Planky - bellyboarding in Europe

by Bob Green

A Tiburon planky. Photo by Jesús Belmonte "Sancheski."


The conventional account is that surfing was introduced to continental Europe, first in France by the actor Peter Viertel in 1957. Contrary to this account, there is evidence of people riding waves on a variety of surf craft a number of years before this in France, Portugal, Italy and Spain. This prone surfing, may not have captured the public imagination to the same extent as standup surfing, but some of these early surfers became influential in the development of standup surfing in their respective countries. These early surfers also displayed a stoke that is worth recognising. It is, however, not only about the past, as today people continue to learn and discover the pleasure associated with this form of surfing. Outside of bodyboards and surf mats, riding simple wood or fibreglass craft, while not mainstream, continues to provide stoke.

Left to right: yellow UK board (87 x 29cm – 25.1 cm at the tail), two clear French plankys (100 x 37cm); blue French planky by Jacky Rott ( 103 x 33.5),
red Tiberon txampero (122 x 39.5 x 0.8 cm) and a pink Dick Pearce UK bellyboard (121 cm).
Photo by Pierre Mennesson.

Feel free to cite this work, but more importantly this is an unfinished account. Corrections as well as contributions of photos or information will make it more complete. All contents of the site copyright (2010) with images copyright of respective credited source, where listed.

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January 22, 2020

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