The surf FLYER board REISSUE

Chapter 1 The Genesis of the FLYER

1964 DELUXE Warwick Bullet Surf Skate by Derek Morris for Mettoy, Playcraft Toys Britain's first commercial skateboard

 

This is the start of documenting the historic occasion of reviving Britain’s 1st mass produced skate boards. The Warwick Bullet and the Surf FLYER Board were well known to a generation of Britain’s first skateboarders as well as memorable to skateboarders across Europe and even in Australia and South Africa. Many remember this skateboard with affection, many do not. I guess it depended largely on your perceptions, experiences and skill levels as to how you came away from the experience of the ‘Bullet’ and the ‘FLYER’ skateboards.

1977 DELUXE Surf FLYERBoard by Derek Morris, Morris Vulcan Products Britain's first mass produce skateboard

 

These boards came in two graphics, the iconic red nose and surf stripes and the more complex blue deluxe version. The first production models came out in 1964 after the Mettoy toy company took over the N&R Green Roller skate manufacturer in Solihull who sold roller skates under the brand Warwick Flyer. Hence this is where the names Warwick and Flyer come from. Later in 1964 Derek Morris  manager of the roller skate operation for Mettoy produced the Warwick Bullet surf skate including the deluxe version and within a year had distributed them as far afield as Sydney, Australia. In March 1969 the cheaper version was written up in the first edition of British Surf Magazine.

1977 Surf FLYER Board made by Derek Morris, Morris Vulcan Products. Britain's first mass produced skateboards

After 1964 Warwick Bullet Surf Skate made by Derek Morris for Mettoy Playcraft Toys. Britain's first commercial skateboards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The iconic surf board influenced graphic came with a very basic truck and roller skate rubber compound wheels. It was slated because it wouldn’t turn and this was no different in 1977 when the FLYER was mass produced. The wheels ‘bog’ in and are very slow. The deluxe version however, although it had the same wheels, had a much improved and possibly unique double side bushing system. Ridden on a steep hill the deluxe Bullet and its successor the FLYER were super slalom boards. The two models sold in their thousands and its beyond question that Derek Morris made this the most successful skateboard in the 60s/70s history of British skateboard manufacturing. Depending on which model your parents got you determined your memories of this first skateboarding experience, from which kids either dropped out or advanced to better things. By 1978 with urethane wheels and improved trucks appearing on the Morris Vulcan skateboard range the FLYER  boards were dubbed Trainer boards in the promotional literature.

 

 

 

 

Derek Morris was not only the father of British skateboarding;  his influence in the world of roller skating was even greater. Although no information about his career within the Mettoy and Playcraft Toys empire is currently known, what can be established is that he was the man who single handedly exploited the two skateboard waves in the mid 60s and later 70s. As things slowed down in Britain on the back of the mid 60s collapse in the States he pursued the roller skating market until the next wave of commercial skateboarding came along. This next wave was on the back of the mid 70s explosion, fuelled by the summers of 75 and 76 immortalised by the DOGTOWN chronicles.

Around 1974 Derek Morris founded Morris Vulcan at the same Solihull factory which Mettoy bought from N&R Green and which Morris acquired from Mettoy. This factory was to become the centre of his Empire for the rest of his working life. Probably as a result of the previous slowdown he retained the two graphics of the Warwick Bullets and just changed the name to FLYER. What followed was a radical increase in production over a short time scale. Where other less experienced punters came unstuck and financially embarrassed Derek Morris was absolutely pivotal in the history and heritage of British skateboarding.

Chapter 2. The graphics and a remarkable connection

We have established that Derek Morris produced the two Warwick Bullet ‘surf skate’ designs in red and blue in late 1964/early 1965 and used the same designs 12 years later in 1977 when he relaunched these boards as the ‘surf FLYER board’. There is one other board however which had the identical graphic design on an identical sized board. This was the 1976 Mr Chipper board which came in red and blue with different  logos and which Kent Sherwood, who was  Jay Adams’ step dad, produced under the Z-FLEX label that same year. I think its Wenzle Rummel who says we didn’t have kick tails before 1975. All skate boards in the 1960s when the surf skate style prevailed were on flat, surf board shaped boards. In England in 1977 we were a year or so behind DOGTOWN. The 1976 Mr Chipper board was undoubtedly Kent Sherwood’s entry level board for kids at that time and once the Z-FLEX proper fibreglass boards took off the Chipper was consigned to history. In Great Britain and Europe however the FLYER continued until 1978 as the go to starter board for young kids. So where did the Mr Chipper design come from? The only possible answer to that question is that it was either copied from Warwick Bullet or it was a complete fluke. The former is the most likely because it is not only the graphic but the deck size and shape that are also identical.

The Warwick Bullet surf skate therefore has a remarkable place in skateboard heritage, not so much for its position in skateboard development, but astonishingly for its position in skateboard art and as a shoelace tying  the seedling British scene to that giant of skate culture the Z Boys, Jay Adams, Zephyr and Z-FLEX.

Chapter 3. The making of the surf FLYER board in 1977 and 78.

