stuth performing the very first documented turn on a finless 'Wegener' alaia. This was shot whilst Jacob and I were in Japan in 2007, we were both amazed that this type of turn was possible and it shows that these craft are a very capable wave riding vehicle.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Dot (Part 2)

As i went for a slide today i was hassled by another surfer , not an overly eager grom nor a foamie toting holidaymaker but by a lady 81 yrs old .
I wasnt quick enough apparently & Dot was amped to get in the surf . Im stoked to report that the feeling never goes away & proud to have surfed with Dot .

A point of contention

Whilst enjoying a post slide luncheon, of crumble, strawberries, cake, ice cream and tea (lovely), a point of hot contention bubbled to the surface.
The title of our beloved pastime seems to have been hijacked by those marketing men, (you know those showy types) and used exclusively to describe stand up surf riding. I suspect in order to glean 'the cool' of our pastime for profit.
'Bellyboarding' (as many refer to it) was originally known as 'surfing' or 'surf riding' and as it was the only popular form of riding waves, none saw fit to question this title. Little did we know that with the advent of 'Malibu style' boards to British beaches that our prone wave riding would be sub categorised. Some feel the term 'Belly' boarding is none too flattering and prefer prone surfing, surfing or surf riding.
So I put the point to you all, what term would you use to describe our practice and what be your justification for this?
All comments are very welcome...

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Mods and Rockers

'We do have one with handles cut into the rails and a slight bottom concave in the tail.
Some of the Oxenden boards from 1920s Jersey were hand carved like traditional Hawaiian...' That's really interesting Pete, would love to see some of those details, would you be able to share any images?
What are the origins of the boards with the bottom tail concave and what kind of timber are they made from?

Andy Bick's Paipo boards are really a good example of timber shaped prone surfing vehicles, he also seems to be a lovely chap which is most encouraging. I will be visiting Andy for tea and timber talk quite soon and will provide you all with an in depth report. His site can be accessed at

Mods and Rockers:
The ply bellyboards that we might normally encounter on the beach have quite a steep rocker in the nose.
I have been riding boards both with and without this rocker and have found the flatter boards much faster. The flatter boards also seem to be thinner and more flexible (especially the non ply variety) and I feel it's the flex that really makes riding them so much more dynamic. Its possible to create a negative rocker when stuck at the top of a wave which will assist in making the initial stages of the drop down the face. I would love to hear about your own experiences of the various rockers and stiffness of timber available to ride.
What is your opinion on the rocker debate?
Could there be a perfect rocker curve for the British seaside?

Saturday, 2 August 2008

One for the ladies

See how his belly antics make him jump for joy !

finessing the curves

John and I were talking with Sally from the original surfboard company ref design. We have been riding our Wegener alaia bellyboards and Sally's ply bellyboards and noted the very different approach that had been taken in crafting the various vehicles.
The Wegener boards are shaped in a similar fashion to that of a stand up board, with subtle curves running form top to bottom of the rails and undulating bottom shapes, whereas the ply bellyboards are cut and pressed, lacking the more finessed curves of the former. It got me wondering if there are any more examples of finely shaped timber bellyboards out there, or are they all of the cut and pressed variety.
Does anyone have any information on this and would you be willing to share examples?
Cheers, Christiaan (aka: slaphead).

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Porthcothan traditions

A Young Fred Parkin rides a contemporary Pawlonia Alaia at Portcothan , an area steeped in bellyboarding history .

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Baldies do it faster

As in swimming a bald head cuts a clean line through the surf .. might need a separate class in this years WBBC for slapheads !

Thursday, 17 July 2008


Great little film by Nathan Oldfield with some great Alaya footage

Monday, 16 June 2008

for all you lot that haven't given up !

sorry ..

Sorry to everyone who's noticed i havent posted for a while .. i have been super busy .. working & researching for the book .. Chris Ryan was kind enough to invite me to the last committee meeting for the World Bellyboard Championships 2008 , looks like it'll be a good un this year .. see the site for news ..
Met quite a few lovely people who have bellyboarded for more years than ive lived & are more on the ball than me !!
I'll post soon , I have bundles of new stuff to share , just trying to get the time to whack it on here ..
Heres to all you lot & hoping we get swell soon !

