1970-80s Foamie surfboards

**Updated 6 March 2016** by Ashley Jones and Tom & Pat Collins.

Ashley Jones – “There are a couple minor facts that could be adjusted.”

  1. Jacko’s Foamie competitor was a GS not a GT as I first thought. The GT was in fact a competitor slab Coolite to the original Senior Board Coolite, shown in Mal Leckie’s Senior Board drawing.
  2.  In Theo’s statement he says that Chris Reynolds worked for Star Surfboards, which I’m not sure is correct. I’m pretty sure he did glassing with Bob Gardner at West Coast and later with Daryl Wilkes.

Patricia Collins – “In the mid 70s Jacko took 6 Foamies to Scarborough Beach for anybody to “have a go”. The same day Tom filmed the guys being towed behind a tinnie on the Canning River (Shelley Point) for a television commercial. The first three Foamies were sold to a Newsagent on Cottesloe Beach. Boans Dept store initially took 6, then in a few days ordered 200. I remember Tom purchased a truck to tote them around and Jacko started selling them like hot cakes”.

Photos: Mid-70s Roger Garland on the first trial of Jacko Foamies at Scarborough Beach and on the Canning River (Shelley Point). Still frame images courtesy of Tom Collins.

1970s Roger Garland testing Foamie Scarb & Canning River - Tom Collins pics collage_photocat


In 1975 Jacko Surfboards created the Foamie surfboard in WA. Foamie surfboards were a step up in terms of shape & manoeuvrability from standard coolites. They were constructed of polystyrene and had an improved outline, low rails and a vee bottom leading into a foam keel/fin.

Photos: 1975 Prototype Foamie surfboard at Jacko Surfboards in Rivervale. Photos courtesy of Tom Collins.

1975 Foamie prototype 4 collage_photocat


By the late 70s & early 80s Ashley Jones and Cottesloe’s Chris Reynolds specialised in customising Foamies to improve surfing performance.

Ashley Jones – There were 2 entirely different boards we mucked about with, the slabby coolite and the Jacko Foamie. Someone later introduced on the market a competitor to Jacko’s Foamie called a GT. ** see Update 6 March 2016 – point 1.**

Aluminium stringers were an experiment for us and they were unbreakable. Jacko’s sons later used aluminium stringers in their Alloy Toy boards.

We later opted for marine ply on the modified Foamies, as it was easier to cut the board’s bottom profile.

The boards we modified were Jacko’s, I am pretty sure of that, complete with the chunky keel fin and V bottom. We took a bit of the thickness out, but maintained quite a bit of the V. We sunk marine ply stringers in the bottom after routing part way in and not to the top of the deck, as we wanted to keep it soft on top. The chunky foam fin was sawn off, then replaced with either twins or thrusters.

I think Jacko may have on-sold the Foamie moulds to someone else. I am pretty sure a guy called Dennis Jones eventually owned Jacko’s mould. We used to buy 10 at a time from him. He is married to Jenny Jones, of Jenny Jones Rugs in Claremont.

Chris Reynolds and I clocked up more serious deep tube time at the City Beach groyne than anywhere else, ever.  All done on these cheap as chips coolites that we all grew up on, cheap thrills, indeed.

Chris Reynolds and I must have produced 50 or more customized Foamies, all unique, thruster fins, marine ply stringers rebated into the underside of the board. Of course, we used epoxy resin, at the time Araldite was superior. I did the spray jobs, Chris the shaping. We stuck the fins and stringers in with Araldite, and did a partial panel of glass running the length of the underside of the board, plus reinforced nose and tail caps, we left the tops soft.

The modified Foamies were like skateboards in feel, you could hang really high on the wave, great nose riders, easy to paddle, good for late take-offs, plus they were really light at the time.

Chris ended up doing a full glassed one for himself and rode it for quite a while. One of the main reasons we did these boards was so we could surf swimming areas at the Perth beaches, particularly in summer, when the bans were on. It fooled the Clubbies most of the time!

Bruce Hocking (Cottesloe) was one of the masters of surfing the unmodified Foamies. When they held an inaugural Foamie Comp in Perth at Swanbourne Beach in the early 80’s, I think Bruce won the unmodified, and I won the modified.

The natural progression of these coolite/foamie boards have wound up being the Hayden Shapes Hypto Krypto and the Aloha Bean, which I ride because they remind me of riding a Foamie.

Photos: 1980s Chris Reynolds with modified Foamies. Photos courtesy of Ashley Jones.

1980 Chris Reynolds custom foamie 1 collage_photocat

Photos: 1980s Ashley surfing modified Foamie (Left) The Cove Cottesloe. (Right) North Cottesloe. Photos courtesy Ashley Jones.

1980 Coolites Cottesloe Cove & Nth Cottesloe 1 collage_photocat

Photos: 1980s Ashley surfing modified Foamie at Injidup Car Park. Photos courtesy of Ashley Jones.

1980 Custom Coolite Injidup Ashley Jones 1 collage_photocat

Cottesloe surfer Theo Mathews was a beneficiary of Ashley & Chris’s customised Foamies.

Theo Mathews – This photo was taken by Ashley Jones around 1982-83 of yours truly on a 5’3″ modified foamy (stringer, fins and legrope) at Gallows. The board was shaped by Chris Reynolds of Star Surfboards and finished by Ashley with acrylic house paint that lasted for years. Chris also made the twin fins & legrope. They conceived the idea for small shorebreak surf, but ironically we rode fair size waves with late take-offs, including Margs main break, Injidup carpark, South Point, Uluwatu etc. **see Update 6 March 2016 – point 2.**

1982-83 Gallows Theo Mathews on customised Foamie 1

**See related material**

1960-70s Coolite surfboards

1960-70s Surfing coolites at City Beach by Craig Blume.