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The surf FLYER board REISSUE

Chapter 1 The Genesis of the FLYER

THE SURF FLYER REISSUE HERE

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 to make the FLYER decks. 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.

Laurence has told Nick Jones and me that he and his mates made 5-600 decks a day for the best part of 18 months and, except for the annual fortnight shut down, 7 days a week. In between times they still managed to fit in local football and some skateboarding too. Naturally some of the FLYERS ended up early on in Lydbrook, the Forest of Dean’s longest village and nearly all downhill. Possibly more wannabee skateboarders than cars around Lydbrook back then too!!

There were five operations in the production of the decks all done entirely by hand. First, one of the lads would cut out the rectangles of ply  which would be drilled for a basic jig which allowed the ply to be shaped on a thin band saw, rotating it by hand to cut the blank. This was then put to the third man for hand held sanding on a rotating sander. After the day’s target had been reached they would seal the decks with a coat of varnish and lay them all up to dry and go home for tea. This was a long enough day for anyone, day in day out doing the same monotonous work, but it was the shekels that counted back then for the lads and they had to keep the output up to satisfy Derek Morris at Vulcan Solihull, where the boards were sent by lorry each day for assembly.

After tea Laurence and his mates returned to screen print the decks. Lay the deck down top uppermost, lay over the screen, squirt of ink and a pass with the squeegee, job done. The deck was taken away and the next laid down and so on. All the decks were done after the factory closed because they had to lay them out on the factory floor to dry. In the morning Bob Jones would open up and the first job was to pack the FLYER decks for carriage to Solihull.

Its a crazy story for crazy times, it was 1977 Britain, Silver Jubilee, Star Wars, Eagles, Bee Gees, Fleetwood Mac, Abba and skateboards. It was the year after the longest drought in human memory. Laurence and his two mates kept on the job until mid 1978 then skateboarding crashed in Britain and burnt out overnight.

to be continued……

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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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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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CHRISTMAS LONGBOARD OFFERS

Our Christmas sale is now open. The SHOP page has some unbeatable board deals.

Coming any day will be the Christmas deal new buffalo deck Retro Carves which we claim as the best priced best set up campus/metro/street rider board in the world. Can you afford to be without one?

Any questions of any sort ring 01594 861835 or 07748534782 or email donny@stillstoked.co.uk

Buy for friend partner family or yourself and you will be still stoked 4 ever.

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THE SHOP PAGE

We have added a new SHOP page as of September 2014. This page will be kept up to date with custom made boards carried in stock. Following sale, details will be removed. This page does not replace our STANDARD range as shown under the different board headings, neither does it limit customers CUSTOM board requirements. The Custom boards shown are all handmade by Donny and are very limited in number.

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Sidewalk Surfer original £180

Sidewalk Surfer Original £180

mahogany and maple veneered Sidewalk Surfer from Still Stoked Longboards

Mahogany veneered top with maple veneer inlaid lightning bolt 1 only

The veneer for this board was shaped and cut by hand then glued and pressed to 2 tons pressure in a 5 ton commercial press. It is a Donny Wright Original one only. Hardware is Landyachtz awesome Bear Grizzly 852 180 trucks in matte blue with 70mm 75a Tarantulas from Tunnel and Mini Logo bearings with removable shields.

Original etched under deck.

Etched graphics include:-

Still Stoked Sidewalk Surfer oval and Still Stoked ‘little man’

ORIGINALS

“Still Stoked Longboard Skates was formed in the UK in 1997

out of Black Dog Boards by Donny Wright. Inspired by the

5ft boards being ridden in California, Donny has been

designing and making longboards ever since. Now and

then Donny will create an Original.”

 

Sidewalk Surfer Original Bear and Tunnel hardware

This is a pretty awesome board and a real eye catcher. The Sidewalk Surfer from Still Stoked rides like nothing else on Bear trucks and Tunnel Tarantulas. The trucks are designed and made by the Landyachtz team and are simply in a class of their own. The wheels from Tunnel Skateboards are beyond compare and are the best urethane poured in California.

Buy this board and own an unique longboard handmade in Britain.

