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Page last updated at 16:06 GMT, Thursday, 15 July 2010 17:06 UK
Tributes to celebrated north Devon surfboard maker
By Jemima Laing
BBC Devon

Dick Pearce: Museum of British Surfing
Dick Pearce has made the boards since 1960

Tributes have been paid to a Devon surfboard maker described as an unsung hero of the surfing world.

Thousands of British surfers got their first start on one of Dick Pearce's famous surf riders, plywood boards which were first used on British beaches in the 1920s.

Dick, from South Molton, made the boards - commonly known as belly boards - for more than 50 years.

His business is believed to be the last known manufacturer of the classic wooden surfboards which are now seeing a revival on the UK's beaches.

The boards even enjoy their own championships held at Chapel Porth, Cornwall each September.

Museum of British Surfing. Dick Pearce's boards

Dick, who died on 10 July 2010, ran the family tannery in South Molton before diversifying into making and selling surfboards and beach products in about 1960.

He developed a winning formula for the famous little boards and continued to make them in exactly the same way for five decades.

His business is the last known manufacturer of the classic wooden surfboard, and Dick was delighted to see the creation of the World Bellyboarding Championships.

'Classically British'

"We first met Dick almost a decade ago when he kindly donated some of his early surfboards to the museum - a gift we're truly grateful for," said Peter Robinson, founder of the Museum of British Surfing in north Devon.

"He was always very supportive and it's sad that he won't be around to see the museum open - with his boards on show - next year.

"His surfboards and his approach to making them are classically British. I'm sure he's passed away happy that he has left a wonderful legacy for generations of surfers."

Dick's traditional wooden surfboards can still be bought through The Original Surfboard Company run by Sally Parkin in Devon.

Surf museum hopes for beach site
13 Dec 09 |  Devon
Surf museum wins charity status
08 Sep 09 |  Devon


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