Friday, 25 April 2008


Beautifully shot & check the alaya barrel ??!

The North Devon Boys ..

A strange bunch seem to hang about above Bideford & here's their leader Mr Simon Skelton , posing with a few of his ply gems ...

Monday, 21 April 2008

Sorry for the silence ..

Sorry to have been away for so long . I was visiting North Devon under cover of a short family break ! I managed to airmat one evening much to the amusement of locals ! I was regarded with curiosity by the locals & then dropped in on !
Whilst visiting Braunton i happened upon that hirsute concertina player himself Mr Simon Skelton who insisted on showing me his new 7' Pink Cedar big wave bellyboard ! I have recorded the tweeded eccentric & his plywood treasures on film & may well post soon .
In the meantime I would just like to say "Whilst I have nothing against people trying to stand up on small wooden planks , this blog is all about bellyboarding PRONE on short bits of ply & not part of the current finless fad ..
& to show that im not against a bit of stand up heres a recent 'found in the attic' bit of UK surf history ...

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Wise Words indeed !

Thanks to Henry for a copy of 'You & Your Surfboard ' by Vernon Bartlett published in the 50's ..
Note the reference to using your Landlady's tea tray !

Tuesday, 8 April 2008


Hows this for the beach in 1966 !
" Now , if we can only get someone to remake those beach balls ...

Sunday, 6 April 2008

New frontiers

John and I are making our way through the fascinating world of bellyboarding and picking up a few choice splinters along the way. I have just been in Australia speaking with the like of Tom Wegener and Derek Hynd about the merits of finless wooden craft in particular wooden bellyboards. Tom considers them to be a potential saviour for all of us frolliking around in the waves, bellyboards expand the range of ridable surf, making the most unlikely conditions stoke-worthy. Derek sums up his feelings best by stating that his goal is to find the ultimate fin-less board and make it out of wood.
On visiting Mr Wegener, he graciously accepted a gift from John of a 1950's Penzance lightweight model, he was so interested in the UK scene and made us up two of his own model boards based around the ancient Hawaiian craft. The 50's Cornish board is on the left whilst the central board is a 5'4" belly board and the larger board to the right is a 7' Alaya/Alaia style board designed for both prone and also stand-up ridng. Both of toms boards go amazingly fast. I have personally ridden the 5' 4"bellyboard several times now and it is such an involved and rewarding experience, over and undertaking those foolish enough to drop in and sliding all the way to the beach with a grin that has produced tan lines in my face.

Monday, 24 March 2008

The Bellyboard World Champs 2008

The water is warming up , time to shed your rubber skins & get practicing for the annual World Bellyboard Championships to be held Sunday 7th Sept 2008 at Chapel Porth beach , nr St Agnes, Cornwall , see the link for more details & pack your hamper .. always a hoot !

Thursday, 20 March 2008

The Surfing Museum

Managed to rummage through The Surfing Museums archives this week thanks to Pete Robinson.
Pete has single handedly given us here in the UK an insight into our surfing history with his exhibitions visiting different venues all over the country .
Go to to check on whats happening .
Thanks Pete 

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Cyril & Charmian

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Cyril & Charmian Cannon for tea & biscuits at their house overlooking a certain not so secret spot on the north coast of Cornwall . I was keen to talk to them & possibly pick up any tips on their continued success in the over 75's category of 'The Championships' .  A nicer couple you couldn't find & a great inspiration . 
Thankyou .

Monday, 25 February 2008

more wood

Bellyboarding, the book !

Ok , so here goes .. Gulp ! 
Christiaan Bailey & John isaac are putting together a little hard backed fine art book loosely based around the asthetics of finless wooden boards, more importantly Bellyboards. 
This isn't a detailed historical perspective (although a fair bit of history will be covered as an introduction ,albeit a fairly lengthy one !)but more an insight into the quieter corners of seaside communities where people have grown up sliding through the soup on the inside !  
Any comments , suggestions , etc are warmly welcomed .

Wednesday, 13 February 2008