The man who did this work is still alive, a local well known character of Lydbrook called Laurence Williams. He  earned £35 a week at Lydwoods back then until Robert Jones put Laurence and two friends on peace rate of 6d a board. That’s about 2.5 pence in today’s currency. Laurence’s wage then jumped to £135 a week for nearly 18 months. Believe me that was a fortune back then and way beyond the wage of most working men.

to be continued……

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Catching Up

The Still Stoked journey has now spanned 20 years. The quiver of boards which started with the 5ft Cruiser and 6ft Landsurfer in 1997, the 44″ Travel Board in 2001 and the 34″ Retro Carve in 2003 saw  major additions in 2013 with the Sidewalk Surfer and the Stinger and again in 2014 with the Hammerhead. Still Stoked is a family thing supported by faithful followers. 2017 was destined to be a special and pivotal year. The Paddle Round The Pier event reinforced our presence, first seen in 1998, with once again excellent board sales. The Still Stoked summer ‘sojourn’ at Hells Mouth, Abersoch, North Wales blew away all records of previous board sale records with a stunning 30 longboards sold, averaging a remarkable one a day until we ran out.

Donny and Katie  have ridden this wave together for a very long time now and every year since he was born Ocean has been a central part of the Hells Mouth Still Stoked scene, so much so that at the age of 9 its in his blood. It was overheard this year in the car park at the Middle, Hells Mouth, that Ocean “is a better salesman than you Donny”, praise indeed for a lad whose skating started at 2 years old and whose surfing old school really started coming together this summer.

And so with this background and we haven’t pushed it, the Still Stoked ethic of Donny Wright is stay small think big, an obvious contradiction in terms. And yet we are still here making 50 boards a year and customs for those who suddenly come out of the blue ergo Fi who we have just recently sent to Sweden a new 5ft cruiser 20 years on from her first cruiser in ’97/’98 when she was one of two girl riders in the Still Stoked team and also a Stinger for her two young children. Second generation Still Stokers, that says it all and along with Tom Wright’s school friend Marc Castillo’s two boys and Ocean we can feel proud of a continuity which started from when most guys and gals in the UK looked at longboard skating as rather weird but slightly wonderful.

Our 20th Anniversary Year is being brought to a close with a very special production. This is the   surf FLYER board   40th Anniversary REISSUE. Follow progress here

 

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HELLS MOUTH SUMMER 2016

Donny will be at Hell’s Mouth from Friday 22nd July until late August with a great looking range of new longboards from Still Stoked. Hammerhead, Retro Carve, Sidewalk Surfer, TB60, Stinger, Landsurfer will all be available. There will be demo boards to try out too.

T Shirts and surf jewelry

After a fabulous time at the 20th Anniversary of the Brighton Paddle Round The Pier at the beginning of July, when Donny sold a record number of boards and met old friends, made new ones and had a great vibe with longboarders of all ages, boys and girls, guys n gals, he has put together some beautiful new handmade boards. Also in the 20th year of operation under the name Still Stoked he has been designing, crafting and hand finishing dynamic longboards since 1996 and reckons to be the longest longboard manufacturer in the British isles.

Hell’s Mouth is the epicentre of the Still Stoked longboard scene and is our summer camp based at ‘Shops’ aka Donny’s ‘Surfers Hole’ top end of Hells Mouth bay near the base of the Rhiw hill. Donny and Ocean will be there from this Friday 22nd July and Katie from the 29th. We shall be selling from our usual place at the car park, The Middle, Hells Mouth beach.

Check out these boards on Still Stoked Facebook which will be for sale at the beach and at Surfers Hole.

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Still Stoked Hammerhead 40.5″ longboard

This is our gr8 new board for 2015. Unique foot well designs to provide foot grip for all those longboard manoeuvres and tricks. Chris Chaput’s Liquid Attack trucks are the most stable at speed we have yet ridden. The Hammerhead symmetrical longboard is designed for all round and advanced longboarding. First public release at the Brighton Paddle Round The Pier festival this weekend 4th-5th of July.

Specification:-
Material 12mm Buffalo Board Russian birch ply for added strength and durability and longboard deck grip
Length 40.5″ Width 9″
Liquid Attack 180 trucks
Abec 11 70mm 75a green flashbacks
Mini Logos bearings
Bullet dome head bolts for deck protection
Price £170 plus carriage

Check this out for a pretty awesome bit of family fun. Still Stoked were privileged to be chosen to supply the longboards for the Jax Jones video shoot in Spain this Spring for his new song Yeah Yeah Yeah released 27th July this summer. The Hammerhead modified for strollers, pretty rad.

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Paddle Round the Pier 2015

Finishing boards for Paddle Round the Pier Brighton this week. 4th and 5th of July, flagged as the biggest free festival in the world.
More longboards than ever as Still Stoked prepares for this greatest of events. We have been going for many years now and it seems impossible to think Donny, Tomo and Matt were there in 1998 when Still Stoked sponsored Richard Balding who won the race round the pier that year.
The biggest range ever including:-
Sidewalk Surfer
Retro Carve
TB60
Stinger
Hammerhead

Lightning bolt spray finishes, cloth deck, beautiful white birch, buffalo decks prices from £75 – £160

Still Stoked surfboard necklaces and key fobs. £2.50

2015 Still Stoked Tees £10

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