The Neil Purchase "Virgin" ...

One morning in 1974, I was shooting pictures from the water at what's now known as the "Super Bank" in Coolangatta...


I had just run out of film, and was jonesing to get back to my flat across the street and swap my water housing for my stubby. As I was swimming towards shore, some guy on a well overhead wave dropped out of the sky on a wide, beat-up, stringerless hull of some kind. He hit the flat water at the base of the wave, and, with just the balls of his feet, threw the board over on it's side. The entire rail, nose to tail, was buried, and he accelerated off the bottom and went rocketing past me.

It looked like he was riding a first-gen V-Bottom. WTF???  This was a full 5 years after the last Deep V was seen in the water anywhere in the civilized world. And back then, 5 years was like 50 years. There was NO nostalgia happening in 1974, as far as I could tell.

A local guy I knew paddled past me, and I blurted out, "Who the hell was that???!!!"

"Neil Purchase, mate!"

I made it home, grabbed my hull, and ran back to the top of the point. I was as anxious to talk to this Neil guy as I was getting any waves. Long story short, he was gone by the time I got out in the water, and I never saw him again.

Fast forward 41 years...

I was going through the Neil Purchase Junior web page, here, and found some info on the first board Neil Senior shaped...a classic Deep V with a few cool tweaks. (Like a stepped deck and a scooped out area on the tail.) It sure looked like the board I saw him ride back in '74! Could it be?

From that web page...


"Neal Purchase senior's first board "the Virgin", 8'4 , shaped at Keyo's in '66 whilst he was still the fin maker and shit kicker. See above for Neal senior riding it. Ted Spencer and Kevin Platt also rode it, came back raving, and he was immediately promoted to the shapers job with Bob Mctavish."


Image of Ted Spencer riding that board, with a comment by David Bell, on Pinterest...


"Ted Spencer on NP Senior's 8'4 x 24 x 3 1/4 Virgin with asymmetric vee and concave deck in the tail, the first board he shaped at Keyo's factory in '67.....a part of the short board revolution, and a major improvement on his surfing, NP Senior will not ride a log to this day..."

 --- Paul Gross

2 comments:

KP's Round UP said...

Great story , Great board.

tuskedbeast said...

Agreed, and that casual opening line-

"One morning in 1974, I was shooting pictures from the water at what's now known as the "Super Bank" in Coolangatta..."

-makes it all the more cool!