BILBO - 1960s? Is it worth repairing?

This board is poorly! I am deciding what to do with it, but wanted some advice. Its obviously an early board (no stringer!). I assume it is a Bilbo from the logo unless copies were made by backyard shapers. I am interested in the silver strip at the back of the board. It has a two letter, two number code on it, but I would have to check back to see what it reads. The strip is under the glass.

I am also unsure if the fin (or fin box that it has been glassed into!) is original.

The base of the board is not too bad. The real damage is to the top of the board. There are substatial de-laminations from the middle of the board to the tail. The stains show pretty much where the delamination is.

Interested to know what you would do with a board this sickly! I’m not one to display boards. Any info re. the board would be interesting. If it helps I can check back to see what those numbers are (but I’ve just stuck it on top of the top bars on my board rack to gather dust for now!)

Thanks ;>)

Pav, I would say that your Bilbo was made in 1968-1969. It’s very similar to the one that my friend Esteban is holding in this photo (second from left): more or less the same shape, same fin-box, no stringer:

Also, the logo is the same as the one on this other photo, same year(s):

(Notice polyethylene fin in this one)

Worth repairing? IMHO, yes. Almost any board from that period is worth repairing…

Give skelly at gulfstream a call or pete at the surfing museum for more info.

cheers joe

I’d run it into CJ’s shop in Newquay or try and find Alan Macbride (Mac) - I believe he was working at Bilbo during those years.

Speak to gary at tunnel vision, mac went on to shape for them last before retireing (he still shapes boards solo so I’m not sure you can call it retireing), we were chating about board design sat night and he mensioned that he is still in touch with mac and will probably give you his contact details.

You could also try Pete Jones (owns the shop in Llangenth) for a history leason, I think he was a team rider for bilbo in the 60s - early 70s and still has his orginal bilbo board that he rode at pipeline in the the shop, this is orrange and also has a silver strip at the back of the board, though the fin was glassed on.

Doc is your man to speak with about restors, I may be getting mixed up but I’m 90% sure he does the restores on old bings from the 60s and does some beautiful work, there is a lot of info and pics on his web site. most of it revolves around repairing the damage and then reglassing with another layer of glass or doing heavily pigmented top coats to hide the staines and then a gloss coat.

Mask off any original features like logos, numbers and signatures to preserve the boards history.

But YES it is well worth restoring that board, surf history is a big thing in the US and Oz, but the UK has just a colourful past that needs to be remembered and Bilbos was one of the orriginal shops that opened up, the fact that its still going after being burnt to the ground 2 or 3 times is a treal testiment.

I’m actually of the opinion that we will regret the kind of restorations which cover up everything (except the logos ans signature) with an opaque tint hotcoat.

Thanks for the comments.

Re. restoration can any one post a photo of a board restored that was in a similar poor state.

I’m in no rush, but would have to decide if to renovate myself, or let someone else work on the board for me. It doesn’t have any sentimental value however so would not want to spend much on someone else doing the work. I have tackled restorations before, but these have always been to make the board watertight and surfable. It would be more rewarding doing it myself, but a little nervous as the other boards I have worked on have been 1970s, 80s boards that I have just wanted to ride for a while and enjoy.

Do boards of this age and colour! (and no stringer) still have the strength to be surfed again?

“Do boards of this age and colour! (and no stringer) still have the strength to be surfed again?”

Yes they do. Keep in mind that the foam used back then was heavier than today’s and that board was likely glassed with 8oz volan, too.

Sorry it was Platty that does the restores he’s his web page, full to the brim with useful know how and some beautiful boards brought back from the dead:

Cheers for the replies. I am considering the repair myself. I have some experience (have shaped, glassed and repaired boards, inc. snapped boards) but I am very much a novice in my opinion. I know i could repair, but not sure how to approach this to keep some original aesthetics and make it look tidy. My intial thoughts ;

  1. The bottom is in pretty good condtion, except the fin box as the fin has been glassed in. I figure the fin can be cut off and the fin box routered to clear it. It may be that I have to remove the fin box and re-glass a new box but I will re-visit this when I see what state it is in. Other than sanding and then reapplying a hot coat to the bottom I doubt it requires much effort.

  2. The delamination on the deck. I am kinda thinking of two approaches ;

a) Cut out the delaminated area and re-glass (I will lose the bilbo badge this way). I imagine the difference in colour will be dramatic and need to be hidden with a colour in the hot coat?


b) Cut near the overlap and lift the delaminated area and refix it using laminating resin. I do have a large vacuum bag which i could use but wonder if the pressure would be too much and crush the board? To add strength I would the re-glass over the complete deck and overlap before finally putting on a hotcoat… maybe with an opaque colour in the hot coat?

I’m just trying to reason an approach to cause as little additional damage and make the board surfable. Would appreciate some comments and how you would approach the repair.

No rush to start this as this is likely to be a winter project for dark evenings! , although may start earlier when the summer flat spells comes!

Been thinking (and reading) ;

Now considering sanding the glass thin and then cutting along where the overlap would have been on the deck and lifting the whole deck off. Will it lift off the foam where it is not yet delaminated? … or is there a way to persuade it to lift off without damaging the foam too much.

This would then leave me the option to fill any damaged foam (Q Cell?) , and then a straight forward job of laminating 2 layers of cloth on the deck, overlapping onto the hull adding strength to the rails. I have found some transulecent colours on ebay and would put a tint on the deck (is the tint used in the laminating resin / hot coat or both?).


If you’re thiinking about stripping off the old glass there are quite a few threads dedicated to that subject if you do some searching… I recently did a strip/reshape/reglass on an old beater longboard in better condition overall than what you have but which had certain areas of savage foam and glass abuse/delam. For the areas that weren’t already delammed I used a heatgun; when you heat the glass to a certain temp it just pops up in a big bubble and comes totally free of the foam. Then you can cut the glass into long strips and peel it up using a long craft knife blade to separate any other bits that haven’t already come loose. …HOWEVER: I’m not sure about this for your application, I’d ask some other people before doing it!!! People with more experience. …For me it worked fine, I was thinning the board down and wasn’t worried about whether it damaged the foam a bit. In your case, it might be just what you need or it might be too much risk of damaging the foam and the original shape. You would have to be very careful and like I said get some more knowledgeable input.

Do a couple searches for things like “Glass Stripping” etc. and I’m sure a couple other people with many more cents than I will drop their two in here as well!