Available now

Price £180 inc carriage to mainland UK, carriage extra abroad.

email: donny@stillstoked.co.uk

 

 

 

 

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Still Stoked at Hells Mouth 2014

Great 4 weeks at Hells Mouth this year – not so hot on the surf though and it will go down as one of the worst for many years, but it was more than made up for by a record number of longboard sales. Travel Boards, Stingers, Retro Carves all sold out and lots of Sidewalk Surfers sold. The Buffalo decks were the first to go on the upper end priced boards. By upper end I mean £150 tops which is not a lot of money when the hardware includes, Paris or Bear trucks and Abec 11 Flashbacks or Tunnel Tarantulas/Rocks!


It was great to meet up again with old friends and meet new from the Cheshire and Manchester circuit, London, Brighton, Germany, the States, Forest of Dean, Europe and all over.

Still a few Sidewalk Surfers left with some excellent deals. Contact me for more details,  donny

The most fab thing for us during this summer’s surf scene was our lad, 6 years and 3 months old, Ocean’s first stand up surfing on an old 6ft6″ pop out at  “shops” top end of the bay. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this was down to his riding longboards on the tarmac. I would never have believed he would have progressed from body board to surfboard so effortlessly and it has to be due to his riding the Still Stoked Retro Carve since he was two and the Stinger since 2013.

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Hells Mouth Saturday July 26th

All stock is loaded and ready for departure to Hells Mouth for the rest of the summer. The workshop is now closed. Any board enquiries please ring me on 07748534782. Check some of our collection and prices on facebook

Boards can be bought at the Middle beach car park Hells Mouth or visit us at The Caravan top end of the bay by The House on the cliff aka Surfers Hole/Donny’s. Mobile signal not good but usually comes on sooner or later so text us. If we can get a signal at the Middle and you have the facility on your phone you can pay this year by paypal. All down to the signal really!

We have boards, videos, jewelry, cards, beanies, Tee shirts etc… We can’t wait to see and meet up with old friends and make some new ones. Stay Stoked, see you soon.

 

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Hells Mouth 2014

Just finishing boards for Hells Mouth 26th July to Bank Holiday. TB60s at £70, Longboarding for Peace Travel Boards at £80, Stingers at £50 and £75 and one at £40, Sidewalk Surfers £150, £170, £180 with some truly awesome hardware set  ups, Retro Carves £145 and £160. Boards include the new Buffalo decks, super hard wearing all weather finish and bonding resin which will last for years of regular use. Also a few Drifters which are amongst the eye catchers of our stock at £155.Except the £40 Stinger these are all brand new and complete ready to ride. check out  www.facebook.com/stillstoked97 for pictures and daily details.

You can reserve a board by deposit or full payment and pick up at Hells Mouth. Ring to discuss.

paypal: donny@stillstoked.co.uk

phone 0774854782

catch us at the Middle beach car park or come to our place at Y Carafan, Siop Penrallt, aka Shops or Donnys, top end Hells Mouth Bay 300 yards before  Mr Williams campsite at Treheli

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Paddle Round The Pier July 5th and 6th 2014 Brighton and Hove Festival

The Paddle Round The Pier Festival 5th and 6th was once again a great event. I got down there on Thursday as usual and met Dave, Sam, Toby, Stig and the others on the Hove Lawns in glorious sunshine which continued through Friday giving way to a wet and windy night. It dawned damp on the Saturday morning but with perfect timing was dry by 9am and although cloudy and breezy brightened up in the afternoon. The Still Stoked stall was buzzing with Daz from Happy Ghetto, artist for the day exhibiting his awesome one off painted TravelBoard decks and prints. For board sales it was the best Saturday ever after some 7 years of continuous Still Stoked presence. The first one I went to was in 1998 if not ’97. The ’98 Paddle was when Still Stoked sponsored  Richard Balding from 9 Plus who creamed the Paddle Round The Pier winning a holiday to the Canaries.

 

 

I’d like to thank all who supported me and Still Stoked this year through buying boards, beanies and cards etc., and the huge number of people, Mums, Dads and Kids, Guys and Gals with whom I talked boards, surfing and lifestyle. Sunday was a little slower in getting going but by the afternoon the Hove Lawns were jammed solid with visitors to the Event and again board sales were brilliant. For those who couldn’t make it back to pick up a board and those planning to get one later, be assured that in the 17 years Still Stoked has been going I am more enthused than ever by the huge number of compliments I received this year for my handmade British longboards. Thank you all, I shall without any doubt keep the longboards coming.

A great event put on by a great team and driven by a great guy. Thank you once again Dave ‘Sandals’ Samuel.